Another kind of extreme wind event

Santa Ana winds image from NASA
We all know how typhoons/hurricanes/cyclones create tons of damages and injuries over and over and over again. These usually affect cities and even large metropolitan areas just above the equatorial belt, and which are relatively near a large body of water to the east.  The Pacific Ocean, for example, affects Japan, the Philippines (except its southernmost areas), and a few other countries, while the Atlantic Ocean affects Florida and all the way up to New York and adjacent states.  The South China Sea and the Indian Sea are known culprits as well.


10 FAQs on earthquake safety of buildings in the Philippines

This is a must-read-for-all article in the Inquirer by Dr. Benito Pacheco answering "10 Frequently Asked Questions" related to the earthquake safety of buildings in the Philippines.


You know those huge electrical transmission towers?

(c) Bidgee, Wikipedia
I did a study about their structural design for my master's thesis. Anyways, there was this contest in the UK for the best modern replacement shape for the almost-one-century-old tapered steel lattice/truss form. There were plenty of submissions, most of them very interesting. The first concern I had in mind, having my structural engineer's goggles on, is that it has to be very efficient structurally, meaning it should use the least amount of material possible and yet it has satisfactory strength to withstand the elements and nature, along with its high uncertainties.


Remembering 9-11, 10 years later

(c) KimCarpenter NJ, Wikipedia
In this case, from a civil engineering perspective. Go to the American Society of Civil Engineers' tribute website at http://www.asce.org/ASCE-Remembers-9-11/. Listen to "podcasts" showcasing interviews with engineers involved in the investigation of the World Trade Center towers' collapse and reconstruction of the memorial, as well as get handy access to links to resources on related activities of the past 10 years. Watch the slideshow regarding the 1st year of searching for answers to 'Why?'


Malaya: Interview of RWDI Rep on Wind Engineering

Yes. Wind engineering is still mostly unknown in the Philippines. There is practically no one Filipino in the Philippines who is actually into wind engineering.

Consider this one thing that wind engineering is for: to minimize and possibly prevent typhoon-induced damages.

Very relevant to us in the Philippines, right?


Engadget: Detroit DIYer cooks up stronger, lighter steel, shames scientists

Read this (rather old) article on Engadget. What's your first impression, fellow civil/structural engineer?

Here's the thing. In structural design, we want the steel to be ductile, not brittle. In the steel we know of and have been using, usually stronger means more brittle. That's more dangerous to use in design.

So that is one question left unanswered by this discovery. Is it steel we can actually use in civil/structural design in place of the current types of steel we commonly use? i.e. does it have sufficient ductility? Granted, it's not to say it doesn't have any use at all.

Ars Technica: Irene's path illustrates the challenges of hurricane forecasting

Read this article on Ars Technica. It's yet another piece on why I think we Filipinos are expecting too much from PAGASA. Here, the troubles of the US equivalent are illustrated vis-a-vis the most recent hurricane to threaten highly populated New York and other east coast cities. The key point is that there are things we can predict about typhoons and there are things we can't. I think what's happening is since we can predict some things, there's an expectation that everything about it can be predicted. It's like, since we know a basketball game is going to end up with scores above 100, the expectation is we can predict exactly what the score will be. 111-109? 103-102? Big NO.

Read up, ladies and gentlemen. Before ye speak ill. :-D


"Pedestrian Level Wind Environment Studies"

Imagine yourself - you are around 50 to 100 kg in weight - in this 500-km-diameter typhoon with winds up to 200 kph sweeping through your city, funneling through the tall buildings along the street you are walking on. What are the things that could happen?

While the subject matter of "pedestrian level wind environments" is a very serious one - it is a a key topic of wind engineering - this blog article is not so much serious. Check this video out: http://youtu.be/SEBLt6Kd9EY.


Yet Another Wind Disaster

First, take a look at this video: Indiana Stage Collapse: Why Was Warning So Late?

The story is the same. Structures collapsing and killing people under relatively low winds - around 60 mph (~95 kph, or ~27 m/s) only.


ICWE13 Presentation

I had the privilege to attend and present a paper at the 13th International Conference on Wind Engineering, held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, from the 10th to 15th of July, 2011. It was a successful conference with over 600 papers, and more than 500 participants from all over the world, including a large majority from Asia.


A curious application for wind engineering

Wind engineering deals with the interaction of wind and the built environment. So usually, wind engineers would determine wind loads and appropriately design houses, tall buildings, bridges, wind turbines, and so on. As you all might agree, those are important stuff that warrant careful design.


Japan, tsunamis, Katrina, and other natural hazards

I haven't blogged in a long time, and yes, although we were probably 300 km away from the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear triple disaster this past March, that event was one reason.  But the truth is I mostly got really busy with my work.  Now I just wanted to share second-hand information from a Japanese, about Japan and its battle against earthquakes and tsunamis, and to talk about the similarities with New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina.


Engineering Companies

I've been with a few. And I've seen the two sides of the coin. I hope we won't be doing it wrong in the 21st century. After all, we are already past the industrial age. Something to remember for engineering consulting firms, old and new. Watch this talk by Dan Pink on the surprising science of motivation, a video on TED.com:


"A journey around the edge of wind engineering"

This is a report on ‘A journey around the edge of wind engineering,’ an Intensive Course lecture by Prof. Chris Baker, that I submitted as part of the requirements in my PhD study.