How very true, and the WTC is the most recent example of this. While I can hardly call the use of relative weak floor trusses and lack of adequate fireproofing of the stairwells a design mistake, it was a huge oversight. They actually did anticipate a 707 flying into the buildings, but didn't consider the impact of the fuel fire. Perhaps if they had, the buildings would have stood another hour or two, and those trapped on the upper floors would have had a chance to escape. Still, I really can't fault them too much-the buildings stood long enough for over 20,000 to get out despite sustaining an impact of a much larger plane than they were designed for, and also going much faster.
And then of course there are the real mistakes. I department store collapsed in either Hong Kong or Korea, and a couple of hundred people died. Then we have the classic example-the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. While nobody died in that one, it was certainly a graphic illustration of why wind forces needs to be taken into account. And what about the railroad trestle that collapsed sometime in the 1800s, killing everyone on the train? Sadly, the list goes on and on, although more people die annually from doctors' mistakes than from all the engineering mishaps combined in the last century, and this nonsense of working doctors for 80 to 100 hours per week is largely to blame. It's far too easy to make silly mistakes when you've been sleep deprived for weeks at a time.
Can't really agree with you on some of these points. When the WTC was beeing built (1966-1973) engineers did not have the same materials/technology they do today. I don't see how you can expect someone to forcast future inventions.
The building that collapsed in Korea was not due to a design flaw, rather, contractors that do not build things to specifications. This happens due to the fact that goverment officials that decide who get the contract and do inspections on buildings are both paid off by contractors. Can't entirely blame the engineers on this one.
I do agree however the Tacoma Narrows bridge was the fault of the engineer. Aerodynamics should have been taken into consideration when building that bridge and it wasn't.