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+ - The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper 1

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Joel Werner writes in Slate that when Citicorp Center was built in 1977 it was, at 59 stories, the seventh-tallest building in the world but no one figured out until after it was built that although the chief structural engineer, William LeMessurier, had properly accounted for perpendicular winds, the building was particularly vulnerable to quartering winds — in part due to cost-saving changes made to the original plan by the contractor. "According to LeMessurier, in 1978 an undergraduate architecture student contacted him with a bold claim about LeMessurier’s building: that Citicorp Center could blow over in the wind," writes Werner. "LeMessurier realized that a major storm could cause a blackout and render the tuned mass damper inoperable. Without the tuned mass damper, LeMessurier calculated that a storm powerful enough to take out the building hit New York every 16 years." In other words, for every year Citicorp Center was standing, there was about a 1-in-16 chance that it would collapse.

LeMessurier and his team worked with Citicorp to coordinate emergency repairs. With the help of the NYPD, they worked out an evacuation plan spanning a 10-block radius. They had 2,500 Red Cross volunteers on standby, and three different weather services employed 24/7 to keep an eye on potential windstorms. Work began immediately, and continued around the clock for three months. Welders worked all night and quit at daybreak, just as the building occupants returned to work. But all of this happened in secret, even as Hurricane Ella, the strongest hurricane on record in Canadian waters, was racing up the eastern seaboard. The hurricane became stationary for about 24 hours, and later turned to the northeast away from the coast. Hurricane Ella never made landfall. And so the public—including the building’s occupants—were never notified.

Until his death in 2007, LeMessurier talked about the summer of 1978 to his classes at Harvard. The tale, as he told it, is by turns painful, self-deprecating, and self-dramatizing--an engineer who did the right thing. But it also speaks to the larger question of how professional people should behave. "You have a social obligation," LeMessurier reminded his students. "In return for getting a license and being regarded with respect, you're supposed to be self-sacrificing and look beyond the interests of yourself and your client to society as a whole.""

Comment: Last night's spam email was probably the cause (Score 4, Informative) 96

by cjmnews (#46119409) Attached to: Yahoo Mail Resets Account Passwords After Attack

A spam email that went to the Inbox stating that Yahoo! was going to close all inactive accounts if you did not click on this link and log in was probably how the attacker got the passwords. The link went to one of those off-shore URLs that we should all avoid.

Phishing is still alive and well.

And there are a lot of gullible people to phish for.

Comment: Re:Wattage? (Score 1) 767

by cjmnews (#45964621) Attached to: Incandescent Bulbs Get a Reprieve

Don't hold your breath for LEDs, they are very expensive, produce poor color in comparison to incandescent, and last the same amount of time as incandescent.

If you use LEDs, you'll be paying 10x for your bulbs, and the energy savings don't cover that cost.

I've been stockpiling bulbs, I should be good for 5-8 years now. Maybe by then there will be something better than the current alternatives.

Comment: Ugh, force me to use IE on my mail order meds site (Score 1) 369

by cjmnews (#42995897) Attached to: Firefox Will Soon Block Third-Party Cookies

I was blocking 3rd party cookies, until my (required, no alternative) mail order medication site stopped working due to an "upgrade" they made.

I had to turn off 3rd party cookie blocking to log in.

If 3rd party cookie blocking is enabled by default I hope there is a way to turn it off for the 1 site, or all sites if I need to.
Otherwise I will have to use the insecure IE for their site.

Comment: Re:Insulin pumps can be taken off. (Score 1) 811


You can disconnect for bathing, swimming, etc.

If she was in the line and did not think ahead, it could have been handled like any other object we forget to remove from our pockets and go on the belt.

If she would have thought ahead, then she could have had the pump in her bag away from the millimeter waves, and avoided most of the questions.
She may have been pat down for the stent that is still in her for the pump to connect to, but that is minor compared to replacing a pump.

Yes, the TSA is a waste of time to the traveler, but as long as you keep in mind that you can't avoid the idiocy, you can work around it and get through the hoops with little to no trouble.

Comment: Re:Muscle Car (Score 1) 599

by cjmnews (#39231783) Attached to: Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sales

I did the cost comparison between muscle car and the Volt, and if you got a Volt, with the $7500 rebate of 2011, and drove it on battery only (except when it forces you to use gas) you would have to drive it 16 years to recoup the cost difference of the Volt over the Camaro (V6 RS, Automatic).

A $45K car at the Chevy level of comfort? No thanks. Though I do have to say the Volt drove REALLY nice. Very impressive, and it does not have the Prius hesitation at stop signs. The Volt is a well thought out vehicle, having the gas backup is awesome. Better than the Leaf and it's once the charge is used you are stranded model.

I picked up a Buick Verano instead. Cheaper than the Volt or the Camaro, really comfortable and very quiet.

Comment: Bluetooth Devices? (Score 1) 270

by cjmnews (#38299456) Attached to: Bluetooth Keyboards With a 10-Year Charge Promised

Will it have the same 40% extra cost for the Bluetooth name like the rare bluetooth mice do?

Can this Bluetooth Keyboard also hang for 10 seconds twice a day like my Microsoft Bluetooth mouse does?

Will the Keyboard last the 10 years or just the battery?

I miss my Logitech Bluetooth mouse, too bad the buttons didn't last more than 3 years....

Input Devices

Microsoft Kinect With World of Warcraft 80

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-some-exercise-while-you-raid dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies have developed software that enables control of PC video games using the Microsoft Kinect sensor. Their toolkit, known as the Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (FAAST), emulates custom-configured keyboard controls triggered by body posture and specific gestures. This video shows a user playing the online game World of Warcraft using the Kinect. Potential applications of this technology include video games for motor rehabilitation after stroke and reducing childhood obesity through healthy gaming."

Comment: Re:Class Action Suit? (Score 1) 376

by cjmnews (#32049284) Attached to: <em>Avatar</em> Blu-Ray DRM Issues

If you read the article it tells you that the Disc is not broken. It works fine. It's the owners of the players that didn't update their players that caused the problem.

Oh, and if you find the box or instructions for the player it will state that an Internet connection or manual update is required to keep the player up to date. These owners didn't pay attention to that and they are seeing the consequences.

So there is no basis for a lawsuit...

I don't believe BR is good enough to warrant the money for the player, so I am sticking with upconverted DVDs until forced to switch.


Sun Pushes Emergency Java Patch 90

Posted by timothy
from the emergency-shot-of-soy-latte dept.
Trailrunner7 writes "In a sudden about-face, Sun has rushed out a Java update to fix a drive-by download vulnerability that exposed Windows users to in-the-wild malware attacks. The patch comes less than a week after Sun told a Google researcher it did not consider the issue serious enough to warrant an out-of-cycle patch and less than a day after researchers spotted live exploits on a booby-trapped Web site. The flaw, which was also discovered independently by Ruben Santamarta, occurs because the Java-Plugin Browser is running 'javaws.exe' without validating command-line parameters. Despite the absence of documentation, a researcher was about to figure out that Sun removed the code to run javaws.exe from the Java plugin. The about-face by Sun is another sign that some big vendors still struggle to understand the importance of working closely with white hat researchers to understand the implications of certain vulnerabilities. In this case, Google's Tavis Ormandy was forced to use the full-disclosure weapon to force the vendor into a proper response."

Is it possible that software is not like anything else, that it is meant to be discarded: that the whole point is to always see it as a soap bubble?