Micromorts and nukes

Writer Steven Johnson has been sharing a free newsletter over the past months called “The Adjacent Possible.” I’ve really enjoyed his books on innovation and his newsletter has delivered thought provoking insight too. 2 recent posts that spurred thought:

(1) We need a standard unit of measure for risk (article). This sounds so elementary and is yet so profound. We all think about risk in our daily lives. It is a key factor in all our decision making – especially in the past 2 years. And yet, we don’t have a standard measure.

He then shared an old unit proposed by a Stanford Professor in the 80s called the Micromort and asks a what if question to all of us – what if we used the Micromort to help communicate risks?

As an example, here’s a tweet by Wharton Professor Ethan Mollick putting risks in context.

A simple and powerful idea

(2) The Day Before (article). In yesterday’s article, Steven asks – are we discounting the threat of nuclear war given we’re dealing with an irrational actor? He draws from his experiences writing about pandemics and how few took the possibility of a global pandemic seriously.

He then shared how we’ve spent decades fighting the wrong kind of nuclear threat – turning our fury on nuclear energy despite it being among the safest sources of energy on the planet and not taking the prospect of nuclear power in the hands of dictators seriously enough.

Another thought-provoking post. Thanks Steven!