Articles to 2017-12-22

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First the link to this week’s complete list as HTML and as PDF.


Asking where when and how single point failures cascade to engulf large parts of the whole grid is a timely and worth-while endeavour by D’Souza and Yang et al.. That said their main result turns out to be quite trivial: Failures recur in the same places time and again. The first rule of all repairs of anything is never just to replace a broken part but always to replace it with a higher grade one. It is quite hard to foresee the weak spot in an apparatus at the design stage, but once identified it’s easy to remedy and far cheaper than having to make the same repair again. Failing to do just that for parts of the grid amounts to criminal neglect.


Lizzie Wade uncritically lauds Kohler et al.’s article on European stratification (list of 2017-12-04). That’s what comes from just reading the headline and skimming the abstract, like the yellow press do. Richard P. Feynman clearly said never to trust in a result that depended on a single data point at the edge of a range. (But he also said never to quote experts but to trust in the value of your own arguments alone.)

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