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August 13th, Seismology Committee Meeting

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The Seismology Committee met this morning in Los Angeles and approximately 50 
people attended. I received the information by phone from an engineer who 
attended. The Blue Book Revisions revised on 8/9/99 were approved as written 
and will be submitted to ICBO for publication.
I have mixed emotions based on the information that was provided to me. I 
submitted a letter to the Seismology Committee chair, Saif Hussain, by 
facsimile on August 13. In the first paragraph I stated:
"I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the Seismology Committee for 
reviewing the comments on the Blue Book Draft that originated from members of 
the virtual community. I would also like to thank the committee for giving 
serious consideration to the discussions held on the SEA International 
Listservice.  As one of the more outspoken members of the List, I am not 
satisfied with the draft, but admit that there has been a fair compromise 
reached that addresses the most relevant issues. There have also been 
monumental advancements in establishing a line of communication between the 
virtual community and the volunteers who participate on the Committee."

The iremainder of my letter was to bring to the attention of the committee 
the problems associated with translation of the examples and code formula's 
to computer programs, such as Mathcad and Excel. The fact that the units are 
not intended to balance are often misunderstood by the practicing engineer or 
difficult to program in software such as Mathcad unless the intent is 
previously known. Not only did I struggle through the translation of each 
term of the deflection formulas to understand how units were converted, but 
the same mistake has been made by many others who subsequently brought them 
to the attention of this listservice. 

I also brought to the committees attention, that there is a lack of 
historical reference material which documents the chronological changes and, 
most importantly, the intentions of each change from code to code. This 
creates a problem for engineers who need to understand the evolution of the 
changes so as to gain a feel for the expected performance level of the 
materials. 

The engineer who attended the meeting told me that my draft comments and 
letter were taken by the committee as representative approval by the virtual 
community. I sincerely hope that this was not the case. As I clearly stated 
in my first paragraph, the draft is far from adequate and leaves a great deal 
unexplained. I did congradulat the committee for opening the path of 
communications, but I did not intend to become the spokesperson for the 
virtual community nor did I suggest that this draft was ready for publication 
- surely it is not. I acted on the provisions of this code by personal 
motivation to address problems I had implimenting the code on projects that I 
base my living upon. My comments regarding the importance of the link to the 
virtual community was intended to be issued from a co-founder of this list 
and website, but certainly not as the representative of the opinions of 
15,000 list members.This is best left to the posts of the subscribers of the 
List, each of whose voice is equivalent to mine. 

My source indicated that a post from Chuck Utzman (see previous discussions 
on the list) was presented by the committee and interpreted to show that the 
opinions of the List members was in favor of the code provisions. With all 
due respect for Chuck, his comments were outweighted at least 10 to 1 by 
opposing opinions.  Chuck's posts were both very well presented and welcome 
to the list, but I really don't believe that his one opinion (anymore than my 
opinion) should be considered representative of the Listservice. If the 
committee wants to poll opinions, I am sure Shafat would be happy to post the 
poll on the website which has been the custom in the past.

I am concerned that the conclusions reached by members of the committee may 
have been biased and that the decision to publish the latest draft predated 
this meeting. It was also my understanding that the reason for this meeting 
was further address these issues by those who attended expecting that their 
opinions might lead to further corrections prior to submittal for 
publication. If the decision to publish predated this meeting, I can only 
assume the invitation to the public was intended only as an apeasment but was 
of no constructive value.

My comments are derived from the observations of a non-list member who 
attended the meeting with expectations of presenting his criticism of the 
draft. I would be interested in the opinions of any other who attended and 
have a different slant on the issues.

Sincerely,
Dennis S. Wish PE