Inviting Disaster: Lessons From the Edge of Technology
James R. Chiles
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Combining captivating storytelling with eye-opening findings, Inviting Disaster delves inside some of history's worst catastrophes in order to show how increasingly "smart" systems leave us wide open to human tragedy.
Weaving a dramatic narrative that explains how breakdowns in these systems result in such disasters as the chain reaction crash of the Air France Concorde to the meltdown at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station, Chiles vividly demonstrates how the battle between man and machine may be escalating beyond manageable limits -- and why we all have a stake in its outcome.
Included in this edition is a special introduction providing a behind-the-scenes look at the World Trade Center catastrophe. Combining firsthand accounts of employees' escapes with an in-depth look at the structural reasons behind the towers' collapse, Chiles addresses the question, Were the towers "two tall heroes" or structures with a fatal flaw?
The light timber of the boat caught fire quickly, and within twenty minutes the boat was engulfed. The two chimneys stayed upright and then fell opposite ways, one crushing what was left of the pilothouse. Though an exact count is impossible, at least fifteen hundred civilians and soldiers died in the explosion or by drowning, but the total was probably more than eighteen hundred. Even the boat’s pet alligator died, stabbed by a soldier who wanted its crate to use as a raft. According to the
of, 251 Corning Glass, 105 Crippen, Robert, 79 Crosby, Joseph, 75–76 Cuban Missile Crisis, 157–59, 166, 218, 300 Cullen, Lord, 246 Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 255 Darwin, Charles, 132 Daspit, L. R., 95 Davis, John, 200 Davis-Besse Unit 1 reactor, 55 DC-3 airliner, 122 DC-6 airliner, fire on, 130 DC-8 airliner, 114, 122 DC-9 airliner, surviving fall from, 290 DC-10 airliner: cargo-door problem of, 117–18, 122–28, 134, 248, 286, 303 initial testing of, 121–22, 124–26 de
II as a thick, resilient liner for fuel tanks on aircraft. It allowed tanks to withstand gunfire with minimal leakage. After the war, Thiokol president Joseph Crosby noticed that the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory was buying many buckets of the company’s liquid rubber. He investigated and learned that the JPL found it to be an excellent binder for the oxidizer and fuel powders it was using for solid rocket motors. Thiokol decided to exploit this toe-hold in
and without killing anyone. It’s because longtime explosive makers like Dyno Nobel have learned to live with fear and face their demons squarely. FACE THE FEAR Over the decades, manufacturers have studied the causes of plant explosions closely and shared the lessons with each other. They learned, for the most part, how to prevent them and how to keep a small blast from propagating into something titanic. Certainly they try to cut risks wherever possible, but they also know that the only way
cigarette having been dropped into the hold. A fire had been started in that way just two days before, as men working along the docks had routinely ignored the No Smoking signs. A few pails of drinking water and a handheld extinguisher didn’t get the low blue blaze under control. The men started to lay out a fire hose, but a ship’s officer, probably Captain Charles de Guillebon, told them to stop because water would damage the cargo. Instead, the officer ordered the men to pipe in steam from the