Modern Marvels: Engineering Disasters (History Channel)
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In 18 thrilling episodes, HISTORY CHANNEL dramatizes the world s most notorious engineering failures, using state-of-the-art special effects to investigate not only what went wrong, but what can be learned from these spectacular disasters. The catastrophes recounted led to the creation of Superfund sites for the cleanup of toxic waste; improved safety standards for cars, planes, and ships; and new techniques for building roads, bridges, and buildings that will withstand nature s most destructive forces.
Dark clouds with silver linings, MODERN MARVELS: ENGINEERING DISASTERS presents the tragic, yet invaluable, handmaidens of technological progress.
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The episodes includes:
- New Orleans: Hurricane Katrina.
- The fire at Las Vegas MGM Hotel.
- The collapse of Seattle's Lacey V. Murrow Floating Bridge.
- The flaw that grounded the first commercial jet.
- An entire lake and the surrounding land are sucked into a Louisiana salt mine.
- Exxon Valdez incident.
- The Ford Explorer/Firestone rollovers.
- The fire on the Piper Alpha offshore oirlig.
- Computer errors that brought the world to the brink of accidental nuclear war.
- The explosion of a jet-fuel plant in Nevada.
- The Union Carbide explosion in India.
- A devastating flood in China that killed 145,000 people.
- Denver baggage system nightmare.
- Patrior missile failure
The only drawbacks are that the DVDs come with no closed captions and no subtitles. Thanks HC.
The episodes included are #4 through #20, plus Hurricane Katrina is provided as a bonus single disaster episode. Which begs the question, what happened to episodes #1, #2, and #3, as they are not in this set? These early three episodes were generally an overview containing a wide number of disasters in brief detail. I suspect, since these episodes were so good, A&E expanded the series to provide much greater detail and limit each succeeding episode to just 5 disasters.
This set also needs an index of every disaster, either on the dvds, or with a paper insert. I loved the menus as they are so simple and easy to follow, without dumb pictures cluttering the screen.
A diverse range of types of systems and failures is included, the graphics and historical footage are very useful, experts are routinely consulted to explain each failure, and appropriate lessons are drawn from the failures in terms of both technical and human factors.
No, the presentations aren't perfect. Sometimes the explanations are oversimplified, important details are omitted, and terminology is incorrect. But overall, the strengths of this series still dwarf these weaknesses.
I know of no comparable resource, and the best endorsement I can make is to note that I've started incorporating these videos into the continuing education program in my engineering firm. They're good enough that professionals can benefit from them. Yet, at the same time, they're also accessible for interested laypeople, which is no small accomplishment.
Last but not least, the price is a bargain. Grab this before it's no longer available!
I bought this for my boyfriend who is an engineer and he loves it, and so do I. I was very surprised and intrigued with the variety of engineering disasters that were presented along with the footage. Some of the best ones I've seen so far were the salt mines (the footage of the barges being sucked towards the whirlpool was unbelievable), the Love Canal, and many of the oil rig disasters. I also learned that underground salt deposits make great natural propane storage tanks.
In each episode there are multiple stories not just one or two; it is definitely worth the money.
The five DVD set oddly starts with episode four (I don't know where one through three went) and presents a number of fascinating failures, some of which have fairly obvious causes, and many of which were difficult to completely understand and required months or even years of intense investigation (e.g. the Boeing 737 rudder hardover crashes.) Most episodes contain multiple incidents (though the Hurricane Katrina special is an exception.) I am most familiar with the accidents in the aviation and process industries, although I have a passing familiarity with maritime accidents as well. As such it's natural that I notice the detail errors and generalizations in aviation analyses more than in other fields, but am sure those in the construction or architectural fields would be more familiar with other accidents (e.g. the Kansas City Hyatt Walkway collapse.) As for the flaws, the series definitely has them, though most are small visual errors induced by inappropriate use of stock footage (e.g.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Movies were in great condition and there is a ton of content. We use them as safety topics for our companyPublished 14 months ago by Ty
These documentaries will teach you to take everything seriously.After watching this; I'd prefer to do everything with caution. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Mike Alfa
This is a great collection of a great show. Many, many episodes. Wish the video quality was HD but as it's only DVD then it's pretty good.Published on April 30, 2014 by Seth Irwin
Each historical disaster requires about 10-15 minutes to retell, in a nice blend of real footage, technical diagrams, and expert opinions. Easy to watch. Read morePublished on March 21, 2014 by Paul J. Jensen
I love watching these true stories of how large engineering works turned out in true life. These give us many lessons learned stories from the past.Published on December 7, 2013 by Dennis F. Lasanen
I thoroughly enjoyed the episodes and treatment. Engineering issues have always intrigued me. However, the series is a little tired and could use a major refresh.Published on June 1, 2013 by DiddyLibby
Very entertaining, even my wife watched it with me! Would love to find other DVD like this. Hours of great entertainment.Published on February 16, 2013 by Dave
As an engineer myself, I enjoy the thorough failure analysis presented in each of the episodes. They cover a wide variety of incidents and teach us about hubris in design.Published on February 13, 2013 by Scott E. Darpel
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