Marcus Aurelius stoicism and COVID-19 epidemic

Marcus Aurelius stoicism and COVID-19 epidemic reactions are deeply linked. As famously stated by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and philosopher: “Things do not touch the soul.” Also, for example: “Focus on what you can act, the rest is negative noise.” These deceptively simple statements are keystones of the Stoic philosophy. Marcus Aurelius meant that we are not victims of events, people, or things, but by the opinions we form of them. As he put it, “our perturbations come only from…

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Risk evaluation for dam break

A client asked us to perform a risk evaluation for dam break methodological review. As a result we reviewed risk guidelines regarding the public living or working in the inundation zone of a dam. Ultimately, the goal is to help decide tolerable risk vs. relocation of potentially impacted homes or livelihoods. As a matter of fact, we think this is an important subject and have thus decided to publish it. In Section 1 we review the procedure leading to risk-informed…

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The fall of the Roman empire, asymmetrical attacks, and modern mining

At Riskope we see impressive similarities between the fall of the Roman empire, asymmetrical attacks, and modern mining. The fall of the Roman empire, asymmetrical attacks The Western Roman empire, the one headquartered in Rome, was brought down little by little by the compounded effect of numerous factors and hazards. Among them we can cite: internal political problems, barbarian invasions, economic crises and finally, other demographic and social factors. The Eastern Roman Empire, i.e. the Byzantine extension, ended-up collapsing under…

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Threat from and threat to concepts

In our courses we always introduce the Threat from and threat to concepts because they apply to risk assessment and risk management. Oftentimes engineers and technical people have a “facility-centric” approach. This means they see the facility they are studying as a potential source of hazard exposures. In mining, this means looking for example at the pit or tailings as the sources of hazards to “the environment”. Thus, oftentimes the analysts see the facility as generating threats to the population,…

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Cyber attacks leave physical consequences

We are pleased to see that FM Global recognize the fact that Cyber attacks leave physical consequences. Some context on physical consequences Last year in 2019 we wrote about an aluminum maker forced to shut down  operations because of a ransomware attack. Successful hacking on industrial systems seemed to remain “isolated exploits” for a long time. For example, in 2014 hackers struck a steel mill in Germany. They did so by manipulating and disrupting the industrial control systems (ICS) to such a…

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Germs, Shipping and Force Majeure

A discussion on Germs, Shipping and Force Majeure seems appropriate given the corona virus epidemic evolution and our experience. Indeed clients have asked us to perform risk assessments and business interruption quantifications of harbors, wharves, and ships loader-unloader in many occasions. If we are looking to quantify business interruption of a shipping facility, we have to break the informational silo. Looking at categories of hazards one by one would limit the resulting understanding of the risk landscape. Indeed, cyber hazards,…

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Why climate risk and consequence overcost have common similarities

Today we look at why climate risk and consequence overcost have common similarities. Have you ever been involved in a project whose final budget exploded due to consequence of apparently small, negligible schedule or material risks? Similarly, even thus we record small change in weather averages, big impacts are being noticed. Let’s find out why this happens. Probability of overcost vs. Likelihood of event Lets suppose the consequences of a risk scenario vary between 0 and 20M$ with an average…

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Insurance denial amid climate change

We explore today how insurance denial amid climate change will impact assets and other aspects of business. In particular, we think at fires like the Australian bushfires and Fort McMurray (Canada) fire in addition to increasing rains leading to flooding. These will undeniably be a ‘big drag’ on growth and have already generated invaluable losses to biodiversity. Furthermore, insurance denial will become a  problem as we discussed back in 2016 and even as far as 2009. Insurance denial amid climate change…

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