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Re: Rigid vs Flexible residential diaphragm discussion

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Save this exchange for the archives.  It's the SE interaction at its best.

Laurence Oeth, P.E.

Charles Greenlaw wrote:

> 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