Folks in Uruguay finally got around to building a bridge over Laguna Garzón


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When building bridges, designers do not often think about making their bridge round, but that is exactly what Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly did. The bridge spanning the Laguna Garzón in Uruguay just opened to the public and it has people wondering why such a structure was ever built. In sharp contrast to many purely architectural projects, this bridge actually has a need and purpose.

Designers of the bridge wanted to devise a way to slow down traffic while also forcing them to look out and appreciate the environment around them. The non-traditional circular design was selected through years of governmental debate. The bridge has a radius of 51.5 meters bracketed by two straight sections at the entrances measuring 46 meters. This design incredibly allowed for two lanes of traffic while creating a lagoon in the center that can be used for fishing…

Circular bridges aren’t uncommon, however they are rarely meant for road traffic. The Laguna Garzón bridge combines the beauty of a circular structure with key functional aspects of its design and the wonder of the landscape. While the project does not garner its attention from extreme size, the bridge is gaining a lot of interest, just as designers and officials intended.

Officials hope to attract the sort of tourist who cares for beauty, quiet design, nature – to a coastal region mostly ignored by the usual strain of sightseer.

Certainly attractive to me.

Nuclear weapons screwup withheld from experts reviewing nuclear weapons screwups


Oops!

In the spring of 2014, as a team of experts was examining what ailed the U.S. nuclear force, the Air Force withheld from them the fact that it was simultaneously investigating damage to a nuclear-armed missile in its launch silo caused by three airmen…

The accident happened May 17, 2014, at an underground launch silo containing a Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM. The silo, designated Juliet-07, is situated among wheat fields and wind turbines about 9 miles west of Peetz, Colorado. It is controlled by launch officers of the 320th Missile Squadron and administered by the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base at Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The Air Force said that while three airmen were troubleshooting the missile, a “mishap” occurred, causing $1.8 million in damage to the missile. The service declined to explain the nature of the mishap, such as whether it caused physical damage, saying the information is too sensitive to be made public.

The three airmen were immediately stripped of their certification to perform nuclear weapons duty. The missile was taken offline and removed from its silo. No one was injured and the Air Force said the accident posed no risk to public safety.

More than a year later the three airmen were recertified and returned to duty.

At the time of the accident, a group of nuclear weapons experts was nearing the end of a three-month independent review of the entire U.S. nuclear force…The experts were operating on orders from then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who asked them to begin their review in March. They reported their results to him June 2.

The AP asked Lt. Col. John Sheets, spokesman…whether the May 17 accident had been reported to the Hagel-appointed review group…“No. The accident was going through the investigative process when” the review teams made their visits to ICBM bases, Sheets said. Pressed further, he said he could say no more and referred questions about this to the Pentagon, which did not immediately comment…

…The Air Force would not disclose the cause or the evidence. It said the cause is cited in the investigation report. The Air Force refused to make that public, saying the report is classified, even though the service’s own policy requires the public release of accident board reports.

The amount of damage to the missile — $1.8 million, according to the Air Force — suggests that the airmen’s errors might have caused physical damage, Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists said. If so, he said, it could have been categorized by the Air Force as a “Bent Spear” event, which is an official reporting code word for a significant nuclear weapon incident…

…Pentagon leaders were briefed on the results of the accident investigation in December 2015. Members of Congress also were briefed…

Oh.