Tinkering School

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Dangerous Done Well - Monday Day 2: Escalate Slowly

Sean Murray

Today we decided on a new dangerous thing to do well: knife throwing.

Soren throws a block of plywood, testing to see how the real knife might ricochet.

One danger present in all risky undertakings is: the tendency towards escalation. "Let's jump off the bed!" becomes "Let's jump off the table!" which becomes "Let's jump off the garage!"  

Our goal is to escalate on the way up to  the dangerous thing, rather than start with the dangerous thing, then escalate.

After running the Identify, Assess, and Model our risk assessment algorithm, we started in on full-scale simulation. We started with a lightly tossed Sharpie. Then we escalated to a light piece of plywood. Then we escalted to a heavier piece of plywood.

Everything seemed to be going very well--no dangerous ricochet and as we moved close to the mass of the knife, the ricochet kept getting smaller. Our crowd management was working well, and there was zero risk of anyone walking alongside or behind the throwing alley.

 

Josh unsheathes the throwing knives. An intense moment.

We escalated to the actual knife, blade smothered in duct tape.

Next week, we'll throw the unaltered knife! 

After none of the ricochets came within even a body length of our feet, we decide it is safe to throw without glasses. Silas tests another dummy knife, close to the real thing in weight.

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