MOSAIC NOLA:The Gentilly Project

Saturday, December 31, 2005

On the seventh day..

Investigators have long suspected engineering mistakes were at the heart of the levee and floodwall breaches. Not only did the structures fail before they reached design capacity, but documents show the designs were not appropriate for the weak soils and the depth of the canals, investigators said. Yet discovering why skilled engineers at reputable firms came up with obviously faulty designs, and how those mistakes were missed in the corps' lengthy review process, has stumped investigators. - Times-Picayune (Friday Dec 30, 2005). Also see here.

It's my engineering education. As I study management and organizations as a profession, there remains a desire to get to the empirical realities first -- what can we know objectively as fact? However, socially speaking, getting to the facts has many filters and complications. And when facts are uncovered, there are more issues: Who will organize them and in what way? Who will get to see them? To what extent should the facts be summarized or deliver raw? Unfortunately, quite a bit works again the public learning (and remembering) what the facts are.

When public reactions to facts quickly become partisan bickering, it's a waste. Fortunately from what I've seen, the people who were most disrupted by Katrina aren't so easily distracted into the partisan exchanges. Usually I find them looking instead for trusted and credible information, so that they can make household decisions.


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