Wednesday, April 28, 2010

'Green City' Builders Facing Technological, Financial Hurdles

From the New York Times...

"Four years into the Masdar Initiative, a grand plan by the United Arab Emirates to create a new 'greenprint' for urban design, developers are finding that the necessary elements include a stable of the world's brightest minds, plenty of cash, and a stomach for trying over."

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Wind Turbines Shed Their Gears

From Technology Review published by MIT...

"Seimans has begun selling a three-megawatt turbine using a so-called direct-drive system that replaces the conventional high-speed generator with a low-speed generator that eliminates the need for a gearbox. And last month, General Electric announced an investment of 340 million euros in manufacturing facilities to build its own four-megawatt direct-drive turbines for offshore wind farms."

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TR10: Real-Time Search

From Technology Review published by MIT...

"Social networking is changing the way we find information.

How do you parse a tweet? Five years ago, that question would have been gibberish. Today, it's perfectly sensible, and it's at the front of Amit ­Singhal's mind. Singhal is leading Google's quest to incorporate new data into search results in real time by tracking and ranking updates to online content--particularly the thousands of messages that course through social networks every second."

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Burj Khalifa

828 meters above ground on top of Burj Khalifa, Mr. Ahmad Abdelrazaq who has the distinction of being a key member of the design team (at SOM), the construction team (Samsung Corp.), as well as the full-scale monitoring of tower performance team (Notre Dame).

Friday, April 23, 2010

TR10: Green Concrete

From Technology Review published by MIT...

"Making cement for concrete involves heating pulverized limestone, clay, and sand to 1,450 °C with a fuel such as coal or natural gas. The process generates a lot of carbon dioxide: making one metric ton of commonly used Portland cement releases 650 to 920 kilograms of it. The 2.8 billion metric tons of cement produced worldwide in 2009 contributed about 5 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions. Nikolaos Vlasopoulos, chief scientist at London-based startup Novacem, is trying to eliminate those emissions with a cement that absorbs more carbon dioxide than is released during its manufacture. It locks away as much as 100 kilograms of the greenhouse gas per ton."

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

U.S. Embassy Tour Shows Small Measures Pay Off Bigtime

From Engineering News Record...

"We got a tour of the two-year-old U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, including its mechanical spaces, to see how its seismic mitigation measures play out, and how they performed. We found the building’s systems came through Jan. 12’s 7.0 earthquake with flying colors for a lot of good, specific reasons."

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Will Smart Contact Lenses Be the Bluetooth Headsets of the Future?


"Imagine instant access to the latest market segment information at a meeting, or seeing the fourth quarter earnings for a company in (literally) the blink of an eye.

Although it might sound like something from a science fiction novel, scientists at the University of Washington are working on solar powered contact lenses with transparent LEDs embedded onto the lens. This technology could be applied in countless ways, from health monitoring to text translation right in front of the wearer's eyes."

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Quantum Mechanics Explains How Muscle Produces Force

From Technology Review published by MIT...

"It wasn't so long ago that biologists would swear blind that their discipline would never be tainted by the strange effects of quantum mechanics. Today, quantum biology is an emerging discipline in many labs around the world and only the brave (or stupid) now argue against the idea that quantum effects play an important role in the workings of biological molecules, entire cells and even the brain."

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Iceland Volcano Won't Cool the Planet

From Technology Review published by MIT...

"Advocates of "geoengineering"--proposed approaches to cool the planet to offset the effects of greenhouse gases--point to major volcanic eruptions as evidence that the techniques could work. Very large eruptions, like the one at Mount Pinatube in 1991, actually did cool the planet by injecting sulfates into the upper reaches of the atmosphere, where they circulated for over a year, shading the earth. Such advocates have been hoping that another major eruption would come along that could be studied for clues on how best go about artificially cooling the planet."

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In Memory of Hans W. Liepmann

Hans W Liepmann Ak

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Robert A.M. Stern Architects raises the bar with Philadelphia's Comcast Center

From Architectural Record...

"At a 975-foot height, Comcast Center is Philadelphia’s tallest building—a distinction that should last at least as long as the recession. The tower, designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York (with Kendall/Heaton Associates of Houston as architect of record), brings a trim and tailored presence to a skyline pumped up with spires and tops vying for public attention for 20-odd years.

As a skyscraper, Comcast’s top—a squared off obelisk—doesn’t announce any new directions in design, nor suggest that it will be as noticeable once taller buildings (such as the projected 1,500-foot-high American Commerce Center by Kohn Pedersen Fox) crowd around it. But like Raymond Hood’s RCA Tower (1933) at Rockefeller Center in New York, what it lacks in jazz at the top, it delivers at the bottom in a multilevel mix of public spaces, rail connections and concourses, shops, and caf├ęs."

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Ahsan Kareem Receives ASCE Distinguished Member Status

From ASCE SmartBrief...

"Congratulations to ASCE's 2010 class of Distinguished Members, 13 leaders of the civil engineering community recognized for their eminence, and chosen by the Society's Board of Direction for an honor second only to becoming ASCE President. Each has proven worthy of displaying the "Dist.M.ASCE" credential:

  • Imad L. Al-Qadi, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Region 3; Transportation Engineering
  • Robert L. Bowen, P.E., Dist.M.ASCE; Bowen Engineering Corporation Region 4; Water and Wastewater Engineering
  • Robert G. Dean, Sc.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE; University of Florida Region 5; Coastal Engineering
  • Vincent P. Drnevich, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE; Purdue University Region 4; Geotechnical Engineering
  • John Dunnicliff, P.E., Dist.M.ASCE; Consultant Region 10; Geotechnical Engineering
  • Bruce R. Ellingwood, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE; Georgia Institute of Technology Region 5; Structural Engineering
  • Dan M. Frangopol, Sc.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE; Lehigh University Region 2; Structural Engineering
  • Lester A. Hoel, EngD., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, NAE; University of Virginia Region 4; Transportation Engineering
  • Ahsan Kareem, Ph.D., Dist.M.ASCE, NAE; Notre Dame University Region 4; Engineering Mechanics
  • Francis J. Lombardi, P.E., Dist.M.ASCE; The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Region 1; Transportation Engineering
  • Paul F. Mlakar, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE; U.S. Army Engineer Development and Research Center Region 5; Forensic Civil Engineering
  • Harry G. Poulos, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE; Coffey Geotechnics Region 10; Foundation Engineering
  • Stein Sture, Ph.D., Dist.M.ASCE; University of Colorado Region 7; Geo-Mechanics
The 2010 class will be inducted formally at ASCE's 140th Annual Civil Engineering Conference in Las Vegas, Oct. 21-23. Some 601 individuals have been elected to this honor."

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People-Powered Skyscraper to Claim New “World’s Tallest” Crown in Dubai

Is this an April Fools Day joke or not, you decide!


"It’s been just three months since the Burj Khalifa took the title of “world’s tallest building”, and already the shifting sands of Dubai have spawned a successor! A paragon of modern architecture, the iconic ICARUS tower is currently soaring towards the sky to become the next “World’s Tallest Building”. Designed by Daedalus Architects, the timeless skyscraper blends seamlessly into its surrounding environment and harnesses a nearly inexhaustible resource to provide for 100% of it’s energy needs: human labor."

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One of the world's greenest skyscrapers approaches completion


"The 71-story Pearl River Tower, described as one of the most energy-efficient skyscrapers in the world, has reached its topping out milestone on the way to its planned completion later this year. (For those not in the architectural know, topping out or topping off is a ceremony held when the last beam is placed at the top of a building.) With a height of 309.6 meters the 2.3-million square-foot Pearl River Tower incorporates the latest green technology and engineering advancements, the most immediately obvious of which will be a pair of openings in the tower’s facade which feed wind turbines to generate energy for the building."

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wind turbines being installed in Elephant & Castle Strata tower

"Work to install three wind turbines at a huge new Hamiltons-designed tower in south London is due to be completed next week

The turbines are designed to contribute 8% of the 43-storey Strata building’s total energy consumption when the 408-apartment block at Elephant & Castle is completed in May.

The tower, nicknamed the Electric Razor by locals, has become a major presence in the capital, visible from distant areas such as Hyde Park.

The turbines, which will be fully operational by April, have 15 blades in total, each with a 9m-diameter rotor plane."

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