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Stupid Engineering Mistakes

webster Re:Interesting factoid about the "Galloping Gertie (592 comments)

While I cannot comment on the scientific quality of the cited article, I do know that to claim a statement is a lie is to make an accustation of a willful intent to deceive, at least somewhere in the chain of telling and retelling. I find myself doubting this on the part of textbook authors or publishers. And I found no such implication in the article itself - maybe I just missed it.

Also, any claim made in a single paper cannot be considered gospel. Until numerous citations of agreement are published in the scientific literature there is no particular reason to believe or disbelieve the claim - and anonymous posting on slashdot do not, of course, count as citations in the scientific literature.

And, just as those in Mr. Coward's field may very well use the term "lie" differently than the manner in which it is used in the English language as a whole so might engineers consider the terms "resonance" and "vibrational state" to be critically different, while perhaps physicists use "resonance" in a manner that encompasses both terms. I don't know, though I do find myself trying to get my mind around the concept of a vibrational state that is not time dependent.

Criticizing a field outside your own discipline is an activity fraught with peril not the least of which is the differing use of words in different communities. Those who do so over their own signature will generally do so in a spirit of humility, attempting to open a dialog. I think Billah and Scanlan at least approached the proper attitude. Mr. Coward did not even come close.

Just basic science. Give me a break.

more than 8 years ago


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