Garmin Voice Studio: Turn Right [Morgan Freeman’s Voice]

Garmin Nuvi 1390T GPS navigation device Ok, not exactly. But Garmin just announced that their new Voice Studio software will allow users to record their own voices for navigation prompts and edit them in the software for use on their Nüvi. It is compatible with all nüvis except the nüvi 300 and 600 series. The process of recording the “few dozen” phrases is supposed to take about 30-minutes. As my title suggests, I think it would be cool to have celebrities contribute their voice to the navigation. I’m picturing Morgan Freeman or maybe Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong in character! Ok, that might get old. (Image from Garmin)

Oh, and they also just announced a cool adapter for your car that plugs into the standardized onboard diagnostics port (OBD II) that turns your GPS into a trip computer, monitoring things like RPM’s, temperature, battery voltage, emissions etc. It connects wirelessly to the GPS unit so the wires don’t get in the way of your driving. It will also give you error codes for the check engine light, some with descriptions of the problem. Both technologies will be showcased at this year’s CES in Las Vegas.

[Disclosure] I own a few shares of Garmin stock. [/Disclosure]

Most Popular GeoPrac.net Content of 2009

Best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2010 to all the readers of GeoPrac.net! I am grateful for all of my readers, visitors and sponsors for a great 2009 and I look forward to continuing to work in the new year towards making this site one of the best online resources for geotechnical engineers, geoengineers and all professionals in the geo-industry.

As is customary for bloggers at this time of year, I have listed below the top 100 GeoPrac.net stories published in 2009. Long-time readers of GeoPrac know that I don’t like to rank the articles by total number of ‘hits’, since I think that biases the rankings towards the ones that have been published longer. Instead, I order them by hits per day. I think that works well when looking at popularity of content on a monthly basis, but just for grins I’ve also included the top 100 items of all time (based on total page impressions). Again, Happy New Year!

Top GeoPrac.net Content of 2009

  1. Video: Rockslide on U.S. Highway 64 in Tennessee – Published Nov 11, 2009 (42.5 hits/day, 816 page impressions total)
  2. Texas Hi-rise To Be Demolished After 16-in of Settlement – Published Sep 23, 2009 (24.9 hits/day, 192 page impressions total)
  3. Nile Landslide Destroys Large Stretch of Washington SR 410 – Published Oct 14, 2009 (23.0 hits/day, 407 page impressions total)
  4. Ground Penetrating Radar in Archaeology – Published Sep 23, 2009 (22.3 hits/day, 162 page impressions total)
  5. Drilled Shaft Industry Legend Dr. Lymon C. Reese, 1917-2009 – Published Sep 17, 2009 (22.0 hits/day, 291 page impressions total)
  6. Novo Tech Software Offers New gINT-Compatible Geotechnical Tools – Published Sep 15, 2009 (21.2 hits/day, 324 page impressions total)
  7. VBA and Excel for Engineers and Scientists – Part 3 – Published Jun 10, 2009 (19.9 hits/day, 412 page impressions total)
  8. Video: Freeport Maine Culvert Failure and Road Collapse – Published Mar 23, 2009 (19.7 hits/day, 158 page impressions total)
  9. Tsunami evacuation buildings: another way to save lives in the Pacific Northwest – Published Oct 20, 2009 (19.3 hits/day, 229 page impressions total)
  10. Mega Earthquake Could Strike Closer to Seattle – Published Aug 20, 2009 (19.1 hits/day, 215 page impressions total)
  11. Side Hill Retaining Walls – Part 1 – Published Mar 12, 2009 (19.1 hits/day, 367 page impressions total)
  12. Side Hill Retaining Walls – Part 2 – Published Apr 2, 2009 (19.0 hits/day, 539 page impressions total)
  13. Landslide / Mudslide in Logan Utah – Published Jul 14, 2009 (18.9 hits/day, 335 page impressions total)
  14. CALTRANS Publishes Guide For Design With Subgrade Enhancement Geotextiles – Published Aug 12, 2009 (18.8 hits/day, 374 page impressions total)
  15. Taiwan Mudslides – Death Toll As Many as 600 – Published Aug 17, 2009 (18.6 hits/day, 265 page impressions total)
  16. Subway Tunnel Collapse in Cologne Germany – Published Mar 10, 2009 (18.3 hits/day, 389 page impressions total)
  17. California Board for Geologists and Geophysicists to Be Eliminated Under Current Budget – Published Aug 6, 2009 (18.3 hits/day, 461 page impressions total)
  18. 12 Miles of Tunnels for D.C. Sewer – Published Sep 11, 2009 (18.2 hits/day, 362 page impressions total)
  19. Bentley Adds Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Capabilities Through Acquisition of gINT Software – Published Oct 14, 2009 (18.1 hits/day, 322 page impressions total)
  20. gINT Software Webinar Series to Focus on Enterprise Solutions and GIS Applications – Published Sep 10, 2009 (17.3 hits/day, 364 page impressions total)
  21. Geothermal Rig Drills Into Subway Tunnel in Stockholm, Sweden – Published Dec 15, 2009 (17.3 hits/day, 274 page impressions total)
  22. Southwest Geotechnical Conference Wrapup – Published May 14, 2009 (16.7 hits/day, 302 page impressions total)
  23. New Company Syntec acquires portion of Tenax – Published Oct 21, 2009 (16.7 hits/day, 180 page impressions total)
  24. Video: Aerial Shots of Leaning Tower of South Padre – Published Oct 2, 2009 (16.6 hits/day, 498 page impressions total)
  25. Up to $331M of New Orleans Levee Reconstruction Work Awarded – Published Aug 11, 2009 (16.1 hits/day, 328 page impressions total)
  26. London Crossrail Project – Europes Largest Construction Project – Published Aug 10, 2009 (16.0 hits/day, 340 page impressions total)
  27. Photos: Excavator Flips On Steep Hillside While Working on Retaining Walls – Published Oct 20, 2009 (15.9 hits/day, 189 page impressions total)
  28. Black & Veatch to design Chicagos McCook Reservoir tunnel connection for USACE – Published Aug 6, 2009 (15.9 hits/day, 401 page impressions total)
  29. Cologne Tunnel Collapse: Investigations Focus on Tiebacks and Groundwater – Published Mar 24, 2009 (15.7 hits/day, 112 page impressions total)
  30. Geosynthetics Magazine – Focus on History of Geosynthetics – Published Oct 21, 2009 (15.5 hits/day, 166 page impressions total)
  31. Happy Birthday Terzaghi! – Published Oct 2, 2009 (15.4 hits/day, 459 page impressions total)
  32. Rockslide Closes I-40 in Western North Carolina – Published Nov 6, 2009 (15.4 hits/day, 380 page impressions total)
  33. GEO-SLOPE GeoStudio 2007 Version 7.15 Update – Windows 7 Compatible – Published Oct 5, 2009 (15.2 hits/day, 406 page impressions total)
  34. Nachterstedt Landslide in Eastern Germany, Three People Believed Missing – Published Jul 21, 2009 (15.2 hits/day, 165 page impressions total)
  35. Recent Rockfall Stories in New Zealand, Colorado and Portugal – Published Aug 24, 2009 (15.2 hits/day, 118 page impressions total)
  36. Weekend CUP September 21, 2009 – Published Sep 21, 2009 (15.2 hits/day, 148 page impressions total)
  37. City of Chilliwack, British Columbia to Pay $18M for Up to 42 Homes On Landslide – Published Oct 12, 2009 (14.6 hits/day, 281 page impressions total)
  38. GEO5 Geotechnical Software Now in Pay-Per-Use Modules on Cetrus.com – Published Aug 7, 2009 (14.3 hits/day, 357 page impressions total)
  39. Moore New CEO of ADSC After Litke Retires – Published Aug 11, 2009 (14.3 hits/day, 300 page impressions total)
  40. Video: Helicopter Based Rock Scaling "Sledgehammer" – Published Oct 1, 2009 (14.1 hits/day, 426 page impressions total)
  41. SR 87 Landslide Presentation at Roads and Streets Conference – Published Apr 17, 2009 (14.0 hits/day, 194 page impressions total)
  42. Micropile Underpinning of US 69 Bridge over Kansas River – Published May 15, 2009 (13.9 hits/day, 233 page impressions total)
  43. ASCE G-I: Proposed “Journal of Geotechnical Engineering Practice” – Published Sep 15, 2009 (13.8 hits/day, 217 page impressions total)
  44. Indefinite "Temporary" Nuclear Waste Storage and the Need for Nuclear Power – Published Jul 24, 2009 (13.7 hits/day, 108 page impressions total)
  45. 13-Story Tower Topples Over in Shanghai – Published Jul 3, 2009 (13.6 hits/day, 393 page impressions total)
  46. Tunnel Replacing Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct “a done deal” – Published Aug 24, 2009 (13.4 hits/day, 104 page impressions total)
  47. Hutchinson, Kansas Sinkhole – Site of Former Salt Mine – Published Aug 24, 2009 (13.2 hits/day, 103 page impressions total)
  48. Video: Drilled Pier Retaining Wall or Soldier Pile Wall – Published Nov 4, 2009 (12.9 hits/day, 344 page impressions total)
  49. Judge Rules City of San Diego Not Responsible for Mt. Soledad Landslide in 2007 – Published Oct 7, 2009 (12.8 hits/day, 315 page impressions total)
  50. New NCMA Segmental Retaining Wall Design Manual and Software – Published Apr 15, 2009 (12.7 hits/day, 203 page impressions total)
  51. Video: The Pine Hills Sinkhole – Central Florida, 2002 – Published Jan 28, 2009 (12.6 hits/day, 656 page impressions total)
  52. Landslide Video But Not What You Think – Published Aug 15, 2009 (12.5 hits/day, 211 page impressions total)
  53. Weekend CUP August 23, 2009 – Published Aug 24, 2009 (12.4 hits/day, 96 page impressions total)
  54. UC Berkley GeoEngineering Lectures on YouTube – Published Jun 3, 2009 (11.9 hits/day, 330 page impressions total)
  55. RockWorks 15 Geological and Geotechnical Software Released – Published Nov 4, 2009 (11.7 hits/day, 312 page impressions total)
  56. ASTM Updates August 2009 – Published Sep 2, 2009 (11.5 hits/day, 326 page impressions total)
  57. Last Minute (or Belated) Christmas Gift for GIS Folks – Published Dec 23, 2009 (11.5 hits/day, 90 page impressions total)
  58. Landslide Hazards along Wasatch Front in Utah – Video – Published May 21, 2009 (11.4 hits/day, 121 page impressions total)
  59. Buried in Twitter and Geo-terms Searching Fail – Published May 21, 2009 (11.3 hits/day, 120 page impressions total)
  60. Trimble Yuma Field Tablet PC has Pricing Info – Published Jun 17, 2009 (11.3 hits/day, 149 page impressions total)
  61. Maitland Sinkhole Stabilization Project – Central Florida – Published Jul 14, 2009 (11.2 hits/day, 193 page impressions total)
  62. 2009 International Foundation Congress and Equipment Exposition – Published Mar 24, 2009 (11.1 hits/day, 82 page impressions total)
  63. Directional Core Drilling for Tunneling – Published Oct 6, 2009 (11.0 hits/day, 283 page impressions total)
  64. Getting Soil Samples from Outside Continental USA Back Into the Country – Published Oct 14, 2009 (10.8 hits/day, 193 page impressions total)
  65. Emergency Repair of Allegheny River Lock No. 6 – Published Jun 12, 2009 (10.6 hits/day, 191 page impressions total)
  66. Rockfall Mitigation at Edinburgh Castle, Scotland – Published Nov 5, 2009 (10.5 hits/day, 270 page impressions total)
  67. GEO5 Finite Element (FEM) and Tunneling Software Distributed by gINT Software – Published Jun 22, 2009 (10.5 hits/day, 86 page impressions total)
  68. Londons Victorian Era Corinthia Hotel Underpinning Job – Published Nov 9, 2009 (10.4 hits/day, 220 page impressions total)
  69. ASTM Updates December 2009 – Published Dec 23, 2009 (10.3 hits/day, 86 page impressions total)
  70. New ASTM-Code Council Book References Standards in 2009 IBC – Published Jul 23, 2009 (10.3 hits/day, 85 page impressions total)
  71. Trimble Yuma Rugged Tablet Reviewed for Military Application – Published Oct 22, 2009 (10.2 hits/day, 98 page impressions total)
  72. GeoPrac.net Sponsors – Published Jan 5, 2009 (10.2 hits/day, 936 page impressions total)
  73. New Issue of International Journal of Geoengineering Case Histories – Published Oct 22, 2009 (10.1 hits/day, 98 page impressions total)
  74. GeoStudio 2007 Update – Version 7.14 – Published Apr 24, 2009 (10.1 hits/day, 71 page impressions total)
  75. Happy Earth Science Week – Oct 11-17 – Published Oct 12, 2009 (10.0 hits/day, 198 page impressions total)
  76. [Fixed] Video: Keller Geotechnical installing Ground Anchors at Gainsboro – Published Jun 15, 2009 (10.0 hits/day, 152 page impressions total)
  77. Rockfall Protection Videos from G.T.S. – Published May 21, 2009 (10.0 hits/day, 106 page impressions total)
  78. Apollo 11 Lunar Landing 40th Anniversary (not 20th!) – Published Jul 21, 2009 (10.0 hits/day, 108 page impressions total)
  79. Weekend CUP October 5, 2009 – Published Oct 5, 2009 (9.4 hits/day, 252 page impressions total)
  80. Had to Share This – Dilbert’s Take on GeoPrac! – Published Nov 20, 2009 (9.4 hits/day, 101 page impressions total)
  81. Become a GeoPrac.net Sponsor – Published Jan 5, 2009 (9.3 hits/day, 1,096 page impressions total)
  82. Good Stuff From Ontario-geofish – Published Jun 17, 2009 (9.1 hits/day, 121 page impressions total)
  83. Weekend (Thursday) CUP for October 1, 2009 – Published Oct 2, 2009 (9.1 hits/day, 272 page impressions total)
  84. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District to Implement Dataforensics PLog Enterprise for Geotechnical Data Management – Published Jul 6, 2009 (9.0 hits/day, 228 page impressions total)
  85. Geotechnical News Magazine Seeks Software and Systems Articles – Published Dec 2, 2009 (9.0 hits/day, 265 page impressions total)
  86. Paper on Foundations for the Impressive kcICON Bridge – Published Nov 18, 2009 (9.0 hits/day, 115 page impressions total)
  87. Florida Agency Using Cement-Polyurethane Foam Mix to Plug Sinkholes – Published May 6, 2009 (8.9 hits/day, 229 page impressions total)
  88. Weekend CUP October 12, 2009 – Published Oct 12, 2009 (8.9 hits/day, 176 page impressions total)
  89. Free GIS Software for Analysis and Visualization of Surfaces – Published Jun 8, 2009 (8.8 hits/day, 197 page impressions total)
  90. Cologne Tunnel Contractor’s and Engineers’ Offices Raided – Published Apr 6, 2009 (8.8 hits/day, 218 page impressions total)
  91. Thomas J. Tuozzolo, P.E. joins the Board of ADSC – Published Jul 8, 2009 (8.8 hits/day, 209 page impressions total)
  92. Devils Slide Tunnel Update and First Attempts to Tame the Landslide – Published Jul 1, 2009 (8.6 hits/day, 260 page impressions total)
  93. USGS Landslide Documentary Video – Published Mar 17, 2009 (8.5 hits/day, 120 page impressions total)
  94. Ohio DOT Adopts GIS-Based EQuIS for Its Geotechnical Data Management – Published Jul 2, 2009 (8.5 hits/day, 248 page impressions total)
  95. Single Borehole P-Wave and S-Wave Geophysics with PS-suspension Probe – Published Nov 20, 2009 (8.3 hits/day, 89 page impressions total)
  96. Obayashi Corp Making It’s Mark on US Tunneling Jobs – Published Nov 20, 2009 (8.2 hits/day, 88 page impressions total)
  97. Geotechnical Data Management Presentation – Published Jul 8, 2009 (8.2 hits/day, 191 page impressions total)
  98. Geosynthetics Manufacturers to Specifiers: Get With The Times – Published Dec 11, 2009 (8.0 hits/day, 163 page impressions total)
  99. Voids Open as a Result of Tunneling Under Seattles Beacon Hill – Published May 7, 2009 (7.9 hits/day, 195 page impressions total)
  100. UK Firm Charged With Manslaughter in Death of Geologist – Published May 4, 2009 (7.9 hits/day, 218 page impressions total)

Top GeoPrac.net Content of All Time

  1. Aesthetic Blasting – Published Aug 28, 2007 (7.3 hits/day, 15,711 page impressions total)
  2. 7 Amazing Holes – Published Feb 11, 2008 (2.8 hits/day, 9,668 page impressions total)
  3. Embankment Dams in Fissure Risk Zones – Published Sep 27, 2007 (6.9 hits/day, 5,144 page impressions total)
  4. LRFD for Geotech – Note 1 – Published Apr 23, 2007 (7.7 hits/day, 4,825 page impressions total)
  5. VBA and Excel for Engineers and Scientists – Published Apr 5, 2007 (8.2 hits/day, 4,543 page impressions total)
  6. VBA and Excel for Engineers and Scientists – Part 2 – Published May 21, 2008 (14.9 hits/day, 4,440 page impressions total)
  7. The Ultimate Geotechnical Engineering Challenge – Published May 29, 2007 (7.5 hits/day, 4,128 page impressions total)
  8. gINT Professional Software Explained – Published Jun 25, 2007 (9.1 hits/day, 4,116 page impressions total)
  9. 27 Years Ago: Bizarre Drilling Disaster at Lake Peigneur – Published Nov 20, 2007 (7.8 hits/day, 3,710 page impressions total)
  10. LRFD for Geotech – Note 2 – Published Jun 21, 2007 (5.4 hits/day, 3,706 page impressions total)
  11. North Americas Tallest MSE Retaining Wall – Published Jan 9, 2008 (7.0 hits/day, 3,476 page impressions total)
  12. New Publications from Transportation Research Board – Published Apr 30, 2007 (1.8 hits/day, 2,941 page impressions total)
  13. German town sinking after drilling operations – Published Feb 24, 2008 (5.0 hits/day, 2,713 page impressions total)
  14. Drilled Shaft Industry Notes – Published Jul 15, 2007 (1.7 hits/day, 2,458 page impressions total)
  15. Free Online Access to Natural Hazards Journal – Published Nov 1, 2007 (1.3 hits/day, 2,442 page impressions total)
  16. Allegations: Oregon Not Forthcoming With Landslide Hazard Information – Published Jan 25, 2008 (4.9 hits/day, 2,396 page impressions total)
  17. Personal Reflections on I-35 Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis – Published Jan 17, 2008 (2.7 hits/day, 2,241 page impressions total)
  18. Devils Slide Tunnel Construction Kicks Off – Published Sep 19, 2007 (2.6 hits/day, 2,237 page impressions total)
  19. Geotagging Images for Geoengineers – Published Jul 10, 2008 (9.4 hits/day, 2,118 page impressions total)
  20. Transient Stability Analyses with SLOPE/W 2007 – Published May 28, 2008 (5.8 hits/day, 2,115 page impressions total)
  21. Outside News and Blogs – Published Oct 30, 2007 (4.8 hits/day, 2,110 page impressions total)
  22. More Free Online Journal Access from Springer – Published Nov 21, 2007 (7.3 hits/day, 2,096 page impressions total)
  23. Top 50 GeoPrac Content Items of 2008 Q1 – Published May 14, 2008 (3.1 hits/day, 2,085 page impressions total)
  24. Java Mud Volcano Summary – Published Jun 13, 2007 (1.1 hits/day, 2,021 page impressions total)
  25. Most Popular GeoPrac.net Content of 2007 – Published Jan 2, 2008 (2.2 hits/day, 1,978 page impressions total)
  26. Lawmakers Step Up To Address Dangerous Dams – Published Nov 21, 2007 (1.1 hits/day, 1,950 page impressions total)
  27. New Tunnel Project In Peru Through Andes – Published May 30, 2008 (5.2 hits/day, 1,907 page impressions total)
  28. New Report – Geosynthetics in Civil Engineering – Published Apr 6, 2007 (1.1 hits/day, 1,895 page impressions total)
  29. Future Geo Engineer – Published Mar 19, 2008 (4.7 hits/day, 1,854 page impressions total)
  30. NY Landslide Halts Highway Construction – Published Sep 3, 2008 (3.1 hits/day, 1,836 page impressions total)
  31. Massive Landslide in B.C. Triggers Tsunami in Lake – Published Dec 12, 2007 (1.2 hits/day, 1,816 page impressions total)
  32. Landslide at Traunsee Lake in Austria – Published Dec 4, 2007 (1.0 hits/day, 1,813 page impressions total)
  33. Google Earth for Geotechnical Engineers and Geologists – Published Aug 7, 2007 (1.1 hits/day, 1,802 page impressions total)
  34. AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications – 2008 Interims Released – Published Mar 4, 2008 (4.0 hits/day, 1,761 page impressions total)
  35. MSEW Update 8.1 from Adama Software – Published Dec 19, 2007 (1.3 hits/day, 1,741 page impressions total)
  36. Continuing Problems for Ohio Landfill – Published May 6, 2008 (2.7 hits/day, 1,741 page impressions total)
  37. BMC Gulf Successfully Completes A Dh12 Million Jumeirah Vehicular Tunnel Waterproofing Project – Published May 15, 2007 (1.1 hits/day, 1,730 page impressions total)
  38. Man Killed In Drilling Accident – Published Nov 21, 2007 (1.7 hits/day, 1,729 page impressions total)
  39. $180 Million Settlement in Reservoir Failure – Published Dec 4, 2007 (1.6 hits/day, 1,711 page impressions total)
  40. Ralph B. Peck: 1912 – 2008 – Published Feb 20, 2008 (2.7 hits/day, 1,707 page impressions total)
  41. Load Test For New I-35W Bridge – Published Nov 27, 2007 (1.7 hits/day, 1,680 page impressions total)
  42. Kilauea Volcano: Examining Hazards from Latest Redirected Flow Event – Published Dec 3, 2007 (1.1 hits/day, 1,654 page impressions total)
  43. Landslide on Arizona SR 87 Closes Highway – Published Mar 27, 2008 (1.1 hits/day, 1,649 page impressions total)
  44. New Sheet Piling Installation Manual – Published Feb 28, 2008 (1.7 hits/day, 1,646 page impressions total)
  45. New White Paper on Earth Fissures – Published Dec 14, 2007 (1.3 hits/day, 1,637 page impressions total)
  46. Earth Fissures on Phoenix PBS Affiliate "Horizon" Show – Published Jun 5, 2007 (1.1 hits/day, 1,618 page impressions total)
  47. La Jolla Landslide Update – Remediation and Legal Affairs – Published Dec 3, 2007 (1.6 hits/day, 1,608 page impressions total)
  48. City of Vancouver sues over failed shoring – Published Jan 5, 2008 (1.5 hits/day, 1,588 page impressions total)
  49. Bostons Big Dig Finally Complete – Published Jan 4, 2008 (1.2 hits/day, 1,580 page impressions total)
  50. Drilling to Save Aswan Obelisk Quarry – Published Dec 3, 2007 (1.7 hits/day, 1,579 page impressions total)
  51. IPET Risk Maps Released in June for New Orleans Are CORRECT – Published Dec 3, 2007 (1.3 hits/day, 1,577 page impressions total)
  52. Landslide, Wal-Mart Battle Continue On Route 65 in Pittsburgh – Published Apr 30, 2007 (3.4 hits/day, 1,573 page impressions total)
  53. Brenner Base Tunnel in Alps between Austria and Italy – Published Jul 11, 2007 (2.1 hits/day, 1,568 page impressions total)
  54. Anderson Drilling Delivers Trump Towers in Las Vegas – Published Nov 21, 2007 (1.3 hits/day, 1,568 page impressions total)
  55. Panama Canal Awards Expansion Program Manager Contract to CH2M HILL – Published Aug 23, 2007 (1.0 hits/day, 1,544 page impressions total)
  56. Java Mud Volcano: Economic Damages Estimated $8.6 Billion – Published Nov 29, 2007 (2.0 hits/day, 1,536 page impressions total)
  57. Rockscience Releases Settle3D Software – Published Sep 28, 2007 (2.3 hits/day, 1,520 page impressions total)
  58. Italy to use UAV to Monitor Volcano – Published Nov 16, 2007 (0.9 hits/day, 1,515 page impressions total)
  59. ASCE Geo-Institute Reports on Trends Affecting the Geo-Community – Published Dec 19, 2007 (0.8 hits/day, 1,500 page impressions total)
  60. ASCE: Cease and Desist over Video Spoof – Published Nov 19, 2007 (1.3 hits/day, 1,497 page impressions total)
  61. Google Earth Integration Offered for gINT Borehole Data – Published Sep 10, 2008 (4.9 hits/day, 1,496 page impressions total)
  62. Geotechnical Construction for a Rail Spur at a Rock Quarry – Published Sep 4, 2008 (5.2 hits/day, 1,484 page impressions total)
  63. Nevadas Yucca Mountain Case Versus DOE Thrown Out – Published Dec 14, 2007 (0.9 hits/day, 1,472 page impressions total)
  64. Wind Turbine Foundations and Massive Off-Shore Turbines – Published Jun 29, 2008 (2.7 hits/day, 1,464 page impressions total)
  65. Hayward Baker Completes Ambitious Landslide Repair Project on U.S. Highway 61 in Mississippi – Published Apr 30, 2007 (1.2 hits/day, 1,452 page impressions total)
  66. Famed Hole In Danger of Collapse – Published Feb 11, 2008 (1.1 hits/day, 1,447 page impressions total)
  67. Earthquake Kills Coral Reef in Indonesia – Published Apr 12, 2007 (0.6 hits/day, 1,442 page impressions total)
  68. Engineering Geology in World War 1 – Published Aug 21, 2007 (2.0 hits/day, 1,436 page impressions total)
  69. URS Completes $3.1 Billion Buyout – Published Nov 19, 2007 (0.9 hits/day, 1,426 page impressions total)
  70. Geological Engineering Major Eliminated at University of Arizona – Published Mar 5, 2008 (0.7 hits/day, 1,425 page impressions total)
  71. Vibro Piersâ„¢ From Hayward Baker: A More Cost-Effective Shallow Foundation System – Published May 17, 2007 (1.5 hits/day, 1,424 page impressions total)
  72. 54 Dams Slated for Removal in 2007 – Published Dec 3, 2007 (0.7 hits/day, 1,416 page impressions total)
  73. Geosynthetics Manufacturer Posts Product Videos – Published Aug 14, 2007 (1.5 hits/day, 1,413 page impressions total)
  74. Server Problems – Published Sep 9, 2007 (1.7 hits/day, 1,412 page impressions total)
  75. Anniversary of Loma Prieta Earthquake – USGS Warns of Hayward Fault – Published Nov 1, 2007 (0.9 hits/day, 1,412 page impressions total)
  76. ADSC Joins with FHWA to Conduct Hollow Core Soil Nail Research – Published Sep 10, 2007 (4.1 hits/day, 1,411 page impressions total)
  77. Louder drilling to occur as I-35W bridge foundation work nears completion – Published Jan 17, 2008 (0.8 hits/day, 1,407 page impressions total)
  78. Geosynthetics at De-Icing Facitility – Published Jan 15, 2008 (1.7 hits/day, 1,397 page impressions total)
  79. Utah Releases Landslide Susceptibility Map – Published Jan 9, 2008 (1.2 hits/day, 1,395 page impressions total)
  80. NOAA, USGS Warning System to Help Protect Southern Californians from Debris Flows and Flash Floods – Published Dec 3, 2007 (1.0 hits/day, 1,394 page impressions total)
  81. Talc Might Lubricate San Andreas Fault – Published Aug 27, 2007 (1.9 hits/day, 1,386 page impressions total)
  82. Second Issue of International Journal of Geoengineering Case Histories – Published Jan 17, 2008 (1.4 hits/day, 1,382 page impressions total)
  83. New Feature – GeoThreads – Published Oct 21, 2008 (6.1 hits/day, 1,380 page impressions total)
  84. FHWA State Geotechnical Workshops – Published Aug 28, 2007 (1.5 hits/day, 1,369 page impressions total)
  85. More Movement on La Jolla Landslide – Published Jan 20, 2008 (1.3 hits/day, 1,363 page impressions total)
  86. GeoPrac.net Officially Launches! – Published Apr 5, 2007 (1.3 hits/day, 1,356 page impressions total)
  87. US House Passes National Tunnel Inspection Program – Published Jan 25, 2008 (1.5 hits/day, 1,350 page impressions total)
  88. GeoPrac.net Facelift – Published Oct 21, 2008 (8.9 hits/day, 1,345 page impressions total)
  89. Landslide Occurs in Residential La Jolla California – Published Oct 4, 2007 (1.0 hits/day, 1,338 page impressions total)
  90. Strata Systems acquires makers of the Sleeve-Itâ„¢ System – Published Oct 31, 2007 (1.0 hits/day, 1,322 page impressions total)
  91. Pittsburgh PA Light Rail Tunnel Construction and Cost Overruns – Published Feb 24, 2008 (2.8 hits/day, 1,317 page impressions total)
  92. Seattle Light-Rail Tunnel Likely to Break Ground This Year – Published Feb 11, 2008 (1.4 hits/day, 1,303 page impressions total)
  93. Top 50 GeoPrac Content Items of 2008 Q2 – Published Jul 1, 2008 (2.2 hits/day, 1,286 page impressions total)
  94. Soledad Mountain Road Landslide Update – Published Oct 7, 2007 (0.9 hits/day, 1,284 page impressions total)
  95. Digital Mapping Duopoly – Published Jan 15, 2008 (0.9 hits/day, 1,279 page impressions total)
  96. Rockfall Protection Installation Video – Published Sep 11, 2007 (0.7 hits/day, 1,276 page impressions total)
  97. GeoStudio 2007 Service Pack – Major Update – Published Sep 13, 2007 (1.4 hits/day, 1,274 page impressions total)
  98. Hanging Lake Tunnel (Colorado) repair nearly complete – Published Oct 17, 2007 (1.4 hits/day, 1,274 page impressions total)
  99. ReSSA Major Update and MSEW Update – Published Feb 5, 2008 (1.5 hits/day, 1,271 page impressions total)
  100. Yucca Mountain Moving Forward – Published Jun 5, 2008 (0.8 hits/day, 1,260 page impressions total)

 

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GeoPrac Site Problems – Working on It

[Update 11/16/09 12:52] I fixed the sponsor banner issue, but I’m still looking into what’s causing the IE 7 error. Despite my fondness for Firefox, I realize a large percentage of users still have IE 7 and this is a serious issue. The site appears to be working fine in Firefox and IE 8. But like I said, I’ll keep working on it. [/Update]

I just noticed some sponsor banner are not displaying properly on the site. I’m looking into it as quickly as I can. These issues may or may not be related to some Internet Explorer 7 issues where IE gives the following error when trying to display the GeoPrac.net site: "Internet Explorer cannot open the Internet Site. .. Operation aborted." It’s some kind of JavaScript issue, but I rely on third party software and plugins so heavily on this site, it might take me a bit to track down the poblem.

In typical Microsoft fashion, their solution is to upgrade to IE 8. But I still get some warning messages there myself. I usually use Firefox, but even with that I’m still getting the issues with the banners.

Your patience is appreciated in the meantime as I try to get it sorted out. If you have any observations with regards to your particular browser configuration, let me know (leave a comment).

ASCE G-I: Proposed “Journal of Geotechnical Engineering Practice”


Many Geo-Institute (G-I) practitioner members have complained for many years that the Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering (JGGE) is too theoretical and that they do not get much out of it.

Dr. Briaud has requested input on the report in a letter to G-I members. Obviously the charge of the task force is a topic that is of great interest to me, and the lack of available content of relevance to practitioners is one of the main reasons I started GeoPrac.net. In light of that fact, I thought I would very briefly share my thoughts on this issue with the readers of the site.

I must admit that when I initially heard about the task force report, I was strongly in favor of a new practice oriented publication. I feel like every time I pick up the JGGE I am hard pressed to find something I can use in my practice. Interesting papers? Yes. Potential for application in the long term? Certainly. But rarely something I feel like I can start using right away.

But the more I read in the report, the more I thought a “Journal of Geotechnical Engineering Practice” likely would never work. The main problem as I see it is that practitioners are just too busy to publish, and what is the incentive by employers for them to do so anyway? Contrast that with those in academic circles where it’s “publish or perish” and they pay for you to attend conferences to present.

I agree with the task force that there are some good practice oriented papers and articles that come out in the geotechnical special publications and Geo-Strata. Not to mention that other publications like Foundation Drilling Magazine by ADSC and Pile Driver Magazine by PDCA always have some good case-studies, project profiles and other content relevant to practitioners. And I think the G-I is nervous about doing anything that might harm the subscriptions and ultimately a major source of revenue, and rightly so.

So as much as I’d like to see an entire journal dedicated to practice oriented publications, I don’t think it’s likely to happen. Perhaps over time I’ll work closer to my goal of making GeoPrac.net the premier source for online content for geotechs and geoengineers in practice and work towards filling that gap for content-hungry practitioners.  

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Thank you to Moretrench, GeoPrac.net’s Newest Sponsor!

moretrenchlogo I am pleased to announce that Moretrench, a specialty geotechnical contractor based in Rockway, New Jersey, has become the second Premier Sponsor of GeoPrac.net. Moretrench has a proud and distinguished history in the industry, dating back more than 90 years. With offices in New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Delaware and Florida, their services include:

  • Dewatering and groundwater control
  • Ground Freezing
  • Underpinning
  • Grouting Systems
  • Earth Retention and Excavation Support
  • Deep Foundations
  • Environmental Remediation
  • Industrial Construction

I am grateful for their interest in supporting the mission and objectives of GeoPrac.net and I look forward to a long and fruitful working relationship!

Social Media / Social Networking Poll

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and other social media and social networking websites have become absoutely huge in this day and age. I have prepared a brief survey to see how people in the geotechnical engineering, engineering geology and geoconstruction fields use these technologies, and if there is a potential for an extension of these technologies to be applied to our industry in the form of a GeoPrac.net feature.

And don’t be shy if you don’t use social networking or even if you feel strongly against it. I need hear from you too!

Take the Survey! (Powered by Google Spreadsheet)

Geotechnical Engineering Interest Declining?

I came across yet another Google Beta product called Google Insights for Search. It lets you see the popularity of a particular search term over time. Currently the data goes back to 2004. It normalizes the data based on the most popular search term in the period, so you can’t glean any absolute data about searches, but it can show you how a particular search term or terms are trending.

I took a look at the keywords geotechnical and geotech and saw an interesting trend.  Searches for the word geotech (red curve below) stayed pretty consistent at about 18-22% of the peak interest in the term geotechnical. But you can see in the figure below that searches for geotechnical have dropped by 60% since 2004 (blue curve). (Image by Google)

Google Insights for Search results for geotechnical and geotech

What could be causing this decline? Is it simply a result of more complicated or specific searches replacing the general “geotechnical” search? Or does it truly represent a declining interest in geotechnical engineering? I don’t know the answer, but I welcome any insights you might have on this in the form of comments.

Just for comparison, I checked out a few other searches as well. I tried to group searches that had similar volumes otherwise the lower traffic volume ones get lost at the bottom of the chart. Some of them show a similar downward trend. I have got to imagine that the overall number of searches performed by everyone, including those in the geotechnical and geological communities, has to have increased since 2004. So if these searches are declining, which ones are increasing? If you find that out, be sure to let me know.

Indefinite “Temporary” Nuclear Waste Storage and the Need for Nuclear Power

Storage for How Long?

New changes to the rules that nuclear facilities must follow with regards to temporary storage of their nuclear waste are clearly needed. According to Bloomberg.com (hat tip to Harold of the Ontariogeofish blog), in October of 2008, members of the nuclear regulatory commission proposed amending the rules to allow for storage of spent fuel on-site for a period of up to 60-years after a reactor ceases operation. Storage on the order of 100-years is probably quite realistic.

Gregory Jaczko, the chairman of the nuclear regulatory commission was quoted in the Bloomberg article with some dismissive remarks about concerns for temporary storage of nuclear waste. Incidentally, Jaczko is a former aide to Nevada Senator Harry Reid who was largely responsible for killing the Yucca Mountain project.

“Certainly, in the short term it’s not an urgent problem,” Jaczko, 38, said in the interview yesterday at the agency’s headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. “It is an issue we need to be aware of and be diligent about, but it’s not a crisis by any means.”

And

“Probably 100 years” is a short time frame for storing fuel, Jaczko said. “Changes aren’t likely to happen significantly in that period of time with the fuel.”

Security Concerns and Long Term Safety

There are currently 120 sites in 39 states that are temporarily storing spent nuclear fuel. I like how Harold at Ontariogeofish frequently refers to these storage containers as "Obama Barrels" and he describes them as rusting away down by the river. Nice visual! But could this be a reality? I don’t know what standards these containers were designed for or what their design life is. If they were assuming that by 2025 the waste would be transferred to Yucca Mountain, will the containers still be sound in another 100 years? What about potential national security concerns related to attacks on these numerous and spread out sites? Or having to transport a container to a permanent site in 100 years when the container might not be in as pristine of a condition as when it was first stored.

I guess my point is that we can’t sit around and do nothing. We must follow the lead of several other countries like Sweden and Finland and find a suitable geologic repository for the nuclear waste to address these concerns regarding safety and security of temporary storage and to make sure that nuclear power remains an option in the mix of power generation methods needed to meet our power needs in this country.

Financial Liabilities for Taxpayers

Another often overlooked consequence of not having a permanent geologic repository for the nuclear waste is the legal and financial obligation that the US Government has through the USDOE. According to Power Engineering, under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1985, the USDOE:

became obligated to accept and dispose of spent nuclear fuel from the nation’s nuclear generating facilities and it was required to enter into contracts with commercial nuclear generating facilities.

There have been hundreds of millions of dollars in lawsuits settled by the USDOE with nuclear power companies over this issue. The article cited above references sources that estimate a total liability for the USDOE of at least $7 billion on this issue. And that number may be out of date.

The Need for Nuclear Power in the Future

Homer Simpson at the Controls of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant The issue of nuclear power plants is a highly politicized one. There seems to be much opposition to their use and with the current uncertainties regarding permanent storage of waste, who knows how that will affect the building of new plants in the future. But I think people’s perceptions of nuclear power plants are of Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Homer J. Simpson. Those just aren’t the realities, and I think people owe it to themselves to be a little more open minded. (Simpsons image © FOX and Matt Groening)

Now I’m all for green energy and reducing fossil fuel dependence and green house gas emissions, but to me, it doesn’t look like the numbers will work out for a completely renewable/green solution to the US’s energy/pollution problems, certainly not overnight. The biggest problem is economy, those green energy sources just aren’t as economical yet on the kind of scale you need to totally replace Coal and Nuclear. Another problem is apparent when you consider how people actually use electricity. The figure below shows some general usage curves for both winter and summer. Note how the peak demand fluctuates with the time of day.

Load curves for typical electricity grid (from World Nuclear Association)

Load curves for typical electricity grid (from World Nuclear Association)

Solar energy is pretty good for intermediate and peak generation because during the day (sunshine!) is usually when your peak occurs. I know they have some options for storage, and the solar-thermal (heating oil in pipes using parabolic mirrors) setups can overcome some of the daytime limitations of photovoltaic (PV as in your stereotypical solar panels).

Wind can be sporadic, so if you rely on it too much, you could come up short during your peak load times. Geothermal is great, if you’re near a potential source, but it’s probably not going to contribute much when you look at it on a national level. Other peak and intermediate sources include hydro (letting more water through at those times), natural gas fired plants that can come online and offline relatively quickly, and perhaps some biomass power plants. But most of the above-mentioned green energy sources won’t be reliable base load contributors.

Nuclear fits well into the base load part of the equation. Right now, I suspect that the majority of the US’ base load comes from Coal or Natural Gas. Some undoubtedly comes from hydroelectric and nuclear also. Nobody is probably going to be building any new large scale hydro projects any time soon for environmental reasons. With current and forthcoming restrictions on carbon emissions, alternatives to coal will need to be found. Well, nuclear is one such alternative and aside from that pesky nuclear waste problem, it is very environmentally friendly (that’s steam, not smoke people).

Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing more nuclear power plants in this country. But regardless of what happens with new plants, the storage of spent nuclear fuel will be a problem that won’t go away, a permanent geologic repository needs to happen somewhere.

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