Greg van Paassen


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Probable reasons for the rule include fire safety, earthquake safety, and safety during biosecurity and drug inspections (yes, of empty containers too). Those are just off the top of my head; it's likely that there are more good reasons for such a rule.  Maybe the cost calculations for these risks were done incorrectly but none of us is qualified to comment on that. 

Is it worth suspending this rule temporarily in an emergency? Depends on the emergency. Permanently? Not so much. So the problem becomes "is this situation sufficiently grave that it is worth suspending rules that have solid benefits, and would such supension help very much?" It's a "balance of costs" calculation, not people being stupid.  Peterson will not look so great if 5-stacking results in "The Great Fire of Long Beach".

I hold the opposing view. The pandemic showed the strength of the interdependent system compared to the alternative.  A hypothetical global collection of self-reliant households would have suffered far more from the virus alone, and almost certainly still more from subsequent failures. Of their harvests, say.

Self-reliance may be more robust in the sense of being a default mode of existence, one to which we collapse back sometimes, but it is most definitely not safer for the people suffering it.  Just look at the California gold fields in the late 19th century, or the modern-day suburbs of Lagos which are no-go areas for the police and army, and in which households must perforce rely on themselves, compared to your own existence.

Some questions to ask yourselves. I don't want answers to them, but I think you need solid answers to them for yourselves.

1. What negative discontinuities did you find - situations where a trend was held in check for a long period, before resuming? What insights do you draw from them?

2. Why use the same timescale for all activities?

3. Why the binary threshold for significance?

4. Science is all about finding good questions to ask. I have a feeling that this isn't a very good question, nor is the object of study well defined. Why do you believe that this question/this cabinet of curiosities tells you something useful?