Part 2: Drones Will Revolutionize Crisis Response! Preston Rice Interview – SDP#41

PODCAST-Drones can fly at speeds of 70 MPH and electronic fences can’t prevent them entry into prison yards, hospital property or school zones. Wow, seems like drones pose risks to society – regulate them! Wait! Did I mention that drones efficiently operate within radioactive areas or locations that would present hazards to humans, such as scouting the “hot” regions of a forest fire? Drone expert Preston Rice explains and demonstrates the potential ways in which drones benefit humans – especially in the area of crisis prevention and response.



Preston notes that it is more efficient to use a drone for the delivery of smaller items as it doesn’t require sending out an individual or pollute. A barrier against such delivery is the requirement that the drone be in the line of sight of the operator. Amazon is confident that the technology will be integral to its business model and that regulations will evolve to permit vehicles to be operated beyond line of sight.



In January, 2017, the US Military announced a successful launch of a 100-drone swarm from jets. Once launched the swarm, as a collective entity, can decide for itself how best to execute a mission. In the trials, three F/A-18 Super Hornets released 103 Perdix drones, which then communicated with each other and went about performing a series of formation flying exercises that mimic a surveillance mission.


Popular Mechanics author Kyle Mizokami wrote that on August 14, 2017, a “civilian  photographer landed his $350 drone on the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the United Kingdom’s brand-new aircraft carrier, without anyone noticing. Even more alarming, when the incident was reported, the government authorities didn’t seem particularly concerned by the breach of security. The incident comes after drones have been used to monitor military bases, conduct acts of sabotage, and even kill.” Preston added, “The ship landing does raise questions regarding the evolution of the technology moving faster than we can react to it.” While this drone was illegally operating in protected airspace, the issue of regulation enforcement was centered as a murky region, something Preston pointed out during part 1 of this interview when he highlighted the oft-conflicting laws and enforcement of laws between federal (FAA) and local government agencies.


Preston admitted that although he flies all the time, he questions the intent of a drone flying proximal to him, “What is he looking at?” Human curiosity makes us seek information about why drones are flying. If we see a drone flying near a bridge, we want to know that it is operated by a structural engineer.


Preston and David visit the field at a local park as Preston demonstrates the steps of deploying a drone – from set-up to calibrating the drone to overhead satellites. The video is available in the YouTube version of this interview. The narrated demonstration swings open the door to the possible safety applications of a drone – especially as it was flown over swampy terrain and obtained crisp, real-time video of the terrain hundreds of feet below.




Learn more about Preston Rice and his drone services at


PART 1: Little Known Facts About Drones – Preston Rice Expert Interview – SDP#40

PODCAST-The FAA controls the airspace above your lawn! However, the question of who owns the skies remains murky at local government levels. Rules & regulations for operating a drone differ greatly between a hobbyist and commercial operator. Drones, some smaller than a human hand, are used in many industries and show great promise for positive contributions to search & rescue and crisis response.



Per the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a drone is an unmanned aircraft or ship guided by remote control or onboard computers. While most of have seen large military drones, modern hobbyist and commercial drones can be as small as the human hand.


The FAA ultimately controls airspace and delegates some degree of monitoring and enforcement of airspace to local governments. Per Preston, local governments might pass “over-reaching” laws to limit where drones can fly. These laws could by superseded by FAA regulations which allow a drone operator to fly over his property or neighborhood. Preston notes that common sense is key to limiting nuisances or compromising safety.


Preston noted that Federal parks are off limits. Prisons, nuclear power plants and hospitals often are “no fly zones” and additionally protected by a geo-fence barrier. However, electronic barriers are not yet robust enough to impede penetration by all drones.  A commercial drone pilot can fly in most “restricted” areas if he obtains permission from the FAA or other site authority to fly in that vicinity.


A commercial drone pilot has obtained extensive training and understanding restricted airspaces and flight traffic near airports. In addition, a commercial pilot can charge for drone services, such as aerial photography.


Drones identify their position in space from 17-18 satellite signals. This information can be combined with GPS and various sensors, such as frontal collision. When a drone loses guidance signals or has depleted power, it will aim to return to a point of origin or else land. The drone is often in the sight of the operator.


A decade ago, drones were associated with military use. Today, drones survey agriculture crops, inspect wind turbine towers, infrared scan fire scenes, examine bridges, obtain aerial photography for special events, participate in search and rescue and even deploy a flotation device to someone struggling to swim! Drones are immune to radiation or chemical pollutants that limit human rescues. A drone does not have emotion, bias or fatigue. It can operate at full efficiency until it requires a fresh set of batteries and then can be back flying in mere minutes.


Drones are an increasing component of the military’s surveillance and weaponry units. In recent tests, several small drones were released from a military aircraft and then the drones identified their locations in space and relative to each other and began to fly as one large network – something we sometimes see in the behavior of birds. By the way, eagles have been trained to pluck nefarious drones from the skies!



Learn more about Preston Rice and his drone services at


Back to School Safety Special – Time to be Terrified!! – SDP#39

PODCAST-High-drama multi-agency intruder response simulations transpire daily in schools across America. This hyper-realistic approach to school safety has produced a flurry of litigation centering psychological trauma for adults and children. Furthermore, theatrical drills are not supported by empirical research and differ greatly from the ways schools prepare for other disasters, such as fires and tornadoes. For example, when the fire alarm sounds, students don’t enter a smoke-filled hallway. Dr. Perrodin offers key safety suggestions for staff, administrators, parents and students.



Exercise situational awareness and trust your gut feeling – quickly report concerns to administration. Go thru the harassment and threat input system step-by-step with all students and give extra training to youth with special needs.


Assure staff that you will HAVE THEIR BACK if they exercise discretion to act in the best interest of students, others or self. Inform staff that is there is a school intruder event, the entire school property might be considered a crime scene and they might not be able to retrieve personal belongings or vehicles for a day or more.


Inform parents that in the event of an intruder or other lockdown situation to NOT drive to the school to pick up their child unless directed to do so by the school.  Parents converging on a scene interfere with emergency responders. Also, let them know that you will tell them that staging or pick-up areas as the situation will dictate where emergency officials deem those will be located – which could be several blocks or even a few miles away in the event of a tornado. Too often the evacuation site is a location a block away from the school.


Be explicit in covering the school handbook for areas of safety – including threat to others and threat of harm to self. Students can create PSA videos about the handbook. Have students demonstrate the reporting process. Ask for input from students following drills!


Many schools throughout the United States are mandated to hold drills, or operational exercises, to prepare for fires, tornadoes, violence, and other emergencies. Despite recommendations by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and USDOE, no local or federal agency routinely monitors the frequency and quality of school drills. Hence, drills are often checklist activities and not exercises to better inform practice. Furthermore, research that has been done to assess the impact of drills suggests that they produce both benefits, such as students learning the evacuation location, and drawbacks, including student apathy and becoming desensitized to drills.

(Perrodin, 2016):  Many schools throughout the United States are mandated to hold drills, or operational exercises, to prepare for fires, tornadoes, violence, and other emergencies.  Despite recommendations by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and USDOE, no local or federal agency routinely monitors the frequency and quality of school drills.  Hence, drills are often checklist activities and not exercises to better inform practice.  Furthermore, research that has been done to assess the impact of drills suggests that they produce both benefits, such as students learning the evacuation location, and drawbacks, including student apathy and becoming desensitized to drills.

To test the efficacy of drills, Zhe and Nickerson (2007) conducted a study using a sample of 74 elementary school students divided into two groups.  The first group received a training session and participated in an intruder drill.  The second group was a “placebo” and did not participate in the training or drill.  In a post-test measurement using questions and observations, the researchers looked at the areas of student knowledge of drills, skills, state of anxiety, and perceptions of school safety.  The intervention group acquired the skill of safe relocation during the drill.  However, there were no differences in state of anxiety or perception of school safety between the groups.

In their study Accountability and Assessment of Emergency Drills at School, Ramirez, Kubicek, Peek-Asa, and Wong (2009), reported their findings about attitudes toward, and perceptions of, drills from a study school district.  The authors revealed discouraging attitudes toward drilling.  “Drills were not typically recognized as a training vehicle but rather as a compulsory exercise with little meaning.  Observations indicated that students, particularly in the middle and high schools, often did not evacuate in an orderly fashion (e.g., in lines) and that staff generally did not correct this behavior.”

While observers recorded the amount of time it took for staff and students to evacuate a building, these figures could only be compared to local averages and not against any known recommended threshold.  They also noted that students appeared desensitized to the drills.  It is possible that the apathy for safety drills perceived by Ramirez was part of a larger question of students’ indifference to their school.  Finally, drills were not used as opportunities to adopt changes in problematic procedures.


Host a community assembly a week before school starts – record it, play it on cable access and make available from school website, how about a 30-second advertisement in the local movie theater? Tell people what to expect during and following a school crisis! Finally, tabletop exercised are very effective, allow for in-the-moment injects and don’t involve the traumatic psychological stress of police running through hallways, firing off blank rounds, as staff and students barricade classroom doors – possibly uncertain if this is a drill or “the real thing”.  Memory recall is not enhanced by theatrical drills.  Of course, ensure that you invest in a robust threat detection / threat reporting system.


Within 30 minutes of a drill, have all staff respond to a four question online survey that asks:

  1. Your location during the drill.
  2. Did you hear the announcement of the drill?
  3. Any questions / constructive input?
  4. What questions did students have?



Articles Referenced in this Post

Ramirez, M., Kubicek, K., Peek-Asa, C., & Wong, M. (2009). Accountability and assessment of emergency drill performance at schools. Family &Community Health32(2), pp. 105–114.

Zhe, E. & Nickerson, A. (2007). Effects of intruder crisis drill on children’s knowledge, anxiety, and perceptions of school safety. School Psychology Review,36, pp. 501–508.

Surviving the Dangerous Interface of Probability and Prioritization – SDP#38

PODCAST – Probability is key to safety and decision-making. Dr. Perrodin talks about one of the most common mistakes people make with probability and how to avoid it.



David shares excerpts from the best-selling book, Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly. Flow is the merging of action and awareness and a prelude to understanding probability. Per Csikszentmihaly, “When all of a person’s relevant skills are needed to cope with the challenges of a situation, that person’s attention is completely absorbed by the activity.” Athletes often describe this as “being in the zone”.


David explains that being “in the flow” involves situational awareness and while it happens, recall of the time “being in the flow” is inconsistent – and we know that all memory recall degrades rapidly within just an hour of the experience.  So, when people are “in the flow” they might not be able to remember events as well


Discretion, following one’s gut and tacit knowledge allow you to be in the flow. If you are consumed with worrying about scrutiny of your actions or have outside thoughts creeping into your thinking, then you’re not going to be in the flow. Think about it – Sully on the Hudson was in the flow.  “The flow” works well with negotiating nonlinear events


Dr. Perrodin points out the problem with being in “The Flow” too much is that you might end up “going” with a suboptimal option.  For example, people running away from the Twin Towers and you join in with the group. You assume the group has some collective knowledge or a leader is out in front or something and you really don’t need to consider your heuristics – or options. “Being in the zone” and “going with the flow” are often described in pretty linear situations such as a dancer, actor, mountain climber, chess player, etc.


“You ask, what are the chances of that happening?” That’s a good question as understanding chance is understanding risk. Per Cornell University, the chance of a shooting at any school in American is once in 13,300 years or about .0000004% chance per school day. Probability helps us deal with the unknown.


A school shooting is a sentinel event that we assign much prioritization to it, although the probability is very low. There’s a tricky interface between probabilities and priorities and you can see that this area is strongly influenced by recent events, political influence and bias – what is important to you


Probability works well in determining long-term behavior, but it doesn’t work well for predicting outcomes in the short term. Let’s use a simple binary, two-options probability model.  This is common and is basically Yes or No. You flip a coin 10 times. What’s the probability that 5 times it will be heads and 5 times it will be tails? You flip a coin 1000 times.  What’s the probability that 500 times it will be heads and 500 times it will be tails? Each toss is 50-50, but time and trials have a smoothing effect on data.  Note that there is no “learning” going on here.  Your coin toss technique has no effect on the coin landing heads or tails.


Why We Can’t Compare Disasters: WTC, Murrah, Katrina & More – SDP#37

PODCAST-There are several reasons why each disaster should be studied as an individual unit. By isolating communications and geography specific to time, context and situation, Dr. Perrodin demonstrates the inherent problems with comparing disasters. He also notes the incredible impact of “lived experiences” and longitudinal demographic factors that contributed to the improbable rescue of 500,000 people in only 9 hours from Lower Manhattan on 9/11/01.


COLD WAR 1980-1985

David shares an excerpt from his research for his book “Lessons of Lower Manhattan” and delineates the saturating influences of politics, media and pop culture on youth and young adults during the first half of the 1980s. This was a time when Americans were inundated with messages that the Soviet Union presented a serious threat to the well-being of every American


Bill Clinton said, “When I took office, only high energy physicists had ever heard of what is called the World Wide Web… Now even my cat has its own page.”  At the time of the Murrah Building bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995, a mere 16 Million People (.4%) in The World Used the Internet. At the time of the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, that number had risen sharply to 513 million people (9%). As of March, 2017, the Internet is accessed by 3.74 billion people (50% of the world). This is amazing when you consider that more than a billion people do not have access to electricity!  Media updates about the 9/11/01 attacks were timely, and available, online. Although people didn’t have “smart” devices, they could send and receive information via texts. Substantially more information is available today and communication systems are very robust even when confronted with hurricanes.


The AAR was developed in the 1970s by the military to study disaster response. The method lacks a standard template and often results in benchmarking against other disasters / responses. It also tends to skew toward assigning blame versus understanding the response – both the attributes that contributed to successful outcomes and barriers that militated against successful outcomes. Is there really a no fault analysis of a disaster?


WTC was on an island. Murrah was not an island. This is a monumental difference that would be pervasive across all response efforts! People in OKC were not wondering how they would get to a safe area. People in WTC had nowhere to go other than the harbor. Florida hurricane evacuations are limited by the capacity of Interstate 4 and even with a few days warning, the infrastructure is quickly strained. Also, when people have already lived through a hurricane by “hunkering down” they are less likely to evacuate. Wildland fires – people disoriented as exit routes can change / can have hills. Dam failures – upstream or downstream?  Do escape routes cross downstream rivers? FUKUSHIMA (2011). Japan’s population dense metro regions do not have grid-like city planning innate to cities in the United States. It’s hard to find your way around during a disaster. A Google engineer used his smart device and Google Maps to navigate fractured roads in order to return to his wife and child.


Sophie’s Choice, Moral Dilemmas & 9/11 Research Design Issues – SDP#36

PODCAST-Moral dilemmas center ethical choices in rescue operations in which the grueling decision is between, at times, equally-deserving alternatives. Dr. Perrodin also critiques a safety response article comparing the actions of rescuers present at the Murrah Building and rescuers present at the World Trade Center – noting such comparisons hold great challenges to distilling information that can be generalized to other settings.



Sophie’s Choice is the title of a 1979 novel by William Styron, about a Polish woman in a Nazi concentration camp who is forced to decide which of her two children will live and which will die. The phrase “Sophie’s Choice” has become shorthand for a terrible choice between two equally deserving alternatives difficult options.


Victor Grassian provided this example of a moral dilemma in his book Moral Reasoning. In 1842, a ship struck an iceberg and more than 30 survivors were crowded into a lifeboat intended to hold 7. As a storm threatened, it became obvious that the lifeboat would have to be lightened if anyone were to survive. The captain reasoned that the right thing to do in this situation was to force some individuals to go over the side and drown. Such an action, he reasoned, was not unjust to those thrown overboard, for they would have drowned anyway. If he did nothing, however, he would be responsible for the deaths of those whom he could have saved. Some people opposed the captain’s decision. They claimed that if nothing were done and everyone died as a result, no one would be responsible for these deaths. The moral principle involved with the deaths is a simple Utilitarian one: because of the decision, fewer people die later. If you had been on the jury, how would you have decided?


Cognitive Correlates of Improvised Behavior in Disaster Response: the Cases of the Murrah Building and the World Trade Center by Mendonca, Webb, Butts & Brooks (2014). Dr. Perrodin analyzes this study that compares improvised behavior in disaster response between the Murrah Building (OKC) and the World Trade Center (NYC). The study is built upon sound methodology and conducted by impeccable experts. Yet, it is an example of how research in this vein becomes patterned and ultimately struggles to offer fresh recommendations. Dr. Perrodin suggests that crisis events should be deeply examined as units with special attention to demographics, local, national and international contexts and identify how technology, or (soon) artificial intelligence & robots interfaced with rescue operations. The authors state that it is difficult to compare results within or across organizations over time or across events. David reasons that the two events should not be compared due to vastly different contexts and situations. Manhattan, for example, is an island.


The United States military went to DEFCON 3 following the attacks of 9/11/01? The DEFense readiness CONdition (DEFCON) system prescribes five graduated levels of readiness (or states of alert) for the U.S. Military.  The DEFCON level did not change after the Murrah bombing as it was deemed a localized event that was not going to escalate to a national, or international, safety event.


“Societies Sinister Similarity” – A Conversation with David & Elijah – SDP#35

PODCAST-Would religion have a purpose if there was no human death? Is there a point when a perpetual Ground Hog Day would siphon one’s sense of control over being & environment, hence eroding agency & purpose?



Nerdy By Nature podcaster Elijah joined Safety Doc host David to explore similarities in societies that have spanned history books for thousands of years. The duo compared ancient practices to what happens today. As well, they speculated into what would happen with the introduction of artificial intelligence, singularity, & perpetual life.


Wages, Work Day Length, World War & Influence of Charismatic Leaders & Society Co-existing.  Elijah notes Sweden’s move toward a decreased work day & decreased school day, a model that could be emulated by other countries as automation thins available jobs.


You might be aware of the discovery of the massive buried Terra Cotta Army in China. This army of more than 6,000 life-sized warriors and weapons was created per Qin’s fear of being vulnerable in the after-life. Emperor Qin ran his dynasty with absolute control. Qin developed a spy system, so that all people kept an eye on each other. Spies were rewarded very well. Big brothers?


Thinking of the torus as a donut, most of our days and experiences are similar if we imagined such as traveling within the donut from a start point to return to that point. As the torus helps us manage being inundated with environmental cues, it equally makes us susceptible to convincing ourselves that abnormal events are normal. It was a reason why people in the Twin Towers didn’t react much until 4 minutes following the impact of the first aircraft.


How are high-stakes decisions made and what is the role of personal bias and discretion? How about “Positive Transference” throughout history & across cultures – in other words, cultures that had very high levels of subordinates being bound to the leader – possibly even to the obvious peril of the subordinates? This was obvious with Hitler and the thousands of young Germans that idolized him as a father figure.


Skynet, HAL 9000, and iRobot are examples of movies exposing that AI can be used to benefit mankind, control it, or destroy it. Also, with emerging borderless economies such as, a global online marketplace offering tasks & services beginning at $5 per job performed, how do we maintain “livable” wages when independent contractors are underselling existing wage floors?


What is the impact of a UBI allowance for all citizens? It would liberate time – people could, in theory, work 10 hours a week. Or, it would be devastating to people who laminated their identity to their job titles as they wouldn’t realize sense of agency and purpose through work. Robert Reich, Former Labor Secretary in USA under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997. “Mark my words: A Universal Basic Income is coming, as artificial intelligence and robots eat away good jobs.” Will it be that Millennials more easily make a transition to a UBI society as they, in general, seem less laminated to job titles, possessions and status?


David will respond to discussion thread comments or questions & also to emails.  The Safety Doc Podcast is hosted & produced by David Perrodin, PhD.  Learn about Nerdy By Nature at

One Question Predicted Emotional Breakdown Better Than Any Other – SDP#34

PODCAST-A WWII field psychiatrist found that infantry soldiers in the 5th Army survived a maximum of 238 aggregate combat days (ACD) before a fate of (1) physical casualty, (2) prisoner of war, or (3) psychiatric casualty. For the first time, it was realized that every soldier had a “finite voltage” and sooner or later would break – even if they appeared to have held up magnificently under incredible stress. This understanding demarked a sharp change in thinking that previously held that soldiers that “broke” under pressure did so only due to some psychological flaw.



In order to bring greater awareness to the issue of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the United States Senate designated June 27th as National PTSD Awareness Day. President George W. Bush in 2014 championed a campaign to change how we think about PTSD. In a very moving discussion on Good Morning America, he stated, “We’re getting rid of the D,” he said. “PTS is an injury; it’s not a disorder. The problem is when you call it a disorder, [veterans] don’t think they can be treated.” This is part of the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative


A soldier’s mental health was viewed much differently 75 years ago. An important lesson that came out of military psychiatry in WWII. In that war, looking at psychiatric collapse of individuals primarily along the Western front, the conventional view was that there was something wrong with them before they even showed up in the Army and that a healthy individual could endure combat essentially indefinitely and then people referred to “Shell Shock”, what was later called “Combat Fatigue.” Doctors were saying it’s a manifestation of a pre-existing condition in a military context

WHY WE FIGHT VIDEOS & MOTIVATION PROGANDA. The belief was that a “weakling” soldier (who hadn’t been screened out) perhaps just needed more motivation. Dr. Appel, military psychiatrist, shared wrote that as psychiatric liaison to the Information & Education (I&E) Division, he took on my first project helping make movies in a series entitled Why We Fight to be shown to recruits. (You can view these unsettling Frank Capra videos on YouTube – each are 40-50 minutes in length). Appel recalls discussing id, superego, and ego with the experts making the films: a Harvard professor of sociology, a professor of psychology from Yale–and Ted Geisel, or “Dr. Seuss.”


Later studies determined that that single question, asked at induction, “Do you want to be in the service?” predicted actual emotional breakdown better than any other. Negative responses heralded subsequent mental disorder.


Surprisingly, extra pay to combat soldiers didn’t make a difference. Steps that made a difference included setting a completed Tour of Duty at 180 ACD and providing line infantry soldiers with special blue arm patches. Such measures boosted morale & decreased psychiatric collapse.


Per Appel, from a medical viewpoint, the most exciting event had been that discovery that every man has a breaking point. This had not been known previously to psychiatry or to anyone.


David will respond to discussion thread comments or questions & also to emails.  The Safety Doc Podcast is hosted & produced by David Perrodin, PhD.

How the Famous Robbers Cave Experiment Defines The Torus and Self Similarity – SDP#33

PODCAST-The simplest nonlinear system is The Torus and it governs our daily lives into expected routines.  It has one loose but stable outcome basin. If you commute to work, the outcome basin is most likely your arrival at work at an approximate time each day. The dynamics of The Torus are marked by self-similarity. Self-similarity, as a concept, firms & entire societies, may be similar day-to-day, year-to-year or generation to generation However, no one embodiment in any given cycle or iteration of the behavior of any given system is precisely like a previous embodiment. While your daily commute might seem routine and typical, it is always different, in fact, probably much more different from what you realize! In addition, routine dynamics inside a factory, an office, a hospital, a school or a prison have the character of a torus.



Imagine a substantial alteration to your daily commute – perhaps something that changes your trip so drastically that it is now removed from the largely predictable, patterned Torus such as an accident or severe weather. In such situations in which the basin is no longer predictable, chaos ensues.

In the image below, The Torus resembles an inner tube or a doughnut. One can move within the space inside of The Torus during a routine or pattern, again, such as a daily commute.  However, significant changes to a routine can drift outside of the envelope of The Torus. Dr. Perrodin describes these instances as “entering chaos”. Thankfully, things return to some type of torus state as chaos is temporary. Yet, the “returned to” Torus might be different from the pattern previously known by the person. An example might be someone who loses an arm during combat or is transferred to a job in another country.


Even in high-tolerance manufacturing, there are similarities between items & not sameness. This dates back to the work of such quality control experts as W. E. Demming. Statistical variation always exists between items or processes.


When we expect things to be the same, things to follow a predictable sequence, we can easily overlook subtle, but very critical changes that alert us to compromised safety situations. Many people in the Twin Towers stayed at their desks for 4-minutes following the first plane crash. People simply thought that in a few minutes an “All Clear” would be issued or else struggled to accept the magnitude of the attack & continued to believe that their day was still within the parameters of The Torus.  Once people consciously acknowledged that they were operating outside of The Torus (which is person-specific), they depended upon situation leadership and self-preservation skills to cope with contextual and situation contexts.


In the summer of 1954, social psychologist Muzafer Sherif examined what is now known as “Realistic Conflict Theory” which accounts for group conflict, negative prejudices, and stereotypes as being the result of competition between groups for desired resources. Sherif’s field experiment demonstrated devolving The Torus to chaos & involved 2 groups of 12 y.o. boys at Robbers Cave State Park in Oklahoma.


Boys randomly assigned to 2 groups & encouraged to bond with their group. They did not know of the existence of the other group. One group was “The Eagles” & the other “The Rattlers” and such logos / words were on their shirts & flags.


Competition stage where friction between the groups was to occur for the next 4-6 days such as baseball games & tug-of-war.  Winners were heavily awarded & cumulative scores were kept. Prejudice increased from name calling to physical altercations. The Eagles burned the Rattlers flag & then the Rattlers ransacked the Eagle’s cabin & stole private property. The groups became so aggressive that the researchers had to separate them. The study confirmed Sherif’s Realistic Conflict Theory.

However, the theory wasn’t observed in the block-deep lines of people seeking a coveted spot on a boat during the 9/11/01 Lower Manhattan rescue. Why? Dr. Perrodin refers to an earlier podcast addressing the concept of transference as a primary contributor to the orderly rescue in Lower Manhattan.


David will respond to discussion thread comments or questions & also to emails.  The Safety Doc Podcast is hosted & produced by David Perrodin, PhD.

“Reconnaissance Man” – Interview with Economist & Author Aaron Clarey – SDP#32

PODCAST-If you don’t know what to study in college, then don’t go. And if you don’t know what to do in life, then don’t go. In both instances you’ll waste precious time and money you don’t have, and it pays instead to take inventory of you are, what you want to do, and where you belong in this world. But how do you do that? How do you find out who you are, what you were destined to do, and what your purpose in life is? And perhaps just as important, how do you do that quickly and efficiently as possible so you don’t waste any more time in life than you already have? Simple. You become a “Reconnaissance Man.” (Above excerpt by Aaron Clarey)



Dr. Perrodin interviews the only motorcycling, fossil-hunting, tornado chasing, book-writing, ballroom dancing economist in the world, Aaron Clarey. This 100-minute interview is a thrill ride through reality and both Aaron’s and David’s Wisconsin roots are exposed a few times as both recount frigid, endless winters and life in an area of the country where the underside of zero is frequently visited by the mercury.


The interview centers a dissection of the tenets of Aaron’s life-charting book, Reconnaissance Man. David shares how a research colleague reported her study findings of how high school students were incapable of describing personal or career goals.  Dr. Perrodin expands that revelation by giving his own example of transference, or unquestionable following of the advice of someone you trust. Hence, David didn’t purchase a vehicle with a sunroof until age 40 as his mother had declared forever that all sunroofs leaked


Aaron notes in his book that his radio is off while he conducts reconnaissance travels. Instead, he is processing his surroundings and occupying his mind with entrepreneur ideas. A pen and notebook are his tools for documenting thoughts and he’s mastered driving with his knees on the long, open stretches of western America.


While David proposed that modern youth would likely take endless photos and make endless posts about traveling, Aaron noted that such much be the case, but that Dr. Perrodin’s position on the matter was too strong and that he was overlooking the sheer accomplishment of getting an 18 yo to conduct reconnaissance travels. Aaron explained that a little boasting on social media by the young traveler might actually spark the wanderlust fever of other youth.


The interview closed with Aaron recapping his most current published essay which is a primer for anyone considering retirement. He is direct in stating that people can live comfortably on $30,000 a year in retirement, but the real issue is altering one’s thinking from the addictive practices of consumerism – purchasing things that one doesn’t need, eating out frequently and not being thrifty on trips. An example was that with modest Internet research, one could visit Canyons of the Ancients National Monument (Colorado) at no cost or pay a fee and drive a longer distance to view nearly identical ancestral Indian archaeological sites at Mesa Verde National Park.


David will respond to discussion thread comments or questions & also to emails.  The Safety Doc Podcast is hosted & produced by David Perrodin, PhD.