I've spent most of my life surrounded by bridges, living beside oceans and bays and rivers that required me to cross them daily. But I never really knew what the engineering principles were, or how they worked—I simply trusted that they did.
After playing Poly Bridge, a physics-based game where you construct bridges to solve puzzles, I have concluded both that 1) no one should ever allow me to build a weight-bearing structure, and 2) it's a lot more fun than I anticipated.
In each level, you're given a certain amount of resources—concrete, wood, hydraulics—and tasked with building a bridge for a certain number of vehicles to cross. There's a tutorial that walks you through the basics (hint: it involves a lot of triangles) and it's simple enough to almost anyone to follow. Once the real game begins, however, it may take a lot of trial and error to figure out exactly how to get all those cars and motorbikes from point A to point B.
Sometimes you'll be limited by materials, other times only by your imagination. Sure, a ramp that launches motorcycles like projectiles across the water isn't the safest municipal construction decision, but it's definitely more fun. Other times you might construct wiggling suspension bridges, or drawbridges that contract when tugboats come chugging down the river.
I'm not particularly inclined towards engineering, so I wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy Poly Bridge. But the game holds your hand enough long enough to make you feel like you have the skills you need, and then lets you tweak and repeat as many times as you need to gain confidence in your own experiments. Read the rest
The driver was unharmed in the drop, reports Yahoo News, but broke his ribs and punctured a lung climbing out of the water. Read the rest
During Friday rush hour, a pair of deer trotted across the Golden Bate Bridge from San Francisco toward Marin. I hope they have FasTrak for the commute back. Read the rest
Amazingly talented and frequently quirky alt.folk act Thao & The Get Down Stay Down orchestrated the first video production on the new East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. They were shut down by The Man but not before capturing enough footage to make this vid for "Feeling Kind" from their excellent LP "We The Common." Read the rest
When the newly-replaced Oakland span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is demolished in the next few years, the scrap will be sent to China. David Grieshaber has other plans for it. He's launched BayBridgeHouse.org, an effort to recycle just a bit of the material into a house and multi-use space.
The project plans to build one of the most advanced eco sustainable houses to date, using recycled pieces of the bridge as the structure of the building. We are looking for creative out of the box designs that preserves the historic look and some design elements of the Bridge. Concrete, steel and glass, we do not intend to use any wood and plaster as a building material. The designs must utilize as much of the old bay bridge in the design as possible. This includes trusses, steel I-beams, steel girders, steel plates, wires, gates, fencing, ladders, walkways, concrete, and any other parts associated with the bridge. The location of the house will have a view of the New Bay Bridge.
Bay Bridge House (thanks, Jason Tester!) Read the rest
Photo: Annette Sandburg
Last weekend, Pittsburgh's Andy Warhol Bridge was yarn-bombed by volunteers. Pittsburgh Magazine offers 30 photos of the feat, which involved "more than 3,000 feet of colorful, hand-knit blankets in honor of the late pop artist’s 85th birthday."
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A new bridge in Dresden, Germany, was deemed so hideous that the UNESCO has delisted the entire city from its World Heritage index. The removal, protesting the construction's marring of historical city views, makes Dresden the first city to exit the United Nations' tally of the world's beautiful and important places. Read the rest