As the sun rises over the Atlantic the readers of HLSwatch are heavily concentrated around Washington D.C.
By about 1:00 pm the rest of the continent begins to outnumber our beltway readers. This afternoon there are two pieces from Sunday’s Washington Post that I want to be sure the beyond-the-beltway crowd don’t miss (and I assume most of the early morning crowd has already read).
Robert McCartney is a columnist for the Post’s Metro section. The human side of the Metro crash is well-captured in his piece, “Co-workers Proud of Train Operator’s Courage.”
Also in yesterday’s paper is “When Fail-Safe Fails” by Charles B. Perrow, emeritus professor of sociology at Yale and author of Normal Accidents and The Next Catastrophe.
Some key assumptions of each author are in tension. I don’t presume to know which is closer to the truth in this particular circumstance. Depending on context, each have important implications for prevention and mitigation.
UPDATE: A Monday story in the Post is headlined, “Metrorail Crash May Exemplify Automation Paradox.”