A built in design flaw...

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If one were to view the Titanic as an engineering project, it was built with a design flaw.

Despite the oppulence of the interior, the hull was made of very cheap steel, as were the rivets. When the ship was plying the cold Atlantic, the hull got very brittle and most likely would not have sunk had they used superior steel. In other words, it was built with a design flaw.

Another example might be the Shuttle Columbia that blew up. It was built with O Rings that could not withstand cold temperature and they launched it when the weather was cold. There are others, but these two make my point.

If one views the computer system that we have built,as the biggest engineering project the world has ever known, it has a similar design flaw built in. A two digit year.

From Gold Eagle.

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), May 10, 1999


Your analogy can also be used to prove the opposite: There are thousands of other ships that had the same poor quality steel and bad rivets that never sank also.

-- Craig (craig@ccinet.ab.ca), May 10, 1999.

Not to quibble, but the theory that the steel and rivets used in the Titanic were improperly made has been disproved. Some people dragged up a piece from the bottom and did some tests and found it to be a-ok.

A *better* analogy is the design was flawed because the water tight compartments were open at the top. This allowed even a small forward or aft list to let the water spill over the tops of the bulkheads.

Combine this design flaw with arrogant and short sighted management (i.e. the Captain disdaining ice-floe warnings, and the White Star's owner's need to have a transatlantic speed record), you get disaster.

Unlike what Gary North says - Y2K is not the programmers' fault. It's management's fault. They were warned, and took a short cut. Then they let their successors deal (or not) with the problem.


-- Jollyprez (jolly@prez.com), May 10, 1999.

Yep, Jollyprez, I agree.

Ever watch the Discovery Channel? They just had a great program on regarding just this issue. Gist is...

After a recent, in depth forensic study by engineers (including the study of the steel which the Titanic was made of, pulled from the bottom) it became clear that the steel was first rate. The rivets, however, were far from superior and were actually really faulty. The mixture which made up the material was bad. I guess the rivets were the steel nails in the Titanic's coffin. It was a cool program, hope you can catch it.

Even so, from my view, the real design flaw wasn't really even a flaw in those days. It was just the way ships were made. It was simply the inferior design of the times.

Unlike today, ships in those days used rivets to hold their steel skin together. So, no matter how excellent and superior the steel skin was the Titanic was held together by inferior rivets susceptible to failure.

The Titanic didn't even need to hit the iceberg head on to sink. It only needed to have the steel skin separate a couple of inches in a few places and that's all it took. The program showed that this study actually found a section where this occurred. It was the first time such evidence had been found and photographed.

In my mind Y2k is a lot like the Titanic.

All these high tech systems which form the skin of our modern world are held together by faulty rivets. The rivets actually hold together an older design technology which has been revamped, added on to, built upon and it is not at all failure proof (no matter how much it is lauded as unsinkable.)

The Titanic wasn't unsinkable no matter how much faith people bestowed upon it or the technology that created it. Our modern world is has been created by building layer a top layer of what is really older technology.

Oh man...we haven't even touched upon the lack of enough life boats to save all the passengers. Talk about a lack of foresight or was it just plain arrogance?

Mike ==============================================

-- Michael Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), May 10, 1999.

My personal experience: In 1967, I was programming for a life insurance company. I found a program with a ONE digit year code, which would fail in 1970. I went to my supervisor, who said that we'd fix it...in 1969 or more probably 1970. She also said we'd convert it to a two digit year code. I suggested doing it then, and using a four digit year code. She couldn't see why. I promised myself to get out of programming before the year 2000. While I still work with computers, I am out of programming.

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), May 10, 1999.

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