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Re: Is anyone interested? You Bet!

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I don't think it is lack of interest so much as it is the fact that most of 
us did not know about FEMA 273 until Frank brought it to our attention on 
this list. Yes, yes, I know! Most of you knew - but I was simply too 
embarrassed to admit that I did not have a clue.

However, I tried to vindicate myself and followed Frank's lead to Degenkolb's 
website where I downloaded the entire FEMA 273 draft (in sections). I 
compiled the sections into one Adobe Acrobate document (not recommended) and 
have not had the time to start reading through it. 

I received the latest CUREe-Caltech newsletter today and have not had the 
time to comprehend everything that was in it. I was pleased to recognize many 
of the 50 engineers who attended the Invitational Workshop. Although most of 
the engineers who attended were opinionated, I hope that the lines of 
communication remain open so that engineers who are physically challenged 
from attending personal meetings will still have access to the information 
and the ability to comment.

Frank also brings up the issue of the Regional Training Seminars. It is great 
when an engineer has both the finances and accessibility to attend these 
seminars, but I would be more pleased if our profession did more to bring 
these seminars to engineers who can not physically attend a meeting (Real 
Audio seminars like those held by FEMA or simply video taped seminars). You 
must remember that many of us do not live close enough to a major metro area 
to make this a feasible venture. 

The core issue is the same as we have debated from post to post - if an 
engineer can not physically or financially attend seminars, should he or she 
be denied access to the information? Is our profession based upon educating 
engineers or making money on seminars?

I apologize for being blunt on this issue, but as much as we seem to want to 
make the Internet a channel for information we obstruct it by either not 
investing the effort or resources to accomplish this goal, or we become 
motivated to use the Internet as a money making venture. When used to make 
money, we tend to do it for good reason, but we waste a great deal of it by 
not utilizing the Internet Technology (IT) that we created to help reduce 
spending.

Last September, AF&PA held a one day Wood Seminar in Long Beach and charged 
engineers $25.00 to attend - including lunch. AF&PA continues to take this 
show on the road - appearing in five or six cities per year. It is obvious 
from the price that AF&PA is more interested in educating engineers than 
making profits or generating income to be wasted elsewhere.

Our goals as a professional community should be to publish information or at 
least make the information readily available so that engineers can use to 
understand and interpret the codes they must practice. Presently, 
interpretatons of the code has created a great financial market. It seems 
more in keeping with the philosophy of software sales.  Publish a confusing 
or defective product and charge the public for the key to understanding.  Me 
thinks we are learning from poor examples.

Frank, I really do appreciate all of the information I learn from you - 
including FEMA 273 (which I promise to read in the next few weeks). This 
email was not in any way intended to flame you but to draw attention that 
many of us are further away - yet still involved - and need a better channel 
for the flow of information. NO ONE PERSON SHOULD BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR 
MAKING THIS GOAL A REALITY!!!  Sorry, Frank, I lost my temper and raised my 
voice:>) but I was hoping to wake the living.

Possibly SEA needs to devote a little more effort in this direction - 
including posting information (minutes, drafts, board minutes etc) on the 
websites that SEAINT provides. Maybe the education committees need to start 
video taping seminars and making them available to engineers at a REASONABLE 
price. Lets be a bit more agressive about providing professional resources to 
the professionals.

Respectfully,
Dennis S. Wish PE