An Extreme Rarity

That picture was taken in a theater attic. The diagonals on the upper right are portions of the timber-framed roof; the wall separates the auditorium area from the lobby. It’s the thing embedded in the wall that is rare and odd. In short, that’s the end of a long-span steel truss (over the auditorium, on …

An Extreme Rarity Read More »

Many Small Steps

I’m an incrementalist by nature: I prefer change via many small steps to radical upheaval. That seems to me to be safer, since you can more easily change direction if you find that you’ve made a mistake. But when dealing with very large problems, the early steps can seem like futile nibbling around the edges. …

Many Small Steps Read More »

Staving Off Entropy

It’s not often that I read a newspaper op-ed and a scholarly essay by the same authors on the same topic, but Andrew Russell and Lee Vinsel had “Let’s Get Excited About Maintenance!” in the New York Times in the summer of 2017 and then “After Innovation, Turn to Maintenance” in Technology and Culture the following January. …

Staving Off Entropy Read More »

The Bitter End

When I started work as an engineer, everyone in the office performed calculations using pencil on pads of “calculation paper” – graph paper with pretensions – and marked up drawings using pencil. We had an office color code involving red, green, yellow, blue, and regular gray pencils; I later learned that every office had a …

The Bitter End Read More »

Not The “Top” Ten

It’s that time of year again: the media are going to drown us all in top-ten lists. (There are sometimes top-twenty lists and a few brave writers have created top-hundreds, but the general assumption seems to be that our attention fades after ten items. That’s probably a good bet, as I know mine does.) In …

Not The “Top” Ten Read More »

Scroll to Top