Complexity, Natural Disaster & Failure
When I used to hear the word "complexity", I would automatically assume hundreds of different types of parts. After this lecture; the word "complex" has become even more complex (no pun intended). We've learned of all of the factors that have to be taken into consideration when designing something, especially if its an open system that can be influenced by the environment it's in, it's up keeping, politics, things you wouldn't even think would have an effect, often do.
In the case of the hurricane protection system in New Orleans, one of the complexities of it was that it was not done all in one shot, rather funded on a project to project basis in a lapse of many years. Things change every single day, now you can imagine the difference in a time span of many years. It would not be efficient. Especially if nobody was directly in charge of the system.
Looking in retrospect, it is easy to see what went wrong and what we could have done differently. But like Professor Halada said, we must put ourselves in the shoes of those who were working before the incident; was there anything they could have done? Were the failures observable before hell broke loose? These are the things we have to consider, and not be so quick to say "I would've, should've, could've" Whats done is done. The only thing we have to do; is lower the risk of history repeating itself; by taking realistic precautions and taking into account what went wrong in previous cases.