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team8___paper - Engineers and politics have been...

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Engineers and politics have been intertwined since the beginning of engineering. Engineers constantly have to deal with outside pressures dealing with cost, manufacturing, and time. Often, there is a demand to have a finished product by a specific deadline regardless of consequences. This puts a pressure on the engineer who must not lose ethical implications of this sense. If a certain design has not been tested thoroughly, disastrous consequences can result. On the flip side, engineers should actively involve themselves in relevant political issues. For example, they should support government bills requiring a minimum amount of successful testing or a maximum amount of pollution on products that are to enter the market for public use. In the past there have been a number of disasters that might have been prevented had engineers taken a stronger stance politically. On January 26, 2001, a horrible earthquake occurred in India, it registered as a 7.9 on the Richter scale and killed 30,000 people. After the earthquake, Pacific Earthquake Engineer Research examined the devastation to determine whether the amount of damage could have been reduced. There has been a standard building design that is earthquake-resistant since 1962 that, effective as of 1967, became a code of practice. Unfortunately, these earthquake-resistant designs were not used to develop many of the buildings in India. Chances are the designs were not implemented due to monetary and/or time issues. If the extra time and money had been invested, the loss of life may have been reduced significantly. Tragically, the Columbia is another example of innocent lives lost due to poor judgment in the political realm. On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed upon re-entry to the Earth’s atmosphere killing all 7 crewmembers. After the accident an investigation board was assembled to discover the cause and to determine
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how to prevent future accidents. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) released its report on August 26, 2003, where it found NASA’s poor communications to be the “foundation” of the disaster. Low-level engineers sent emails containing possible difficulties and consequences of the shuttle’s re-entry to senior managers; yet these emails were more or less ignored. CAIB portrays NASA as unable and unwilling to deal with change. Part of the unwillingness comes from an extremely low budget and a very
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This note was uploaded on 12/11/2011 for the course EML 3004c taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '11 term at FSU.

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team8___paper - Engineers and politics have been...

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