<<  <  Page 4/4
User Rank
Re: Deviance is anything but normal
naperlou   1/5/2012 9:50:25 AM
It is interesting to draw parallels between the Space Shuttle and oil drilling.  While deep water drilling is much more complex than most other drilling, the Shuttle is something altogether different and more complex.  In the early days of rocket development, there were many failures.  Then, expendables became very reliable, although there are still occasional failures.  The thing that differentiates the Shuttle Program is that it invoives manned flight and that it was an attempt to present space flight as a routine, repeatable activity like airline travel.  It most decidely is not.  Between the high cost and high visibility of the program, failures are magnified.  We accept far more danger when we drvie a car. 

More people died in the Deep Horizon accident than in the Challenger accident.  In addition, there was significant environmental damage in the oil rig disaster than in the Shuttle accident. 

Alexander Wolfe
User Rank
Re: Deviance is anything but normal
Alexander Wolfe   1/5/2012 8:59:34 AM
Excellent analysis, and the Challenger example spotlights the psychological aspect of the "normalization of deviance" culture which works its way into the engineering mindset in situations where the failure rate has previously been so low that it's easy(easier) to coerce the engineers responsible for ensuring safety that things have been OK for so long, why should this time be any different. In any life situation, there's pressure to conform to the group, and that's exploited in situations such as those described here. That's why when the disastrous consequences come, they seem to be outliers, but in reality they're not and are to be expected.

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Deviance is anything but normal
Beth Stackpole   1/5/2012 7:05:38 AM
Just reading Professor Petroski's post reminded me of watching those heart-wrenching images of oil gushing into the gulf and I'm glad it did. Truth is, once disasters like the BP oil spill or Japan's Fukushima are behind us (or at least out of sight in the media), the general public tends to forget and move on, which lets the corporate conglomerates get away with the human failure that Petroski's describes--the finger pointing and internal jockeying for where to place blame. Seems to me that dollars could have been well spent solving the mechanical problem--that is, redesigning or reengineering the blow-out preventor to operate more effectively no matter that it was a complex piece of machinery. Probably would have been far less painful to the bottom line then the PR and environmental recovery effort  that befell them after the disaster.

<<  <  Page 4/4

Partner Zone
Latest Analysis
A database containing information on over 16,000 tests done on 500 composites and other materials for wind turbine blades is now available free from Sandia National Laboratories.
Imagine being able to illegally download a physical product the same way you can with music and videos. That’s basically what’s happening with 3D printing and digital manufacturing, with huge repercussions in the intellectual property domain.
Our latest Design News Quick Poll reveals that readers are facing serious cyber security challenges.
Ford will be the first automaker to commercially use Alcoa's tough & fast Micromill aluminum alloy process and materials, debuting on several 2016 F-150 truck components. Alcoa will also license its Micromill process and materials technology to Danieli Group.
Even as an increasing number of instrument manufacturers migrate toward modern touch screens, many engineers say they still prefer the tactile feel of knobs and buttons, a new survey says.
Design News Webinar Series
10/1/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
9/10/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
10/20/2015 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
11/10/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Oct 19 - 23, Embedded System Design Techniques™ - Driver Design Patterns and the Internet
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6 |  7

Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2015 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service