Everyone seems surprised when some calamitous event occurs. They are labeled Black Swan events because they seem to come out of nowhere. "How could that have happened," is the thinking that seems to pervade our thoughts as a whole.
Rather than being surprised, Ted G. Lewis points out in his book Bak's Sand Pile: Strategies for a Catastrophic World that these Black Swan events are really predictable and getting worse as we live in a more connected and interdependent world.
I've not read the entire text only four chapters. The first few are heavy on theory, but not too heavy. I could understand the points being made and the references to the history of research on the topics relevant to the discussion. To scare the pants off of you check out the chapter on the electrical grid in the United States, see Living At The Edge of Chaos (Page 161). Combine this with my blog posting from yesterday that has the threat of cyberterrorism and you can see how our fragility and lack of redundancy has put us as a modern society in a perilous position.
Another happy topic to think about on a Sunday morning!