Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Engineering Needs to Start Talking About the Price of Water

And the short answer is water and wastewater rates are ridiculously low in the U.S.  The article, Hey, America It's Time to Talk About the Price of Water, provides a good overview of the issues.  I would like us to consider taking the market market path as outlined in the article - more market based approaches that spur more innovation and greater conservation.  Let's get away from the silly ASCE report grade dream that massive federal aid is in the cards.

From the article:

"Americans got used to paying wee little for a whole lot of pristine water. At the same time, many utilities delayed the long-term capital investments needed to maintain their pipes and plants. Water boards are often run by local elected officials, making decisions uneasily political. A board member with a three-year term might not vote for a water project that would pay off in year six. Officials who tried to raise rates risked being booted out of office. It was easier to hope federal subsidies would continue to flow. They did not. A Reagan Administration phase-out of water-infrastructure grants began 25 years ago. Over the past decade, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency water infrastructure funding has declined (with the exception of 2009, the year of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), and policy has shifted from grants to loans.

Unfortunately for water utilities, the timing coincided with the arrival of requirements to scrub dozens of newly regulated contaminants out of drinking water and record numbers of water mains and pipes bursting due to age and extreme temperatures, both hot and cold."
Consumer expenditures on utilities for a four-person household in 2012

Skycatch - Where Construction Firms Look for Drones

Skycatch services the likes of Clayco, DPR, Bechtel, and Bouygues.  Overhead and 3-D mapping - - the drone is becoming the operational necessity for the construction site.  Construction as a "visual" endeavor in need of "visual" tools.  Drones and construction are the perfect match - the providers of critical information linking to a industry in need of greater efficiencies in the field.

Urban Layers. Explore the structure of Manhattan’s urban fabric. | MORPHOCODE

Urban Layers. Explore the structure of Manhattan’s urban fabric. | MORPHOCODE

Monday, October 20, 2014

In a Month of Bad News . . . It Gets Worse

Graph of the Week

datalab--miner.natural-gas-chart

The Civil Engineer as Urban Analytics Expert

This might be the Masters for you:

One-Year Interdisciplinary Master of Science in Analytics at Georgia Tech

The one-year Master of Science in Analytics is an interdisciplinary degree program that leverages the strengths of Georgia Tech in statistics, operations research, computing, and business by combining the world-class expertise of the Scheller College of Business, the College of Computing, and the College of Engineering.  By blending the strengths of these nationally ranked programs, graduates will learn to integrate skills in a unique and interdisciplinary way that yields deep insights into analytics problems.

Why an Interdisciplinary Master’s in Analytics?

Analytics is an important, fast-growing field that has quickly become a key facet of business strategy.  There is an increasing need for analytics-savvy employees who can think uniquely across disciplines to transform data into relevant insights for making better business decisions. 
Georgia Tech's interdisciplinary approach to analytics gives students the opportunity to learn directly from top international authorities on business intelligence, developers of cutting-edge analytics techniques in statistics and operations research, and world leaders in big data and high-performance computing. Students will use advanced resources across campus such as Georgia Tech's state-of-the-art high-performance computing infrastructure for massive-scale data analytics, work in cross-disciplinary teams to solve real analytics problems for a range of companies and organizations, and more. It all adds up to a unique ability to generate deeper insights into analytics problems.
With the Georgia Tech Master’s in Analytics degree, graduates will enter the workplace with the computing, business, statistics, and operations research skills needed to immediately identify, analyze, and solve analytics problems for better business intelligence and decision support.

12 Battlefield Tools for USMC

Link to the 12.  Many of them have direct application to everyday life - or life during a disaster. Check out these:

HEIT
The Hybrid Energy Internally Transportable Vehicle Trailer is a multipurpose energy supply, allowing units to draw power using fossil fuels, solar panels, batteries and other sources—in other words, whatever’s available. Currently in the concept-demonstrator phase, the two-wheeled trailer attaches to the back of a vehicle, giving Marines a versatile, transportable source of electricity.
SUWP
The Small Unit Water Purification system lets platoons tap available water in the field, cutting down on the logistical demands of sending resupplies. The experimental unit weighs 75 pounds—not a featherweight but a lot lighter than an industrial purification systems—and can purify seven to 10 gallons of water an hour from local sources.