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TJL (Forum Supporter)
TJL (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
6/12/24 1:21 p.m.

Yeah i guess they zapped it. boo. I was partway through and reloaded it, got some other junk. 
and the wired article is behind a paywall, so i totally paid some $ to see the same article available other places for free! Yeah right. 

Slippery
Slippery UltimaDork
6/12/24 1:22 p.m.

In reply to TJL (Forum Supporter) :

Weird, I get no paywall on the wired one.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/12/24 1:23 p.m.
Shadeux said:

I found it at WIRED: Link

I don't know if it's the same article; I didn't see the first one.

Same article, Ars Technica is owned by the same parent company and occasionally reposts things from Wired. First time I've heard of them pulling one.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
6/12/24 1:24 p.m.
Slippery said:

I think its here:

https://www.wired.com/story/titan-submersible-disaster-inside-story-oceangate-files/

Yep this is the one I read last night. I don't know if it's worse or better that Stockton Rush was drinking his own kool-aid. It's better in that he somehow actually believed the sub was safe enough that he always risked his own life along with everyone else's, but worse in that nobody had the power to stop this madman.

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
6/12/24 2:04 p.m.

Meh. I'm neither amazed, shocked, or surprised. 

If you push the limits with the best engineering they sometimes bite back. 

If you do it with your eyes shut they are almost guaranteed to. 

The googles says "There have been 18 fatal accidents involving submersibles since 1915, resulting in 835 deaths."

That's an average of 7.6 people per year. Using that metric, 2023 was better than average. 

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/12/24 2:20 p.m.

In reply to Toyman! :

One would hope that we have improved since 1915.

I read the article yesterday, but the sheer number of warning signs is almost impossible to summarize. We all knew it was sketchy, but the amount of problems that were just ignored or waved away is far greater than you might imagine. Test articles imploding, promised tests not done, adding stressors to critical areas after the fact, ignoring the noises of a failing composite pressure vessel...it just keeps going and going.

Here's a list of submersible accidents (not all fatal) this century. Most are military, as you might imagine. And when they have a problem, it's rarely a crew of five.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_submarine_and_submersible_incidents_since_2000

Space is a lot harder to get to, but deep sea operations are probably more hazardous because of the pressures. You never get more than one atmosphere of pressure differential in an orbiting spacecraft!

slefain
slefain UltimaDork
6/12/24 2:22 p.m.
Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/12/24 2:23 p.m.

In reply to slefain :

Ha, that was a quick capture!

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
6/12/24 2:24 p.m.

Every test vessel they tested failed. Then they made a full scale one anyway and didn't test it. 

They claimed they would get a standardized test certification done but balked at the $50,000 price tag. Like that's rounding error on the project but my guess is he knew it wouldn't pass so he claimed the price was too high. 
 

People like to complain about the Logitech controller but to me that's the part that makes the most sense. When has a video game controller broken without massive abuse?

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa MegaDork
6/12/24 2:26 p.m.
Toyman! said:

Meh. I'm neither amazed, shocked, or surprised. 

If you push the limits with the best engineering they sometimes bite back. 

If you do it with your eyes shut they are almost guaranteed to. 

The googles says "There have been 18 fatal accidents involving submersibles since 1915, resulting in 835 deaths."

That's an average of 7.6 people per year. Using that metric, 2023 was better than average. 

 

I struggle to identify anything that article describes as "best engineering"

I also dont get the insistence upon comparing annual deaths/accidents across the history of something.  It came up repeatedly with the bridge collapse article as well.  Its usually a non sequitur, and for this case emphatically is.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
6/12/24 2:28 p.m.
dculberson said:

People like to complain about the Logitech controller but to me that's the part that makes the most sense. When has a video game controller broken without massive abuse?

It was a particularly cheap controller, and I've had 2 different varieties of Logitech Wingman controllers that have failed due to potentiometer wear...but yeah game controllers in general aren't a terrible idea. Standard Xbox controllers are actually used on some US military gear.

11GTCS
11GTCS SuperDork
6/12/24 2:39 p.m.

In reply to GameboyRMH :

I'm remembering reading that the Virginia class fast attack submarines use them to control the optical cameras that have replaced the periscopes on the older designs that I worked on.

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
6/12/24 2:43 p.m.

In reply to Mr_Asa :

Read it again. See the line that mentions eyes shut. In case you missed it, that line implies that maybe OceanGate didn't use the best engineering and closed their eyes. I know the reference is a little obscure but it's there. 

If you are considering a submersible trip and you don't understand that submersibles are inherently dangerous, you might consider looking into the history of submersibles. You can learn things from history if you bother to study it. Considering the few people that have traveled in them with the 800 plus that have died in them, your odds of dying in them aren't exactly zero. 

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
6/12/24 2:44 p.m.

Regarding the story, the part that makes me the most curious is this:

It was time for the engineers to hand it over to OceanGate’s operations team for testing at sea. But there was another snag. David Lochridge, who oversaw marine operations at the company and who needed to sign off on the transfer, became convinced that Titan was unsafe. In January 2018, Lochridge sent Rush a quality-control inspection report detailing 27 issues with the vehicle, from questionable O-ring seals on the domes and missing bolts to flammable materials and more concerns about its carbon-fiber hull. Rush fired him the next day. (Although Lochridge later made a whistleblower report to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration about Titan, Rush sued him for breach of contract. The settlement of that lawsuit resulted in Lochridge dropping his complaint, paying OceanGate nearly $10,000, and signing an NDA. Lochridge did not respond to WIRED.)

It sounds like this company has an effective hack for whistleblower protection laws in their employment contract. This article backs that up:

https://abc7news.com/missing-titanic-sub-oceangate-lawsuit-david-lochridge-submersible/13409850/

In its lawsuit, OceanGate accused Lochridge of breaching his contract by discussing the company's confidential information with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration "when he filed a false report claiming that he was discharged in retaliation for being a whistleblower."

Lochridge and OceanGate settled the dispute out of court in November 2018.

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
6/12/24 2:44 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

In reply to Toyman! :

One would hope that we have improved since 1915.

The OceanGate incident suggests we haven't. 

 

Driven5
Driven5 PowerDork
6/12/24 2:49 p.m.

In reply to GameboyRMH :

Agreed. For me, their success in getting him to pay them in the settlement was the most surprising part of the article. One would think it would be easy to defend and counter if the contract was legally invalid, as it sounds like it probably should have been.

budget_bandit
budget_bandit Reader
6/12/24 3:14 p.m.

that part about the whistleblower owing them money at the end of the suit was jarring to me too. I'll confess not knowing all that much about legalese, but i thought the whole idea was that you could do that and NOT be financially liable...

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
6/12/24 3:25 p.m.

In reply to budget_bandit :

At a guess, since his whistleblowing wasn't reporting an actual crime the NDA was enforceable. The only time NDAs are not enforceable is in the reporting of a crime. 

OceanGate was being stupid but without laws or regulations requiring them to follow a test procedure, they probably weren't breaking any laws. 

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 PowerDork
6/12/24 3:54 p.m.
Colin Wood said:
Fueled by Caffeine said:

This is pretty typical startup culture garbage.  Expect most startups don't kill a bunch of people at one go. 

I'll have to read the rest of the article later, but yeah, it sounds like a case of a founder wanting X, Y and Z, and then surround themselves with yes men until X, Y and Z is achieved.

I see this in my job a lot and it recently almost witnessed multiple lives lost along with millions of dollars of equipment. 

I hate the "Yes Sir/Ma'am" mentality and am actually dumfounded when someone goes "Well hold on a minute..."

slefain
slefain UltimaDork
6/12/24 5:01 p.m.

Holy crap that was quite the read. This part is insane:

"Kohnen delivered OceanGate’s viewport in December. He would rate it to only 650 meters—one-sixth of the depth to the Titanic. He also shared an analysis, done pro bono by an independent expert, concluding that OceanGate’s design might fail after only a few 4,000-meter dives. OceanGate nevertheless installed the viewport in Titan later that month. "

One of the theories is that the viewport failed, causing the implosion. Considering it was wasn't rated for the depth, that was probably the cause of final disaster.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
6/12/24 5:58 p.m.

All I will add to this thread is that I continue to feel sorry for the Watergate Hotel, as it's still the pop culture add on to every controversy. 

TheRyGuy
TheRyGuy Reader
6/12/24 6:18 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

I agree, and I hate how the media likes to add "gate" to seemingly every scandal story. I thought that too but I found that the name of the company actually IS OceanGate.

preach
preach UltraDork
6/12/24 6:22 p.m.

That guy was an idiot. I don't like that term but he was one.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
6/12/24 6:53 p.m.
alfadriver said:

All I will add to this thread is that I continue to feel sorry for the Watergate Hotel, as it's still the pop culture add on to every controversy. 

Uhhh... meme unrelated.

 

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
6/12/24 7:15 p.m.
preach said:

That guy was an idiot. I don't like that term but he was one.

He was arrogant and probably had no comprehension of the forces he was dealing with. To top it off he refused to listen to the very people that did understand them. That's a bad combination to be the driving force behind a project like that. 

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