Most people still don't know what engineering is all about, or the benefits it provides.

If anything, Hollywood pushes a negative stereotype of the tech-types: emotionless, narrow-minded, and caring only about their project. There are very successful shows about doctors, lawyers, cops, sports figures, politicians, blue collar workers, and criminals, but I've never seen a mainstream show or series in which a technical guy (scientist/engineer) was the hero. About the best I can think of is MacGyver, and his genius was really resourcefulness, rather than intellectual acumen. It was thus nice to see your comments.

Sadly, I suspect that the finger-pointing and blame for this disaster will far overshadow the enormous benefit that was realized by all of the good engineering and preparedness that was done, along the lines of what you pointed out. Although things are far from being over, it appears that this is no Chernobyl. It's easy to say in retrospect that 'you should have planned for this', but it's nearly impossible to capture every last combination of atrocities that nature can render on a moment's notice on our feeble structures, while also making them affordable, buildable, and profitable in the first place.

So, thank you for recognizing this anecdotal, but vital, contribution to the ongoing disaster in Japan, and appreciating how much worse it could have been.

(and now see writer step off of his soap box…).


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