California fires and risk assessment

Will it happen here? Why live in a fire zone? As a visitor, I see the houses pushed into dry scrubland with their flammable eucalyptus trees and shudder inwardly. Expensive water piped from the Colorado River (and leaving Mexico only a muddy trickle) is used to water every boulevard for lush greenery, sometimes a ground cover of 20-cm high succulents known as “ice plants.” It’s a fire retardant, say the inhabitants.

Are you more likely to get mugged or run over? Which do you worry about? In Toronto, about sixty people a year are murdered. That makes headlines and there’s great indignation. About sixty pedestrians a year are killed by cars. Somehow there’s no indignation about the latter. Instead, there’s a grumble about the one or two cyclists killed by cars–even though every day I see cyclists doing risky, unpredictable manouevers such as riding on and off sidewalks and pushing to the right of cars turning right. How on earth do we estimate what’s dangerous?

LavaCon and PMI GNO 2007 Professional Development Summit

I’m going to New Orleans! Any science bloggers there? On Saturday, I’m taking the option of helping the community, at a Habitat for Humanity site or elsewhere.

LavaCon® is partnering with the Project Management Institute® Greater New Orleans Chapter to co-host a Professional Development Summit in New Orleans, October 27–30, 2007.

The fifth annual LavaCon will present proven best practices in the fields of technical communication and technical communication management, including strategies for choosing technology platforms, migrating to XML and content management, reducing training and translation costs, and more.

The site is currently down, proving that even project managers have real life happen to them. If you’re interested, run a search on the Web site and then look at cached pages, or call 1-866-302-5774, ext 201.

Update: the link is working again.

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