We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The recent train wreck in Connecticut brings to mind the classic 1999 book, Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies. This book spurred the development of the field of accident research, but it is somewhat dated now. Accidents are inevitable, and at some point efforts to prevent dangers creates new forms of danger.
I remember reading "Normal Accidents" and was only mildly impressed. There were lots of stories and oodles of moral indignation but few useful tools to apply in my real-world work on nuclear reactor safety.
One lesson had already been learned and action taken - the infamous dropped light bulb event at a nuclear power plant in California.
One vendor's control system design was based on a control voltage of +30 volts as 100% and -30 volts as 0%. When the dropped bulb caused a short and a failure of control power, the control variables saw Zero volts or 50% signal, no matter the real desired value.
Well duh! You gotta fix that.
Another useful but obvious insight was that accidents seem to most often happen about 3 am. We had already supported research on Circadian rhythms of shift workers and had optimized shift rotations to minimize grogginess.
Our state has a law that if a police or emergency vehicle is stopped off the highway that traffic must slow down and move over. Presumably this was intended to prevent the occasional accident where a driver drifts off the road hitting the police car or the stopped car. But seriously if you are paying enough attention to see the emergency vehicle and move over then YOU are not the problem. But every day on the highway I see sudden dangerous conditions result from drivers suddenly moving over one lane when they spot a police car. To make it worse not only is the congestion suddenly worse but they are all slowing down. This law undoubtedly casues more accidents then it prevents.