Technology

Two Transportation Technologies

That picture is the steamer Falls City passing High Bridge, Kentucky, circa 1907. The bridge carries trains on the line between Lexington and Danville through a fairly rural area; the nearest town is named High Bridge. The Kentucky River is in a deep gorge here – the bridge, at some 300 feet above the river, …

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Already Obsolete

That is a rather insanely-detailed engraving titled “Bird’s-eye view of lower Manhattan” from 1915. Even at the reduced scale I can post here, its accuracy is good, from Castle Clinton at the front of Battery Park, looking vaguely like a railroad roundhouse, to One Broadway (the dark high-rise near the center of the image) with …

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It’s All Made Up

My original name for this topic was “That’s insane” but that description only applies to a piece of the discussion. I have long held the position that the US should switch to the metric system for measurements, not because it’s necessarily better than imperial units but because it would be a lot easier if we …

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At The Smallest Scale

Engineers in general spend a lot of time modeling and organizing reality in design. Looking only at structural engineers, a large difference between those who design new buildings and those of us who work with existing buildings is the starting point of the models. New-building analysis and design typically starts with an architectural concept, and …

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And On The Fourth Hand…

I like unposed old pictures, because they give you a window into people’s thinking in the past. They also, if you let them, can give you a window into your thinking now. We don’t make fewer assumptions than people in the past did, just different ones. That’s the Monday (the title has the day) washing …

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