On September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center transformed from a pair of gleaming towers into a carcinogenic pile of smoldering rubble that's still killing people. Currently rising out of that rubble, though, is a complex with the most environmentally advanced technologies ever attempted at the scale.
Click to launch a gallery showing the World Trade Center complex under construction.
Remember the ludicrously fast rocket-powered Bloodhound car? Years in the making, its creators are hoping not just to beat the current land speed record, but crush it with a 1,000-mph speed--and the Bloodhound is taking another step toward that goal as construction formally begins this week.
The Gotthard Base Tunnel, two parallel tubes of over 35 miles each through the Swiss Alps, is a ridiculously ambitious undertaking, one that has taken 14 years so far and still has a few left to go before it'll be operational. But the Swiss have achieved a major milestone today: One of the tunnels broke through, cementing the Gotthard's place as the world's longest tunnel.
Wiring large building for fire safety systems, climate control mechanisms, and other public safety monitoring schemes consumes a lot of wire -- imagine how much feet of copper connects every room, corridor, stairwell and broom closet in a building like the Empire State.
While three-dimensional printing has come a long way, engineers still struggle with fabricating objects smaller than a quarter. In those small structures, the upper layers crush and distort the weak lower ones. To solve this problem, researchers at the University of Illinois have come up with a novel solution: print out a flat sheet, and then fold it, origami style, into the desired shape.
Over 70 years ago, scientists invented aerogel, the least dense solid known to man, and an insulator four times more efficient than fiberglass or foam. Famously, according to Dr. Peter Tsou of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, "you could take a two- or three-bedroom house, insulate it with aerogel, and you could heat the house with a candle. But eventually the house would become too hot."
Unfortunately, aerogels remained so expensive and unwieldy that only NASA used them with any regularity. However, thanks to recent production advances, aerogel insulation is now available and affordable for consumer purchase.
I can't believe it, but the entire box is now up. All the wall and roof panels have been installed. As you may recall the second floor was a bit of a learning curve for everyone, but when it came to the last level, everything went together as expected. LightShip Group, the firm making the panels, took all the field experiences that we had with the first install, went back to the shop and turned out 100 percent perfect panels for my third floor walls and roof.
Building this house has been a constant learning experience, and today was no exception. My original plan was to build the walls from special insulated structural panels from Kama-Eebs, add some simple "X" braces to control shear, and throw on some housewrap before attaching my siding. And that would have been the cheapest and most ideal solution, but the more I looked at the final Kama panels installed the more I began to question the wisdom of that idea.
Who'd have guessed? The Swedes make the manliest gear around
By Mikey SklarPosted 09.15.2009 at 2:22 pm 1 Comment
Before I encountered the Blaklader shorts I had been wearing jumpsuits made by Dickies or jeans from Carhartt. Both had a limited amount of pocket space, which meants I had to wear a tool belt, which became a nuisance to take off whenever I sat down to drive a vehicle. Plus, the materials constantly failed me: Neither the jumpsuit or jeans fared well against my homemade biodiesel or splashes of sulfuric acid from the battery bank.
Even though I spend most of my time thinking about geothermal heating systems and backyard solar plants for my green home, in the end, a house is a house; holes must be dug, foundations must be laid, steel delivered and erected, and so on. Here's a look at our progress in that less glamorous but wholly necessary department.