You could sense the unalloyed glee in some quarters at the news that technical problems would mean the London Eye millennium Ferris wheel would remain on its side for a further four weeks: another piece of millennium tomfoolery heading towards a farcical end.
Engineers know that these things happen, and that part of their job is to find fast solutions to such unforseen problems. The public at large, by contrast, has an insatiable appetite for things that go wrong. The corrollary to this is that people can quickly become blase about major engineering projects of awesome achievement. When the Channel Tunnel was opened, for example, the focus quickly shifted to its financial woes. And dozens of travellers on the first passenger services described their historic passage under the English Channel as `boring’.
The danger is that our capacity as a nation for making big, bold statements through technology and engineering will be severely hampered by what looks like a collective lack of awe.
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