The Times led yesterday with a great piece on the failure of the blowout preventer on the Deepwater Horizon rig. It’s like reading the reports on the Challenger or Columbia disasters, or the fate of the Titanic. Maybe a little bad luck, but hardly an act of God. Just the usual human frailties.
“For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”
I have one small nit to pick about another-wise great article. It says,
“But if federal regulators did not see any problems, some crew members on the Deepwater Horizon appeared to believe that BP’s decisions were, increasing the odds of a catastrophic blowout that only the rig’s blind shear ram could stop.” (my emphasis)
No, no, no. Decreasing the odds. Sorry, that’s one of my pet peeves. If they wanted to use the word ‘increasing’, they could have said, “increasing the chances”. I e-mailed the editor.
On a more substantive note, what the article makes perfectly clear, is that in this case, the term “fail-safe device” was clearly a misnomer. It’s like that episode of Seinfeld where Jerry goes to pick up a rental car, only to find out that the car he reserved, was given to another customer.
Jerry: I don’t understand, I made a reservation, do you have my reservation?
Agent: Yes, we do, unfortunately we ran out of cars.
Jerry: But the reservation keeps the car here. That’s why you have the reservation.
Agent: I know why we have reservations.
Jerry: I don’t think you do. If you did, I’d have a car. See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don’t know how to hold the reservation and that’s really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take them.