The interconnectedness of all things

I’m very glad you asked me that, Mrs Rawlinson. The term `holistic’ refers to my conviction that what we are concerned with here is the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. I do not concern myself with such petty things as fingerprint powder, telltale pieces of pocket fluff and inane footprints. I see the solution to each problem as being detectable in the pattern and web of the whole. The connections between causes and effects are often much more subtle and complex than we with our rough and ready understanding of the physical world might naturally suppose, Mrs Rawlinson.

Let me give you an example. If you go to an acupuncturist with toothache he sticks a needle instead into your thigh. Do you know why he does that, Mrs Rawlinson?

No, neither do I, Mrs Rawlinson, but we intend to find out. A pleasure talking to you, Mrs Rawlinson. Goodbye.

–Douglas Adams

Data Visualisation quotes

The purpose of visualization is insight, not pictures.
―Ben Shneiderman

Numbers have an important story to tell. They rely on you to give them a clear and convincing voice.
―Stephen Few

There is a magic in graphs. The profile of a curve reveals in a flash a whole situation — the life history of an epidemic, a panic, or an era of prosperity. The curve informs the mind, awakens the imagination, convinces.
―Henry D. Hubbard

Visualizations act as a campfire around which we gather to tell stories.
―Al Shalloway

The art and practice of visualizing data is becoming ever more important in bridging the human-computer gap to mediate analytical insight in a meaningful way.
―Edd Dumbill

By visualizing information, we turn it into a landscape that you can explore with your eyes, a sort of information map. And when you’re lost in information, an information map is kind of useful.
―David McCandless

The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.
―Carly Fiorina

Above all else show the data.
―Edward Tufte

The greatest value of a picture is when it forces us to notice what we never expected to see.
―John Tukey

If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around.

―Jim Rohn


The Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses have been designed to help people develop a relaxed attitude to danger. They follow the principle “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” and turn completely dark and opaque at the first sign of danger. This prevents you from seeing anything that might alarm you. This does, however, mean that you see absolutely nothing, including where you’re going.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.

Douglas Adams

Normal Accidents: the inherent risks of complex systems

Just as the flap of a butterfly’s wing in the Pacific can supposedly lead to a storm in Chicago, Risk management experts have long argued that complex, tightly coupled systems inevitably break down.

In his 1984 book Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies, Charles Perrow, visiting professor at Stanford University who specializes in the inherent risks of complex systems, argues that disasters in complex, tightly coupled systems are inevitable for three reasons:

People make mistakes, Big accidents almost always escalate from small incidents, Many disasters stem not from the technology but from an organisational failure.

Nor can engineering redundancy eliminate the risk, he wrote, because the redundancies add more complexity to the system, lead to a shirking of responsibility among workers, or to pressures to increase production speed.

In a survey of 250 companies’ chief information security officers, McKinsey found that on average, few believe their companies are prepared: the typical security executive gives his company a C or C- grade on six of seven key measures institutions are using to reduce the potential for cyber attacks. Only in incident response and testing did they give themselves a C+. And most CIOs told McKinsey they don’t put their company’s most sensitive data on an IT cloud.


Measuring Systemic Risk

As long as human behavior is coupled with free enterprise, it is unrealistic to expect that market crashes, manias, panics, collapses, and fraud will ever be completely eliminated from our capital markets. The best hope for avoiding some of the most disruptive consequences of such crises is to develop methods for measuring, monitoring, and anticipating them. By using a broad array of tools for gauging systemic exposures, we stand a better chance of identifying “black swans” when they are still cygnets.

Measuring Systemic Risk in the Finance and Insurance Sectors
Monica Billio, Mila Getmansky, Andrew W. Lo, and Loriana Pelizzon