Ships still sink

There were two recent headlines about large ships sinking in the last week:  First, a ship that ran aground on a reef in Australia or New Zealand finally broke up.   Second, a brand new, modern, huge, high tech cruise ship ran aground and sank off the coast of Italy.  The cruise ship that just sank was only a few years old and cost $500 million dollars. I was at lunch with coworkers when the Australian ship was on the news and a coworker said "Ships still sink?"  What he meant was why, in 2012 with all the technology we have, do ships still sink?

My first reaction was to dismiss his question for being so naive, and marvel about how sheltered Internet geeks always think that "real world" problems don't exist at all, just because they don't exist in the world of sheltered Internet geeks.  I'm always amazed at how "theory people" don't understand that in the real world, there are physical consequences when things go wrong.

In our world of software things go wrong all the time - code fails, data gets lost, processes get restarted, etc., but the consequences are usually tiny.   These are all the results of mistakes or carelessness somewhere in a complicated system.   Well, the same things happen in other professions too.  And when they do, bad things happen.

But yeah, it sucks that big ships still hit reefs and rocks these days.