Finished: Triangle: The Fire That Changed America

I finished Dave Von Drehle’s Triangle, and I enjoyed it; it turned into a bit of a page turner, once it got started, even though I had a good idea of where things ended up.  I was surprised that his efforts in the book were the most comprehensive list of victims’ names compiled, even though the book was published over 90 years after the fire; that was a very touching coda to a good read.  I think the impact that the book had on me was reflected in my replacing the carbon monoxide detector in the house (I had been meaning to for a week or two), and I picked up a couple of extra fire extinguishers.  I certainly have a deeper respect of the elemental power of fire.  Now to work on pulling together a report…


Thoughts on Vaccinations

Saw this Reuters article (via Consumerist) on a study that found that vaccinating preschoolers against influenza correlated with a 1/3 drop in emergency room visits of preschoolers with flu-like symptoms.  The study leveraged data from the U.S. and Canada, who, at the time, had different public health policies about when children should receive the flu vaccine.  It even seems like there was a halo effect, where older children got less sick; maybe not surprising considering what most parents have experienced with daycare facilities being inevitable places for transmission.

If you’re interested in all things influenza, be sure to check out the Flu Trends project at (Google’s philanthropy website); they’re actually looking at influenza related search terms regionally to compare them to actual health data, and they’re getting some interesting results.

And, on a closing note, a very NSFW (language) but passionate take on vaccines in general from Penn and Teller:

Thinking about risk and policy

I saw this L.A. Times article on teenage drivers referenced on Bruce Schneier’s excellent security blog.  Essentially, California passed laws that heavily restricted 16 and 17 year old drivers, hoping to save lives.  While statistics do show the deaths went down in that age category, there was a commensurate increase in fatalities in 18 and 19 year olds.  One way of interpreting that information is that the gains from the restrictions weren’t eliminating fatalities, only deferring it.  Sounds like the policymakers have the behaviors targeted well, they just need to find better means to change them, rather than delay them for 2 years.

Cornell: Remembering the Triangle Factory Fire

The Industrial and Labor Relations School at Cornell University has a great online exhibit about the Triangle fire, it gives great context not only on the event itself, but in the time period in which it took place and its impact.  It also has an impressive gallery of photographs and a model of the 9th floor, where few had an opportunity to escape.

Reading: 40 Hard-won Business Continuity Lessons from the NZ and Japan Quakes

An article right in my information technology bailiwick, published in EDPACS (EDP Audit, Control and Security Newsletter), I spotted it on the ISC2 Blog; the article, written by Gary Hinson and Rob Slade, is currently available for free download, at least through the blog article.  Longer review to follow.

The Lighter Side of the Dark Side, in Honor of “Talk Like a Pirate Day”



Seriously, there is such a thing as “Talk Like a Pirate Day“.  Wired has an article calling attention to the ongoing Somali pirate issue, where “Argh!”, peg legs and parrots are not part of the motif, but waylaying ships is a growth industry, and knowing some key Somali, Italian or Yemeni phrases can be handy to sailors in the region.