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Re: Details, Struts, Thrust, Etc.

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>I'll acknowledge that, when we are looking at wonderful old buildings, we
>are seeing only the survivors.  The builders of the survivors learned from
>the failures we don't get to see.
It occurred to me in the ohnosecond after I hit <send> that I might be 
sounding like an old fart, but in truth that's how engineers and master 
builders and master mechanics before them advanced the 
profession--learning from mistakes. Petroski's _Design Paradigms..._ 
explains it all. 

The really great thing about centuries old buildings is that so many are 
in use today, unlike ships and machines. We stopped in a number of parish 
churches in the UK and it was fascinating to see the usual trappings of 
ordinary churches--kneeling cushions, every day altar hangings, the odd 
radiator or heater--in a church building that was old at the time of the 
Great Plague. It really set me back on my heels looking at a little 
carpeted child-sized sanctuary set up for the following Sunday, within 15 
feet of the tombs of some parishioners who had died in the 14th century. 
We'd just peeped inside, and another parishioner started showing us 
around, just like the building program had been just finished the week 
before. Same thing in Germany and Austria and the Netherlands when we 
visited. It's a perspective we don't get here in the US.

Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant at
chrisw(--nospam--at)        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)

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