“On Sunday, the eyes of the world will be on the Oscars. But two people already know who's won.
You've never heard of Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan. They haven't been in any films or on any magazine covers. But they will be the most important people at the Oscars.
They are the only two people in the world who know the names of the winners before each award presenter rips open the golden envelope and says the immortal words: "And the Oscar goes to..."
Ruiz and Cullinan have counted the votes - and counted them again, and again, to make sure the results are correct.”
- ‘The woman who knows who’s won the Oscars, but won’t tell’, Ian Youngs, BBC News.
It would be difficult to imagine modern life without a conception of risk. In the words of Peter Bernstein, whose Against the Gods amounts to a biography of risk,
“The revolutionary idea that defines the boundary between modern times and the past is the mastery of risk: the notion that the future is more than a whim of the gods and that men and women are not passive before nature. Until human beings discovered a way across that boundary, the future was a mirror of the past or the murky domain of oracles and soothsayers who held a monopoly over knowledge of anticipated events.”
Thinkers and mathematicians gave us probability theory and in doing so fashioned the apparent chaos of chance into at least a semblance of order by way of risk management.
“By defining a rational process of risk-taking, these innovators provided the missing ingredient that has propelled science and enterprise into the world of speed, power, instant communication, and sophisticated finance that marks our own age. Their discoveries about the nature of risk, and the art and science of choice, lie at the core of our modern market economy that nations around the world are hastening to join. Given all its problems and pitfalls, the free economy, with choice at its centre, has brought humanity unparalleled access to the good things of life.”
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