Tag Archives: risk

Embracing Risk, Manipulating Chance: Will it all End Well?

A lecture at the Risk@Humanities Conference, 26-27 October 2012 By William Leiss Senior Invited Fellow (Fall 2012) Society for the Humanities, Cornell University wcl54@cornell.edu Continue reading

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Once More, Understanding Systemic Financial Risk

William Leiss:  RiskBlog 1 March 2012 Once More, Understanding Systemic Financial Risk Satyajit Das and Systemic Risk [PDF]   Andrew Palmer’s recent essay on financial innovation in The Economist, “Playing with fire” [25.02.12: http://www.economist.com/node/21547999] has received a lot of attention.  Read … Continue reading

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Environmental Release of Genetically-Engineered Mosquitoes: The Latest Episode in Frankenstein-Type Scientific Adventures

The subtitle for this essay is merely descriptive – not at all intentionally provocative – and is meant to be taken literally. By “Frankenstein-type” I mean, not the scientific work itself, but rather the arrogant and thoughtless act of a scientist in releasing a novel entity into the environment without adequate notice or prior discussion with the public, whether accidentally (as in the case of Mary Shelley’s story) or deliberately. Should this practice continue, as I suspect it will, almost certainly there will eventually be a very bad ending – for science itself. Only remedial action by other scientists themselves can head it off, and so far such action is noteworthy by its absence. They will regret this omission.
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“Complexity cloaks Catastrophe” William Leiss (17 January 2012) Complexity cloaks Catastrophe – PDF Good risk management is inherently simple; adding too many complexities increases the likelihood of overlooking the obvious. Leiss, “A Short Sermon on Risk Management” (http://leiss.ca/?page_id=467)   The quoted phrase … Continue reading

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European Debt Crisis in three acts

The Online English Edition of Der Spiegel has a brilliant analysis of the European debt crisis that is not to be missed. Read “The Ticking Euro Bomb” (October 5-7, 2011): Act I: Part 1, Section 1:  “How a good idea … Continue reading

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Two United States Government Reports On the Gulf Oil Spill

Summaries – and links back to the originals – on the reports on the oil spill. Gulf Oil Spill Reports copy

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Three new papers on Risk

Three papers on risks associated with the long-term storage of high-level radioactive waste in Canada, commissioned by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization: Go to http://www.nwmo.ca/conceptofrisk Paper #1: How should matters of risk and safety be discussed? The first paper addresses … Continue reading

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Risk Blogs – Summer 2011

The following series of short essays was written in the period June – August 2011 and posted on my website: www.leiss.ca. Similar pieces will be added to the series on a regular basis. If you are interested in them you … Continue reading

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Financial Risk Management: Duping the Rubes

Before 2008 financial industry professionals arranged to deceive local government officials around the world about the risks inherent in their “structured” products, costing the citizens those officials worked for huge losses they could ill afford. Much of this sad story … Continue reading

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Difficult Risk – Risk Tradeoffs: Political vs. Financial Risk in the EU

There was an important article by Jack Ewing and Liz Alderman in the August 10 edition of The New York Times, entitled “Some in Germany want Greece to temporarily exit the Euro Zone.” This article takes up issues that have … Continue reading

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Risk Management Cases: Drilling for Shale Gas

Environmental risks associated with drilling for shale gas, and the extraction process known as “hydraulic fracturing” [“fracking”], are receiving a good deal of attention in Canada, the United States, and elsewhere. The state of New York has had a moratorium … Continue reading

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Financial Risk: The World turned Upside Down

Here’s the latest from the Greek debt crisis: “Europe is seeking to avoid a default at all cost because it could also initiate payment of credit-default swaps, with unpredictable results. There is little public information on which financial institutions have … Continue reading

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Catastrophic Failures in Risk Management, 4: The Terrorist Attack on Air-India Flight 182

The month of June 2011 marks the first anniversary of the release of Air India Flight 182: A Canadian Tragedy, the final report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182, headed … Continue reading

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Catastrophic Failures in Risk Management, 3: Blood Donation Risk and Gay Men

As we are now seeing in the long-running global financial crisis, the initial stages of catastrophic failures in risk management can have follow-on consequences over long periods of time. In the case of blood donation risk, the infection of blood … Continue reading

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Airline Security and Risk Management

Judging from the various articles in this Tuesday’s Globe and Mail, there remains a fair amount of confusion, here and elsewhere, about airline security in the wake of the latest terrorist plot.  Those of us who are “risk junkies” have been … Continue reading

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Book: Communicating about Risks to Environment and Health in Europe

Public experience with risk communication differs greatly from country to country in Europe and there has been little opportunity for the transfer of experience and learning between countries. This is especially true for the many new European States, including the … Continue reading

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Book: In the Chamber of Risks

In this book I demonstrate that case studies of risk controversies show that the instinctive response of managers to deny that risk controversy issues under discussion are significant and to insist that the parties presenting them have no business meddling … Continue reading

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Book: Mad Cows and Mothers’ Milk

Communicating the nature and consequences of environmental and health risks is one of the most problematic areas of public policy in western democracies. Given the perceived risks associated with the food we eat, chemicals in the environment, and modern technologies, … Continue reading

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Book: Risk and Responsibility

Author: William Leiss, Christina Chociolko Publisher: McGill-Queen’s University Press (1994-07-01) Buy this book from Amazon or Chapters. Bitter disagreements arise over how to manage health and environmental risks. Trying to determine what is in the public interest is at the … Continue reading

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Book: Prospects and Problems in Risk Communication

Author: William Leiss (editor) Publisher: University of Waterloo Press (1989-01-01) Available from the Institute for Risk Research, U Waterloo. The articles in this book cover a wide range of current issues in risk communication. These include: a comprehensive review of … Continue reading

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