When I lived in New Orleans, there was an incredible collection of moving sculptures in an unlikely place: the headquarters of the K&B drugstore chain.
K&B Plaza, on St. Charles Avenue, was home to over 40 "kinetic sculptures," including this one by local artist Lin Emery. Some are still there, but many of the sculptures have since been moved to a sculpture garden in City Park. I highly recommend it to anyone visiting New Orleans.
I've often thought that studying the kinematics of these sculptures would make a good project for an introductory dynamics class.
Your mention of descriptive geometry texts takes me back. My father was a draftsman and finally got an associates degree. I still have all his textbooks in descriptive geometry. It can be a useful skill. My brother and I were lucky in that our high school had a great pre-engineering/architecture program. The first two years were common. It was in the last year that you specialized. We had a great teacher and we did some very interesting projects. I went the pre-engineering route and my brother the architecture route. When he was in architecture school I used to help him with his projects. He would often ask me to help with some of the more complex perspectives. I was working full time and would go to his place and work on this. I really found it challenging and enjoyable.
Our engineering schools today challenge students with one or more group project. These have to be unique and the students have to come up with solutions to new problems. Some of these are significant. I truly believe that working with objects and solving real problems helps engineers to really understand. This obviously helped Calder.
The first Tacoma Narrows Bridge was a Washington State suspension bridge that opened in 1940 and spanned the Tacoma Narrows strait of Puget Sound between Tacoma and the Kitsap Peninsula. It opened to traffic on July 1, 1940, and dramatically collapsed into Puget Sound on November 7, just four months after it opened.
Noting that we now live in an era of “confusion and ill-conceived stuff,” Ammunition design studio founder Robert Brunner, speaking at Gigaom Roadmap, said that by adding connectivity to everything and its mother, we aren't necessarily doing ourselves any favors, with many ‘things’ just fine in their unconnected state.
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