Technology's disasters share long trail of hubris

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July 12, 2010 7:45:05 AM PDT
Experts say oil spills, space shuttle explosions, failed levees and other disasters often share a common thread: technological arrogance and hubris.

That hubris is what a presidential commission investigating the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will be looking for. Academics say the people working on these projects before catastrophe hits are lulled into believing they know what they're doing is safe.

William Reilly, a co-chairman of the oil spill commission, says an example is the fact that deepwater drilling technology like that used at BP PLC's blown-out well has grown at an amazing rate. But the technology to cleanup after a spill is disproportionately primitive compared to the advances made in drilling.