Causality

Causality

Chain of Events. Cause and Effect. We analyse what went right and what went wrong as we discover that many outcomes can be predicted, planned for and even prevented... Show More

Episodes

May 7, 2020 39 min

One Friday morning in 1966 in a small town in Wales a mining spoils waste tip let go with a river of liquified rubble destroying buildings and a school. Killing 144 people, mostly children in their classrooms. The mechanics of how this happened are simple. The ignorance and economics of why this happened boggles the mind.

Related episodes:

  • Causality Premium Giveaway
  • Causality Episode 20: Stava Dam
  • Investigation and Reports:

  • Coal Mi...
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    January 30, 2020 69 min

    With two crashes in five months of the new 737 4th Generation a design flaw seemed likely. We look at how Boeings focus on cost-avoidance, grandfathering and bending probabilities during design would ultimately cost 346 people their lives.

    Related episodes:

  • Causality Episode 10: The Comet
  • Causality Episode 14: Concorde
  • Investigation and Reports:

  • FAA Finds New Safety Risk in Boeing 737 Max
  • KNKT JT610 Final Report
  • NTSB ASR-19-01 Safe...
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    December 6, 2019 37 min

    In 2000 the small township of Walkerton Ontario witnessed the largest outbreak of E.Coli infections in Canada’s history. The water utility claimed the town water was safe, but it wasn’t and many people paid with their lives.

    Links of potential interest:

  • Walkerton Ontario
  • Toronto Ontario
  • Walkerton E. coli Outbreak
  • Death On Tap: The Poisoning Of Walkerton
  • The Walkerton Inquiry Report
  • Heavy Rainfall and Waterborne Disease Outbreaks: The...
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    October 3, 2019 26 min

    The evening before Christmas Eve in 2015 saw a widespread blackout of the power grid across the Ukraine. We look at how a cyber-attack on electric utility companies in Europe, changed how cyber-security is regarded in control systems, forever.

    Links of potential interest:

  • December 2015 Ukraine Power Grid Cyber-attack
  • Analysis of the Cyber Attack on the Ukrainian Power Grid [PDF]
  • Ukraine Report: When The Lights Went Out [PDF]
  • Inside...
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    July 4, 2019 25 min

    As part of Rio's preparations for the Olympics in 2016 a cycling pathway was built adjacent to a narrow, congested roadway along a picturesque shoreline. When a section collapsed only months before the opening ceremony killing two people, the world looked on with growing concerns about the imminent Olympics.
    With John Chidgey.

    Links of potential interest:

  • Deaths on Collapsed Rio de Janeiro Bike Path Deal Safety Blow to Olympic...
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    June 4, 2019 27 min

    In 2009 an AirBus A320 departing LaGuardia Airport in New York suffered a dual engine failure due to a bird strike during takeoff. In a highly improbable event an equally highly improbable landing in the Hudson River shocked and amazed the world. We look at what went right on Flight 1549.
    With John Chidgey.

    Links of potential interest:

  • US Airways Flight 1549
  • The Miracle On The Hudson
  • NTSB Official Report (PDF)
  • 49 CFR 830.2 Definiti...
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    May 9, 2019 28 min

    In 1986 an unremarkable building in Singapore collapsed killing dozens of people. We look at how the supervision of the construction and the design itself resulted in a structure that was at best critically stable, and ultimately one that could only ever fail.
    With John Chidgey.

    Prior Episode References:

  • Causality Episode 5: Maccabiah
  • Causality Episode 15: Sampoong Department Store
  • Links of potential interest:

  • Hotel New World Coll...
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    April 4, 2019 31 min

    On the 27th of June, 1988 in central Paris a runaway train collided with a stationary train in Gare De Lyon station, claiming 56 lives and injuring 60 more. Whilst the court found the driver guilty and sent him to jail, was he solely to blame? We look at how poor design decisions made Gare De Lyon inevitable.
    With John Chidgey.

    Prior Episode References:

  • Causality Episode 6: Amagasaki
  • Links of potential interest:

  • Gare de Lyon Rail A...
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    February 7, 2019 38 min

    In December, 1984 in the city of Bhopal in central India, a Union Carbide Pesticide plant would fail and release tonnes of toxic gas into the city, killing thousands of people. It was the worst industrial disaster in human history. We follow the threads and trace back the root causes behind the incident at Bhopal.
    With John Chidgey.

    Links of potential interest:

  • Bhopal
  • Carbaryl
  • Methyl isocyanate
  • Bhopal Chronology [PDF]
  • LABOR REPORT ON ...
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    January 8, 2019 51 min

    In 2010 an Oil Drilling Rig suffered a catastrophic well blowout, killing 11 people, destroying the rig and leading to the worst maritime oil spill in history. It all happened a few hours after the well was declared safe and ready for handover. We look at the human and financial factors that led to the incident at Macondo.
    With John Chidgey.

    Links of potential interest:

  • Deepwater Drilling
  • Semi-submersible Platform
  • Macondo Prospect
  • Mac...
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    December 13, 2018 30 min

    In 2003 the Space Shuttle Columbia launched successfully but after its mission was completed burned up on re-entry with the loss of all onboard. We look at how normalisation of deviation blinded many at NASA to a risk that had existed since 1981.
    With John Chidgey.

    Links of potential interest:

  • Space Shuttle Columbia
  • Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster
  • STS-107
  • When The Space Shuttle Didn’t Come Home
  • Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster Explain...
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    August 31, 2018 19 min

    When two trains collided head on at Kipton, Ohio in 1891, it was a wake up call for the railroad industry in North America whose impacts would be far-reaching and would lead to a new timekeeping standard that was unprecedented.
    With John Chidgey.

    Links of potential interest:

  • US Timepiece Industry and Railroad Watch
  • Kipton Train Wreck Anniversary
  • The Great Kipton Train Wreck
  • Kipton Train Crash
  • Kipton Train Collision
  • Railway Post Off...
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    July 8, 2018 50 min

    The largest nuclear incident in human history released an estimated 400 times the radioactive material compared to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It all happened because of a test that was delayed by one shift, or was it the ultimate inevitability of a flawed reactor design?
    With John Chidgey.

    Prior Episode References:

  • Causality Episode 3: Fukushima
  • Causality Episode 17: Three Mile Island
  • Technical References:

  • Iodine-135
  • Periodic Table
  • Lis...
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    April 29, 2018 35 min

    A turning point in control systems user interface design and alarm management happened in an unlikely place that few have ever heard of. We look at what went wrong at Milford Haven.
    With John Chidgey.

    Links of potential interest:

  • The explosion and fires at the Texaco Refinery, Milford Haven
  • Milford Haven HSE Accident Report [PDF]
  • Alarm Management
  • Abnormal Situation Management [PDF]

  • Support Causality on Patreon
    Episode sponsor:
    Mak...

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    February 24, 2018 21 min

    On the 19th of July, 1985 in Tesero, Northern Italy, a tailings dam gave way and killed 268 people. With the most common tailings dam design in the world, what went wrong and how widespread are the risks?
    With John Chidgey.

    Links of potential interest:

  • Stava tailings dam failure
  • Water Management Considerations for Conventional Storage
  • Conventional Impoundment Storage - The current techniques
  • The Stava Mudflow of 19 July 1985 PDF
  • Lique...
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    November 22, 2017 20 min

    In 2015 at Alton Towers in the UK, The Smiler Rollercoaster experienced a major incident leading to severe injuries for multiple riders. We look at how pressure to get the ride running again and mis-communication defeated the system designed to protect the riders.
    With John Chidgey.

    Links of potential interest:

  • Alton Towers
  • The Smiler
  • How Alton Towers Smiler Crash Unfolded
  • Alton Towers Smiler Crash Footage Released
  • Alton Towers Smile...
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    September 14, 2017 20 min

    In 1952 a fog in London left 4,000 dead in just 4 days but many more would die before the causes could be rectified. Worse than that, it had happened before and it’s happening again right now, somewhere else.
    With John Chidgey.

    Links of potential interest:

  • Inversion (meteorology)
  • Great Smog of London
  • Battersea Power Station
  • Clean Air Act 1956
  • Trams in London
  • 1948 Donora Smog
  • Pollution in China

  • Support Causality on Patreon

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    June 2, 2017 43 min

    On March 28, 1979 Unit 2 of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant in the United States of America an incident would lead to a partial reactor core meltdown. Many blamed the operators for stopping the reactor cooling system but the real root causes showed a known flaw in the design and alarm flooding had blinded the operators to what was actually happening.
    With John Chidgey.

    Related episodes:

  • Causality Episode 3: Fukushima
  • Links of p...

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    March 10, 2017 39 min

    In 1977 on the small island of Tenerife two 747 Jumbo Jets collided on the runway in poor visibility. A miscommunication clearly occurred, but even today, the same elements still exist and it could happen again.
    With John Chidgey.

    Links of potential interest:

  • Tenerife-North Airport
  • Teide
  • Surface Movement Radar
  • Air Travels Communications Killer
  • Flight Global
  • Another 737NG PFD Question

  • Support Causality on Patreon

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    January 27, 2017 38 min

    The Sampoong Department Store in South Korea collapsed in 1995 killing over 500 people. The investigators were shocked to find just how many rules had been broken but the true root cause might have been something more innocuous.
    With John Chidgey.

    Links of potential interest:

  • Failures of the Sampoong Department Store
  • Sampoong Department Store Collapse
  • Sampoong Superstore PDF

  • Support Causality on Patreon

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