Thursday, April 02, 2015

Graceful Degradation

Many years ago as a young and impressionable Air Force officer I was introduced to an interesting, if somewhat frightening concept – graceful degradation.

Graceful degradation is the ability of a computer, machine, electronic system or network to maintain the greatest possible degree of functionality even when a large portion of it has been destroyed or rendered inoperative. This may be done by reducing emphasis on less-important activities, or by turning off non-essential systems or functions to devote full system resources to more important areas.  The purpose of graceful degradation is to prevent catastrophic failure.

So this got me to thinking* about how we might employ the concept of graceful degradation to reduce the risk of catastrophic failure in various other areas …

Congress. It’s probably too late to prevent catastrophic failure, but we could probably ameliorate the damage by turning off such non-essential, resource-wasting subroutines as the Republican Study Committee and the Republican and the Democratic leadership of both houses.

The Legal System. Mandate trial by combat to the death between the opposing attorneys for any lawsuit over a certain dollar limit. $5.00 should do it. This would have the dual benefit of reducing both the case backlog and the lawyer infestation.

Elections. (1) Install flow regulators to adjust the speed and volume of cash flowing through the political system, similar to the systems used in aircraft to ensure that fuel is evenly distributed to improve weight and balance. (2) Require candidates for office to actually demonstrate a working knowledge of the Constitution**, basic economics, history, science, and logical thinking. (3) Dynamite the Washington, DC, headquarters of every second lobbying firm.

Tax Reform. Require every member of Congress to personally calculate his or her own taxes every year, with a penalty of ten years in prison and a fine of $50,000 for use of an accountant or tax lawyer. The tax code would be simplified in a matter of weeks, and we'd get rid of some useless elected reprehensives for a few years.

I'm quite sure there are other things we could do to gracefully degrade some of the problems we face and prevent catastrophic failure. What suggestions do you have? Leave a comment.

Have a good day. Degrade gracefully.

More thoughts tomorrow.


* And you know how dangerous that is.

** Knowing the Second Amendment by heart does not count. 


eViL pOp TaRt said...

I like the idea of Congress members having demonstrated a knowledge of the Constitution, history, science, and economics. Term limits would be good, and eliminating most of the junkets would be nice.

Congress is too far gone for graceful degradation.

I like the idea of lawyers fighting.

Grand Crapaud said...

Graceful degradation sounds like something that should be done as an employee reaches retirement.

Linda Kay said...

I really like Angel's thought as well as many others on limiting the terms of office. The legislators would maybe spend more time legislating instead of campaigning? But who among all of them would dare vote for such a thing?

Mike said...

I thought this post was going to be about you and dancing.

Insane Penguin said...

If you're going to degrade, at least do it gracefully.

allenwoodhaven said...

My suggestion: corporations and/or any bureaucracy when it becomes necessary to spend more than 5 minutes on the phone pressing numbers to reach an actual human being who can take care of whatever problem you have.

Require anyone above the manager position to answer the phones and stay on the line until the problem is resolved. The higher the position (CEOs, vice presidents, etc.) the more time they'd have to work the phones. That ought to improve customer service since they'd immediately hire more service reps.