Analysis

Less Than It Seems

I didn’t intend to take that picture on a pseudo-artistic slant, but it’s more trouble than it’s worth to straighten it out. The old buildings on the right are pretty much plumb in reality. Also, the picture isn’t reversed – the Stone Street Tavern has this sign painted backwards because this facade, on Pearl Street, …

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An Unexpected “Un-“

This post was triggered by a spot-on question from Julia Manglitz about my comments on the fourth Rocky River Bridge. The main structure of that bridge consists of unreinforced concrete arches, and Julia asked “I’m curious about any thoughts you have on the relative durability of reinforced versus non? It seems as though reinforcement corrosion …

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Precision Garbage

I read “What Is the Difference Between Accuracy and Precision?” by Anne Marie Helmenstine yesterday (steered there by Bill Harvey), and of course I immediately started thinking about structural design in that light. I remember one of my professors saying, circa 1985, that our calculations simply weren’t accurate so we shouldn’t be worrying about every decimal …

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Construction History: Learning

I keep talking about how engineering moves forward by looking at past mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes are caused by ignorance, in which case it’s often possible to find the event that triggered research to reduce the level of ignorance. For engineers in the US, the St. Louis tornado of May 1896 was an event that …

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