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Black Swans

What if Gaussian engineering is clear, simple, and wrong?

3 min read

My house is on a river, and I often see swans drifting by my backyard in their swanlike serenity. Over the years every swan to come by has been white. I have thus reached an inescapable statistical conclusion: All swans are white.

I have watched that river through many storms, and though it has washed high up my back lawn, it has never reached my house. Given all my observed data on water levels, I have reached another conclusion: My house will never be flooded.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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