A report I prepared back in 2005: for #ThrowbackThursday ?

Back in 2005, I was a Short-Term Fellow under what was then the 21st Century Center of Excellence Program (on Wind Effects on Buildings and Urban Environment) at Tokyo Polytechnic University, Atsugi, Japan. As part of the requirements during that two-month stint in Japan, I was asked to prepare a report that shows typhoon/wind damages and wind speed information for the Philippines. I also took it as a chance to prepare a document that could be used as a starting point for those (Filipinos, particularly) asking the question of whether they should even study typhoon/wind engineering, why, and is there anything they could use now (i.e. what have people actually done). Of course, many things have already happened since 2005, but I still see this as pretty good material -- I am using the material in it as an introduction to this wind engineering class lecture that I am currently delivering to undergraduate civil engineering majors at the University of the Philippines. I hope this becomes indeed of some use in our quest to "mitigate if not totally eliminate" typhoon/wind damages in the country.

You can download the Main Report (14.6Mb) from this link:
And the full Appendices (30.0Mb):


Detroit DIYer cooks up stronger, lighter steel... shames scientists?

Read this article on Engadget from back in 2011 first.

The non-(civil-)engineers, of course, are in high praise for the "little guy" one-upping the "big guys" (i.e. the scientists). Because, sure, stronger and lighter steel is good. And faster production time.

But hey, a DIYer discovering something is also almost effectively a scientist. An accidental one, maybe. But yeah, journalism is about sensationalization, so, framing it like he's "one of us" and not one of those stupid people who studied for years to get a PhD and did whatever else in his career who can't even discover this thing -- that's good for a journalistic publication. Touches people's emotions, certainly.


Response to a Reader Question... from 2007! About Billboards.

The e-mailer asked:
I was wondering if we could discuss billboards of the flexible type? I am a BS Geography student finishing my thesis right now and trying to find resource persons or key informants.
My thesis is about the hazards the billboards pose to human life and property. In line with my recommendations part, I wanted to seek alternatives on billboards, if not alternatives for the laws for it. Since I see that billboards can not really be wiped out, due to its economic contributions to the LGU or National government, your concepts are deemed vital.
The initial plan I have in mind is to interview you RE solutions we could make if and when billboards can not be banned totally.
Billboards proved to be something that can affect adversely the lives and properties of people. As a social scientist, I saw it very interesting to tackle but not really focus on the technical aspects of it. Flexibility is understood as a solution to the social problem.  
I replied:


Wind-Induced Vibrations Damage Pedestrian Bridge

"The first cable-stayed bridge in Minnesota——a 686 ft dedicated bicycle and pedestrian crossing over a busy six-lane road in Minneapolis——was greeted with fanfare when it opened in 2007. But on February 19, 2012, two of the cables detached from the Martin Olav Sabo Pedestrian Bridge when the cable diaphragm plate holding them to the main pylon fractured and a portion of the plate fell to the ground... A new report has determined that wind-induced vibrations caused the failure of a cable diaphragm plate."