Goldilocks Had it Easy: ‘Just Right’ in the 21st Century

Goldilocks happened on a beautiful property but in those days the criteria for such a purchase were simple and few: too big or too small? Too hot or too cold? And so on.

Today’s buyers must beware of an entirely new set of parameters when deciding where to live: too many hurricanes, or too little water? Is there an atmospheric river in the forecast, or a 20-year drought? Climate change is about to render large swathes of what has been the cradle of civilization uninhabitable, while other areas, previously covered in ice, are being prepped for cultivation.

Let’s face it, compared to today’s buyers, Goldilocks had it easy!

Throwing Shade on Sunscreen: UV Blockers Run Ahead – and Possibly Afoul – of the Science

Corals and other marine dwellers are already crushed by so many pressures that adding sunblock to the list is simply piling on. Yet thousands of tons of the stuff is piled onto coral reefs annually, and though some brands call themselves ‘coral safe’ and various governments are banning specific ingredients, the science of the sunscreen-coral relationship is by no means clear.

There are, however, simple alternatives – hats, clothes, and umbrellas, for example – that humans, with our penchant for the new and modern, have largely abandoned.

From Exodus to Diaspora: The Genesis of Coral Resilience

When the ancient Hebrews crossed the Red Sea, they would have found a barrier more daunting than the chariots of their pursuers: huge masses both deep and wide of colorful, fruitful, and razor-sharp corals.

Today, though corals appear headed for extinction around the world, those in the Red Sea are surprisingly healthy and abundant. In learning why these polyps have proven so hardy while others perish, science may have learned how to save the world’s gasping and bleaching reefs.

Seeing the Hole Picture

It seems almost impossible for a large, slow-moving white balloon, seen easily through binoculars, to sail across the United States for days without the authorities’ knowledge. It happened because our high-tech detection equipment was tuned to identify fast-moving, superheated, metallic objects… a ballistic missile, say, or a MiG 29 fighter jet. Once we recalibrated the systems to include cold, white, bucolic blimps, voila! Several more were identified in North American airspace almost immediately.

The same principles apply to business, and especially to business risk. In a world reeling from a blistering pace of change, and amid radically new local and global threats, the same old approaches to risk won’t cut it. To render unknown, unseen risks visible, one must look differently. The instruments with which risk is identified must be recalibrated, the parameters widened dramatically.