December 15, 2004

A new wonder of the world.

France opens the world's tallest bridge. Beautiful! One of the most marvelous things human beings have ever built.

UPDATE: A reader, a ciivl engineer, writes:
[A] powerpoint file with various pictures of this bridge was passed around our department today. In the pps file, most of the pictures showed the bridge in various stages of incompletion.

The most interesting thing to me was the fact that the bridge deck was a little bit wavy -- like a small amplitude sine wave -- during the middle phases of construction. This was apparently because all the cables had not been rigged yet. Once the cables were all rigged and properly tensioned, then the bridge deck becomes a straight creature.

But can you imagine trying to explain this phenomenon to the bridge's owner? "Sure the bridge deck is wavy. I know you didn't expect that. I know you've never seen that before. But trust me. When we hang all the cable and tighten 'em up, it'll all straighten out. Trust me. It'll look good."

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