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Re: Rigid vs Flexible residential diaphragm discussion

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At 03:48 PM 8/6/99 -0700, James Bela  wrote:
In the aftermath of the code process that gave us the fractured welded
moment frame problem (for the supposedly most earthquake resistant structure
known to man), and now the Rigid vs. Flexible residential diaphragm dilemma,
I'm a little uneasy about the so-called "Performance-Based Codes" looming on
the horizon.  (The Emperor's Newest Codes!)

Wasn't it Will Rogers or Yogi Berra who said:

"It's not what we don't know that hurts us, or gets us into trouble; it's what
 we know for certain, that JUST AIN'T SO!"

C.G. answer in agreement:

As I have often sought to substantiate, the merit of much modern code work,
particularly in woodframe, does seem awfully thin, especially in the rigors
of intellectual honesty. Justifications for many recent restrictive,
burdensome provisions, and the claims made by their sponsors as to the care
they took, and what the net effects come out as, are seen to be thin to the
point of transparency. Yet the empire holds onto its (naked) power. 

My supporting authority in deploring the visibly half-derriered code work
that comes too often from these volunteer committees is a compilation of
philosophical writings of Prof. Hardy Cross, collected and edited by Robert
C. Goodpasture, and published in paperback in 1952 by McGraw-Hill as
"Engineers and Ivory Towers." It was a whimsical purchase in my college
bookstore nine years later, before I'd heard of the author. Now it serves
better than anything else I ever bought there. 

Prof. Cross wrote before the software era, but he still noted that so many
engineers rely on formulas and analysis and excessive codification and
hearsay dogma as a substitute for thinking through what they are doing. I
keep several pages of handwritten quotes from this Hardy Cross work, keyed
back to pages in the book. It is clear he was intolerant of lazy, cop-out
explanations and of avoidance of thorough understanding of one's problem and
prospective solutions.

Prof. Cross was fond of quoting humorist Josh Billings (real name Henry
Wheeler Shaw, 1818-1885) and noted on page 106, in connection with engineers
jumping to unwarranted conclusions, "how pointedly true in engineering is
Josh Billings's advice that 'It's better not to know so much than to know so
many things that ain't so.'"   

Thanks for the reminder. There's your source.

Charles O. Greenlaw  SE   Sacramento CA