Harry Potter and the Effects on Society Not Easily Modelled by Pertubation Theory

Filed under: thoughts @ 16:16

This weekend’s release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a non trivial event both in terms of thirteen year olds’ “Oh. My. God, I <3 Ron Weasley! I’m not going to eaven BREATHE ’till I’m all the way done with the book. Augh! I wonder if there will be any lethifolds *shudder*. Do you think Hermione is pretty? HP43vr!!” and how it will alter the daily activities in seemingly unrelated sectors: “No, I’m sorry, the doctor isn’t in. How many cockroaches did you say? That’s really a poison control issue, do you have their number?”.

I’ll be interested to see and hear how the world will be affected. The Royal Mail is planning to have an extra 150 lorries on the road this week. Hollywood worries that the release will seriously effect ticket sales. Some more words that end in “orries” (yes, you read that correctly: “ovarian growth worries”).

I’m particularly curious about various nations’ transportation and shipping infrastructures. Is it possible that unleashing tens of millions of books on the world all at once could overload the system? I’m thinking of some kind of phase transition in the shipping sector effecting some odd, emergent behavior: give just one too many parcels to the carriers in Montreal and, WHAM, there goes the Dutch chocolate industry. Traffic backed up at O’Hare? Harry Potter. Massive gladiolus phage? Harry Potter. Jerry Falwell consulted by White House on Supreme Court appointments? Harr- no wait, that’s all Bush.

Anyway, I fully expect some strange things to go down over the next few days whether it’s shipping related or not. So if anything happens to you, just blame HP.

Harry Potter: the new El Niño.


    UALboy 07.13.2005 @ 22:46

    I have reserved my copy already. Can’t wait. I read HP5 in one go (17 hours non-stop)

    xaosseed 07.13.2005 @ 23:20

    I reserved my copy – then I had to be in a different city -so I reserved another copy! See! I’m doing my bit to help the system cope.

    Adam 07.13.2005 @ 23:33

    Massive gladiolus phage?


    Well, when they shipped Windows 95 (all those years ago) it had a floppy disk version, with 17 disks per box. That caused a world shortage in floppies, Verbatim were the main contractor, but they dried up fast.

    I guess as we move closer and closer to JIT delivery and no-inventory storage models, we become less and less able to handle spikes. On the plus side, there is a growing industry in what amounts to generic, extra capacity. That goes some of the way to saving thigns.

    xaosseed 07.14.2005 @ 12:29

    No! JIT is the devils tool! Fragile like nothing before only the slightest disruption and it’ll domino and we’ll all get shafted!

    Oil shock, I’m looking at you…

    suavisimo 07.15.2005 @ 11:50

    so…it doesn’t look like I’m going to the Potter party tonight. I’ll have to pick up the book on my lonesome tomorrow.
    I’m a loser.

    MDA 07.15.2005 @ 12:58

    xaosseed, I’m glad to hear you’re making the sacrifice and supporting the economies of two different regions as well as helping to feed ths starving artist behind the work. My brother faces a similar situation this weekend. He had reserved a copy, but flies out to Europe today (right about now, I think). He chose to cancel his order and pick a copy up in the airport on his arrival in the UK.

    I think he was a little disappointed to learn the UK editions have different cover designs than the American ones (and I must admit my favoring Mary GrandPré’s work), but he’ll soldier on somehow.

    Adam, yes. :)

    Uber, I had no idea re: Windows 95. Luckily, things are a bit different with books (though there has been environmentalist action against Scholastic and a few other publishers for not using 100% recycled paper).

    Adam 07.16.2005 @ 01:15

    Let me try again:

    WTF is a “massive gladiolus phage”?

    MDA 07.17.2005 @ 18:24

    I could have sworn “phage” was used in botanical contexts. 10 points to anyone that can come up with the word I was thinking of. (20 point to anyone who can confirm my original thought.)

    jjk 07.18.2005 @ 21:12


    Adam 07.19.2005 @ 23:48

    1) forming or consisting of a large mass

    1) any of a genus (Gladiolus) of chiefly African plants of the iris family with erect sword-shaped leaves and spikes of brilliantly colored irregular flowers arising from corms
    2) the large middle portion of the sternum

    phage – short form of bacteriophage

    Yeah… so I’m still not quite sure what “massive gladiolus phage” means.

    MDA 07.30.2005 @ 12:07

    No… loooking more for something like “disease”.

    PotterFan 06.15.2006 @ 07:26


    It’s not a right opinion, you know…

    See ya!

    Christine 01.02.2007 @ 11:27

    What do you think will happen with the release of the 7th book?

    joried 10.06.2007 @ 11:31

    harry potter movies are great!!!continue doing and publishing this story

    Harry Potter 09.30.2009 @ 01:18

    Harry Potter book do not read and watched film and I liked it!

    tomwillkev 10.10.2009 @ 15:03

    What if Potter is a concoction from a pre-existing book? Plagiarism, perpetrated on an author who, for political and other reasons, was in no position to do anything about the rip-off?

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