As per sod’s law the laptop died on me last week, and it turned out to be a fault connected to the battery. Of course I took it back to Michael who I bought it from, who suggested I buy a new battery (which I did)! In the course of chatting with him he mentioned his boiler had packed up recently and it turned out the pump was kaput – a new one was fitted only for it to die too. It turned out there was a fault in the pump which was shorting the other devices or something. And so to the moral of this story? Don’t buy laptops off guys called Michael?! Or for the more nerdy as an example of ‘dynamical keys’ in action. Dynamical keys are the key to understanding how to successfully change a system (though perhaps sod’s law is immune?): “An attempt to control a complex system, perhaps through natural selection or an organizational or political policy by operating on only one feature of the system, will not eradicate or otherwise nullify the system. The system will mutate and evolve to compensate for the environmental assault. The secret of real system change is to locate the dynamical key that supports or unravels the entire system. The next policy would be to guide the reorganization of the entire system around a new dynamical key (Hubler, 1992).” I lifted that from Stephen Guastello‘s book Managing Emergent Phenomena, which also uses the concept in simulation games.