It is always good to see someone express thoughts well, especially those dealing with important subjects, such as Oops and NoOops. Recently, a New York Times opinion'er hit the mark; Nicholas D. Kristof wrote (July 3, 2008): In short, millions of things could go wrong. But when there’s a good model in place, they often go right.
Now, this blog deals with the fact that 'oops and loops must lead to oops, by necessity. 7 'oops 7 started with an engineering focus of a particular flavor, then branched to finance (the credit crunch is going to be looked at here from several sides - fortunately, the WSJ has been probing deeply into the current conundrums), and now finally is covering the spectrum of human life (with one particular having a medical angle - due to a personal interest in bio-medical engineering). However, the airplane particulars will remain in the discussion for purposes of illustration since a major program will be moving along a test axis shortly.
If you now know the context of the above-referenced article, we can understand the notion that 1M things could go wrong is true in many situations. And we can understand that control (or, risk management, if you would) requires a model. So, the types of things that help us live better and accomplish predictably are the concern of science and engineering.
Engineers help us to improve things, essentially by working the models. There are modern models that have a whole lot of history. But there is one thing to note in regard to models: the computational frameworks are still in their infancy, comparatively, and quasi-empiricism has more of a basis than many realize.
11/20/2008 -- Boon and bust, the way of fairy dust.