Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Re: Speaking out

I used to work for the late Joe Sexton, at Sexton Fitzgerald and Kaplan

Before the Loma Prieta Earthquake and the collapse of the Cypress
Freeway Structure, Joe, repeatedly, talked of his review of the Cypress
Structure and having found it to be a very dangerous structure.

I never verified his claim. His report may still exist in some state
archive or maybe in some URS Blume & Assoc file.

If the old guy was telling the truth then I wonder if that event could
now help put a light on the going forward with the Bay Bridge while
relying on the same decision making system that maintained the Cypress

Every lesson learned should not be concluded without an investigation
similar to the scrutiny used by forensics.

Lessons can be learned by visiting failed buildings but maybe its time
to be reviewing the surviving buildings, the economics, politics and
political sacrifices that put those structures on the map.

More than just the bridge...

There may be a need for more industrial psychologists and not so many
public relations experts. Many engineering problems, at face value, have
seemingly nasty remedies. I have a set of things to watch for to avoid
mistakes. One is to watch for my signs of false fear of not having
enough work. This can become a habit of not passing on decisions to
another, better suited for the problem.

Phobia versus acceptance seem to have little correlation to the level of
risk. Our main public communication tool is probability. Risk is the
weakly explained by comparing the exposure to other life risks and
looking at cost per year of such a loss in the future.

David Merrick, SE

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