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Anomalizer's Journal
Unintended consequences
Do all SPOFs need to be solved? 
10th-Aug-2009 10:54 pm
Casual
In my line of work, people have to say "No SPOF" every other day to sound credible. It parallels to U.S. presidential candidates having to kiss babies; you just cannot run for the office without doing it. The solution always involves (at the very least), having one more of the single thing that is bothering you. Of course, it takes a lot more to ensure that there are no failures. The worst place to end up is to have multiple points of failure. It can be mathematically proven that the more things you have, the chances of at least one going wrong increases.

But what got me to wonder about this is not computer systems but what I saw moments before reaching home. In my great city, office shuttles drop people home. There is a certain law I believe that requires that the last person being dropped not be a woman or else, the employer needs to provide a travelling security guard. The well intentioned rationale goes like this: the driver is a male and poses a threat to the lonely woman in the vehicle. No matter what happens, the driver cannot be eliminated and so he is the SPOF as far as the woman's security is concerned. Having a guard is supposed to mitigate the risk.

This works if the belief is that harm will be caused to the woman either when both the driver and the guard err or the well intentioned soul can overpower the evil one. But somehow, somewhere, this sounds like a security theatre. Maybe I am wrong and more importantly, hopefully I am wrong for I am no expert on human psychology.
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