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Re: Modern Engineers

At 08:23 PM 10/6/99 -0700, Peter A. Klein wrote:

> (snip...)
>It sounds to me like the Mars Orbiter debacle was more of a communication
>and project management failure than an engineering failure.  I'll bet that
>investigation will show that the supplied English units were correct--they
>just needed to be converted to metric, and somebody skipped a step.
> (snip...)

I guess I'm naive, but I thought it was an accident. Sure, there were
a number of things that, arguably, made the accident more likely to
happen. But it was an accident, nonetheless. Sh*t happens, as they say.

Contributing factors, IMHO - these made the accident more likely,
but did not actually cause it:

   - the use of two parallel, incompatible measurement systems

   - a corporate culture of chronically overworked, overstressed people

   - media who dwell on failures but ignore success

It's common in certain circles to wail about lowered standards,
minorities, and so on. From what I've seen, engineering students
are usefully bright, but tend to be a little narrow, and are in
urgent need of some common sense and humility. While "primissima
donna" is redundant ("prima" is already superlative), it about
sums up the attitude I encounter...

Now, where did I put that map of San Diego?

Laura Halliday VA3LDH   "Que les nuages soient notre pied
Grid: FN03gs                a terre..." - Hospital/Shafte
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