Wednesday, September 01, 2010


The Hazards of Complexity

It’s often observed that when civilizations reach a certain level of complexity, systemic failures begin to increase due to the impossibility of increasing the system’s energy throughput. The developed countries are now coming to this point. I shall keep this short by pointing out a few items from today’s links. Under Intelligence/security note the article on supply chain breakdown. This hazard is compounded by the cold chain, which is needed to transport perishable foods and some pharmaceuticals long distances. Under the US category, there are two stories of interest in this respect: One on the data center outage, and the other on a cloud computing outage. These systems require a complex network of connections and large server farms, not to mention more and more power (scroll down to the August 27 story “Cloud computing expansion threatened by power shortage”).

These are just a few indications of impending collapse, dealing specifically with complexity.

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