John Barrette

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January 27, 2013
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Carson Perspective: Thriving in face of a challenge

An odd thing about analyzing news is that the real trick requires knowing when bad news is good news, and vice versa. Case in point: Colleague Geoff Dornan nailed the news recently when he wrote a $1.2 billion loss by Nevada casinos isn’t what you would call good news, but still improves on the $4 billion swoon of a year earlier.He also reported the loss data came despite 4.4 percent gains in revenues. Reduction in net profit was due to interest outgo and depreciation factors.It also may stem in part from a bankruptcy filing by Stations Casinos. In other words, consolidation.So what has this to do with Carson City? More than you think.Good or bad news, improvement, or whatever you want to call it points to a rising tide lifting at least some boats even as others spring leaks and bail faster or sink.Let’s turn to Nassim Nicholas Taleb and his latest book, “Antifragile.” In fact, the entire title of the third book by the man who previously wrote “Fooled By Randomness” and “The Black Swan” is “Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder.”As a discerning reader, you see where this is going. So just one quote from Taleb’s new book should suffice. Under his subhead “How To Win A Horse Race,” it reads:“It is said that the best horses lose when they compete with slower ones, and win against better rivals. Undercompensation from the absence of a stressor … absence of challenge, degrades the best of the best.” Steve Neighbors of the Hop and Mae Adams Foundation and Carson Nugget casino knows he and Carson City must compete, so he’s buying property downtown. If he’s bailing, he’s not sinking or bailing out.Geeks of Nevada and San Marcos Grill are expanding. So Debug Computer, as well as El Charro Avitia and Mi Casa Too, will strive to survive and thrive. You get the picture. Signs of stirrings.Taleb’s idea is captured by another sign, one in Comma Coffee’s men’s room, along with clips from Nevada Appeal news coverage of 2001 vandalism at that downtown business. “What was meant for harm served as great publicity for Comma Coffee.” In other words, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Neither Nevada nor Carson City is dead.And now, as they said on “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” for something completely different:Community Center Sierra Room city meetings on this week’s calendar include the Carson River Advisory Committee Monday and the Library Board of Trustees Thursday, with both starting at 5:30 p.m. • John Barrette covers Carson City government and business. He can be reached at

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jan 27, 2013 04:22AM Published Jan 27, 2013 04:20AM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.