Bridge Design Contest.
The University of Akron is sponsoring a contest this fall for a pedestrian bridge joining two parts of its campus. The kicker is that the use of titanium is specified. The hope is that by showing the feasibility of titanium use, demand will rise and its high price will come down. Co-sponsor of the contest is the Defense Metals Technology Center of North Canton, Ohio, a Defense Department unit. The bridge will cross a heavily-used rail line.
Engineering News Record, Aug. 17, 2009
For The Birds
The Lake Erie wetlands are sources of food for migratory birds that each year make a 9,000-mile journey from the Arctic to South America. Shorebirds like yellowlegs and sandpipers pause in Northern Ohio to feed on the insects,, crustaceans and invertebrates that inhabit the wetlands, shorelines, fields and mudflats whose existence are vital to their survival. The Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is a favorite viewing spot. Others making the trek are dowitchers, plovers, snipe and killdeer.
Cleveland Plain Dealer, Aug. 10, 2009 (from H2O newsletter)
Who Watches Watchdog?
The New York State inspector general said in a recent report that Waterfront Commission for New York Harbor is as corrupt as the gangsters it was supposed to pursue. Instead, the state found, it employed the same tools of the mob on the docks: dividing spoils, helping cronies evade the law and thwarting security provisions. The commission, with an $11-million annual budget, went to court to block the report's release. Instead, nearly the entire executive staff was dismissed. Said the inspector general: "It was an utter disaster when we stepped in...a continuation of the old waterfront."
The New York Times, Aug. 12, 2009
Undaming the Dams
The 1950's and 1960's were the era of dam-building in the U.S. -- one went up every six minutes! To generate electricity, provide irrigation and to protect against floods, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Now, they're coming down, 430 so far since 1999, says American Rivers (www.americanrivers.org). Typical of the new era is the Sandy River east of Portland, Ore. Once blocked by the Marmot Dam, a hydroelectric project that created a two-mile long reservoir. Now kayackers and canoeists can enjoy the free-flowing river as it runs between Mount Hood and the Columbia River. The Marmot Dam came down in 2007.
The New York Times, Aug. 9, 2009