"Just a bump in the Road"

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From the y2K Electric Forum:

Rick, the Titanic as an analogy is quite apt.

Contrary to what the film showed -- a long gash being torn in the side of the hull by the iceberg -- what actually happened is that the impact caused some of the rivets in the ship's steel platework to pop out of their holes, opening up many small gaps in the platework. The gaps amounted to roughly 12 square feet of surface area, but were spread along along 250 feet of hull length and five hull subdivisions.

A relatively small number of rivets were involved, and relatively small amount of surface area was affected, when compared to the many hundreds of thousands of rivets in the hull, and the many thousands of square feet of surface area below the waterline. But it was enough to take the ship down.

Now, there are theories that say that if the crew had been trained in damage control methods, using the same techniques employed in warships, they could have stemmed enough of the flow to keep the ship afloat until help arrived. However, it was inconceivable to most everyone involved in her design and operation that an event such as running into an iceberg could happen; or that even if such an event did happen, the ship would not be capable of surviving the damage.

-- Scott Brim (sbrim@3-cities.com), October 04, 1999.


Now we know that the Titanic was not Gashed from Stem to Stern. Rather it was an accident waiting to happen due to the rivet problem. From the description above we know that the iceburg

"Was Just a Bump in the Road"

......so to speak.


I wonder how good the rivets are on "Our" little electronic world? How will we do when we hit the bump?????

-- Helium (Heliumavid@yahoo.com), October 04, 1999



The Pollies say we will lose a few rivets here and there, but nothing that can't be fixed in a day or two. The Gloomers say that some of the structural sections are so stressed that losing a few rivets will cause a zipper effect and it will be a major guess as to whether the pumps can keep the water out fast enough to fix the weak spots. In either case, the iceberg itself could be called the bump in the road.

-- Gordon (gpconnolly@aol.com), October 04, 1999.


Aircraft fuselage design and construction is a good example also of a structure which has extraordinary strength and flexibility.

The characteristics of strength and flexibility are rapidly lost however from the failure of just a few fasteners (rivets, etc.). A small incident can cause rupture of the monocoque design and massive failure can result. Its strength relies upon the network of parts which make-up the whole.

An egg is also a good example of the concept of strong design. But the slightest crack weakens the whole shell.


To me y2k may be more like "The Breach In the Bridge."

-- no talking please (breadlines@soupkitchen.gov), October 04, 1999.

For what it's worth, EE Times (journal) recently devoted an entire issue to the near future (next 1-5 years) of the electronics industry. A large number (20 or so) seminal figures in the industry spoke of current and near future issues, and none of them mentioned y2k.

In a summary article done by the EE Times editors, y2k was mentioned in a single sentence. This sentence said that because y2k had as much potential to be a net minus as a net plus, and because it wouldn't cause much of a swing in either direction, it was considered a wash.

However, in another issue they published a long article about how to avoid legal problems if any did arise. Basically due diligence 101.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), October 04, 1999.

* * * 19991005 Tuesday


The basic design falw in the Titanic was not the rivets, it was the "open-architecture"--ergo, overflow in the integrated design--of the ballast compartments.

That is, had each of the 5 ballast compartments been sealed at the tops, water from the bursted compartment segment would not have overflowed (corrupted) into the adjoining compartments creating the tragedy.

Sure, it would have cost more to seal off the tops of the ballasts. In light of the consequences, it would have been cheap insurance.

Perhaps extra efforts and costs associated methodologies to reduce the risks of future computerized infrastructure vulnerabilities will be undertaken as wise risk management investments.

To oversimplify risk management solutions within highly integrated infrastructure: data editing and minimum/maximum case-filtering should become "king," so-to-speak.

That, my friend, should become the standard for due diligence.

Too little, too late, I'm afraid!

We'll have to deal with the consequences of Y2K as best we are able.

Regards, Bob Mangus

* * *

-- Robert Mangus (rmangus1@yahoo.com), October 05, 1999.

Titanic was White Star Line, which was notorious for cost-cutting in their building. The "unsinkable" was never used until after the ship sank, and was part of White Star's spin to make it sound like a fluke. Cunard used much safer and more robust construction practices, and given the same (glancing) collision a Cunarder would probably have stayed afloat.

White Star (Titanic) was equivalent to software rushed to market, perhaps as found in the PC world, while Cunarders were equivalent to mainframe OS's. Of course, both can sink given enough icebergs.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), October 05, 1999.

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