🇨🇭Swiss Aerobatics Edition Newsletter 🇨🇭
Welcome to the latest edition of the Human Risk Newsletter, containing lovingly-curated Behavioural Science (BeSci)
inspired content. If you're one of the many new readers, welcome! You might want to begin with the Intro to Human Risk.
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Coming up in this edition
1. An amusing planning error by the Swiss national aerobatics display team illustrates Human Risk in action;

2. Good News! A Cognitive Bias which brings out the worst in us might not be as prevalent as initially thought; 
3. A BeSci Intervention that uses data from New York's Transit Authority helps improve customer satisfaction;

4. Research on a highly effective crime-prevention technique is  Something that made me think; and

5. My Something for the weekend recommendation is a compelling new Netflix documentary.

Human Risk in action

The story of how the Swiss national aerobatic team made a simple mistake with comedic consequences, illustrates Human Risk in action.
Readers based outside Switzerland may not be familiar with Patrouille Suisse, the national aerobatic team:
Sadly Präzision (precision) and Perfektion (perfection) were absent from one of their recent performances where they missed their target. Rather than honouring the centenary of a Swiss aviator, they instead did their display over a town 5km away that was hosting [wait for it...] a yodelling festival. 

To fully enjoy the comedic aspects of the story, I highly recommend this BBC News channel coverage of it:
If you enjoyed that, then do check out Simon McCoy's epic previous responses to news items about the Royal Family here.

German-speaking readers can learn the full story of the air display error in this NZZ interview with the leader of the Patrouille Suisse in which he explains why they don't need GPS and how Swiss mountains can look somewhat similar. Non-German speakers can read more here.
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Bi-Weekly Cognitive Bias

The Bystander Effect is the idea that the more people who could help in a given situation, the less likelihood there is that anyone will.

The Bystander Effect is most famously illustrated by the story of Kitty Genovese in New York in 1964, where 38 people reportedly saw her murder but did nothing to intervene.

However, recent research suggests that the Bystander Effect might not be as common as previously thought. Researchers reviewed surveillance footage of violent situations in the UK, South Africa and the Netherlands and discovered that in 90 per cent of cases at least one person tried to intervene.

Illustrating this point is this footage of a group of strangers banding together and putting themselves in danger to help stranded swimmers in a recent tropical storm:

Credit: Brian Daniels via Storyful

As videographer Brian Daniels who filmed the scenes told the Washington Post in an interview:

"A lot of times when you have situations like that, people just stand there and look like deer in headlights. But these people were really brave, and they were very driven to help other people.”

To restore your faith in humanity and learn more about why The Bystander Effect might not be prevalent, I recommend this New Scientist article.

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A BeSci Intervention

Using data released by New York's Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA), the NY Times has created a highly effective BeSci intervention.
One of the challenges of commuting in large cities is that you never quite know how long your journey is going to take. You can predict an average journey time, but that's not much help on days when things go wrong.

To help NYC commuters, the NY Times created a visualisation tool using MTA data. Here's journey time variability for trips fro
86th St. to Grand Central Station:
By presenting the data in this way, the NYT has created a rather neat BeSci intervention that transport authorities should think about implementing themselves.  

Giving passengers a sense of how reliable a journey time is, helps reduce anxiety and increases their ability to plan. Some may, for example, wish to swap fastest possible speed for a route with lower variability. It could also reduce complaints; if you have more accurate information about your potential journey time, you're less likely to be disappointed.

That's worth a lot where the traditional approach to improving customer satisfaction is to spend billions on infrastructure upgrades.
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Something that made me think

An experiment tracking the impact of street lighting on crime illustrates how changing the environment can change behaviour.
If you want to change people's behaviour, then one of the most effective ways is to change the environment in which that behaviour occurs. Putting this theory to the test was a recent groundbreaking study that assessed the impact of street lighting on crime levels in New York City.
After installing streetlights in public housing developments, researchers discovered that nighttime crime reduced by at least 36 per cent, even after taking "spatial spillover" (i.e. displaced crime) into account; a significant impact for a relatively small investment.
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Something for the weekend

A new Netflix documentary on the exploitation of personal data makes for incredibly compelling viewing.

You've probably heard of Cambridge Analytica and have some idea about how personal data played a part in the 2016 US election and the UK's Brexit referendum. 

Last week I attended the world premiere of a new Netflix documentary on the subject called The Great Hack

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Featuring former Cambridge Analytica employees and Carole Cadwalladr, the investigative journalist who broke the story, it’s a phenomenal piece of television. The Great Hack is released globally on 24 July.   

If you don't have Netflix (or even if you do), then I hugely recommend watching Carole Cadwalladr's TED Talk that features in the show. 

Incase you missed it...

To help you think practically about using BeSci to manage Human Risk, I've launched a series called "The Five Rules of Human Risk". So far, you can read about The First and The Second.  The remainder will be revealed over the next 3 weeks.

Notre Dame Fire
The NY Times has done an astonishing amount of research on the fire revealing that 
Notre-Dame came far closer to collapsing than people knew. Meanwhile, The Guardian reveals why the wealthy donors who pledged huge sums for the repair work have yet to hand over anything material. 

You really won’t believe what KLM’s Indian subsidiary tweeted out last week

Huge thanks to friend of the newsletter Jono Hey, for featuring Human Risk as his Sketchplanation topic last week.
Visit the Sketchplanations website to read the story behind the sketch and subscribe to the newsletter.  

That's it for this time. Feedback, as ever, welcome.


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The newsletter is brought to you by Human Risk, a Training & Consulting Firm that specialises in the deployment of BeSci in the fields of Risk, Compliance, Conduct and Culture
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