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Old 2019-08-06, 20:08   #25
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Sep 2002
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Originally Posted by kriesel View Post
Supposedly Hitler was a control freak and a night owl and constrained his field commanders to get his permission and people were afraid to disturb him until afternoon. The Normandy invasion reportedly worked because permission to respond effectively was delayed by hours. That's history coming down to one man's personal habits and the consequences that flow from them.
Actually, the Normandy invasion worked because the vast majority of Germany's military resources were tied up on the eastern front ... a front which Hitler had needlessly opened because he wanted to out-Napoleon Napoleon. There again is the "chaos in the details but larger forces pushing things in a clear direction" conundrum.

Now, history and weather are clearly two very different animals, but perhaps a useful analogy to consider: In pop-science we always hear about the butterfly effect as though it has unlimited power to change not just the small details but also the big picture. But this ignores forcing - sure, a tiny change 1 million years in the past could well completely alter the day-to-day weather forecast today, but do we really imagine that summer might be turned into winter? After all, that butterfly wing-flap isn't going to change earth's orbit, or the happenings inside the sun.

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2019-08-06 at 20:09
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