Philosophy

Mistakes Were Made

Not every mistake is, in hindsight, as bad as the one represented by that ad. Asbestos use began long before the direct link to cancer was known, so it’s hard to blame the people who introduced it to building use. (It’s rather easier to blame the people who resisted its removal after the link was …

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A Bad Script

You watch horror movies, or thrillers, and people are wandering around haunted houses or abandoned hospitals alone with flashlights, and you want to yell at them “stop being an idiot.” And then you need to get the sizes of some joists in a building that’s been empty for years, so you wander around it alone …

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A Lifespan is a Long Time

The Institution of Civil Engineers – the UK counterpart to the American Society of Civil Engineers – issued a report on the whole-life risks for infrastructure (in its broad sense of the engineered built environment) some time ago that I finally found the time to read. And now I want to encourage every engineer to …

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A Breather

It’s 10PM, still 81F (27C), and over 60% humidity, and there’s a blackout in a good chunk of Manhattan. These conditions seem to demand some snow, photographed 19 months ago.

Mechanical Reproduction

I’ve stolen the title of this post from a deservedly famous sociological discussion of the meaning of art, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. This wasn’t just to keep from having to think up my own title, but because Walter Benjamin’s argument directly touches on the topic at hand, which is …

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