Re: [ncrg] Fwd: Syrian Internet.. Fragility?

Scott Brim <> Mon, 13 May 2013 14:24 UTC

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Date: Mon, 13 May 2013 10:23:56 -0400
From: Scott Brim <>
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Subject: Re: [ncrg] Fwd: Syrian Internet.. Fragility?
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I think we're going to have to talk about timescales in measures of
fragility.  I got started on this thinking about bacteria, which led to
remembering spruce budworm outbreaks, and now Internet deployments.
There are particular strain of bacteria, or parasites or predators, that
explode into population growth when they can and destroy all the host
(prey) available in an area, then go into a population crash and then
recover over some long period of time.  Is this fragile?  It would seem
so since the system is destroyed in a particular area.  Is it robust?
These cycles have been going on for many many years, and other species
even depend on them.  In the case of the Internet in Syria, is it really
antifragile?  It certainly doesn't seem so if it can be broken so easily
... but over time it will "grow back", and probably be more robust from
the learning experience.  So, time scale matters in whether you view a
system as fragile, etc.  I believe that in the Internet we are concerned
with robustness at relatively short time scales, on the order of minutes
or seconds.  In that case the Syrian situation wasn't very robust.