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416 pages, Hardcover
First published November 19, 2019
What happened instead was that the men, thanks to catastrophically bad control-room design, were unable to understand what was going wrong. Swaddled in a fog of misdirection, they made catastrophic choices. The plant and the men were talking past each other: The plant hadn’t been designed to anticipate the imaginations of men; the men couldn’t imagine the working of a machine. (p. 30)
We don’t notice the desktop metaphor anymore because we no longer need it to explain how we’re supposed to use a modern computer. That’s how metaphors work: Once their underlying logic becomes manifest, we forget that they are ever there. No one remembers that before the steering wheel in a car, there were tillers, and that tillers made for a natural comparison when no one drove cars and far more people had piloted a boat. (p. 147)