National Forum

Covers a wide range of topics including those of education, business, international affairs, and multicultural issues in an effort to provide documentation for professional research and development.

Articles from Vol. 81, No. 1, Winter

A Note from the Editor
IN THIS ISSUE Nothing dominates the news like a disaster (with the possible exception of the recent election, which, no matter your party affiliation still could be considered a disaster). An airplane crash, a train wreck, a building collapsing...
Complexity in Aircraft Automation -- A Precursor for Concerns in Human-Automation Systems
One of the clearest trends in the late twentieth century has been the incheasing growth and complexity of automation in modern society. The automation of mechanical systems that accompanied the industrial revolution in the nineteenth century was primarily...
Learning through Failure
NASA's Scout Rocket Failure analysis is basically research when you get down to it. You recover and learn from mistakes; you don't do that with success. Nothing demonstrates the pitfalls of rushing into a major technological program more dramatically...
Letters to the Editor
FORUM ON EDUCATION & ACADEMICS According to Angela Maynard Sewall ["Be Careful What You Ask For..., Winter 2000], the reason why it is unlikely that all students will score at the 99th percentile is because students have different skills, abilities,...
Pendulum
The larger the pendulum, the more slowly it moves, covering a wide expanse of territory, evenly, smoothly. At the end of its sweep the reverse in its direction is dramatic; without a moment to reorient, it is off again. The change is most tolerable...
Planning for the Unthinkable: IT Contingencies
The information age has made possible many new computing- and telecommunications-based activities and services that were in the realm of science fiction only a decade or two ago. Today computers are at the heart of every aspect of business endeavor....
Success and Failure in Engineering
Failure is a central idea in engineering. In fact, one definition of engineering might be that it is the avoidance of failure. When a device, machine, or structure is designed by an engineer, every way in which it might credibly fail must be anticipated...
The Establishment of Blame in the Aftermath of a Technological Disaster
An Examination of the Apollo I and Challenger Disasters Humankind has experienced countless natural disasters or "acts of God." Before the advent of the technical means to measure, forecast and understand naturally occurring phenomena (for example,...
The Failure of Theory: Models of the Solar System
It is commonly believed that science operates entirely by the test of observation: theories explain observations, but observations are trumps and can override any theory -- even when no new theory is available to explain the observations. This is a...
True Writ: A Survival Manual for Graduate Students and the Untenured
Having already identified, in a ground-breaking article, the motivations that provoke otherwise healthy individuals to pursue graduate study (See "Some Etiological Theories Concerning the Nature of Graduate Study," Kappa Delta Pi Record, Winter, 1983),...
When Architecture Fails
I have been reading fifty or so essays by my second-year architecture students responding to the question "What is Architecture?" Their thoughts and arguments, whether idealistic, insightful, or naive, were usually buttressed with references to architecture's...
When They Built the Ship Titanic
and when they had it through, They said this ship the water would never leak through; But the Lord's almighty hand said this ship would never stand. Chorus: It was sad when this great ship went down. --attributed to Ernest "Pop" Stoneman...