Inviting Disaster: Lessons From the Edge of Technology

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9780066620824: Inviting Disaster: Lessons From the Edge of Technology

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?

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Inviting Disaster, by technology and history writer James R. Chiles, is an unusual book: it appeals to the macabre desires that keep us riveted to highway accidents, while knowledgeably discoursing on the often preventable mistakes that caused them. At its heart are colorful stories behind more than 50 of the most infamous catastrophes that periodically chilled the advance of the industrial age. There are both those well remembered (the 1986 Challenger explosion, for example) and those now largely forgotten (a 1937 gas explosion at a Texas school that killed 298). But along with lively depictions of these deadly devastations and white-knuckle calamities--the U.S. battleship Maine, Apollo 13, and Three Mile Island among them--Chiles offers an informed analysis of the unfortunate chain of events that brought them about. And by grouping like incidents to show how fatal "system fractures" eventually developed through a combination of human error and mechanical malfunction, he also suggests how we might sidestep such tragedies in the future. In so, doing he fashions these spectacular accounts of failed planes, trains, ships, bridges, dams, factories, and other conveyances and facilities into a cautionary tale about technological progress. --Howard Rothman

About the Author:

James R. Chiles began writing about technology and history while a student at the University of Texas Law School. His first piece was a 1979 Texas Monthly article on the Pantex nuclear weapons assembly plant in Amarillo, Texas. He began writing features for Smithsonian in 1983, and since that time has published features and cover stories there and in Audubon, Air & Space, Harvard magazine, and American Heritage of Invention & Technology. He lives in Minnesota.

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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?. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780066620824

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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?. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780066620824

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. 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?. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780066620824

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