Comments about technological history, system fractures, and human resilience from James R. Chiles, the author of Inviting Disaster: Lessons from the Edge of Technology (HarperBusiness 2001; paperback 2002) and The God Machine: From Boomerangs to Black Hawks, the Story of the Helicopter (Random House, 2007, paperback 2008)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Updates on Previous Posts: San Bruno and Grand Chancellor

San Bruno, CA, pipeline blast, Sept. 9: NTSB posted a major release of investigative documents on the docket page on Tuesday, timed to a public hearing this week. A NYTimes wrapup of the hearing and highlights of the information is here. Most news accounts are about the faulty welds and poor recordkeeping on Pipeline 132, and the failure of PG&E to install automatic shutoff valves in case of catastrophic pipe failure. Still going through the material myself. Here's a link to an interesting forum about the emergency response, at Firehouse World.

Hotel Grand Chancellor, Christchurch, NZ: Still standing after earthquake on Feb. 22. The 26-story building is stable enough that US&R teams have been able to enter and check portions of the building for remains. Here's a summary of work by international US&R Teams in the building. Stairwell damage is making passage between floors difficult. 

No decision by authorities yet on whether to bring the tower down. Still the most likely option, but it's a troublesome prospect for owners of buildings in the rubble-range that survived the temblor in good order.

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