Engineer Dave Bloomquist may make the people living and working in buildings surrounding Ground Zero in New York City feel a little safer. The University of Florida professor is assessing the structural integrity of buildings surrounding the World Trade Center, providing more detailed and accurate information than has ever been available to recovery workers. The entirely new technique uses airborne laser swath mapping (ALSM) and ground-based laser scanning. Bloomquist's technique combines millions of laser measurements with aerial and digital images of New York City into a three-dimensional model. "Several surrounding buildings near Ground Zero may not be structurally salvageable," says Bloomquist. "There is concern that several are slowly deteriorating." He is also analyzing the Pentagon for signs of structural damage. For more information, go to www.ufl.edu.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
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