I would certianly agree that many bridges are interesting and beautiful. I am often more impressed by design of practical things than of objects that are formally called art. If you ever get a chance to look at an integrated circuit under an electron microsocpe you find something incredibly beautiful in its own way.
As for bridges, I had an opportunity to walk inside of post tensioned cast-in-place concrete box girder structure just before it was completed. The spans started from both sides of the river and met in the middle. Getting that right was quite a feat. We were about 200 feet above the river with this ten foot gap in front of us. I was a little scary, but wonderful. Indisde the span were the cables and other structure of the bridge. While few would ever see it, it was intersting in its own way. I'm glad I got a chance to see it.
I have been fascinated/terrified by bridges since I was young. My fascination started in high school when we were tasked in a physics class to build a bridge out of dry spaghetti and glue. The test was to see how many bricks our teacher could hang from the bridge before it cracked. I can't remember how many bricks my bridge held, but I do remember drawing designs and working with my dad to test out different ideas.
My love for bridges was indeed renewed the first time I visited San Francisco. Walking along the Golden Gate Bridge was exhilarating.
Of course, there are the awful stories about bridges failing -- Minnesota bridge collapse, the Boston (where I'm from) nightmare called the Big Dig. For this reason, I also hold my breath when driving across these spans.
Bridges are indeed a great example of great engineering combined with great design. I live in the Boston area and was witness to the whole development effort around the Zakim Bridge, which indeed permanantly altered the Boston skyline. It's always amazed me how engineers are not only able to come up with these unique architectural designs, but more critically, buy off the engineering feat to actually bring them to life.
The 100% solar-powered airplane Solar Impulse 2 is prepping for its upcoming flight, becoming the first plane to fly around the world without using fuel. It's able to do so because of above-average performance by all of the technologies that go into it, especially materials.
With major product releases coming from big names like Sony, Microsoft, and Samsung, and big investments by companies like Facebook, 2015 could be the year that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) finally pop. Here's take a look back at some of the technologies that got us here (for better and worse).
Good engineering designs are those that work in the real world; bad designs are those that don’t. If we agree to set our egos aside and let the real world be our guide, we can resolve nearly any disagreement.
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