Scrap Tires
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Green Retaining Wall Technology

According to information provided by Productive Recycling, there are approximately 300 million used car and truck tires are generated in the U.S. each year. More than 90% end up in landfills. Productive Recycling has a […]

Cover of FHWA NHI Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls and Reinforced Slopes Design and Construction Guidelines course manual.
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FHWA NHI 2009 MSE Wall Manual

Cover of FHWA NHI Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls and Reinforced Slopes Design and Construction Guidelines course manual.[Disclosure] NCS Consultants is the employer (day job) of Randy Post, the owner of this site. [/Disclosure]

Geotechnical engineers who encounter MSE retaining walls or Mechanically Stabilzed Earth Walls are undoubtedly familiar with the FHWA NHI manual on “Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls and Reinforced Soil Slopes”. This manual, along with the NCMA manual that is used for non-transportation projects, is virtually the bible for MSE wall design. In late summer/early fall of 2009, a revised version of this manual will hit the streets. Read on for more details.

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Erosion control wattles on palletes from Earth-Savers.com
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BMPs for Geotechnical Drilling and Well Drilling

Stormwater Pollution Prevention regulations require the use of best management practices (BMPs) for any project involving site disturbance of over an acre. Usually for geotechnical drilling and well drilling, the sites are much smaller, so […]

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Video: RPI Geotechnical Engineering Centrifuge

I stumbled across this video for the geotechnical engineering centrifuge at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Centrifuge testing is a popular way to economically test models at much higher loads and pressures than you would normally be able to in the laboratory. The goal is to more accurately represent the real world conditions. Click through for the video.

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Yucca Mountain – $32 Billion More

Thanks to Harold at the Ontario-geofish blog, I came accross this AP article that releases the first Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository cost estimate update since 2001. The US DOE now puts the cost of the facility at $90 billion, up $32 billion from that 2001 estimate. Of course that estimate is slightly deceptive. It covers the $9 billion already spent and 100 years of operation. Perhaps the bigger issue is funding has not been secured largely in part to the efforts of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat-NV). If a steady stream of money can be secured, the best case scenario for the facility is a 2020 opening. 

I also found a neat blog called Yucca Facts that has a refreshing perspective on the facility that is pro-science if not necessarily pro-Yucca. They also have a commentary about this latest DOE announcement and some commentary on Senator Reid.

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ArcGIS API for Google Maps

From Google Maps Mania Blog:

The ArcGIS JavaScript Extension for Google Maps allows map developers to extend the Google Maps API to use ArcGIS Server services. With the extension, you can add your own data to a Google Map and embed this map in your own page.

ESRI have a number of examples of what can be achieved using their new API. Examples and reference for the API can be found here. Using the API you can:

  • Display your own maps on top of a Google Maps base map.
  • Execute a GIS model and display the results in Google Maps.
  • Search for features in your GIS data and display the results on Google Maps.
  • Find addresses using your own address locator and display the result on Google Maps.
  • Display attributes from your GIS data on the map using the Google Chart API.
  • Allows others to add GIS functionality from your server as a Google Mapplet.

On the surface, it seems like this news would only be of interest to GIS professionals and geeks like me. But the truth as I see it is that this development for extending the popular ArcGIS platform to the internet will lead to a whole host of new online applications and mashups that will be both fun and useful. (Screenshot by way of Mapperz)

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Wind Turbine Foundations and Massive Off-Shore Turbines

Within the span of a few days I had two wind turbine foundation items to post. First, an old U of A Geological Engineering colleague, Eric Ntambakwa sent me a link to a paper written by him and a colleage (Kirk Morgan). Both of them work for Garrad Hassan America, Inc., one of the preeminent authorities on wind turbine design. Their paper entitled "Wind Turbine Foundation Behavior and Design Considerations" was a very interesting look at foundations in this specialized industry. The other item came from ENR, and was about massive, "behemoth" off-shore wind turbines with an interesting foundation design. Read on for the rest of the details. (Photo by brentdanley)

 

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February Update of Google Earth Imagery

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found Google Earth to be a very useful tool in my practice. Whether it is scoping out a site I’ve never seen before or creating a boring location plan or other figure for a report. Feel the same way? Then you might be interested in some recent (February 19, 2008) updates to Google Imagery and other data. Higher resolution images are always welcome! Comprehensive list after the break. 

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