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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Green Roofs and Structure

In preparing to write this post I went back and looked, and I’ve written about green roofs a lot. What I haven’t really done is discuss them from the viewpoint of structural engineering, which is of course how I interact with them on a professional level. Everything You Need to Know Before Installing a Green …

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The FIU Bridge Accident Report

I wrote about the FIU bridge collapse this past summer when the OSHA report came out. The more comprehensive analysis from the National Transportation Safety Board has been released, and it brought up a lot of the same issues for me. In short, regardless of the mistakes that led to the specific accident that occurred, …

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