Friday, November 14, 2008

Non Fiction: Risk

From Alex Roy's The Driver:

"Our second hour of 150 mph or more inspired a highly unscientific analysis of the actual danger we faced. I concocted what I called The Danger Coefficient (DC). I guessed the average NASCAR driver, in a thirty-six race season including practice, probably drove 15,000 miles -- with a safety cage and onboard active fire suppression -- on highly prepared tracks, with hospitals less than 14 minutes away by choppers on standby. Assuming this represented a DC of ten, Gumball's 3,000 miles meant our DC was two.... until factoring our relative safety deficiencies. High speeds over potholes had to triple our DC to six. Civilian traffic doubled it again, to twelve. Time and distance to medical help? Double again, to twenty-four. Lack of roll cages, harnesses and HANS devices? My guesses ended when I realized Gumball -- at least the way I did it -- was at least five times more dangerous than NASCAR."
From Wright and Decker's Burglars on the Job:
They referred to this process as "burning bread on yourself."

"Thieves got a thang they say [about getting caught,] "If you think about thangs like that, you burnin' bread on yourself" So you don't think about it... Just go for it. [No. 011]

Several of the subjects found it difficult to speak about the risk of apprehension, fearing that such talk would jinx their future illegal activities.
Some of the offenders also tried not to think about getting caught because such thought generated an uncomfortably high level of mental anguish. They believed that the best way to prevent this from happening was to forget about the risk and leave matters to fate.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


From Ed Park's Personal Days:

"Every employee would soon be required to create a new log-on password consisting of a mix of nonsequential capital letters and a three-digit prime number and a punctuation mark, and then change it once a month by sending an Excel form to a secure website in Oakland. This was just standard operating procedure.

Each demand felt like the securing of a strap on a straitjacket."