Tuesday, January 29, 2019

System Integrity


As I predicted on last night’s news shows, WICO Secretary General Decatur released a statement today characterizing Sally’s assessment of the strategy status as an extreme opinion that isn’t shared by the vast majority of people working at STRIDE. He especially took issue with her view that “preferred territorial and cultural integrity is inconsistent with minimizing casualties,” arguing that it was based on unjustified pessimism and a set of unrealistic expectations about what can be accomplished. The statement concluded with effusive praise of the national strategy development teams and “thanks for their heroic effort in response to this grave threat.”

I was unable to reach either Sally or Ambassador Lazlo for comment, and none of the strategy development teams would return my calls. I did however get a request for a meeting with Expansivtek’s Ronald Wingate. 

While we talked, Wingate took me on a tour of his company’s large wind farm in northern Colorado, which he happened to be visiting today. “Your source Sally put a real scare into her bosses at WICO, didn’t she?” he asked rhetorically. “Who do you think is blowing smoke, her or Decatur?”

“Neither,” I answered. “They just disagree on whether or not we should plan for the worst case.”

“That’s a pretty good guess you made yesterday. It sounded like you’re on the same page with her.”

“Think about something long enough, and your guesses start getting better,” I said. “My job is to report and interpret for my audience, not to make policy.”

“Sure it is,” he said skeptically. He waved at a technician near the top of a turbine, who waved back. “You know, I started out as part of a team of techs making field calls to repair equipment all around the country. What you said about hunter-gatherers and Sally’s comment about fixing the environment reminded me of those trips. That’s kind of the way it felt. It got me to thinking that if this situation’s as bad as she thinks, there might be another way to deal with it.”

“You mean ED?” I asked, referring to the Evolution over Devolution project he announced two weeks ago.

“An extension of it,” he said. “When we would go to a site, the first thing we would do was clean things up, check all the physical and electrical connections, make sure the basic maintenance was done. If the system still wasn’t working properly, we had fewer possibilities for what was wrong, and the odds were good we wouldn’t have to come back for a long time. I’ve been assuming that the system just needs better versions of what it’s currently using that we can strap new functionality to, and that what it’s hooked up to is in good enough shape that we just need better connections. If those assumptions are wrong, then we need to redefine the system as something a lot bigger, and then apply the process to that.” 

I began to fear I had created a monster. “Just to clarify: What exactly is the new system?” 

He grinned. “The whole damn planet!”

Reality Check

I expect that any rational governmental entity would balk at any challenge to the physical or cultural integrity of it or its members, no matter what the reason.

Wingate’s epiphany and related experience is an extrapolation of my own experience and the experience of people I’ve known. His fictional company does not own a wind farm, though there are wind farms in Colorado. 

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