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6 Responses to “Defeating earthquakes, and more free videos from the American Geophysical Union”

  1. MollyMaguire says:

    Haven’t watched the whole thing yet, but at least one of his points could sort of be paraphrased: if we had never developed an architecture more complex than timber framing (where knee braces are standard), we’d be better off.

  2. picaflor says:

    Oh this brings back memories of a middle school project at a summer program…

    My team (totally made up of the outcasts) built a bridge with interlocking triangles with wood and glue that wasn’t as pretty as some of the others. We were certain we would lose as each new brick was piled on, but they eventually ran out of bricks. Our bridge stood strongest of all, but we were disqualified because of that. I remember thinking that was messed up, but oh well. Popularity contests and all.
    I should’ve kept it!

  3. Jan Moren says:

    I thought the lesson we’ve learned is that we _don’t_ want rigid structures. You want it all to flex and bend, not stand straight. The building I’m working in is fairly recent, and it stands on stilts in the basement, buffered by giant springs and meter-high rubber cushions. The whole thing is designed to sway like a ship on rough seas if a large earthquake hits.

    • Frederik says:

      The rubber cushions and springs don’t make the building flexible, they isolate it from the ground, so the quake has no effect on the building. That is verry expensive to set up. If you don’t have dampening, then having a strong building is the next best thing.

  4. millie fink says:

    Obsolete is a verb now? Anyway, it works for me!

  5. Unanimous Cowherd says:

    I’ve never used Popsicle sticks to make bridges. At our school we bought regulation bridge-building kits for a dollar or two, made from around 12 ounces of various sized lengths of balsa wood. We had a specific kind of glue as well, and the construction could only use those materials. And we had to span something like 28 inches, with a height of no more than 14 inches, and have two stress points about 12 inches apart at the top of the span. Otherwise, anything was allowed in the design. I remember building a span that withstood over 300 pounds before it failed.

    Looks like this kind of contest is still going strong in Canada and elsewhere: http://www.balsabridge.com/ — and some of the rules are changed (no gusset plates? what?) so I guess I was building bridges old school.