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Asking The Experts

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The New York Times actually asked some experts (gift link) in structural engineering and explosives about what could have caused the failure of the Nova Kakhovka dam. They said an explosion. A big explosion.

There’s been a fair bit of speculation on social media that I’ve stayed away from. I’ve shared some of it, but my experience is that big stuff, like this dam, is not amenable to our intuitions. You need (sorry) calculations and real numbers. I’m sure the people the NYT asked also have a better feel for this sort of thing than I do, because they’ve thought about it all their lives.

Some of that speculation has obviously been motivated reasoning toward the preferred culprits. Whatever the immediate cause of the dam break, it would not have happened without Russia’s invasion, without Russia’s earlier explosion at the dam, without Russia’s mismanagement of the water flow.

The damage from this is incalculable.

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