Sunday, 2 March 2008

Catastrophe Comes to Those who Wait

I read this headline in the New Scientist today. (Sorry, the full article is behind a paywall). It was referring to fossil fuels, and the fact that the strategy of waiting to have better technology before trying to reduce CO2 output is probably gonna doom the planet.

And there's me just flying from Bristol to Cork, when I could've taken a ferry (and a lot longer!). That's my carbon allowance for the year eaten up. Again. Ho Hum.

On a more individual note, there's lots of things we procrastinate about, that could lead to more personal catastrophe, due to the common beliefs that we are superhuman, invincible and that "it won't happen to me"

Do you overeat, or otherwise neglect your nutrition? You might get diabetes or heart disease.

Do you smoke? Could die of lung cancer. Drinking too much booze? Liver disease waits.

Are you neglecting the loves of your life because of work (or worse, football)? They might leave you, or simply not include you in their lives when you need them.

Do you live off your credit card? You could end up sharing financial meltdown along with many others.

The ostrich sticks his head in the sand, and I assure you, that's a strategy that leads to catastrophic asphyxiation for the poor, stupid bird.

Do you write code with low (or pointless) test coverage? It will break - though in this case someone else may have to fix it.

There's so many potential catastrophes in store for us that it's hard to know which ones to ignore. Life's a gamble.

I've made a lot of mistakes in my time, and they nearly all tend to come from procrastination about things that really should be done sooner. I'm reminded of the Sufjan Stevens song, Chicago, that I included in this mix; here's a snippet of the lyrics

you came to take us
  all things go, all things go
to recreate us
  all things grow, all things grow
we had our mindset
  (I made a lot of mistakes)
all things know, all things know
  (I made a lot of mistakes)
you had to find it
  (I made a lot of mistakes) 
all things go, all things go
  (I made a lot of mistakes)

So watch it people. Don't procrastinate. Don't hide the fact that you're doing so, as while the secrets we keep from each other can be part of what makes life interesting, and too much honesty can be a bad thing, if you're hiding bad news from yourself, it will probably catch up with you sooner or later.

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Tim Stevens

Tim Stevens
Be Silent