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 …

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I love finding minor pieces of technology that I never would have thought about because they work so smoothly that they’re invisible. The picture above shows the existing non-original mechanism for the clock in a clock tower. You can see one clock face, but actually there are three, all driven by the same mechanism, with …

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The Conclusion Is That There Is No Conclusion

The CTBUH “First Skyscrapers/Skyscraper Firsts” Symposium was a blast. There were three paper sessions followed by a panel responding to what had been said; I got to listen to all the papers and then take part in the panel. There was a general consensus among the presenters – even the ones who favored a specific building as …

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Clusters of Technologies

The idea that technological development happens in groups of related fields is not a new one. The traditional definition of the industrial revolution centers on a cluster involving coal mining, pumps to keep the mines dry, steam engines to run the pumps, and iron-working powered by coal. There’s a similar cluster closer to home for …

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