A week after the the collapse of the I-35W Bridge, I made out to Minneapolis and trekked down with Publisher Joan Kelly and savvy guide and colleague Joe Hoopes to the adjacent Stone Arch Bridge. That’s the historic former railroad bridge turned pedestrian walkway spanning the Mississippi to link downtown Minneapolis with the east side of town. It’s about a quarter of mile upriver (north) from the I-35 Bridge and was full of gawkers like us. One could see the upturned substructure on the east side and I managed to get 200 yards closer by the Stone Arch Apartments to police line next to the east side of the bridge. Cars were still astrewn on the bridge and a hapless railway car was still crushed underneath that section of the span. A crane had been brought in in collapse roadway deck in the middle of the river.
I shot about 50 photos many of which I will shortly post. There are from some distance and the dam superstructure obscured the view of the west side spans roadway that collapsed mostly over land. I could not help but ponder the loss of life had it been 20 degrees below zero, had the Mississippi been running at full tilt in spring, had it happened at night, had there been no construction meaning the bridge would have been open to three lanes each way or had cars had been doing 70 over the bridge instead of being stuck in rush hour traffic. The loss of life is tragic but could have been much, much worse. Many area residents are reporting they felt the bridge sway sideways when they crossed it in the couple of weeks preceding the collapse. And finger pointing is beginning bigtime right up to the Minnestoa Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.