2 3 live&learn&rejoice: The folly of crowds

February 6, 2011

The folly of crowds

Crowd disasters.......think WalMart and Black Friday, the bridge in Cambodia, pilgrimages at Mecca, soccer stadium catastrophes......Most occur as people surge toward something, rather than fleeing from it.  And, while you might think that the greatest danger is being flattened beneath the feet of the crowd, "you're just as likely to die on your feet.....squashed by the pressure of bodies smashing into you."  "Investigators collecting evidence in the aftermath of crowd disasters have found steel guardrails capable of withstanding a thousand pounds of pressure bent by crowd force."

All this from an article in the February 7 2011 issue of The New Yorker - John Seabrook, "Crush Point."