Sunday, July 28, 2013

Kids these days

Lucille Bogan - Shave 'em Dry (1935) {NSFW Lyrics}

Just a reminder that foul-language in music is nothing new.  I bring this up, because I recently had to explain to someone that a 24-year-old listening to "Fuck Tha Police" when it was first released is now 44-45 years old.

"We live in a decaying age. Young people no longer respect their parents. They are rude and impatient. They frequently inhabit taverns and have no self control." - inscription in Ancient Egyptian tomb

Friday, July 26, 2013

Patches Update: Took my Chevy to the Levee Edition

The tailgate is now installed.  The truck is looking awesome.
Took Patches to Lakeshore Drive and took some photos.  
Painted the area behind the tailgate first.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

4th of July Weekend Project

Here's what the front of the truck originally looked like:
october07 048
And here's what it looks like now:
Much better.

Here's how it got that way....

The bumper was a little crooked and was installed upside-down.  I replaced it with a straighter bumper painted white.  Doing that required some cutting, grinding, and welding on the front of the frame.

Next, Patches got new shoes!  5 matching rims and tires!  What a novel concept.  I was getting some pretty nasty tread separation, so it was a good time.

The main project over the long weekend was cleaning, repainting the grille and replacing the (VERY corroded) radiator mount.  .  
Stripped out a bunch of old components, painted the connecting bits, then started reassembly.
Bit by bit it came together.  There are about a billion bolts holding the front together.  Almost all are the famous 1/2" GM Body Bolt.

Some minor electrical work, and Patches was rolling again.

Oh yeah, and don't forget the little tree and fuzzy dice hanging like testicles from the rearview mirror:
The next project is going to be replacing the tailgate.  Prep work is already underway:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Orleans Avenue Canal Wall Gap

So, the Corps was in charge of building a hurricane protection system around New Orleans, as ordered by Congress in response to Hurricane Betsy.  There are a lot of interlocking political entities that (levee boards, New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board [S&WB], etc.) that end up adding some complexities to construction.

The Corps eventually decides to build walls along the outfall canals (instead of moving the pumping stations to the lake; that's a HUGE issue all on its own that I won't touch on for now).  They build the canal walls on the 17th Street and London Ave. Canals.  There, fundamental flaws in the analysis of the soil strength (the sort that even an undergraduate in civil engineering should understand to avoid), will lead to their collapse.  

The Orleans Ave. Canal didn't fail like the others.  Why?  Well, that's sort of revealing.  Pumping Station Number 7 drains the area near Delgado and puts water into the Orleans Canal to bring it to the lake.  That pumping station is a masonry structure built all the way back when Albert Baldwin Wood was running the S&WB.  Masonry is relatively weak and brittle.  Since that structure is the closest to the lake out of all the pumping stations, if they were to add walls lining the canal, the lake water could push up against the walls of the pumping station and (if they rose high enough) collapse the walls of the pumping station.  That would be bad.

Fortunately, the Corps & S&WB realized this.  The Corps requested the S&WB reinforce their structure.  The S&WB says, 'we're broke, it's your project, you fix the structure, since it's hurricane protection and not internal drainage' [this is in ~80's-early 90's, so the S&WB was pretty broke].  The Corps and the S&WB then get into a big pissing contest.  Meanwhile, the walls are going up.  Eventually, they reach the section nearest PS#7 and they just stop building the wall.  About a 300' gap is left, that way if waters rise, it won't put undue pressure on the walls of PS#7.  

This gap is still there today:

The thing is about this gap is it renders basically the entire wall useless!  The wall provides basically no protection for the city, despite several million dollars spent on its construction.  The reason the Orleans Ave. walls didn't fail is because they were never holding anything back!  

Now, I'm actually an engineer with some experience.  I actually see the situation the engineers were in.  Situations with ambiguous boundaries and split responsibilities happen.  You rarely know exactly what the final project is going to look like before you begin.  When you have a gap, you sit down and figure out whose responsibility it is.  Engineers have lots of meetings...  Usually, someone just mans up and takes it over (usually the one with the biggest budget).  It's a serious sign of how much of a cluster the levees were before Katrina that there was never resolution on this issue.  The gap continues to be a monument to "not my job" syndrome ( ).  

I'm not making any of this up.  When ASCE came to town to write their Katrina report, they specifically highlighted the Orleans Ave. Canal Gap debacle as a symbol of how it was "a system in name only":
(~page 64.) . You can go there and see it for yourself, too. It's near where 610 crosses over the canal. Drive down the west edge of City Park and look for yourself.

Also, see Matt McBride's latest post at Fix the Pumps.

Also, test post from Blogger App. Not sure how it will work.