Posts Tagged ‘engineering’

$18 Billion Border Wall Breeched by $90 Saws.

April 23, 2020

$18 Billion Border Wall Breeched by $90 Saws.

Smugglers sawed into new sections of President Trump’s $18 billion border wall 18 times in the San Diego area during a single month last year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection records FOIA’ed by the Washington Post. Evidence suggests the smugglers used inexpensive battery-powered reciprocating saws, which you can buy at Home Depot for about $90, to saw through the new compsite steel bollard walls.

Even if workmen stop sawing though the wall, Mother Nature might knock it over during the desert monsoon season if storm gates aren’t installed and left open, which would defeat the whole absurd, costly premise of the thing.

More:

“Smugglers sawed into Trump’s border wall 18 times in one month in San Diego area, records show,” Nick Miroff, Washington Post

Related:

“Long-term maintenance for Trump’s border wall could cost billions, but government isn’t saying, Nick Miroff, Washington Post

“Trump administration awards $569M border wall contract despite calls to spend more on the coronavirus fight,” Kim Slowey, Construction Dive

Update:

“Trump order to paint border wall black could drive up cost $500 million or more,” Nick Miroff and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post

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Boeing on Starliner Failure: Oops.

March 4, 2020

Boeing on Starliner Failure: Oops.

As part of the Trump administration’s “privatize everything” policy, NASA contracted Boeing, maker of the brilliant  737 MAX, to build the CST-100 Starliner space capsule to shuttle astronauts to and from the International Space Station under the multi-billion-dollar Commercial Crew Program (CCP). The Trump administration wants to replace NASA’s government bloat with the efficiency and precision of private industry. NASA launched the Starliner in December:

“The Starliner spacecraft encountered problems almost immediately after reaching space when its onboard computer, with its time miscalibrated by 11 hours, failed to fire the thrusters that would send the craft on a path to the space station. While aloft, the spacecraft struggled to communicate with the ground. By the time controllers could figure out what went wrong, the spacecraft had burned too much fuel, preventing it from docking with the station, one of its primary objectives.”

— “Boeing admits it failed to test the Starliner spacecraft adequately before its maiden flight,” Christian Davenport, Washington Post

Onward to Mars!

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Why the Leaning Tower of Pisa doesn’t fall over

February 12, 2020

The city of Pisa’s name comes from a Greek term meaning “marshy land,” so you can guess why its famous tower tilts. A TED-ed video explainer by Alex Gendler.

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Milan’s Robot Bartender

January 16, 2020

Bartender, you’re fired. An industrial robot mixologist has taken your job.

More:

“Robotic bar opens in Milan to ’empower’ city’s drinker,” Lucy Ingham, Verdict

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Wooden Skyscrapers

January 7, 2020

Grist makes the case for wooden skyscrapers.

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IBM’s Portable ‘E-Tongue’ Taster

October 16, 2019

IBM released a video for its AI-assisted e-tongue” Hypertaste technology, that can quickly identify liquids you should not drink. The portable device can transfer data to a mobile app in about a minute, determining water quality or if alcohol is counterfeit. It can’t do blind tastings at your wine cellar yet, but maybe they’ll introduce Hypertaste to Watson.

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House of the Future, Past

August 20, 2019

Buckminster Fuller designed the Dymaxion House in 1927 as “the home of the future.” The only surviving prototype of Fuller’s vision, located at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, was meant to be a model of an affordable, mass-produced residence, but the design never caught on.

More:

“What are the lessons from Bucky Fuller’s Dymaxion House?” Lloyd Alter, Treehugger

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Insect-Sized Solar-Powered Flying Robot

July 29, 2019

“At half the weight of a paper clip, ‘RoboBee X-wing’ has achieved untethered flight using ultra-lightweight solar cells, powering piezoelectric actuators, via a stripped down circuit board.”

More:

“Harvard’s RoboBee X-Wing can fly under its own power,” Mariella Moon, EnGadget

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Steam-Powered New York

July 10, 2019

There are 100 miles of steam pipes under New York City’s streets, and many have been there since 1880. They currently serve about 2000 buildings.

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How to keep tall buildings from blowing over.

May 20, 2019

When you look at New York’s new, skinny, “supertall” skyscrapers, you wonder why they don’t just blow over. Architects give them twisted sides, tapered pointy tips, and gaping holes to reduce the wind’s effects and keep the buildings still.

A Vox video by Christophe Haubursin and Gina Barton.

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