Japan's Tragedy And Triumph

Reading this post of John Cook where he points out how sensible engineering has saved  hundreds of lives in Japan despite massive earth quake I recall reading about such negligence of things which are invisible in Nassim Taleb's book 'Black Swan'.  In the midst of of great tragedy we often neglect things which aren't visible. Appreciating the great engineering work  doesn't come to mind. Taleb refers to that invisible aspects that we ignore as 'Silent Evidence'.  He uses following story  to drive home the point:

Diagoras, a nonbeliever in the gods, was shown painted tablets bearing the portraits of some worshippers who prayed, then survived a subsequent shipwreck. The implication was that praying protects you from drowning.

Diagoras asked, “Where are the pictures of those who prayed, then drowned?”

As we regret the tragic loss of life in Japan, it gives solace to the fact that man has been able to thwart nature's fury, at least to some extent.