Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cascade Failure


I have been thinking a lot of cascade failure of late. A cascading failure is a failure in a system of interconnected parts in which the failure of a part can trigger the failure of successive parts. It is currently demonstrated in Japan with their desperate attempt to get the nuclear reactors under control. But I always think of that children's rhyme:  For Want of a Nail

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

This winter when a firm in Texas decided to ship natural gas intended for New Mexico to Oklahoma where it could get more money we all faced a cascade failure of the electrical grid here because of the over usage of electric space heaters to avoid freezing in -43F temps. 

Yes, all dire situations but yesterday I found myself thinking in terms of cascade failure due to a futon I did not want. I had it in my furnished apartment and the renter got some of her own furniture delivered. I frantically at 6:30 a.m last Friday had to find a home for twin beds and the a futon couch. I got lucky with the beds. Not so lucky with the futon and when the person who wanted to buy it did not show yesterday had to move it to my residence. God knows there was not room. So I played musical furniture. Not unlike the child's party game of musical chairs.

Cannot carry couch upstairs to spare room (which is full), refuse to clutter up studio, so living room is only option. But to make space for it something has got to leave that room. This time it was the stereo and stand. It never gets played in the living room so studio made sense and if I move the potted plant in one corner . . . . Well, you get the point. I am now not sure where to put the elliptical trainer which I do not use - or did not use in former location. It sits in studio to see if I will use it there while gazing out the windows. 

Then there is the spinning wheel. Loathe to get rid of it because of fond memories but where to put it is a problem. Maybe it is time to sell it and the elliptical trainer and the futon. But the fur kids rather like the futon, and maybe I will like the elliptical trainer in a non-claustrophobic location. This thinking process helps me understand the nuclear power crisis in Japan. Did they think too long about trying to save what should not have been saved? Rather like watching a tsunami when you should be running for high ground.


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