Technology

Virtually There

“The digital reconstructions bringing Roman ruins to life” by Matthew Nicholls raises some interesting questions. In general I’m in favor of reality reality over virtual reality and augmented reality, but that position is not absolute. There are certainly places for digital reproductions of reality. I just have an instinctive reaction against the technology because we …

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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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Trace Evidence

That photo is from an early-1800s house upstate. There’s nothing exceptional about its structure, although architecturally and historically it’s interesting. But there are traces of the past in building materials, and it’s fun, and sometimes instructive, to take a look at them. Here’s a marked-up version of the photo for reference: The most obvious trace …

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Working With What You’ve Got

The picture shows a test pit at an old warehouse in the Bronx. It was built around 1890 – hence the wood columns – and we were trying to figure out what the foundations are. There’s a relatively recent concrete slab on grade in the cellar, but the interesting thing is the layer of brick …

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Still In Use

The picture above shows a natural waterfall on the Lachute River in the town of Ticonderoga, in the Adirondack Park in upstate New York. The falls that you see are half the width of what they originally were: the left half has disappeared. The left half was long ago directed into penstocks – a fancy …

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