“Engineering group not amused”

| November 14, 2007

I’ll bet. The American Society of Civil Engineers is demanding that a video spoofing their investigation of the levee failures in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina be removed from YouTube:

A long-simmering dispute about whether a leading engineering organization whitewashed the role of the Army Corps of Engineers in the failure of the levee system during Hurricane Katrina has broken into the open with a bitter YouTube spoof and a demand for an ethics investigation of the organization’s staff.

In June, the American Society of Civil Engineers released the results of a peer review of the Defense Department-sponsored Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force, or IPET. But critics say the review, and particularly the news release accompanying it, minimized the role of the levee failure in the flooding of the city…

The civil engineering group is bristling at a video spoofing its levee investigation recently posted on the Internet site YouTube by the local advocacy group Levees.org. The video implies that ASCE engineers were “in some way bribed or corrupted by the corps,” the association contends. They demanded it be taken down.

In the spoof, narrators say, “The Army Corps of Engineers asked the American Society of Civil Engineers to hand-pick some members to find the truth.

“Then they paid them nearly a million dollars and awarded them medals of honor. Way to go, guys!” The American Society of Civil Engineers accepted close to $1 million from the corps to compensate the external review committee members for their time and expenses during the two-year investigation.

The video is very low budget but quite amusing. The AMCE appears to have not learned the basic lesson of the ‘net: attempts to suppress information always backfire. Always. I suspect that millions will watch this video who otherwise would never have seen it for this reason alone.

And just in case the video does vanish from YouTube, here’s a copy you can download (FLV format, 2.5 MB). ..bruce w..

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Category: Humor, Main, Pitfalls, Project Management, Video

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at bwebster@bfwa.com, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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