Cautionary Tales – A Fascination with Failure / Demise on the Dance Ground (basic)


This week I current a private reflection on what the late Henry Petroski meant to me and the way he influenced my pondering and writing, adopted by our basic episode “Demise on the Dance Ground”.

The Pencil: A Historical past of Design and Circumstance by Henry Petroski stays a delight.

How one tiny error introduced 60 tons of glass, concrete and metal crashing down on a packed lodge foyer.

With its splendid trendy structure, the Hyatt Regency was the place to be seen in Kansas Metropolis in 1981. Beneath space-age walkways, visitors drank, laughed and danced… not realising that the 60 tons of of glass, concrete and metal hanging above their heads was about to return crashing down.

100 and fourteen folks died. However why? Was it low-cost supplies? Shoddy development? Or a tiny error that appeared so insignificant that nobody paid it any consideration?

Cautionary Tales is written by me, Tim Harford, with Andrew Wright. It’s produced by Ryan Dilley, with help from Courtney Guarino and Emily Vaughn.

The sound design and authentic music is the work of Pascal Wyse. Julia Barton edited the scripts.

Because of the group at Pushkin Industries, together with Mia Lobel, Jacob Weisberg, Heather Fain, Jon Schnaars, Carly Migliori, Eric Sandler, Emily Rostek, Royston Beserve, Maggie Taylor, Nicole Morana, Daniella Lakhan and Maya Koenig.

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Additional studying and listening

The Kansas Metropolis Star’s reporting was a vital supply, together with Donna McGuire “The Hyatt tragedy: 20 years later; Reminiscences, classes reside on; Deadly catastrophe stays inconceivable to overlook” The Kansas Metropolis Star 15 July 2001, Rick Montgomery “20 Years Later: Many are persevering with to study from skywalk collapse” Kansas Metropolis Star 3 Oct 2001, and Kevin Murphy “Hyatt skywalks collapse modified lives perpetually” The Kansas Metropolis Star Journal 10 July 2011.

The Might 2000 version of the Journal of Efficiency of Constructed Services options a number of articles on the tragedy, by Piotr Moncarz et al; Gregory Luth; Sarah Pfatteicher; and Jack Gillum.

Two important books overlaying the tragedy are Henry Petroski’s To Engineer is Human and Levy and Salvadori’s Why Buildings Fall Down.


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