Invent Civil

Civil Engineering news, technology, and opinions

Okay, had to post this:

Infrastructure Trailer (Last Week Tonight With John Oliver)

Originally part of the full 20 minute episode, which is well worth a watch if you have time! here.

03 Jan, 2010

Officially Overseas

Posted by: Skylar In: general|news|Uncategorized

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted.  A very long time.  That said, I’m going to chalk it up to one major event that has been occurring in my life over these past few months.  A little while ago, my wife and I decided that we’d really like to move overseas and see the world.  After a lot of planning and even more stress, we have finally made it to a city called Abu Dhabi.  Many of you would probably have never heard of this city/Emirate, although it did make the headlines a short while ago when it “bailed out” Dubai.  I won’t get into any of that right now.

It’s hard to believe that I’m actually on the other side of the world as I’m typing this, but it’s true.  I’m going to be looking for a job in the coming weeks, which should be interesting.  If you happen to have any contacts in Abu Dhabi, I would certainly appreciate any help you’d like to offer (here’s my email).  Thanks also to those who have given me a few leads, I do appreciate it!

Since you’re actually reading this blog post, you’re probably wondering to yourself “what will become of Invent Civil?”  Well, I’m asking myself the same question.  I’m not sure if the things I encounter here in Abu Dhabi will be of any help to my reader base (mostly from Canada and the US).  I’m going to just hang in there and see what happens.  This blog was originally focused on technology and it’s applications in Civil Engineering, and I hope to continue working in both of these fields while living in the UAE.  So here’s hoping something works out!

In the meantime, feel free to ask questions in the comments or drop me a line if you feel so inclined.

Thanks for reading!

Tags: ,

16 Aug, 2009

More Links for the blogroll

Posted by: Skylar In: Uncategorized

It’s been a while since I added to the current blogroll and links page, so here’s a new category for you: Infrastructure.  Here are the new entries:


Take a look at my full (but ever growing) blog & website listing here: [InventCivil blogroll and links page]

01 Jul, 2009

“Unknown Lifeform” from North Carolina Sewer

Posted by: Skylar In: sewers

I found this via Digg today:  Sewer Cam Uncovers a Mysterious Creature

Now, even with my limited experiences looking at sewer camera inspections, I’ve seen some odd and disgusting stuff. But this one would certainly top the list.

Obviously, this is not a video to watch while eating.

Looking at a few comments, it sounds like the “organism” is actually a giant ball of worms that are just moving in unison. Either way, it’s gross.

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about Wolfram|Alpha, which is a new way to find data online.  A classic google search uses only information taken directly from the web, but Wolfram Alpha takes a bunch of facts and figures and uses various mathematical formulas to provide you with enhanced information.  For the most part, it seems that this would provide a bit of entertainment, but it doesn’t seem extremely useful in it’s current state.  For instance, a search for “stormwater” currently gives no result.   But there’s a little section in the “Engineering” examples dedicated to “Civil Engineering”.  I put that in quotes because it gives only two links – one of which seems to be more of a mechanical engineering calculation than anything else.  Nonetheless, it got me thinking.

I tried another search for groundwater.  This gives me the volume of the world’s groundwater.  Thus, a search for “groundwater / world population” gives:

0.001533 km^3/person  (kilometers cubed per person)  (2006 estimate)

Here are some more “civil engineering” wolfram searches:

Elevation Kitchener
Length of a Dam
Dry Sand
Darcy’s Law
Bernoulli Equation
Darcy-Weisbach Equation
Manning’s Equation

…And I’m sure there’s plenty more where those came from.  In short, yes – I’d say there’s some useful information on Wolfram Alpha.  Right now it takes a lot of searching to find relevant information, but as the database expands, it has the potential to become a great tool for Civil Engineers.

In other news, Google announced Google Squared.  The news on this google labs product is that it’s results are all over the place (at least for now).   As an example, consider a search for “Civil Engineer”.  The last result is “Osama Bin Ladin”, which is not very good PR for our profession.  It seems the relationship has developed from wikipedia, which claims:

Some reports suggest bin Laden earned a degree in civil engineering in 1979,[12] or a degree in public administration in 1981.

Anyways, I’m not going to say there is no useful data from Google Squared.  It’s a great starting point to learn about new topics when you don’t yet know what to search for.  I’ve found a few interesting tables, but nothing too revolutionary as of yet.  In the future, I can certainly see this growing into a very valuable resource.

Got any good civil engineering Wolfram Alpha or Google Squared searches? Leave em’ in the comments!

23 May, 2009

Eng-Tips Roundup – Apr/May ‘09

Posted by: Skylar In: Uncategorized

The University of Texas & ASCE is hosting a workshop about the uses of computers and IT in the field of civil engineering.  According to their website, topics include: Sensing, Mobile/Wearable Computing, Life-cycle Assessment and Sustainable Infrastructure, Design, and Cutting Edge Development.

These topics sound extremely interesting to me but alas the workshop is A) in Texas and B) too expensive.  But is anyone going to this?  Cause I’d love to hear about it!

Event Registration and Details [via]

06 Apr, 2009

New blogroll and links page

Posted by: Skylar In: internet coverage|Stormwater|water

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I planned on adding some links and blogs to my site.  I’ve compiled a list that is in no way complete, but I think it’s a great starting point.  I’m going to introduce the list over a period of time to lighten the load and allow people time to digest the content I add.  Feel free to leave comments or suggestions wherever you see fit.

I’ve done my best to split up the list into categories, though it’s hard to fit them all into one subsection.  Nonetheless, today’s categories are “Stormwater” and “Water/Water Resources”.    Here are the blogs that I think fit these categories:


Water Resources & Drinking Water

[Check out the new links page here.]

04 Apr, 2009

Barrel Relining via Sustainable Stormwater

Posted by: Skylar In: Stormwater

A great post was recently featured over at Sustainable Stormwater Management about relining a CSP culvert with a new HDPE liner.  The winning feature is the pictures that the author adds on the end.  Who doesn’t enjoy construction photos? Okay, what civil engineer doesn’t enjoy construction photos?

[SWM Facility Embankment Repair - Barrel Relining]

24 Mar, 2009

TTC Daily Traffic Visualized

Posted by: Skylar In: transportation

Just saw a few really interesting videos via the Torontoist. I’ll embed one of them here for simplicity’s sake, but you can visit the original post to see more. This is a great way to visualize how traffic is greatly unbalanced throughout the day. Great video – many thanks to the creators!

(watch this in hd if you can!)

TTC Weekday Service (HD) from Kieran Huggins on Vimeo.


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