The NTSB has released it’s interim report on the Boeing 787 JAL battery fire and it appears that Boeing’s initial safety assessment had concluded that the only way in which a battery fire would eventuate was through overcharging. Continue Reading…
Archives For Philosophy
The philosophical aspects of safety and risk.
But, we tested it? Didn’t we?
Earlier reports of the Boeing 787 lithium battery initial development indicated that Boeing engineers had conducted tests to confirm that a single cell failure would not lead to a cascading thermal runaway amongst the remaining batteries. According to these reports their tests were successful, so what went wrong?
Just updated the post Why Safety Integrity Levels Are Pseudo-science with additional reference material and links to where it’s available on the web. Oh, and they’re still pseudo-science…
Just finished reading the excellent paper A Conundrum: Logic, Mathematics and Science Are Not Enough by John Holloway on the the swirling currents of politics, economics and emotion that can surround and affect any discussions of safety. The paper neatly illustrates why the canonical rational-philosophical model of expert knowledge is inherently flawed.
What I find interesting as a practicing engineer is that although every day debates and discussions with your peers emphasise the subjectivity of engineering ‘knowledge’ as engineers we all still like to pretend and behave as if it is not.
“Knowledge is an unending adventure at the edge of uncertainty”
British mathematician, biologist, historian of science, theatre author, poet and inventor.
In June of 2011 the Australian Safety Critical Systems Association (ASCSA) published a short discussion paper on what they believed to be the philosophical principles necessary to successfully guide the development of a safety critical system. The paper identified eight management and eight technical principles, but do these principles do justice to the purported purpose of the paper?
Did the designers of the japanese seawalls consider all the factors?
In an eerie parallel with the Blayais nuclear power plant flooding incident it appears that the designers of tsunami protection for the Japanese coastal cities and infrastructure hit by the 2011 earthquake did not consider all the combinations of environmental factors that go to set the height of a tsunami.