Tacoma Narrows Bridge

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Engineers of Dreams: Great Bridge Builders and the Spanning of America by Henry Petroski

Bay Area Rapid Transit, creative destruction, Donald Trump, intermodal, Loma Prieta earthquake, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the built environment, transcontinental railway

Von Kármán was in the process of establishing a model supersonic wind tunnel at Caltech when the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed. Von Kármán was one of three engineers appointed by the Federal Works Agency to investigate the failure of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. He was joined by Glenn B. Woodruff, the consulting engineer from San Francisco who had been the engineer of design for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, and, not surprisingly, Ammann, who had, of course, dominated suspension-bridge design and had investigated the failure of the Quebec cantilever bridge at the beginning of his career. The committee’s report, issued less than five months after the collapse, concluded that “the Tacoma Narrows Bridge was well designed and built to resist safely all static forces, including wind, usually considered in the design of similar structures.”

Even if biographical sketches and memoirs have to be taken with a grain of salt, since they often rely so heavily on the word of friends and relatives, sometimes they do contain a grain of truth: “Although he did not always receive formal credit, Moisseiff was the principal designer of the George Washington, Bronx-Whitestone, Tacoma Narrows, and Mackinac bridges.” Leon Moisseiff (photo credit 5.20) II The twenty-eight-hundred-foot main span of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge made it the third-longest suspension bridge when it was completed in 1940. In keeping with the engineering aesthetic and economic thinking of the times, the bridge deck was stiffened with plate girders. However, although the Tacoma Narrows’ main span was five hundred feet longer than that of the Bronx-Whitestone, only eight-foot-deep girders were used to stiffen the roadway, because it was much narrower than that of the New York span. The combination of a longer span with shallower depth and narrower width made the Tacoma Narrows Bridge more flexible than any other. Nevertheless, the two-lane crossing of the Narrows, about thirty miles south of downtown Seattle, provided a reasonable highway alternative to taking ferries between Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula, across Puget Sound.

All rights reserved.) 4.42 Another view of Lindenthal’s never-realized Hudson River bridge (from Steinman [1922]) 4.43 Gustav Lindenthal, as an old man (from Civil Engineering, September 1935) 5.1 Othmar Ammann in 1904 (courtesy of Margot Ammann Durrer) 5.2 Two unrealized proposals for Hudson River vehicular tunnels (from Engineering News-Record, August 28, 1919) 5.3 Clifford Holland’s design for a Hudson River vehicular tunnel comprising twin tubes (from Engineering News-Record, February 19, 1920) 5.4 Clandestine ground-breaking in New Jersey for the Canal Street Tunnel (from Engineering News-Record, June 8, 1922) 5.5 “Tunnels and Bridges of Manhattan Already Finished or in Process of Completion” in 1908 (from The New York Times, October 11, 1908) 5.6 Geological cross section at the site of proposed bridge at 179th Street (from Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers [1933]) 5.7 Othmar Ammann’s 1923 proposal for a bridge across the Hudson River at 179th Street (from Engineering News-Record, January 3, 1924) 5.8 Cantilever design originally accepted for the bridge over Sydney Harbour (from Engineering News, September 22, 1904) 5.9 Comparison of pylon-design details of Hell Gate Bridge and the Sydney Harbour arch (from Civil Engineering, April 1932) 5.10 Four versions of Ammann’s proposed Hudson River bridge (from Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers [1933]) 5.11 The completed George Washington Bridge (from Steinman and Watson) 5.12 The Washington Bridge over the Harlem River (from Scientific American, May 18, 1889) 5.13 Fourth Street Bridge, San Francisco (courtesy of California Department of Transportation) 5.14 Joseph Strauss’s 1921 proposal for a bridge across the Golden Gate (from O’Shaughnessy and Strauss) 5.15 Page from a promotional booklet showing Strauss’s cost estimate for a Golden Gate bridge (from O’Shaughnessy and Strauss) 5.16 The Golden Gate Bridge, in its dramatic setting (courtesy of California Department of Transportation) 5.17 A controversial bridge design of the mid-1930s, superimposed on a photograph of its proposed location between Brooklyn and lower Manhattan (from the Special Archive, Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority) 5.18 The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, 1939, with anchorage in foreground (from the Special Archive, Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority) 5.19 The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge after stiffening trusses were added in the mid-1940s (from the Special Archive, Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority) 5.20 Leon Moisseiff (from Engineering News-Record, September 9, 1943) 5.21 The Tacoma Narrows Bridge, in July 1940 (from Ammann, von Kármán, and Woodruff) 5.22 The Tacoma Narrows Bridge executing its fatal oscillations in November 1940 (from Ammann, von Kármán, and Woodruff) 5.23 Othmar Ammann at the dedication of his bust at the George Washington Bridge, shaking hands with the governors of New Jersey and New York (courtesy of Margot Ammann Durrer) 5.24 The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, shortly after its opening in 1964 (from the Special Archive, Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority) 6.1 The New York approach to the Brooklyn Bridge (from Scientific American, January 15, 1881) 6.2 Professor William H.


Humble Pi: A Comedy of Maths Errors by Matt Parker

8-hour work day, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bitcoin, British Empire, Brownian motion, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Flash crash, forensic accounting, game design, High speed trading, Julian Assange, millennium bug, Minecraft, obamacare, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, publication bias, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, selection bias, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Therac-25, value at risk, WikiLeaks, Y2K

Then, in November 1940, the bridge collapsed spectacularly. This has become an iconic example of engineering failure, because it happened to be near a local camera shop, where the owner, Barney Elliott, had new-fangled 16-millimetre Kodachrome colour film. Elliott and his colleague managed to capture the bridge’s demise. Tacoma Narrows Bridge, 1940. Moments later, a guy jumped out of that car and ran for his life. But the notoriety of this bridge’s collapse has come with a down side: the wrong explanation. To this day, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge disaster is held up as an example of the dangers of resonant frequencies. Like the Millennium Bridge, it is argued that the wind travelling down the Tacoma Narrows matched a resonant frequency of the bridge and tore it apart. But, unlike the Millennium Bridge, that is not true. It was not resonance that brought down this bridge.

Yes, I appreciate that dedicating a book about mistakes to your wife is itself a bit of a mistake. List of Illustrations Unless otherwise stated below, illustrations are copyright of the author and courtesy of Al Richardson and Adam Robinson. The author has endeavoured to identify copyright holders and obtain their permission for the use of copyright material. The publisher welcomes notification of any additions or corrections for any future reprints. 1: ‘The Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse’ © Barney Elliott 2: ‘Sydney Harbour Bridge’ by Sam Hood © Alamy ref. DY0HH0 3: Torus ball © Tim Waskett 4: ‘Manchester gears, 3D’ © Sabetta Matsumoto 5: North American Union concept on gears © Alamy ref. G3YYEF 6: Cogs and figures © Dreamstime ref. 16845088 7: High-five © Dreamstime ref. 54426376 8: Donna and Alex © Voutsinas Family 9: Kate and Chris © Catriona Reeves 10, Sumerian counting system and clay table, from Hans Jörg Nissen: Peter Damerow, Robert Englund and Paul Larsen, Archaic Bookkeeping: Early Writing and Techniques of Economic Administration in the Ancient Near East, University of Chicago Press, 1993. 11: Laser units on rooftop © Claudio Papapietro 12 © NASA ref.

Simmons closed their accident report by admitting that Stephenson’s other bridges had not fallen down, but they were all ‘of less span than the Chester [Dee] Bridge’ and ‘the dimensions of the parts [were] proportionally less’. For a brief moment, they admit that there could be something else going on with the scale of the bridge, but they still ended up blaming the weakness of the girders. They didn’t make that final step. And the increased reinforcement of future bridges was enough to drive torsional instability back into hiding. For a while. Torsional instability came back with a vengeance in the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (Washington State, US). Designed in the 1930s, it was part of the new art deco visual aesthetic; the main designer, Leon Moisseiff, said that bridge engineers should ‘search for the graceful and elegant’. And that it was. A thin, ribbon-like, streamlined bridge, it looked incredibly graceful. As well as looking good, it was cheap. By using substantially less steel, Moisseiff’s design was about half the cost of the bridge proposed by his competitor.


pages: 277 words: 72,603

Built: The Hidden Stories Behind Our Structures by Roma Agrawal

3D printing, British Empire, clean water, David Attenborough, Dmitri Mendeleev, Guggenheim Bilbao, Isaac Newton, John Snow's cholera map, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the scientific method

I left dinner hiding the little flutter I felt. I can’t think how it happened, but over the course of that dinner Flirtman spotted that I too am a bit of a nerd, and he developed a cunning strategy to get my attention. The morning after our first date, I opened my emails to see a message headed: ‘Bridge of the Day no. 1’. ‘An example of why you should do a proper damping analysis,’ read the email: it was the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington which collapsed dramatically in 1940 in a relatively light wind. Each morning after that I’d log on, still half asleep, and a grin would spread across my normally grumpy face as I saw that a new Bridge of the Day had appeared. In fact, for a whole week, he found and sent me a Wikipedia link and a picture of a bridge: one which had a funny story, a unique design, had suffered a catastrophic failure or just looked beautiful.

Romano; here courtesy of wikipedia; here © exaklaus-photos; here © Heritage Images; here © Heritage Images; here © Everett Collection Historical / Alamy Stock Photo; here © Fotosearch / Stinger; here © Stock Montage; here © Washington Imaging / Alamy Stock Photo; here © Popperfoto; here © North Wind Picture Archives / Alamy Stock Photo; here © Empato INDEX Page numbers in italic refer to the illustrations 3D printing here, here, here 9/11 here Abbey Mills Sewage Treatment Works, London here, here acanthus leaves here acceleration, of sway here Acropolis, Athens here Acton, London here, here Admiralty here adobe here aeroplanes here, here aggregates here, here air gaps, fire prevention here akasha here Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, Japan here Alexander the Great here Anatolia here, here Andronicus of Cyrrhus here Angel of Independence victory column, Mexico City here aqueducts here, here, here, here, here, here aquifers here, here Arabian Sea here arches aqueducts here, here, here Cattedrale di 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with here tunnelling into here see also bricks cofferdams here, here, here collapses here, here columns here, here dis-proportionate collapse here after explosions here Old London Bridge here pontoon bridges here Quebec Bridge here, here resonance and here Ronan Point here, here, here, here, here, here Tacoma Narrows Bridge here Tay Bridge here World Trade Center New York here Colosseum, Rome here, here, here columns here, here, here, here Basilica Cistern, Istanbul here, here Corinthian columns here, here exoskeletons here failure here, here insulae here Pantheon, Rome here safety calculations here World Trade Center collapse here Commission of Sewers here compression here, here arches here, here, here, here beams here cable-stayed bridges here columns and here concrete here, here domes here, here load-bearing systems here skyscraper cores here suspension bridges here computer-aided design here concrete here aggregates here, here aqueducts here arches here beams here, here carbon 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here, here iron here on materials here mortars here ‘Tower of the Winds’, Athens here, here Rome here, here Colosseum here, here, here Forum here, here Pantheon here, here, here, here, here Ronan Point, Canning Town, London here, here, here, here, here, here rope bridges here, here ropes, pulleys here rotating bridges here, here Rotherhithe, London here rubber bands here, here rubber bearings here, here rust here, here safety, skyscrapers here, here sailing here Saint Lawrence River here, here 30 St Mary Axe, London (The Gherkin) here, here, here, here St Mary’s Church, Rotherhithe, London here St Mary’s Church, Stralsund here St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London here Salamis, Battle of (480 BC) here salty water desalination plants here reverse osmosis here, here, here San Francisco here sand, tunnelling into here sanitation here, here, here, here Saudi Arabia here Scotland Falkirk Wheel here, here Forth Bridge here Tay Bridge collapse here Scott, George Gilbert here sea urchins here Second World War here, here, here, here sedimentary rocks here ‘self-healing’ concrete here Sennacherib, King here sewers here, here, here, here Shanghai here The Shard, London here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here Sheffield here Sherlock Holmes (film) here The Shield (tunnel-boring machine) here, here, here Shinto here ships see boats shipworms here, here, here shock absorbers, earthquake protection here silicates, in concrete here silicon here, here silk bridge here, here Singapore here skulls, birds here skyscrapers basements here, here Burj Khalifa, Dubai here, here, here concrete in here, here, here, here, here, here, here core here, here, here, here, here elevators here, here escape routes here, here exoskeletons here, here, here, here, here, here, here explosions in here, here fires here first skyscrapers here height here, here, here mega-skyscrapers here, here piles here prefabrication here, here The Shard, London here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here slenderness ratios here stability systems here, here steel in here, here substructure here sway here, here, here, here and winds here slenderness ratios, skyscrapers here Snow, Dr John here Soho, London here soils piles in here subsidence here under London here water table here Spain here Spanish Pavilion, World Expo (2010) here Sparta here Spartacus here spiders, silk bridge here, here springs, wagon here, here stability systems, skyscrapers here, here stairs here, here starlings (artificial islands) here, here steel here beams here, here, here, here Bessemer Process here, here bridges here columns here core of skyscraper here, here, here, here ductility here exoskeletons here, here in fires here, here, here frame structures here hot-working here, here piles here reinforcing concrete with here, here, here rust here thermal expansion here trusses here waste materials here Stewart, James here stone bridge-building here constructing arches here load-bearing structures here Stralsund here Strasbourg Cathedral here straw, reinforcing mud with here Strépy-Thieu boat lift here stress-ribbon bridges here, here struts here Stuttgart here subsidence here, here substructure piles here, here skyscrapers here suspension bridges here, here, here, here sway, skyscrapers here, here, here, here Sydney Harbour Bridge here, here, here Syria here, here Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Washington here Taipei 101 tower here, here, here, here Taiwan here Taj Mahal, Agra here Tamil Nadu here Tarn valley here Tay Bridge here Tebitu, River here temperature bridges and here reinforced concrete and here Tenochtitlan here, here tension here, here beams here brick structures here cable-stayed bridges here, here, here concrete and here, here domes here, here metals here reinforced concrete here, here skyscraper cores here stress-ribbon bridges here suspension bridges here Teotihuacan here Teredo navalis (shipworm) here termite mounds here, here Texcoco, Lake here, here Thales here Thames, River Bazalgette’s sewers here, here New London Bridge here, here Old London Bridge here, here sewage in here Thames Tideway Tunnel here, here, here Thames Tunnel Company here, here, here thermal coefficients, reinforced concrete here Thrace here, here Three Gorges Dam here tie-systems here timber see wood toilets here, here, here Tokugawa shogunate here Tokyo here, here top-down construction method here, here, here Tornado Tower, Doha here Torre Latinoamericana, Mexico City here Torre Mayor skyscraper, Mexico City here, here toughness, spider silk here Tower Hamlets, London here Tower of London here towers cable-stayed bridges here, here suspension bridges here, here ‘Tower of the Winds’, Athens here, here and winds here see also skyscrapers treadwheels here Treasury (UK) here trees here, here, here, here Trevithick, Richard here triangles, trusses here, here, here Triton here trusses here, here, here Tuas here Tube, London here, here, here, here tubular system, exoskeletons here tuff here tuned mass dampers here, here, here, here, here tuning forks here tunnels kariz (water system) here, here Thames Tideway Tunnel here, here, here Thames Tunnel here, here, here, here tunnel boring machines (TBMs) here, here Turkey here, here, here, here turtles here, here typhoons here UN-Habitat here underground railways here, here, here, here underground structures here underwater structures here, here Union Canal, Scotland here United States Supreme Court Building, Washington here University of California, Berkeley here Urban VIII, Pope here Utica here vaults, quadripartite here, here Vauxhall Bridge, London here, here Velcro here ventilation systems here, here, here, here Vertigo (film) here Vesuvius, Mount here, here vibrations bridges here earthquakes here frequency here Victorian architecture here Vierendeel trusses here Vishnu, Lord here Vitruvius Pollio, Marcus here, here De Architectura here, here, here, here, here volcanoes here wagon springs here, here walls, wattle and daub here Wapping, London here War Office (British) here Warren, Gouverneur K. here Warren trusses here waste disposal here, here, here, here water here aqueducts here, here, here aquifers here, here bridge foundations here, here, here canals here, here cisterns here, here cofferdams here, here concrete-making here, here desalination plants here floods here inJapan here kariz here, here in London here, here osmosis here, here, here rainwater here, here, here, here recycling here reservoirs here, here in Singapore here waste water here, here, here, here water pipes here, here water table here wattle and daub here Wayss, Gustav Adolf here webs, spiders’ here, here weight and friction here gravity and here pulleys here weirs here wells here, here Westminster, London here Wheel, Falkirk here, here Wikipedia here Willis, Bruce here wind here, here wind maps here wind tunnels here, here windlasses here, here, here windows, insulae here, here women engineers here, here, here wood bridges here centering here, here, here early houses here, here formwork here piles here, here, here shipworms here wattle and daub here Woolwich Dockyard here World Expo (2010) here World Health Organization here World Trade Center, New York here, here World’s Fair, New York (1853) here wrought iron here Wuhan Greenland Centre here Xerxes, King of Persia here, here Zimbabwe here A NOTE ON THE AUTHOR Roma Agrawal is a structural engineer who builds big.

. & Co. here, here healing here Hearst Tower, Manhattan here, here Heartlands Project, Cornwall here Hellespont here, here Heraclitus of Ephesus here Herodotus, The Histories here herringbone pattern, brick-laying here, here Hewitt, Abram here Heydar Aliyev Center, Azerbaijan here Hiero II, King here Hinduism here, here Hittites here Hoare, Edward here Hodge, Ivy here, here Hong Kong here, here Hood Canal Bridge here Horologion of Andronikos Kyrrhestes, Athens here, here horse hair, reinforcing plaster here hot-working metal here, here House of Commons, London here houses frame structures here, here insulae (apartment buildings) here, here load-bearing structures here, here on Old London Bridge here Huitzilopochtli here huts, mud here, here, here hydration here, here hydraulics, earthquake protection here Iltutmish, tomb of, Delhi here Imperial College London here India here, here, here, here, here, here Indus Valley Civilisation here, here Industrial Revolution here Institute of Making here Institution of Structural Engineers here insulae (apartment buildings) here, here intumescent paint here Iran (Persia) here, here Iraq here, here iron here cast iron here frame structures here furnaces here Iron Pillar, Delhi here, here, here, here reinforced concrete here Roman here rust here strengthening here suspension bridges here wrought iron here see also steel Iron Age here iron oxide here irregular geometry here Ishibune Bridge, Japan here, here Islamic architecture here, here Israel here Istanbul, Basilica Cistern here, here Italy here, here, here jacks, tightening cables here Japan here, here, here, here Jeddah Tower here Jenga here Jericho here Jerwan here jibs, cranes here John Hancock Center, Chicago here, here Johor River here Jordan here Jordan, River here Justinian, Emperor here kariz (water system) here, here keystones, arches here, here Khan, Fazlur here, here, here kilns, brick here, here, here Kodumanal here Kuala Lumpur here, here, here Landesgartenschau Exhibition Hall, Stuttgart here lasers here lava, volcanic here, here Leaning Tower of Pisa here, here Lebanon here Lee Kuan Yew here Leeds University here LEGO here Leonardo da Vinci here, here Levant here lime here lime mortar here limestone here, here, here Lincoln Cathedral here Lincoln’s Inn, London here loads on arches here building on soft ground here load-bearing structures here, here patterned loading here piles here preventing collapses here World Trade Center collapse here, here, here locks, canals here, here Loki here London here, here Crossrail here Crystal Palace station here Great Fire here London Overground here New London Bridge here, here Old London Bridge here, here Ronan Point, Canning Town here, here, here, here, here, here 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin) here, here, here, here St Pancras Renaissance Hotel here sewers here, here, here, here The Shard here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here Tower of London here Tube here, here, here, here tunnels here, here, here Los Angeles here McLean, Thomas here McLure, Norman here Madagascar here Madrid here, here Malaysia here, here, here, here, here Malbork here Maltesers here Manhattan here, here, here, here maps, wind here Marathon, Battle of (490 BC) here Marmara here master builders here materials choice of here science of here see also concrete, steel etc mega-skyscrapers here, here Melendiz Daglari here membrane engineering here Menander here Mendeleev, Dmitri here Merdeka Tower, Kuala Lumpur here Mesopotamia here, here metal here bonds here ductility here elasticity here molecular structure here see also iron; steel Metropolitan Board of Works, London here Metropolitan Cathedral, Mexico City here, here, here Metropolitan Commission of Sewers, London here Mexico City here, here Angel of Independence victory column here Metropolitan Cathedral here, here, here Torre Latinoamericana here Torre Mayor skyscraper here, here mica here microfiltration here Middle Ages here Middle East here Millau Viaduct here, here Miller, Abraham here Milton Keynes here Milwaukee Art Museum here minarets here mines, clay here Miodownik, Mark here Mohenjo-daro here, here molecular structure, metal here Monier, Joseph here Moon here Morocco here mortars here, here, here, here moulds, for concrete here movement joints, bridges here mud mud huts here, here, here reinforcing with straw here multi-use buildings here Mumbai here, here, here MUPAG Rehabilitation Center, Madrid here muqanni here Murphy, Senator Henry here Murrow Memorial Bridge here mythology here, here Namazu here Napoleon Bonaparte here National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City here National Taps, Singapore here Native Americans here Nature, biomimicry here, here, here navvies here Neolithic man here Nero, Emperor here, here New York here, here, here Brooklyn Bridge here, here, here, here, here Empire State Building here, here Hearst Tower here, here 432 Park Avenue here World Trade Center here, here New York Bridge Company here New York Herald here New York Star here New York World’s Fair (1853) here NEWater here Newcastle, Northumbria University Footbridge here, here, here, here, here, here, here Newton, Isaac here, here third law of motion here, here, here newtons here Niederfinow Boat Lift here night soil trade here Nightingale, Florence here Nineveh here Norse mythology here Northumbria University Footbridge, Newcastle here, here, here, here, here, here, here octopuses here oculus (opening) here, here, here, here Old London Bridge here, here opus caementicium here Osaka here osmosis here, here, here Otis, Elisha here, here, here, here, here, here Ottoman Empire here Ovando-Shelley Dr Efraín here, here Oxford University here oxidation here oxygen, Bessemer Process here paint, intumescent here Pakistan here Palazzo Vecchio, Florence here Palm Jumeirah, Dubai here Pantheon, Rome here, here, here, here, here parabolic cables here Paris here Centre Pompidou here, here, here, here Eiffel Tower here, here, here Paris Exposition (1867) here 432 Park Avenue, Manhattan here Parker, John here, here Parthenon, Athens here patterned loading here pendulums earthquake protection here, here, here, here Metropolitan Cathedral, Mexico City here, here penthouses here Percival, Lt-General Arthur here periodic table here Persia here, here Peter of Colechurch here Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur here, here Philadelphia here Phoenicians here phosphorus here, here Piano, Renzo here piers, bridges here, here piledrivers here, here piles here, here, here, here, here, here Pillar, Iron (Delhi) here, here, here, here pipes, robots checking here Pisa, Leaning Tower of here, here plaster here, here plaster of Paris here Plataea here, here Pliny the Elder, Historia Naturalis here Plutarch’s Lives here pneumatic caissons here polyethylene (PE) formwork here polypropylene (PP) formwork here polystyrene blocks, formwork here polyvinylidene fluoride here Pompeii here, here Pompidou Centre, Paris here, here, here, here Pont d’Avignon here Pont du Gard aqueduct here, here Ponte Vecchio, Florence here The Pontoon here, here, here potholes here pozzolana here, here Pratt trusses here prefabrication here, here prehistoric buildings here Propylaea, Athens here Public Utilities Board, Singapore here pulleys here, here, here, here, here pumping stations, sewers here, here Purnell, Phil here pyramids here, here, here, here, here, here qanat (water system) here Quadracci Pavilion, Milwaukee Art Museum here quadripartite arches here, here quartz here Quebec Bridge here, here, here Quebec City here Qutb complex, Delhi here, here Rael, Ronald here Raffles, Sir Stamford here raft foundations here, here railways here, here, here, here rainwater here, here, here, here recycling waste water here Regent’s Canal, London here reinforced concrete here, here Renaissance here, here Rennie, John here repairs, future possibilities here reservoirs here, here resonance here, here, here, here, here reverse osmosis here, here, here rice here Richard the Raker here rivers untreated sewage in here, here, here, here see also bridges road repairs here robots here, here, here rocks, formation of clay here Roebling, Emily Warren here, here, here, here, here, here, here Roebling, John Augustus here, here, here, here Roebling, Washington here, here, here Rogers, Richard here Romans here aqueducts here, here, here arches here, here, here, here, here Basilica Cistern, Istanbul here, here bricks here, here, here bridges here, here columns here concrete here, here, here, here, here, here, here cranes here, here, here fires here foundations here, here insulae (apartment buildings) here, here iron here on materials here mortars here ‘Tower of the Winds’, Athens here, here Rome here, here Colosseum here, here, here Forum here, here Pantheon here, here, here, here, here Ronan Point, Canning Town, London here, here, here, here, here, here rope bridges here, here ropes, pulleys here rotating bridges here, here Rotherhithe, London here rubber bands here, here rubber bearings here, here rust here, here safety, skyscrapers here, here sailing here Saint Lawrence River here, here 30 St Mary Axe, London (The Gherkin) here, here, here, here St Mary’s Church, Rotherhithe, London here St Mary’s Church, Stralsund here St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London here Salamis, Battle of (480 BC) here salty water desalination plants here reverse osmosis here, here, here San Francisco here sand, tunnelling into here sanitation here, here, here, here Saudi Arabia here Scotland Falkirk Wheel here, here Forth Bridge here Tay Bridge collapse here Scott, George Gilbert here sea urchins here Second World War here, here, here, here sedimentary rocks here ‘self-healing’ concrete here Sennacherib, King here sewers here, here, here, here Shanghai here The Shard, London here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here Sheffield here Sherlock Holmes (film) here The Shield (tunnel-boring machine) here, here, here Shinto here ships see boats shipworms here, here, here shock absorbers, earthquake protection here silicates, in concrete here silicon here, here silk bridge here, here Singapore here skulls, birds here skyscrapers basements here, here Burj Khalifa, Dubai here, here, here concrete in here, here, here, here, here, here, here core here, here, here, here, here elevators here, here escape routes here, here exoskeletons here, here, here, here, here, here, here explosions in here, here fires here first skyscrapers here height here, here, here mega-skyscrapers here, here piles here prefabrication here, here The Shard, London here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here slenderness ratios here stability systems here, here steel in here, here substructure here sway here, here, here, here and winds here slenderness ratios, skyscrapers here Snow, Dr John here Soho, London here soils piles in here subsidence here under London here water table here Spain here Spanish Pavilion, World Expo (2010) here Sparta here Spartacus here spiders, silk bridge here, here springs, wagon here, here stability systems, skyscrapers here, here stairs here, here starlings (artificial islands) here, here steel here beams here, here, here, here Bessemer Process here, here bridges here columns here core of skyscraper here, here, here, here ductility here exoskeletons here, here in fires here, here, here frame structures here hot-working here, here piles here reinforcing concrete with here, here, here rust here thermal expansion here trusses here waste materials here Stewart, James here stone bridge-building here constructing arches here load-bearing structures here Stralsund here Strasbourg Cathedral here straw, reinforcing mud with here Strépy-Thieu boat lift here stress-ribbon bridges here, here struts here Stuttgart here subsidence here, here substructure piles here, here skyscrapers here suspension bridges here, here, here, here sway, skyscrapers here, here, here, here Sydney Harbour Bridge here, here, here Syria here, here Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Washington here Taipei 101 tower here, here, here, here Taiwan here Taj Mahal, Agra here Tamil Nadu here Tarn valley here Tay Bridge here Tebitu, River here temperature bridges and here reinforced concrete and here Tenochtitlan here, here tension here, here beams here brick structures here cable-stayed bridges here, here, here concrete and here, here domes here, here metals here reinforced concrete here, here skyscraper cores here stress-ribbon bridges here suspension bridges here Teotihuacan here Teredo navalis (shipworm) here termite mounds here, here Texcoco, Lake here, here Thales here Thames, River Bazalgette’s sewers here, here New London Bridge here, here Old London Bridge here, here sewage in here Thames Tideway Tunnel here, here, here Thames Tunnel Company here, here, here thermal coefficients, reinforced concrete here Thrace here, here Three Gorges Dam here tie-systems here timber see wood toilets here, here, here Tokugawa shogunate here Tokyo here, here top-down construction method here, here, here Tornado Tower, Doha here Torre Latinoamericana, Mexico City here Torre Mayor skyscraper, Mexico City here, here toughness, spider silk here Tower Hamlets, London here Tower of London here towers cable-stayed bridges here, here suspension bridges here, here ‘Tower of the Winds’, Athens here, here and winds here see also skyscrapers treadwheels here Treasury (UK) here trees here, here, here, here Trevithick, Richard here triangles, trusses here, here, here Triton here trusses here, here, here Tuas here Tube, London here, here, here, here tubular system, exoskeletons here tuff here tuned mass dampers here, here, here, here, here tuning forks here tunnels kariz (water system) here, here Thames Tideway Tunnel here, here, here Thames Tunnel here, here, here, here tunnel boring machines (TBMs) here, here Turkey here, here, here, here turtles here, here typhoons here UN-Habitat here underground railways here, here, here, here underground structures here underwater structures here, here Union Canal, Scotland here United States Supreme Court Building, Washington here University of California, Berkeley here Urban VIII, Pope here Utica here vaults, quadripartite here, here Vauxhall Bridge, London here, here Velcro here ventilation systems here, here, here, here Vertigo (film) here Vesuvius, Mount here, here vibrations bridges here earthquakes here frequency here Victorian architecture here Vierendeel trusses here Vishnu, Lord here Vitruvius Pollio, Marcus here, here De Architectura here, here, here, here, here volcanoes here wagon springs here, here walls, wattle and daub here Wapping, London here War Office (British) here Warren, Gouverneur K. here Warren trusses here waste disposal here, here, here, here water here aqueducts here, here, here aquifers here, here bridge foundations here, here, here canals here, here cisterns here, here cofferdams here, here concrete-making here, here desalination plants here floods here inJapan here kariz here, here in London here, here osmosis here, here, here rainwater here, here, here, here recycling here reservoirs here, here in Singapore here waste water here, here, here, here water pipes here, here water table here wattle and daub here Wayss, Gustav Adolf here webs, spiders’ here, here weight and friction here gravity and here pulleys here weirs here wells here, here Westminster, London here Wheel, Falkirk here, here Wikipedia here Willis, Bruce here wind here, here wind maps here wind tunnels here, here windlasses here, here, here windows, insulae here, here women engineers here, here, here wood bridges here centering here, here, here early houses here, here formwork here piles here, here, here shipworms here wattle and daub here Woolwich Dockyard here World Expo (2010) here World Health Organization here World Trade Center, New York here, here World’s Fair, New York (1853) here wrought iron here Wuhan Greenland Centre here Xerxes, King of Persia here, here Zimbabwe here A NOTE ON THE AUTHOR Roma Agrawal is a structural engineer who builds big.


pages: 134 words: 39,353

The Bridge: The Building of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge by Gay Talese, Bruce Davidson

delayed gratification, fixed income, New Journalism, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, transcontinental railway

After a re-examination, it was concluded that the Queensboro was inadequate to safely carry its intended load. So the four rapid-transit tracks that had been planned for the upper deck were reduced by two. The loss of the two tracks was compensated by the construction of a subway tunnel a block away from the bridge—the BMT tunnel at Sixtieth Street under the East River, built at an additional cost of $4,000,000. In November of 1940, when the Tacoma Narrows Bridge fell into the waters of Puget Sound in the state of Washington, O. H. Ammann was again one of the engineers called in to help determine the cause. The engineer who caught the blame in this case was L. S. Moisseiff, a man with a fine reputation throughout the United States. Moisseiff had been involved in the design of the Manhattan Bridge in New York, and had been the consulting engineer of the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit and the Golden Gate in California, among many others, and nobody had questioned him when he planned a lean, two-lane bridge that would stretch 2,800 feet over the waters of Puget Sound.

There was also a prewar trend toward economizing on the over-all cost of bridge construction, however, and one way to save money without spoiling the aesthetics—and supposedly without diminishing safety—was to shape the span and roadway floor with solid plate girders, not trusses that wind could easily pass through. And it was partially because of these solid girders that, on days when the wind beat hard against its solid mass of roadway, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge kicked up and down. But it never kicked too much, and the motorists, far from becoming alarmed, actually loved it, enjoyed riding over it. They knew that all bridges swayed a little in the wind—this bridge was just livelier, that was all, and they began calling it, affectionately, "Galloping Gertie." Four months after it had opened—on November 7—with the wind between thirty-five and forty-two miles an hour, the bridge suddenly began to kick more than usual.


pages: 442 words: 39,064

Why Stock Markets Crash: Critical Events in Complex Financial Systems by Didier Sornette

Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, business cycle, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, continuous double auction, currency peg, Deng Xiaoping, discrete time, diversified portfolio, Elliott wave, Erdős number, experimental economics, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, frictionless, frictionless market, full employment, global village, implied volatility, index fund, information asymmetry, intangible asset, invisible hand, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, law of one price, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market design, market fundamentalism, mental accounting, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, oil shock, open economy, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, selection bias, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, stochastic process, stocks for the long run, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tobin tax, total factor productivity, transaction costs, tulip mania, VA Linux, Y2K, yield curve

However, the strong wind of that day was only the “local” cause, while there was a more fundamental cause: The bridge, like most objects, has a small number of characteristic vibration frequencies, and one day the wind was exactly the strength needed to excite one of them. The bridge responded by vibrating at this characteristic frequency so strongly, that is, by “resonating,” that it fractured the supports holding it together. The fundamental cause of the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge thus lies in an error of conception that enhanced the role of one specific mode of resonance. In sum, the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge as well as that of many stock markets during crashes, is the result of built-in or acquired instabilities. These instabilities are in turn revealed by “small” perturbations that lead directly to the collapse. The speculative attacks in periods of market instabilities are sometimes pointed to as possible causes of serious potential hazards for developing countries when allowing the global financial markets to have free play, especially when these countries come under pressure to open up their financial sectors to large foreign banks, insurance companies, stockbroking firms, and other institutions, under the World Trade Organization’s financial services negotiations.

Within the framework defended in this book, crashes occur as possible (but not necessary) outcomes of long preparation, which we term “herding,” which pushes the market into increasingly unstable regimes. When in this state, there are many possible “local” causes that may cause it to stumble. Pushing the argument to the extreme to make it crystal clear, let us compare this to laying responsibility for the collapse of the infamous Tacoma Narrows Bridge that once connected mainland Washington with the Olympic peninsula on strong wind. It is true that, on November 7, 1940, at approximately 11:00 a.m., the bridge suddenly collapsed after developing a remarkably “ordered” sway in response to a strong wind [418] after it had been open to traffic for only a few months. However, the strong wind of that day was only the “local” cause, while there was a more fundamental cause: The bridge, like most objects, has a small number of characteristic vibration frequencies, and one day the wind was exactly the strength needed to excite one of them.

Productivity: What Is It, and Why Do We Care about It? Working paper of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 416. Stiroh, K. J. (2001). Information Technology and the U.S. Productivity Revival: What Do the Industry Data Say? Working paper of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 417. Svenson, O. (1981). Are we less risky and more skillful than our fellow drivers? Acta Psychol. 47, 143–148. 418. Tacoma Narrows Bridge historical film footage showing in 250 frames (10 seconds) the maximum torsional motion shortly before failure of this immense structure, http://cee.carleton.ca/Exhibits/Tacoma_Narrows/. 419. Tainter, J. A. (1988). The Collapse of Complex Societies (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K. and New York). 420. Tainter, J. A. (1995). Sustainability of complex societies, Futures 27, 397–407. 421.


pages: 382 words: 112,061

Structures: Or Why Things Don't Fall Down by J. E. Gordon

double helix, haute couture, pattern recognition, Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Adrian Horridge, F.R.S.). 8 Temple of the Olympian Zeus, Athens, 9 Skeletons of gibbon and gorilla. 10 Maidenhead railway bridge. 11 Menai suspension bridge (courtesy Institution of Civil Engineers). 12 Severn suspension bridge (courtesy British Steel Corporation). 13 King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. 14 H.M.S. Victory- (courtesy H.M.S. Victory Museum. Crown copyright). 15 American trestle bridge. 16 Britannia bridge (courtesy Institution of Civil Engineers). 17 and 18 Viomiet dresses (courtesy Mrs Nethercot and Vogue magazine). 19 Wagner tension field (courtesy The Fairey Company Ltd). 20 Tacoma Narrows bridge (courtesy Institution of Civil Engineers). 21 Portsmouth block-making machinery (Crown copyright. Science Museum, London). 22 Watson steam yacht (courtesy G. L. Watson & Co. Ltd). 23 The Parthenon. 24 The Lion Gate, Mycenae. Foreword I am very much aware that it is an act of extreme rashness to attempt to write an elementary book about structures. Indeed it is only when the subject is stripped of its mathematics that one begins to realize how difficult it is to pin down and describe those structural concepts which are often called ‘elementary’; by which I suppose we mean ‘basic’ or ‘fundamental’.

Plate 17 Chapter 12 The bias cut, invented by Mile Vionnet, exploits the low shear modulus and high Poisson’s ratio of certain square-weave fabrics in the 45° direction. This is one of the earliest Vionnet bias-cut dresses (a.d. 1926). Plate 18 Chapter 12 Contemporary square-cut dress (also Vionnet). Note low Poisson’s ratio and lack of clinging effect. The vertical creases are caused by the existence of a Wagner tension field. Plate 19 Chapter 12 Wagner tension field in the fuselage skin of a Fairey Rotadyne. Plate 20 Chapter 15 The Tacoma Narrows bridge is a classic example of a suspension bridge built with inadequate torsional stiffness. Known as ‘Galloping Gertie’ it displayed serious oscillation when exposed to quite moderate winds, and very soon wriggled and buckled itself into failure in a wind of only 42m.p.h. Plate 21 Chapter 16 The first real mass-production machinery to come into use was the block-making equipment at Portsmouth Dockyard.

As we have already remarked, it is the torsional stiffness requirements which generally govern the design, and the structure weight, of modern aircraft. Although Telford’s Menai suspension bridge was quite badly damaged by wind-induced oscillations not long after it was built, it took about a century for the reality of this danger to register properly with bridge designers. The classic catastrophe was that of the Tacoma Narrows bridge in America in 1940. This bridge, which had a span of 2,800 feet (840 metres), was built without adequate torsional stiffness. As a result it swayed in even a moderate breeze to such an extent that the locals immediately christened it ‘Galloping Gertie’. Quite soon after it was built it swayed and wriggled itself into a dramatic collapse in a wind of only 42 m.p.h. Fortunately somebody happened to be present with a film in their cine-camera.


pages: 259 words: 67,456

The Mythical Man-Month by Brooks, Jr. Frederick P.

finite state, HyperCard, Menlo Park, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Turing machine

He will set his direction much more crisply and quickly by doing so. Plan to Throw One Away Plan to Throw One Away There is nothing in this world constant but inconstancy. SWIFT It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all try something. FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT Collapse of the aerodynamically misdesigned Tacoma Narrows Bridge, 1940 UPI Photo/The Bettman Archive Pilot Plants and Scaling Up Chemical engineers learned long ago that a process that works in the laboratory cannot be implemented in a factory in only one step. An intermediate step called the pilot plant is necessary to give experience in scaling quantities up and in operating in nonprotective environments. For example, a laboratory process for desalting water will be tested in a pilot plant of 10,000 gallon/day capacity before being used for a 2,000,000 gallon/day community water system.

Despite its excellencies, I expect the WIMP interface to be a historical relic in a generation. Pointing will still be the way to express nouns as we command our machines; speech is surely the right way to express the verbs. Tools such as Voice Navigator for the Mac and Dragon for the PC already provide this capability. Don't Build One to Throw Away—The Waterfall Model Is Wrong! The unforgettable picture of Galloping Gertie, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, opens Chapter 11, which radically recommends: "Plan to throw one away; you will, anyhow." This I now perceive to be wrong, not because it is too radical, but because it is too simplistic. The biggest mistake in the "Build one to throw away" concept is that it implicitly assumes the classical sequential or waterfall model of software construction. The model derives from a Gantt chart layout of a staged process, and it is often drawn as in Figure 19.1.


pages: 1,758 words: 342,766

Code Complete (Developer Best Practices) by Steve McConnell

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, continuous integration, data acquisition, database schema, don't repeat yourself, Donald Knuth, fault tolerance, Grace Hopper, haute cuisine, if you see hoof prints, think horses—not zebras, index card, inventory management, iterative process, Larry Wall, loose coupling, Menlo Park, Perl 6, place-making, premature optimization, revision control, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, slashdot, sorting algorithm, statistical model, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing machine, web application

They have been revised and polished until the author has shown us what he wishes he had done, not what actually did happen. — David Parnas Paul Clements In my part of the world, a dramatic example of such a wicked problem was the design of the original Tacoma Narrows bridge. At the time the bridge was built, the main consideration in designing a bridge was that it be strong enough to support its planned load. In the case of the Tacoma Narrows bridge, wind created an unexpected, side-to-side harmonic ripple. One blustery day in 1940, the ripple grew uncontrollably until the bridge collapsed, as shown in Figure 5-1. Figure 5-1. The Tacoma Narrows bridge—an example of a wicked problem This is a good example of a wicked problem because, until the bridge collapsed, its engineers didn't know that aerodynamics needed to be considered to such an extent.

Avoid Failure Civil engineering professor Henry Petroski wrote an interesting book, Design Paradigms: Case Histories of Error and Judgment in Engineering (Petroski 1994), that chronicles the history of failures in bridge design. Petroski argues that many spectacular bridge failures have occurred because of focusing on previous successes and not adequately considering possible failure modes. He concludes that failures like the Tacoma Narrows bridge could have been avoided if the designers had carefully considered the ways the bridge might fail and not just copied the attributes of other successful designs. The high-profile security lapses of various well-known systems the past few years make it hard to disagree that we should find ways to apply Petroski's design-failure insights to software. Choose Binding Time Consciously Binding time refers to the time a specific value is bound to a variable.

Most people wouldn't want to use their recreational time to scrutinize a 500-page source listing, but many people would enjoy studying a high-level design and dipping into more detailed source listings for selected areas. The software-engineering field makes extraordinarily limited use of examples of past successes and failures. If you were interested in architecture, you'd study the drawings of Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and I. M. Pei. You'd probably visit some of their buildings. If you were interested in structural engineering, you'd study the Brooklyn Bridge; the Tacoma Narrows Bridge; and a variety of other concrete, steel, and wood structures. You would study examples of successes and failures in your field. Thomas Kuhn points out that a part of any mature science is a set of solved problems that are commonly recognized as examples of good work in the field and that serve as examples for future work (Kuhn 1996). Software engineering is only beginning to mature to this level.


pages: 388 words: 211,314

Frommer's Washington State by Karl Samson

airport security, British Empire, California gold rush, centre right, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, global village, place-making, sustainable-tourism, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, transcontinental railway, white picket fence

Olympia, as the capital of the state and home of a particularly liberal, liberal-arts university, has a mellow, laid-back air and, when the state legislature and the university are shut down, it becomes one of the quietest major cities in the state. Life among this region’s green forests and blue waters is ruled by ferries and bridges, and visitors are advised to keep this in mind as they 10_607510-ch07.indd 19710_607510-ch07.indd 197 9/28/10 8:43 PM9/28/10 8:43 PM explore the area. While distances here are not great, missed ferries and traffic backups at the twin spans of the Tacoma Narrows bridges can add significantly to travel time. Leave plenty of room in your travel schedule for unforeseen delays. 7 BAINBRIDGE ISLAND SOUTH PUGET SOUND & WEST SOUND Bainbridge Island 10 miles W of Seattle (by ferry), 35 miles NE of Bremerton, 46 miles SE of Port Townsend Bainbridge Island, popular for its miles of waterfront, sound-and-mountain views, and rural feel, is for the most part an affluent bedroom community for Seattle.

The town’s waterfront park, marinas, and picturesque setting on Liberty Bay have long made this town popular with the region’s boating crowd. Essentials The Kitsap Peninsula lies between Puget Sound and the east side of the Olympic Peninsula and is bounded on its west side by Hood Canal (which is not a canal, but rather a long fiordlike extension of Puget Sound). Wash. 16 connects the peninsula with I-5 at Tacoma via the two spans of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Wash. 3 connects the peninsula with U.S. 101 west of Olympia and continues north to the Hood Canal Bridge, a floating bridge that serves as the Kitsap Peninsula’s northern link to the Olympic Peninsula. Bainbridge Island is connected to the Kitsap Peninsula by the Agate Pass Bridge on Wash. 305. Washington State Ferries (& 800/84-FERRY [33779] or 888/808-7977 in Washington, or 206/464-6400; www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries) operates three ferries between the Kitsap Peninsula and the east side of Puget Sound: the FauntleroySouthworth ferry (a 35-min. crossing) from West Seattle, the Seattle-Bremerton ferry (a 60-min. crossing) from downtown Seattle, and the Edmonds-Kingston ferry (a 30-min. crossing) from north of Seattle.

The pan-fried Willapa Bay oysters and Dungeness crab cakes are both good bets and can be ordered either as appetizers or entrees. If you’re not fond of fish, you’ll find plenty of meaty options. Anthony’s at Bremerton 20 Washington Ave. & 360/377-5004. www.anthonys.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $8–$28. AE, DISC, MC, V. Sun–Thurs 11am–9:30pm; Fri–Sat 11am–10:30pm. GIG HARBOR 45 miles S of Seattle, 30 miles S of Bremerton, 45 miles N of Olympia On the far side of the two Tacoma Narrows bridges from Tacoma is the quaint waterfront town of Gig Harbor. With its interesting little shops, art galleries, seafood restaurants, fleet of commercial fishing boats, and marinas full of private pleasure craft, this town is the quintessential Puget Sound fishing village. Framing this picture of Puget Sound’s past is the snowcapped bulk of Mount Rainier, which lends a near storybook quality.


pages: 367 words: 99,765

Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks by Ken Jennings

Asperger Syndrome, augmented reality, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, British Empire, clean water, David Brooks, digital map, don't be evil, dumpster diving, Eratosthenes, game design, Google Earth, helicopter parent, hive mind, index card, John Harrison: Longitude, John Snow's cholera map, Mercator projection, Mercator projection distort size, especially Greenland and Africa, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Journalism, openstreetmap, place-making, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Skype, Stewart Brand, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, traveling salesman, urban planning

, Highway 99 once ran from the Canadian border all the way to Mexico, but it was decommissioned in 1968 when I-5 was completed, and much of it is now anonymous and unsigned. Roadgeeks are archaeologists as well, finding history in the modern urban ruins. They see the ghosts of Esso stations and motels shaped like tepees where now there’s only a waste-land of pawnshops and adult video stores. The last stop on our itinerary is another historic spot: the famed Tacoma Narrows Bridge, recently twinned with a new span heading west to the Kitsap Peninsula. The original bridge across this strait was the famous “Galloping Gertie,” which collapsed in a 1940 storm. If you were ever in an introductory physics class, you’ve probably seen the famous footage of the bridge wobbling and warbling terrifyingly due to harmonic resonance before it crashed into Puget Sound. The new bridge is reassuringly sturdy.

See a cookbook Snow, John, 59 social studies, 41 South Korea map conflicts with Japan, 62, 72 seen from space, 66 See also Jennings, Ken: in Seoul space exploration, 25–26, 59 Spafford, John, 166–68, 172–73, 182 spatial cognition, 16–29, 51–52, 233 Speer, Albert, 58 Stanley, Henry Morton, 79 Starbucks, 156–57, 164 Star Trek, 112, 197 Stevenson, Robert Louis, 108 Stewart, Isaac, 116–18 Stoppard, Tom, 42 St. Valentine Day’s Massacre (map rally), 177–85 subways, 136 surveyors brave and heroic, 88–89 unpopular and spooky, 63 swastikas, visible from space, 220 Sweden, plotting for world domination by, 136 Sylvie and Bruno (Carroll), 212–13 Taal, Lake, 2 Tacoma Narrows Bridge, 172 Tadataka, Ino, 62 Tallis, John, 97, 104 Tamir, Yuli, 64 Tannen, Deborah, 139 taxi drivers, 17, 236 Teague, Mike, 188–89 Terra Australis, 68, 81, 83 Tharp, Marie, 74 Theatrum Orbis Terrarium (Ortelius), 68 theft of maps, 93–97 Third Culture Kids, 30 Thompson, Almon, 242–43 Thompson, Nephi, 20 Thorpe, Jim, 69 Today (show), 34–35 Tolkien, J. R. R., 114–16, 119 toponyms, 4, 31, 49, 67–74, 219 politically incorrect, 67 risqué, 70–71 sellout, 69–70 topophilia, 14–15, 29–31, 45 Toscanelli, Paolo, 16 travel, systematic, 11, 149–65, 168 cost of, 151, 162–63 reasons for, 151, 153, 158, 160–61, 164–65 Travelers’ Century Club, 149–55, 158, 159–60 Travellers Club, 149 Treasure Island (Stevenson), 108 treasure maps, 62, 248–49 Trebek, Alex, 125–26, 129, 141, 143–45 after a few drinks, 147 civilian wardrobe of, 125–26 triangulation, 88–89 Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, 69 Tuan, Yi-Fu, 14 turtles, 21–23 Ulmer, Dave, 187–89, 191, 194, 201, 202–3, 210 United States Geological Survey, 59, 60, 234 University of Miami, 32–36 upside-down maps, 52–54, 53, 140 Upton, Caite, 38 Useem, Ruth Hill, 30 Utopia (More), 119 Uttal, David, 17–20, 24–25 Vatican Museum, 136 Veley, Charles, 158–62, 164 Vermeer, Jan, 99–100 Vespucci, Amerigo, 75–77, 90, 240 Victoria Island, Nunavut, 2 video games, 112 virtual reality, 225.


pages: 402 words: 110,972

Nerds on Wall Street: Math, Machines and Wired Markets by David J. Leinweber

AI winter, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, business cycle, butter production in bangladesh, butterfly effect, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, citizen journalism, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Danny Hillis, demand response, disintermediation, distributed generation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, experimental economics, financial innovation, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, information retrieval, intangible asset, Internet Archive, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, load shedding, Long Term Capital Management, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, market fragmentation, market microstructure, Mars Rover, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, negative equity, Network effects, optical character recognition, paper trading, passive investing, pez dispenser, phenotype, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, semantic web, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, Small Order Execution System, smart grid, smart meter, social web, South Sea Bubble, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, Turing machine, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Vernor Vinge, yield curve, Yogi Berra, your tax dollars at work

There are many civilian examples of bad engineering, ranging from simple miscalculation to astounding idiocy. Some had relatively minor consequences, as in the photogenic 1895 train disaster at Montparnasse Station, Paris, seen in Figure 12.2. Figure 12.2 The 1895 train disaster at Montparnasse Station: If only the other errors discussed in this chapter could have been avoided by a heavier foot on the brake. Source:Wikimedia. Shooting the Moon 289 The collapse of the first Tacoma Narrows Bridge in November 1940 (depicted in Figure 12.3) just four months after it opened is an example of the kind of bad modeling we have seen lately in asset pricing models.11 The mathematical model used to design the bridge, like those used to price mortgage-backed CDOs, was fatally flawed. What worked in light breezes (normal housing lending) failed spectacularly in a storm (no-income, no-job, no-assets undocumented lending).

Many involve management’s head-in-the-sand desire to avoid the expense of better safety. Parallels are found in many stories related by Wall Street quantitative risk analysts of their interactions with their bosses in 2007 and 2008. This kind of screw-up remains distressingly common.12 A multilevel Kansas City Hyatt Regency hotel walkway collapsed in 1981, killing Figure 12.3 Still from a video of the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which has been dear to engineering and physics students ever since. This is another still that really needs to be seen as part of a movie. Source:Wikimedia. 290 Nerds on Wall Str eet Figure 12.4 The Hindenberg, a potentially avoidable disaster. Our financial meltdown was avoidable too. Source:Wikimedia. 114 people. The walkways on floors two, three, and four of the hotel were supported by multiple steel rods tied end to end, instead of a single long rod passing through all three levels.


pages: 397 words: 114,841

High Steel: The Daring Men Who Built the World's Greatest Skyline by Jim Rasenberger

collective bargaining, Donald Trump, East Village, illegal immigration, MITM: man-in-the-middle, strikebreaker, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, union organizing, urban planning, young professional

In New York, the George Washington was soon followed by the Triborough Bridge—actually a trio of bridges envisioned by Robert Moses and designed by Othmar Ammann to thread together the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens. The Bayonne arch was completed in 1931 and the Bronx White-stone, yet another Ammann design, in 1939. The real action for bridgemen in the 1930s was not in New York, though. It was out west: the Conde B. McCullough Memorial Bridge over Coos Bay in Oregon; the Lewis and Clark Bridge over the Columbia River, also in Oregon; the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State; the San Francisco Bay Bridge in California. And, of course, the Golden Gate. No bridge would ever achieve quite the astonishing leap in scale that Ammann’s George Washington made in 1931, but the Golden Gate was a dramatic follow-up. The total length of this new bridge, end to end, was almost 9,000 feet, with a center clear span of 4,200 feet, 20 percent longer than the G.W.’s.

See ironworkers Steffens, Lincoln Steiglitz, Alfred Stewart, Michael strikes. See also unions S. Parks and Quebec Bridge and violence and structural engineers. See also Cooper, Theodore structural ironworkers. See ironworkers Subpart R Steel Erection Standard Sullivan, Louis summit, skyscraper superintendent job Supple, Harry suspension bridges. See also bridges Swedes swiling (sealing) Szlapka, Peter Tacoma Narrows Bridge Taft-Hartley Act tag line tagline man job Talese, Gay tallest skyscrapers. See also skyscrapers Chrysler Building vs. Bank of Manhattan Empire State Building Metropolitan Life Tower Petronas Towers Sears Tower Singer Tower Woolworth Building World Trade Center, (see also World Trade Center) Tammany Hall Taylor, Frederick Taylorism tension terminal velocity terrorists, destruction of World Trade Center by.


pages: 848 words: 240,351

The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough

death of newspapers, Isaac Newton, Menlo Park, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, transcontinental railway

Roebling in battles taken part in bridges built during correspondence with his wife tunnel at Petersburg and on the war social effects of “Turtles” used in Gen. Warren in Clarke, Thomas C., Jr Clausen, Henry Cleveland, Grover at Brooklyn Bridge inauguration Cleveland Rolling Mill Clifton Bridge (England) Clinton (ferry) Coal mine accidents Cochrane, Admiral Lord Thomas Collapsed bridges, casualties from Ashtabula bridge Quebec bridge Tacoma Narrows Bridge Tay Bridge Wheeling Bridge Collingwood, Francis, Jr Brooklyn caisson and Brooklyn tower accident and footbridge work and New York caisson and New York tower and W. Roebling’s correspondence with at RPI alumni gathering testifies in Miller suit Collins, Charles Colorado Fuel & Iron Company Coman, Thomas Comet (ship) Committee of Investigation (of New York Bridge Company) Competition among engineers Compressed air air system described compressors escape of, while pouring concrete fire in Brooklyn caisson increasing depth and air problems physical derangements caused by pressure required See also Air locks Compressed air “baths” against bends Concrete for Brooklyn caisson compressed air escape while pouring for New York caisson for repairing fire damage Coney Island (Brooklyn) Coney Island Railroad Connolly, Richard B., “Slippery Dick,” breakup of Tweed Ring and Rink Committee investigation and at marriage of Tweed’s daughter Cooper, Edward Cooper, Lucia, see Roebling, Lucia Cooper, Peter Cooper, Theodore Cooperation among engineers Cope (worker) Copeland, William Corliss, George H.

Roebling during Civil War “chain bridge,” first suspension aqueduct poorly built primitive as spiritual or ideal conception very first See also specific bridges Sutter Street Railways Swan, Alden S. Swan, Charles as member of Bridge Party retires J. Roebling and death of Roebling and W. Roebling and Swedenborg, Emanuel Sweeny, Peter (Brains) and breakup of Tweed Ring flees the country Rink Committee investigation and bridge stock and at marriage of Tweed’s daughter Swertcope, John Valentine Tacoma Narrows Bridge (Wash.) Talmage, T. DeWitt Tay Bridge (Scotland) Telford, Thomas Tennessee (ship) Terminals Thurber, H. K. Tilden, Samuel Tilton, Elizabeth scandal involving Tilton, Theodore Timbs, Patrick Titanic (ship) Tombs (N.Y.C. prison), materials used for building Tooker, Commodore Joe Towers Allegheny River Bridge Brooklyn accidents and deaths completing description from top of granite for height of keystone of arch masonry on roadway to tower finished work suspended for winter (1872) working on top years taken to complete Brooklyn Bridge architectural features of.

* With careful editing and numerous annotations she managed to turn a rather dry, colorless diary kept by a Putnam County preacher into an engaging chronicle. She also included an additional chapter on the Warren family. Titled The Journal of the Reverend Silas Constant, it was published in 1903. * All figures are based on the bridge as it was when completed in 1883. * The most famous latter-day example of this same phenomenon was the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, over Puget Sound, in the state of Washington. On November 7, 1940, in a high wind, “Galloping Gertie,” as the bridge became known, began heaving up and down so violently that it soon shook itself to pieces. The bridge lacked “aerodynamic stability” the experts concluded, for the simple reason that the necessary stiffness preached by Roebling had been overlooked by the designer. Eyewitness accounts of the disaster are strikingly reminiscent of the one from the Wheeling Intelligencer, written nearly ninety years before


pages: 807 words: 154,435

Radical Uncertainty: Decision-Making for an Unknowable Future by Mervyn King, John Kay

"Robert Solow", Airbus A320, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, algorithmic trading, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Arthur Eddington, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, battle of ideas, Benoit Mandelbrot, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brownian motion, business cycle, business process, capital asset pricing model, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Edward Thorp, Elon Musk, Ethereum, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, experimental subject, fear of failure, feminist movement, financial deregulation, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, Hans Rosling, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income per capita, incomplete markets, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Snow's cholera map, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, Pierre-Simon Laplace, popular electronics, price mechanism, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, sealed-bid auction, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Socratic dialogue, South Sea Bubble, spectrum auction, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Chicago School, the map is not the territory, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Davenport, Thomas Malthus, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, ultimatum game, urban planning, value at risk, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

The chastened North British Railway reviewed an even more ambitious project to span the River Forth between Edinburgh and Fife. Many experiments to ascertain the effects of wind on metal took place before the Forth Bridge – a spectacular and over-engineered structure – was completed in 1890. Even so, the similar Quebec Bridge collapsed during construction in 1907. The most vividly documented of all bridge collapses, through a dramatic contemporaneous film, is that of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge across the Puget Sound near Seattle. Even though storm stresses were relatively well understood in 1940, aerodynamic effects were not. Today, similar bridges are tested in wind tunnels in the design phase. Over the course of a century, the scope of mysteries has been diminished, and the effects of weather on bridges and other structures can today largely be treated as a soluble puzzle. Some mysteries will remain just that because the solution will never be found.

., 198 , 201 , 203–4 , 206 , 217 Singell, Larry, 74 , 78 Slaughter, Anne-Marie, 214 Sloan, Alfred, 286–7 , 412 small world models: Arrow–Debreu world, 343–5 ; and behavioural economics experiments, 116 , 141–7 ; and classical statistics, 247 ; and engineering, 352–6 ; and framing of problems, 261 , 362 , 398–400 ; and legal reasoning, 203 , 204 ; and machine intelligence, 173–7 , 185 , 263 ; of Malthus and Jevons, 358–62 ; maps as not the territory, 391–4 ; and narratives, 249–61 , 303–4 , 307–10 , 320–1 , 346 , 385 , 397 ; and non-human species, 274 ; as not ‘the world as it really is’, 96 , 100 , 252–5 , 261 , 309–10 , 320 , 342–5 , 346–51 , 352–5 , 376 , 399–400 ; and optimising behaviour, 112–13 , 116 , 129 – 30 , 155 , 166 , 170 , 334 , 382 , 399–400 ; and policy making, 346–9 ; and risk in finance theory, 421 ; and Savage’s analysis, 112–14 , 249 , 309–10 , 345 ; and styles of reasoning, 137–9 smartphones, 30–1 , 344 Smets, Philippe, 78–9 Smith, Adam, 163 , 254 , 343 , 382 , 387 ; The Wealth of Nations , 172 , 190 , 191 , 249 , 253 Smith, Ed, 263–4 Smith, John Maynard, 158 Snow, Dr John, 283 social choice theory, 440 social insurance, 161 , 192 , 427 social media, 351 social relationships: and altruism, 157 , 158 , 159–60 ; cooperation/collective intelligence, 155 , 162 , 176 , 231 , 272–7 , 279–82 , 343 , 412 , 413–17 , 432 ; economic advantages of cooperating, 159 , 160–1 ; and entrepreneurship, 431–2 ; and evolutionary science, 156–65 , 401 ; human capacity for communication/language, 159 , 161 , 162 , 172–3 , 216 , 272–7 , 408 ; mutualisation of risk, 160 , 162 , 192 , 325–6 ; networks of trust/cooperation/coordination, 17 , 155 , 272 , 274–6 , 432 ; process of forming expectations, 350–1 ; reciprocity in, 190–2 , 328 ; round of drinks phenomenon, 189–90 ; social class structure, 324 ; social kinship groups, 156 , 159–62 , 215–16 , 325 , 328–9 , 413–14 ; and trust, 162–3 , 165 social welfare, xiv–xv , 41 Socratic dialogue, 162 Solomon, King, 196 Solow, Robert, 42 Sony, 28 Soros, George, 36 , 319–20 , 336 South Korea, chaebol of, 276 South Sea bubble, 315 Soviet Union, 276 , 279 , 280 , 281 Spanish flu, 57 spectrum auctions, 257 Spence, Michael, 254 Spencer, Herbert, 157–8 Sperber, Dan, 162 , 272 , 415 St Athanasius, 99 St Francis, 116 , 127 , 130 , 167 Stalin, Joseph, 25 , 219 , 292 standard deviation, 234 Stanford, Leland, 48–9 , 427 Stanford University, 49 stationarity (mathematical/statistical term): as assumed in modelling, 333 , 339 , 340–1 , 349 , 350 , 366–7 , 371–2 , 382 ; and astronomical laws, 70 ; China and Japan’s turn inwards, 419–20 , 430 ; economics as ‘non-stationary’, 16 , 35–6 , 45–6 , 102 , 236 , 339–41 , 349 , 350 , 394–6 ; and the environment, 362 ; evolution as ‘non-stationary’, 407 , 428–9 , 430–1 ; financial sector as non-stationary, 16 , 202–3 , 268–9 , 320–1 , 331 , 333 , 339 , 366–8 , 402–3 , 406 ; and frequency distribution, 58 , 69–70 , 87 , 202 , 247 , 327 ; ‘Goodhart’s Law’, 36 ; and insurance underwriting, 327 ; and mortality tables, 57 , 69 ; and natural phenomena, 39 ; and opinion pollsters’ models, 242 ; and planetary motion, 18–19 , 35 , 373–4 , 392 , 394 ; and progress in science, 429–31 ; and reflexivity, 36 , 394 ; and resolvable uncertainties, 37 ; and risk-averse individuals, 306 ; and scientific reasoning, 18–19 , 35 , 236 , 373–4 , 388 , 392 , 429–31 ; and Value at risk models (VaR), 366–8 statistical discrimination, 207–9 , 415 statistics, xiii , xvi ; 25 standard deviation events, 6 , 68 , 235 , 331 , 366 ; bell-shaped ‘normal’ distribution, 57–8 , 233–5 , 237 ; classical statisticians, 58 , 247 ; false stories and bogus statistics, 242–6 ; frequency distribution, 38 , 40 , 57–8 , 69–70 , 72 , 86 , 87 , 202 , 247 ; lognormal distribution, 237 , 238 ; measures of central tendency , 237 ; models ignoring radical uncertainty, 15–16 ; opinion pollsters’ models, 240–2 , 390 ; power laws, 236–9 ; quota sampling, 240–1 ; random sampling, 234 , 239–41 ; ‘randomised controlled trials’ (RCTs), 243–5 ; regression analysis, 351 ; ‘scale invariance’, 238 ; standard deviation, 234 ; statistical distributions, 232–6 ; tails of ‘normal’ distribution, 14 , 40 , 166 , 233 , 234–5 , 401 ; see also probabilistic reasoning; subjective probabilities Stewkley church, 376 Stiglitz, Joseph, 254 Stockdale, Admiral James, 167–8 , 330 stomach ulcers, 284 Stoppard, Tom, Travesties , 89 strategy weekends, 180–3 , 194 , 296 , 407 string theory, 219 , 357 STS-119 space shuttle, 374 subjective probabilities: and 9 /11 terror attacks, 74–6 , 202 ; Appiah’s ‘cognitive angels’, 117–18 ; and belief in emerging scientific truth, 100 ; and Chicago School, 73–4 , 342–3 ; definition of term, 72 ; details of problem specification, 76–8 ; Ellsberg’s ‘ambiguity aversion’, 135 ; expected utility , 111–14 , 115–18 , 124–5 , 127 , 128–30 , 135 , 400 , 435–44 ; and extension of probabilistic reasoning, 71–2 ; Keynes and Knight, 72 ; and linguistic ambiguity, 98 , 100 ; and narrative complexity, 218–19 ; ‘pignistic probability’, 78–84 , 438 ; Ramsey describes, 73 ; ‘rational expectations theory, 342–5 , 346–50 ; small world-large world distinctions, 112–14 , 116 , 129–30 , 137–9 , 141–7 , 155 , 166 , 170 , 171 , 173–7 , 382 , 400 ; see also small world models; triumph over radical uncertainty, 15–16 , 20 , 72–84 , 110–14 ; two-child problem, 76–8 , 81 , 98 , 139 ; see also axiomatic rationality ‘sudden infant death syndrome’ (SIDS), 197–8 , 200–1 , 202 , 204 Suez crisis (1956), 174 Sumerians, 39 Survation, 242 Suter, Johann, 427 Sutter, John, 48–9 Swiss Re, 325–6 Switzerland, 418–19 , 426 , 428 Syrian conflict, 99 , 428 Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse (1940), 33 , 341 Taleb, Nassim Nicholas, 14 , 38–9 , 166 , 422 , 438–9 Tay Bridge disaster (1879), 33 , 341 technological advances, 161 , 258 , 275–6 , 315 , 329 , 362 , 373–4 ; America’s innovative hegemony in, 427–8 ; and evolutionary science, 429 , 430 , 431 Tehran embassy siege (1979), 8 terrorism, 7 , 74–6 , 202 , 220 , 230 , 296 Tetlock, Philip, 21–2 , 221–2 , 294–5 Thaler, Richard, 118 , 148 Thales of Miletus, 303–4 , 319 , 320 , 422 Thames embankments, London, 424–5 Thatcher, Margaret, 290–2 , 412 Theranos, 228–9 Thiel, Peter, 361–2 , 427 The Third Man (film, 1949), 418–19 Thompson, Warren, 359 Thorp, Edward, 38 , 83 Tinbergen, Jan, 134 , 341 , 346 Tolkien, J.


pages: 252 words: 73,131

The Inner Lives of Markets: How People Shape Them—And They Shape Us by Tim Sullivan

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, airport security, Al Roth, Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, attribution theory, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Brownian motion, business cycle, buy and hold, centralized clearinghouse, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, continuous double auction, creative destruction, deferred acceptance, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, experimental subject, first-price auction, framing effect, frictionless, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gunnar Myrdal, helicopter parent, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, late fees, linear programming, Lyft, market clearing, market design, market friction, medical residency, multi-sided market, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Occupy movement, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pez dispenser, pre–internet, price mechanism, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, proxy bid, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, school choice, school vouchers, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, technoutopianism, telemarketer, The Market for Lemons, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, uber lyft, uranium enrichment, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, winner-take-all economy

Things like Euler’s buckling equation, which provides the maximum axial load that a long, slender, ideal column can carry before it crumples, are important background knowledge for bridge builders to be. But the theoretical constructs involving “ideal” columns will take you only so far. A bridge that stands in theory may, in practice, sink into the riverbed or ripple with wave-like undulations when the wind blows just so. (If you want to see a dramatic example, go to YouTube and watch the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse.) Every bridge presents its own unique design challenges—the soil, the way the river flows, the weather, the wear and tear of cars and trucks speeding to and fro. You start with Isaac Newton and Leonhard Euler, but had better take into account the complexities of each situation even if it doesn’t allow you to derive a simple “final answer.” That makes bridge engineering a messier process, involving extended computer simulations, site visits to scope out the river-bank, analysis of soil samples, and stress testing scale models in a wind tunnel.


pages: 242 words: 73,137

Running the Dream: One Summer Living, Training, and Racing With a Team of World-Class Runners Half My Age by Matt Fitzgerald

fear of failure, index card, Tacoma Narrows Bridge

A muscle I didn’t even know existed cramped along my ribcage as I adjusted my form in obedience to AJ’s corrections (“Don’t stack your feet,” “Press those hips forward,” “You’re sagging again”), each of which served to make the exercise even harder. Veronica, an intern, timed me, and when she delivered the welcome news that a minute was up, I collapsed to the floor. “Let’s try ninety,” AJ said. Forty-five seconds into set number two, my body was shuddering like a taut clothesline in a gale, and by seventy-five seconds I was flapping like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in that famous 1940 disaster video—or so I felt. AJ put a fist to his mouth to hide a smile. On and on it went, embarrassment piling on top of embarrassment, like some kind of fitness cult hazing. When I completed my last set of “stirring the pot,” an abdominal exercise every bit as muscle-searing as a ninety-second side plank, it was well past noon and I was the only runner left in the room—except for David Torrence, who, though not a member of NAZ Elite, has the same shoe sponsor and often works out with the team when he comes to Flagstaff from his home in Scottsdale for a dose of altitude.