Posts Tagged ‘engineering’

Cable-Stayed, Suspension, Draw, Arch, Truss

October 12, 2021

Engineer Nehemiah Mabry explains which types of bridges are used in which situations.

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Why the Netherlands isn’t underwater

August 5, 2021

The Netherlands would be underwater, if not for the Delta Works. A TED-Ed video by Stefan Al, animated by Jody Ghani Nordby.

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Lighthouse Lenses

July 14, 2021

Augustin-Jean Fresnel invented a lens that helped lighthouses prevent more shipwrecks. A  Vox video by Phil Edwards.

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Domino’s Robot Pizza Delivery In Houston

April 22, 2021

Domino’s Robot Pizza Delivery In Houston

Perhaps believing there aren’t enough unemployed delivery drivers in Texas, Domino’s Pizza will deliver pies via Nuro R2 autonomous robot vehicles in Houston. Domino’s selling point to customers: no tipping.

Houston traffic. Robot cars with a top speed of 25 MPH. Texan gun ownership rate. What could possibly go wrong?


More:

“Nuro’s self-driving robot will deliver Domino’s pizza orders to customers in Houston,” Kim Lyons, The Verge

“Houston, we have a robot: Nuro, Domino’s team up for autonomous pizza delivery,” Brian Straight, Modern Shipper, via FreightWaves

“Beep Beep: Domino’s Is Testing a Self-Driving Delivery Car,” Jenny G. Zhang, Eater

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

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Spice Up Solar Panels With Chili Peppers

March 11, 2021

Spice Up Solar Panels With Chili Peppers

“Here’s some news hot off the press. Researchers have found a secret ingredient for making solar panels that absorb the sun’s energy more efficiently. Depending on what you like to eat, there’s a good chance you can find it at home. Capsaicin, the chemical that gives chili peppers their spicy sting, also improves perovskite solar cells – the devices that make up solar panels.

(more…)

“Levee Wars” Make Floods Worse

October 13, 2020

High levees are expensive, and often push water into neighboring river communities that can’t afford the same protection. Video by Ranjani Chakraborty of Vox, and Katie Campbell of ProPublica, 2018.

More:

“Environmental justice and flood prevention: The moral cost of floodwater redistribution,” Kuei-Hsien Liao, Jeffrey Kok Hui Chan, Yin-Ling Huang, Landscape and Urban Planning [abstract]

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Space Toilet: A Giant Flush for Womankind

October 5, 2020

Space Toilet: A Giant Flush for Womankind

Friday night, while you were watching Donald Trump’s helicopter touch down at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, an Antares rocket lifted off from Wallops Island carrying a $23 million titanium toilet to the International Space Station. The new low-gravity space potty, known as the Universal Waste Management System (UWMS), sports a smaller footprint and improved efficiency, and is equally adapted to the needs of male and female astronauts. As NASA astronauts say, “you go, girl!”

More:

“Finally, a Space Toilet for Ladies,” Amanda Arnold, The Cut

“NASA’s new $30M space toilet is smaller, better smelling and more female-friendly,” CBC Radio

“State-of-the-art space toilet successfully launched into space,” Mark Kaufman, Mashable

“Antares rocket launches new astronaut toilet and more to space station for NASA,” Chelsea Gohd, Space.com

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

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$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

Updates:

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

“Ups and downs: Trump’s $27m-a-mile border wall being scaled with $5 ladders,” Luke O’Neil, The Guardian

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

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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

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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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