The vessel used by the warrior hero of antiquity Theseus was eventually rebuild board by board, until it was an entirely new ship. So, what of the original remained, you might ask. Articles you see posted in this topic, Ship of Theseus will attempt to analyze case decisions on topics of interest to the construction profession, and hope to draw from the cases some lesson of precedential value, which should have current, real world application. Of course, the law is itself a human exercise, and therefore, imperfect. So, there are no guarantees here, only opinions of probable outcomes. And just a little sense of humor.
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
- Bob Dylan (1964)
“I’ll tell ya, now I know why tigers eat their young!”
- Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield), Caddyshack
Growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, I can only assume we did not have reliable clocks in the house. Or thermometers. Why, you ask? Any time I was curious about either measure, and wanted to be certain, I dialed 844-1212. The “official” UMB Bank time and temperature awaited me. It would still leave me wondering if it were the same at home as at the branch, wherever that was. I did not know the service tied up every single iteration of 844s, from 0000 to 9999, so for grins I could have dialed a different number every time. After 50 years of reporting, (and over 20 years ago now), UMB ended the dial-a-clock service. Why, you ask? Well, the phone companies wanted those 10,000 numbers, plus we have that information at our fingertips. Another casualty of Moore’s Law. And Apple. Both ravenous fathers that eat their young.
You see, Kronos, youngest of the Titans and Greek Mythological figure known as the “father of time,” reportedly devoured his children for fear they would later depose him, which they did. His story is a sad and terrifying one we will explore in detail in future articles, but for now, his tale – eating his kids – is symbolic of time ravenously devouring the ages and facing an inevitable end. Time marches on, but the weather, well, as they say in St. Louis, where I live now, “if you don’t like it, wait five minutes.” With a changing climate, the weather is more and more unpredictable. In the 1920s, it was unpredictable for different reasons – we truly lacked the technology to do so. But, technologies that revolutionized the field – barometers, new mathematical calculations, weather balloons and radios – began to emerge. And that last tech breakthrough, the radio, is the central character in my next tale…