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Object Design: Roles, Responsibilities, and Collaborations by Alan McKean, Rebecca Wirfs-Brock

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Chapter 8. Reliable Collaborations

Henry Petroski, structural engineer and historian, talks of the need to understand the consequences of failure: “The consequences of structural failure in nuclear plants are so great that extraordinary redundancies and large safety margins are incorporated into the designs. At the other extreme, the frailty of such disposable structures as shoelaces and light bulbs, whose failure is of little consequence, is accepted as a reasonable trade-off for an inexpensive product. For most in-between parts or structures, the choices are not so obvious. No designers want their structures to fail, and no structure is deliberately under designed when safety is an issue. Yet designer, client, and user must inevitably confront ...

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