Showing posts with label Construction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Construction. Show all posts

August 13, 2015

Old Pool Out, New Pool In

So the pool is getting a major makeover. 

That's what happens when it starts to get some cracks. 

It had to be drained a couple of weeks ago. 

Then they came in with drills and have been ripping up the pool and removing the floor and sides ever since. 

Next up a brand new coat of swimming pool -- concrete and tiles. 

Followed by a top-to-bottom cleaning and shining up until it's spick and span.

Right now it looks so gross, but when it's done it will be awesome again.

Can't wait--I need my laps and hydrotherapy. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 14, 2015

3-D Printing Comes To Life

So my daughter is graduating high school, but is already taking a class in 3-D printing. 

(This little guy pictured here was made experimenting in the class and was a precious gift from her.)

Already prophetically envisioned in Star Trek as "the replicator," this technology has been around in primitive trial form since the 1980's.

In 3-D printing, alloyed material is successively layered under computer control to make complex shapes and products.

It makes traditional 2-D printing (on paper) look like rubbing two sticks together to build a fire (circa the paleolithic period of mankind thousands of years ago). 

The promise of 3-D printing for advanced manufacturing is absolutely incredible.

The Wall Street Journal describes how NASA researchers and engineers are working toward using 3-D printers in space to "make bricks suitable for airtight buildings and radiation proof shelters" simply using the sand already on Mars. 

Moreover, the astronauts on their journey may be eating pizza from these printers as well (except for the sand, but still probably better than MREs--Haha).

Already objects have been printed "19 feet long...stone-like building blocks weighing one-and-a-half ton each"!

In the future, 3-D printers could be sent in advance to planets we look to colonize and "lay down landing pads, roads, and shelters" in preparation of our arrival.

These printers could even build working replicas of themsleves or "swarms of self-assembling construction robots" boosting our capacity for even more building.

Moreover, technology is in the works to recycle from 3-D printing by melting down the printed products back into material that could be reused for new printing projects.

On Earth, where we have long been drawing down our natural resources as well as polluting our environment, the prospect of going to other worlds where their are new resources and we actually have the ability to use them constructively is humanity's chance for a whole new chapter of life beyond. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
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October 17, 2014

Closed And Closed

This is sort of hilarious.

Check out the signs on either side of the road.

- Right lane closed.

- Left lane closed.

Even more stupid, notice that the signs are reversed (the left closure sign is on the right side of the road and the right closure sign is on the left side of the road)...oops.

Thank G-d, there were three lanes--at least for a little while. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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February 16, 2014

How Our Colony On Mars Will Get Built


Absolutely amazing development in robotics...

According to the Wall Street Journal, Harvard University researchers have developed autonomous robots inspired by termites or ants. 

They can build complex structures by working in a group or swarm.

Each robot is independent, yet by being programmed with the target structure, they work harmoniously together to build the structure without further guidance. 

They have sensors along with a set of rules that enable them to interact with each other and the environment to get the job done. 

They can even build stairs to enable themselves to get to higher levels of the structure and add the next set of building bricks. 

The robots are 8" by 4.5" with pinwheel tires for traction and are powered by off-the-shelf motors.

"Each robot 'walks around the structure until it sees something that needs to be done and then does it...they can recognize errors and correct them.'"

Perhaps, the robots can not only learn from the termites, but we can learn from the robots. ;-)
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July 6, 2013

Teamwork or Telework?

Clive Thompson makes an interesting point in Wired (15 May 2013) on productivity versus creativity.

He says that people seem more creative when interacting with other people in a group, and more productive when left alone to get their work done. 

Hence, he advocates for telework to improve individual productivity, but basically only after the team first gets together to figure out what creative things they should be doing. 

While I agree that group interchange can be good for bouncing ideas around and sparking innovation, and that with some quiet time, people can plow through a lot of work on their own--this is only a very narrow perspective.

Really, very often, the exact opposite is true....think about it. 

When alone, and with some quiet time to think, you may come up with some of your best and most creative ideas. That is because the pressure is off to strut your stuff with the others, the groupthink is gone, and you can concentrate and free associate.  Inventors, writers, painters, and other creative types come up with some of the best innovations, when they are left alone to do their thing. 

Similarly, when people are in a group, they can often be much more productive than when working alone. Whether in mass producing good as a team in a factory, as team mates in sports passing and scoring, as warfighters waging battle side by side, and even as the construction crew in the picture above putting up a brand new high-rise building--people, when working together, can do amazingly great and productive things.

So yes, while at times groups can spark creativity among each other and quiet time can be good for getting (some paper) work done, often the exact opposite is true--and the group can produce in quantity and quality and the individual can think, experiment, and truly innovate.

Group and individual work is not correlated one for one with creativity and productivity--it all depends on what you are trying to get done. 

But either way, you need both telework and teamwork to think and produce. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 25, 2013

Watch Out Below

This picture from this week in D.C. needs no commentary...except maybe, that's no good! 

"Over here, over here, I got it!" ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 1, 2012

Prefabricated Skyscrapers

Eleven years after the 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Centers, we are still waiting for the new Freedom Tower to go up.


Yes, there were political disputes on what type of building and memorial would be erected, what security features would be included, what the insurance would pay, and so on.

But then there is also just the shear length of time it still takes us to build a building—a skyscraper, but also other smaller and simpler structures too.

Wired Magazine (October 2012) is reporting on a new method for building construction coming out of China.

Unfortunately, China has been known for some time for unsafe building practices—perhaps doing things on the cheap and then paying for it in terms of consequences later.

Yet, this new technique promises to increase safety, as well as speed, while lowering costs.

If you are willing to give up some building pizzazz, then Broad Sustainable Building is perfecting the prefabricated skyscraper—and these have tested “earthquake-proof” for a 9.0 quake, cost only $1,000 per square foot (versus $1,400 normally)—a 40% savings, and a 30 story building can be built in just 15 days!

Now, Broad says that they even want to erect a 220 story mega skyscraper in 6 months—by March 2013.

Here’s how they do it:

  • Identical modules—each section is prebuilt in identical modules in the factor.
  • Preinstalled fixtures—Pipes and ducts are threaded through each module in the factory for AC, hot and cold water, and waste.
  • Standardized truckloads —with two stacked pallets, each pallet has everything needed to erect a section including wall panels, columns, ducts, bolts, and tools.
  • Lego-style assembly—sections are lifted by crane and installed quickly in snap-like fashion, including pipes and wires.
  • Slotted exterior—heavily insulated walls and windows are hoisted by crane and slotted into the exterior of the building.

Aside from a standardized, consistent, high quality building—it is energy efficient, generates less than 1% the construction waste, and is safer to construct.

As with the rest of the industrial age, this is just the first step in mass producing—in this case buildings—and like the Ford Model T, which came in only one color black and evolved to meet consumer tastes and needs, these building will soon come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but at a fraction of the cost and the time to build.

This is enterprise architecture applied to building architecture making use of modular design and construction, standardization, and consolidated engineering, manufacturing, and assembly to develop next generation products. 

(Source Photo: Minna Blumenthal)

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