Friday, March 03, 2017

How Too Often Nobody Tunes In On A Faulty System Before It Spectacularly Goes Wrong

Posted by Peter Quennell

How Ignored Systems Become Mean

Well-intentioned Italy is for sure the ONE country in the world where our case could still be playing out after nearly 10 years.

Why? Well, it is the ONE country that mandates two automatic levels of appeal (why?) with the first appeal before a new jury (why?) and the original trial prosecution absent at both levels of appeal (why?).

Outside of the courtrooms, judges and prosecutors are forbidden from even mildly explaining themselves (why?).

And judges are all required to write these enormous reports, the original purpose of which was to ensure justice is SEEN to be done - but which can set 10 million Sherlocks on the loose, intent on making law enforcement look fools.

Not such wonderful aspects of a system with intentions for the best. These negative aspects (among others) eat up time and resources, and they create living hells for the families of victims - the Kerchers have tens of thousands of Italian families of victims for sad company.

Do you know of this dramatic book and film?

It did not look like racial scaremongering at the time though looking back it does now.

What had happened is that a huge leap forward by the Japanese economy in the 80s in large part by adopting industrial systems created in the US made Americans realise Japanese enterprises were eating their lunch while their own legacy systems decayed.

The positive outcome of that big scare was widespread adoption of this mass system upgrade in the US.

Partly because of that the American economy in the 90s really roared - and the huge Silicon Valley systems generator came alive.

And The Best-Picture Envelope Please

If you watched the Best Picture mix-up at the last few minutes of the Oscars the other night you will know HOW LONG it took for corrective action to cut in.

Two and a half thank-you speeches by the wrong team had already come and gone. 

You may already have heard that the Academy will never use those two accountants again.

Scapegoats? Maybe not. The main reason was not that one of them (the man) messed up - it was that when the wrong announcement was made both of them froze. They had to be forced out onto the stage!

THATS an odd system mishap for sure.

And why was the presenter (Warren Beatty) puzzled at what he saw on the card? The card itself was a mess. This terrific article on typography gone wrong explains how.

The accountants’ system for creating and handing out the right cards had obviously not been gamed for flaws.

But the Academy also was at fault, for not checking all of their systems out. They know now that their systems need a little love, too.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/03/17 at 10:15 PM in


A timely article, Pete.  I as an avid film fan, I stayed up all night to watch the Awards - as I do every year - and have seen almost all of the nominated films, I have been in a state of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ever since.

When Warren Beatty took his time reading the card, I thought it rude of him to not announce it immediately (a pet hate are those phoney long pauses with fake suspense soundtracks), then I thought, he’s having a ‘senior moment’.

Even Faye Dunaway was mouthing, ‘You are impossible’, and them she blurted out what was on the card, ‘La La Land’.

Poor Warren Beatty.  Even Jordan Horowitz, the gallant LaLaLand producer who came to the rescue and quickly conceded the error, rudely snatched the correct card out of Beatty’s hand, whilst a stage producer forcibly yanked the card from the envelope.  All of this screamed:  ‘We have a senior citizen here, having senior moments!’

Yet all the time, Warren Beatty was acting in good faith.  At first I laughed once I realised the reason why suddenly people were running across the back of the stage was because *the wrong film was announced*.

Then when it transpired it was completely the fault of Brian Cullinan of PwC, who it seems was busy gawping at Emma Stone and tweeting, instead of paying attention, I just wanted to hug Warren Beatty, and good on him, refusing to give back the card.  I hope he sues for the disrespect caused to him.

I am an accountant myself <fx garlic and crucifix> and I can confirm that carrying out risk analysis and having contingency plans for each of them is drilled into us.  The exams are full of avoiding the dreaded ‘business reputation risk’, which can kill off a business overnight.  No wonder there is schadenfreude in the industry regarding PwC’s calamitous reputational blunder.

Ruiz, the other accountant, was also barred from future Academy Awards because she just stood there frozen, when they should have followed their own written strategy, which was to take charge and halt the error ASAP.

It was as if, they thought, ah well, it’s wrong, but we may as well let La-La-Land win it.  No wonder some people believe Cullinan’s motive was more than just being distracted.  Personally, I believe it to be good old-fashioned fat cat incompetence and gross negligence born out of complacency and apathy.

I loved La-La-Land - cried at the ending, l was a bit confused by Moonlight, didn’t like the gay sex scene - a bit graphic - got confused by the changing actors as the central narrator grew up, but scored it 8 on IMdb.  It is a shame the makers of Moonlight did not get their fair share of the accolades and triumph because of what was going on onstage.

The number of voters in the Academy is >7,000, so they won it fairly and squarely.

Having seen ‘Hidden Figures’ the great moment Katherine Johnson, real-life maths genius, came on stage - now 98 and in a wheelchair, was one of the best moments in the show.

Shame it was all overridden by the systemic failure of the PwC accountants.

Posted by KrissyG on 03/04/17 at 01:44 AM | #

@Peter Quennell: “Ignored systems become mean.” That says so much, and we’re seeing it now in the Kercher case where truth was buried under layers and layers of appeals with a confused conclusion.

Your teaching on systems having to transition out of old models and make that final leap to a new paradigm, is good explanation. Otherwise, the flaws just multiply, humans increase their corruption to game the system, and people need to dump the sail for the steam engine then the nuclear. They are all very different, not a patch on the old one.

Why couldn’t Italian State mandate a bench trial with just one or two judges to decide a case on appeal, as the second level of safeguard for a defendant. It would streamline the process, allow a checks and balance system if three judges had to concur in case one judge was bribed. It would cut out the second jury altogether thus reduce time spent.

Defendant might then be assured instant recourse to Supreme Court as a final oversight and safeguard for his rights, voila! it might not take ten years to decide a matter.

I’m an American. If I had to go to trial I would ask for a judge to decide my case. They usually are free from passion and prejudice. They rule by law, not favoritism (yes, they’re only human, but educated in the law to respect it). If Rudy’s short form trial were adequate to condemn him, why would short form trials be wrong at any time?

My father did believe that systems fall of their own weight. The bugs and flaws inherent to a situation will grow and multiply until the whole thing is unwieldy and vexatious. Yet nothing but a crisis will move the multitudes to alleviate things.

Keeping a system simple helps longevity the most. A complicated system once it breaks down may then be replaced by a very primitive system until something better can reemerge from the chaos. Fundamental change is not easy.

On a separate issue I was reading about the Charles Lindbergh baby kidnapping and murder.

One author suggested that the worldwide hysteria first over Lindbergh’s solo flight across Atlantic from New York to Paris, and the international mass hysteria that developed around that, followed a few years later by the kidnapping of Lucky Lindy’s toddler son who was found dead in the woods, were some form of mass projected dream created by a worldwide Jungian instinct.

This author (Jerry somebody, forgot his last name) believes the extreme fascination of millions of people riveted by the Lindbergh case were gripped because they recognized it unconsciously as a sign of WWII approaching.

His theory is that reality is some kind of projected dream that prophesies a larger event, when the public interest is stirred to gargantuan proportions.

Other men who made similar flights to Lindbergh were almost ignored.

Charles Lindbergh was a symbol, chosen specially for that moment on earth, and the death of his child and the nationalities of the players involved (Jewish, German, American, a British maid in Lindbergh family who committed suicide) and Lindbergh’s own personal politics all combined to ignite the imagination of the entire world at a pivotal point in history.

He eventually had major conflict with President Roosevelt.

On a much smaller scale, if that man’s theories happen to be true then would they apply to the Meredith Kercher case?

The author equated the mass hysteria over the OJ Simpson case and the incredible focus on Princess Diana’s death with cases that have more to them than meets the eye.

They are harbingers that point to something deeper.

They’re a shared projection of humanity where the reality is created by the dream and not vice versa.

A curious theory, maybe wacko but tantalizing.

I’m sorry to have forgotten the author’s name but he is selling his book on Amazon.

Posted by Hopeful on 03/04/17 at 05:42 PM | #

LINDBERGH Copyright © 1998 by A. Scott Berg?
Available in Kindle, Paperback, & Hardcopy.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 03/04/17 at 07:42 PM | #

Hi, Hopeful. You might mean Dr. Jerry Kroth, here:

I haven’t read it but yes, Meredith Kercher’s murder did have an impact on mass consciousness.

Posted by Ergon on 03/04/17 at 08:55 PM | #

@Cardiol MD, Thanks for motivating me to search for the book. It’s “The Lindbergh Kidnapping: mobs, mass psychology and myth” by Dr. Jerry Kroth.

Kroth is at Santa Clara University. He applies dream theory to collective psychology.

Posted by Hopeful on 03/04/17 at 08:57 PM | #

Thank you, Ergon. I didn’t see your link but that’s exactly the right one, Dr. Jerry Kroth.

Posted by Hopeful on 03/04/17 at 09:00 PM | #

Breaking: the Sollecito-Gumbel trial in Florence has been deferred till April

Posted by Ergon on 03/04/17 at 09:07 PM | #

More Fireworks in Florence? Andrea Vogt writes on Twitter
“Lively court hearing in Florence Fri as lawyers for Sollecito & “Honor Bound” co-author Gumbel try to deflect defamation trial (April).”

I wonder..

Posted by Ergon on 03/05/17 at 06:24 AM | #

Thanks to those for the translation.
I hope lots of people around guilty Raffaele Sollecito also read it.
The terrible morning of 2nd November and all he could say was, ‘I can’t remember’.  Never has he said ‘thank God my girlfriend had been with me the previous night’, (as said in the report).  No sense of urgency to try to remember, in order to help the police.
Thank God some good has been done.

Posted by DavidB on 03/05/17 at 02:23 PM | #

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