Does your dog agonize?

DOES YOUR DOG AGONIZE?©2006 Lou & Peter Berryman, Cornbelt Music
Does your dog agonize
And do you empathize
Do his dreams wallow in
The dog he could have been
And if you ask him hey
Have you been good today
Does he avert ‘is eyes
Does your dog agonize
Does he ask of your cat
Why can’t I be like that
So full of confidence
A pet of consequence
And does that reinforce
His core of deep remorse
Tho he’s fine otherwise
Does your dog agonize
Did your dog write the book
About the hang-dog look
Does his tail droop and drag
Then give one feeble wag
Does he eye doggie girls
And whine when spotting squirrels
But then apologize
Does your dog agonize
Does he think maybe you
Should find him things to do
Like maybe blow your wad
On the iditerod
Then feels ashamed that he
Can’t independentlyLearn to self actualize
Does your dog agonize
BRIDGE: Some say that maybe we
Project our own regrets
On unsuspecting pets
I spose it may be true
It’s really me who’s blue
I don’t tell my dog tho
It makes him worry so
Does your dog agonize
And do you empathize
Do his dreams wallow in
The dog he could have been
And if you ask him hay
Have you been good today
Does he avert ‘is eyes
Does your dog agonize

Starvation and WWII Conscientious Objectors

Starvation and WWII Conscientious Objectors

I have watched several of the public television episodes of The War. I began to wonder about the conscientious objectors. When I went to pick up Madeline earlier today, I heard some of this–

And here is the link to the Minnesota Public Radio program

As near as I can tell, this Nebraska site seems to come up the most on Google–

Mobile blog

I have been waiting for this for years. Finally, I can blog from a mobile device and email the post. Wonderful. Technology has given me yet another way to spew out meaningless, carelessly formatted drivel. I am in heaven. I wrote a short post of Dorothea’s and my trip to the Guthrie this afternoon while we were sitting on a restaraunt patio this afternoon. The link is mobile blog. I expect to be posting more to that blog. It is a blogspot blog with easy connectivity with the new Pocket PC. Cloud computing, here I come.

first post from the “wing”

This is first note. Experimental, asit were. I am lying in bed, thumb typing on the new whatever it is called–Pocket PC, MDA. My idea is to write in “Word Mobile” and then copy/paste into Moveabletype. Well, that worked well enough. Nighty-night.

Ubuntu and x11vncTwisted as it

Ubuntu and x11vnc

Twisted as it is, I have this evening achieved a longstanding goal. I have Linux running on a box at home and can remote desktop to it from the laptop, which is running XP. So, I have a sort of active-active dual-boot. I can flip between Linux and Windows on one machine. The perverse part is the having Windows as a base for Linux, but oh well. The next thing is going to be getting it by Dorothea in the sense that my idea is to have the Linux box always on. She won’t like that. Oh yeah–and the other thing–a pretty big thing–was getting the Linux box running wirelessly. Linux and wireless cards are apparently still bad ju-ju. I downloading the Linuxant 30-day free trial and it is working, so I will gladly pay the $20 or so for it.

Totally off any subject of live, but I got the final bee in my bonnet during the trip to France. I got stuck on the idea of having a separate computer for a project management, consultant, home business sort of thing. Also, I am completely not wanting to go Vista. I want to position myself so that I know Linux and don’t have to do the Vista thing.

I should have been scraping paint off the outside of the house. Or posted pictures from the State Fair trip with Liam. But maybe now, I can. OCD-wise, perhaps the jam has been broken.

The first thing that Dorothea will do when she comes in from work (she’s working something like a 2-10 shift today) is she’ll turn off the power to the router and the hub. She’ll want to know why the big old tower that I bought for the distributed database class in the Spring of 2006 is sitting, running, on the floor of the dining room. All fair questions.

Much useful and good information

And, in the read more section at the bottom, the Star Tribune’s article from this morning about the smoking gun–engineers were on the verge of condemning the I-35W bridge in late 2006 and early 2007.

Much useful and good information from the City Pages. Unfortunately, it is a link; I wasn’t able to get a copy.

City Pages–bridge who’s to blame

Who’s to Blame?
In the wake of the I-35W bridge collapse, it’s time to take a hard look at
the politicians and policies that may have contributed to the disaster.

And this is a link to their blog’s photo gallery.

And here is an editorial from the New York Times.

One Bridge Doesn’t Fit All

Published: August 18, 2007

Princeton, N.J.

Maxwell Loren Hoyoke-Hirsch

AS many have pointed out, the deadly bridge failure in Minneapolis was symptomatic of a system of bridges that will continue to corrode, crack and crumble if not maintained. But maintenance is not the only problem. We also need to design and build better bridges.

The I-35W bridge was of a type called a “truss deck” bridge; of the 760 bridges around the country having the same design, the Federal Highway Administration found 264, or 35 percent, to be structurally deficient in 2006. Of the bridges having a similar “truss thru” design, 58 percent were labeled deficient. By comparison, only 13.4 percent of the nearly 600,000 bridges of all types were found to be structurally deficient.

While we don’t know yet exactly what caused it, the Minneapolis collapse is hauntingly similar to the collapse in 1983 of another interstate highway bridge over the Mianus River in Connecticut. That disaster led to inspections of similar bridges, which found dangerous cracks from deferred maintenance.

What the Mianus and Minneapolis bridges had in common was not just neglect. Both were the products of a design mentality in which engineers simply used a standard form, and often the same detailed features. Public bridges are all too often designed by anonymous teams, and the results can be seen on our highways.

The goal of good bridge design is to integrate efficiency, economy and elegance in a single design. Few bridges built over the last century have achieved this. Most are efficient but strictly functional; a few that aspire to elegance have done so at the expense of efficiency and economy, like the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which is estimated to cost more than four times its original budget.

Having given seminars to many state bridge engineers, I am aware of the political pressures they face to control costs. But there are often opportunities to improve design even in the case of very ordinary bridges.

For example, a few years ago, in a discussion with bridge engineers from a Midwestern state, I suggested an alternative to a conventional overpass they had built, only to be told it would have cost too much. Challenged, I redesigned the overpass myself, and sent the plan to a steel fabricator the state worked with. The fabricator did a cost analysis and, to everyone’s surprise, found that my version would have cost slightly less than the standard design. The revision was also, in my view, better looking.

American bridge engineering largely overlooks that efficiency, economy and elegance can be mutually reinforcing ideals. This is largely because engineers are not taught outstanding examples that express these ideals.

Elsewhere, however, there is a great history of such integrated education. In the early- and mid-20th century, two professors at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich — first Wilhelm Ritter and then Pierre Lardy — used that broader approach and turned out such eminent designers as Robert Maillart and Christian Menn, experts in reinforced concrete, and Othmar Ammann, who worked in structural steel.

Maillart never built in the United States, but Ammann designed several immense spans in the New York City area, including the George Washington, Bayonne, Bronx-Whitestone and Verrazano-Narrows Bridges. Professor Menn is generally considered today’s greatest practicing designer, and his Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge in Boston has become a symbol of that city in the four years since its opening.

The goal of these three designers was always to create long-lasting bridges disciplined by the conservation of structural materials and public money yet with great visual appeal. This is why photographs and models of their bridges are the only works of structural engineering regularly exhibited in art museums.

Good design need not be limited to giant projects. An example was the design competition in 1989 for the United States Naval Academy Bridge in Annapolis, Md., organized with the help of Professor Menn. It was patterned after the Swiss practice of having public juries of experts and citizens evaluate designs, and the result was an efficient and elegant bridge for essentially the same amount of money that a standard design would have cost.

In the end, it is to the credit of state bridge engineers that despite their tight budgets, there have been relatively few fatal collapses caused by structural deficiencies. However, more money, better maintenance and new regulations will not be enough to change things if new bridges are no better than the ones they replace. The public and our elected officials must learn to see bridges — of all sizes and in all locations — as more than just utilitarian objects. Bridges should be cared for in the way we treat works to which we have an emotional attachment as well as a physical need.

A 2000 report by the Federal Highway Administration indicated that an average of about 2,500 new bridges are completed each year; each could be an opportunity for better design. The best will be elegant and safe while being economical to build.

The key is to require that every bridge have one engineer who makes the conceptual design, understands construction and has a strong aesthetic motivation and personal attachment to the work. This will require not only a new ethos in professional practice, but also a new focus in the way engineers are educated, one modeled on the approach of those Swiss professors, Wilhelm Ritter and Pierre Lardy.

The first opportunity to move toward this new outlook will be in choosing the replacement design for the Minneapolis bridge. I would urge the State of Minnesota to organize a jury of public officials, engineers and community leaders to recommend a design after a holding a competition along the lines of the one in Annapolis.

We have a choice: we can replace the standard-form truss with another bland and anonymous work, or we can come up with an efficient and elegant form that helps engineers educate the public in the possibilities of turning our nation’s bridges into safe, economical and beautiful landmarks worth maintaining.

David P. Billington is a structural engineering professor at Princeton and the co-author, with David P. Billington Jr., of “Power, Speed and Form: Engineers and the Making of the 20th Century.”

Continue reading Much useful and good information