[DWJ] Sacking the maids...

Phil Boswell phil.boswell at gmail.com
Thu May 17 02:17:49 EDT 2007

On 17/05/07, Nicholas Jackson <nicholas at makyo.org.uk> wrote:
> scripsit Minnow ...
> >Do you know, I simply don't believe this story for one moment?  No sergeant
> >would allow it to happen.
> It's probably on a par with all those stories about libraries being
> designed and built without the weight of the books being taken into
> consideration: I've always found it difficult to believe that a qualified
> architect, entrusted with such a big project, would make what seems like
> an obvious mistake, and furthermore that nobody else would pick up on
> it either.

I worked for a while at Thames Water, and one of our team was a
recently-qualified Civil Engineer. He told of an exercise during his
course in which two teams of undergrads, CEs and architects, were each
set the task of designing a ten-pin bowling alley to fit into a
defined space in a local street.

The architects designed this wonderful airy space in which anybody
would be happy to play bowls: the "only problem" was that it was
structurally impossible...the members were all too wispy to support
their own weight.

The CEs designed a structure which was sound and solid: the "only
problem" was that in order to fit into the space provided there was
insufficient headroom at the "pin end" for the mechanism to reset the
pins; in fact there was about enough room for a person to crawl in and
reset the pins by hand.

The point of this task, according to him, was to show both sets of
budding professionals just how vital it was to cooperate with each
other if the result was to be any kind of reasonable. That, and
provide anyone willing to listen with a good laugh ;-)
...delurking for a moment then vanishing again into the haze, leaving
behind him nothing but a semi-cryptic message and a tray of tea and

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