Watch the Construction of the new Cooper River Bridge


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The Bridge Blog
A dialog about our new bridge and these web pages

Overview. As a pointy-headed university professor, my weekend project of bridge photography and building these web pages generated many questions and introduced me to just-in-time learning. I enjoy chasing my curiosity and want to identify ways to encourage younger learners to also enjoy curiosity chasing and learning.

Learning usually requires repetition while forgetting occurs when I infrequently use information. Many young learners do not understand the importance of repetition. Weekly visits to the bridge provided the repetition necessary to detect changes in the bridge and consequently generated many questions and opportunities for learning. Over the course of the bridge project, I had access to few experts for answering questions. Rather than a liability, this became an asset and pushed me to improve my search skills with Google. Soon, I found that answers to questions encountered during my weekly photo shoots were often only a Google-search away - (see Restoring the Joy in Learning). Consequently Google + Internet became dependable extensions of my memory.

The bridge story is a work in progress and is evolving from a simple collections of photographs to an experiment with Internet-centric just-in-time learning. Insights I gain from you will find their way into the learning centers of MUSC. Palmetto Bridge Constructors, a joint venture between Tidewater Skanska and Flatiron Constructors, as well as High Steel Structures, Freyssinet, the SCDOT and the Federal Highway Commission Office of Bridge Technology guided much of my learning. I also learn from many of you and from Google-linked resources. More important is the e-mail encouragement I receive from many of you.

Sat, 13 Aug 2005

August 13, 2005: A suggestion to Mayor Riley and the Transportation Board

During the construction of the Morrison Street on-ramp, bicycle and pedestrian walkway, there was an obstacle at the base of the Pearman bridge. A vertical support structure prevented paving a small section of the bicycle lane. A small wooden platform was built around the Pearman supports - a sort of detour.

With the demolition of the Pearman and Grace moving ahead (briskly), I understand that this platform will be removed when the vertical supports are removed. Then the bicycle lane paving will be completed. But what a perfect spot to place a few park benches so that walkers can stop, rest and contemplate not only our wonderful bridge, but life, the universe and everything. So what about this option, is it possible to modify the contract with Cashman-Testa to not remove the wooden platform and for the City to populate it with a few park benches - particularly useful to maturing adults (age > 60)?

posted at: 07:08 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Sun, 07 Aug 2005

August 7, 2005: Experimenting with Nikon raw image format

Vince Streano convinced me that I should take my serious photos using RAW image formats instead of jpg - due to small artifacts introduced by the data compression process. For most of my academic work, open source tools meet 80 - 90% of my needs. This morning I took a photo of the Ravenel Bridge just to test the idea - in both RAW and high resolution JPEG format.

UFRaw is a GIMP plugin that facilitates processing Nikon raw formats without having to install Nikon software.

Here is an early morning photo of the Ravenel Bridge with the Pearman and Grace Bridges in the background

And the jpeg equivalent

posted at: 09:51 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Sat, 06 Aug 2005

August 6, 2005: What is the connection between the Tour de France and building the Ravenel Bridge?

It was July 21, 2004 when David Wertz from SCDOT provided me with my first inside look at the bridge construction processes. The motivation came from Bill Mankin at High Steel Structures in Lancaster Pa - who had been exchanging email with me about which steel came from them and which steel came from other vendors. About a week before I noted that some edge girders were being lifted using cranes anchored in the river and wondered about how the stability of the crane barge was adequate for the precision placement of the edge girders.

The fog that day was thicker than pea soup and it was impossible to see the erection process from the water. So we visited the deck of the left main span. While waiting for the fog to clear we were invited to look at the cable installation process inside the west pylon. This was my first exposure to the French group of Freyssinet. Later, we visited the top of the west tower and looking down I watched the Freyssinet guy direct the strands of cables as they were fed from the anchorage area see ( for the details). He was wearing a Freyssinet t-shirt and with Google I found that Freyssinet was a French company. I thought to myself, wow, what a great vantage point to watch the final stages of le Tour de France - even if it is 3000 miles away.

Each year, my son-in-law, and economist that studies French and California agriculture policies related to wine production, rents a flat in France and Ellen and I provide babysitting duty. This year Trevor rented a flat about 6 - 8 blocks from the Arc de Triomphe, where the race would end with several loops up the Champs Elysees. What an opportunity to close the loop with Freyssinet that started the year before. We arrived in Paris on the 23rd and Sunday about 1pm we made our way to the Champs Elysees to watch and maybe photograph the finish.

The crowd was wall to wall people - even 4 hours before the peloton arrived - and I am impatient and what to do standing in place for 4 hours? I decided that the crowd and the competition for photos was really worth documenting and took this photo - just to show all the cameras (count them if you can). I was about 3 rows back - and the only way I could take an unobstructed photo was to hold the camera high above my head, aim and click - blindly taking photos of whatever my camera was pointed toward.

After the finish, Trevor and I returned home downloaded our photos and discovered we caught Lance Armstrong and his Discovery team on their first pass up the Champs Elysees. For the story of our Paris holiday and photos of the Tour de France visit our Paris flat, dinners on our terrace and views of many interesting things.

The adventure from July 21 2004 and my introduction to Freyssinet to July 24, 2005 and the finish of le Tour de France cannot be described. For this adventure, I thank Trevor, of course, Marvin Tallent, an avid cyclist who works for Flatiron and was in charge of QA and QC for the bridge and was my guide for many constructions issues, and finally Oliver Forget and his colleagues at Freyssinet who shared with me an inside look at stay cable installation and testing.

posted at: 07:24 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Thu, 21 Jul 2005

July 21, 2005: Transition from building to unbuilding

The construction of the new Cooper River Bridge is complete. The fireworks and opening ceremony, from my perspective, breathed new life into our community. Certainly use of the bicycle and pedestrian walkway during the first days demonstrated both their utility and the vision of the bridge sponsors.

There is a first chapter and a last chapter with every story and our bridges are no different. I have started preparations for keeping our stories alive, now as historical documents. As a first step, I am moving the Internet address of the Ravenel Bridge story to This will provide a stable location and facilitate transition of the site to a future home, perhaps the Charleston Public Library or the Historical Society. I have not explored this with any agency, but it seems to me that our web site (yes, not mine) would be better preserved under the leadership of a public agency.

Yesterday I started the first chapter of the unbuilding of the Grace and Pearman bridges. I have moved the Internet address for our new story to I shall continue to take weekly, and in some cases, daily (early morning and late afternoon) photos of the Charleston approaches, Mt. Pleasant approaches and the main bridge spans. In addition, I will build a new section addressing engineering issues and insights, similar to the Engineering and Close-ups section I developed around the construction of the Ravenel bridge.

Many of you have fed me ideas and questions. As we start our new story, please continue to write me. Let our learning continue!.

posted at: 03:45 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Sun, 17 Jul 2005

July 16, 2005: The meaning of a signature bridge

From Walter Baker in California:
I saw a news article on the opening of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge. I put its name in a search engine and fortunately found my way to your website. I became wonderfully distracted by your photographic documentation of the bridge construction. I want to thank you so much for the time and effort you put into this project. You live in a beautiful area of our great country and now it has been crowned by a wonderful work of art. I offer you the following.

Easy it is to be cynical,
In the days in which we live,
But every now and then,
A ray illuminates the darkness
And spans the gap to heal.

A sense of unity once thought lost
Found on the other shore,
And brought home to rest
In the warmest place once more.

There will be times when this is forgotten
And all the worlds in a rage,
But from a distance its image shines,
The crossing place forever in the mind.

W Baker

posted at: 05:31 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Sat, 16 Jul 2005

July 16, 2005: The meaning of a signature bridge

Yesterday, Vince Streano, David Wertz and I revisited the top of the west tower. It was almost 1 year ago (July 21, 2004) that David and I visited the top of the west tower - at that time looking at a number of bridge engineering issues. Among them was the cabling process managed by Olivier Forget from Freyssinet - and the time was near the end of "le Tour de France". During an earlier visit to the top of the west tower, I noticed a concrete tablet on the floor (upper left) with the names of many of the construction workers. Dumb Frank did not record this photographically at the time. This time I was not going to repeat the same mistake twice. Not only did I take several photos of the tablet, but I found Philip Cotter's and Lewis Williamson's names on the tablet. Philip and Lewis are iron workers, a very special breed of man that suspended themselves while erecting edge and floor girders and placing the concrete floor panels. Philip's wife, Tina, exchanged a number of emails with me about Philip and his artistic and literary skill - naming the last main-span crane (east side) the "Last Dinosaur Standing" (see for the dinosaur story).

Here, permanently placed on the top of the west tower is a symbol of the worker's bride. Many signatures are absent - but the pride runs all the way from Bobby Clair through Wade, Peo, Marvin, David and Olivier all the way to me - as these folks opened doors that enabled me to bring to you much of the untold stories behind building our Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.

And a final note about the Internet and learning. The Internet provided me a medium that enabled me to share with you what the bridge folks shared with me. Not only that, the Internet provided a communication medium that linked me with Bill Mankin at High Steel, with engineers at the Federal Highway Administration, Bridge Division, with Buckland and Taylor, T. Y. Lin, HDR, Freyssinet and Tidewater Skanska. Governor Sanford and Bob O'Brien even provided input. In the end, Bob has suggested that I explore transfering this web site to the Historical Society or the Library - a wonderful strategy for breathing new life into these pages.

So from me - smiles and a big thank you to all of you!
Frank Starmer, Medical University of South Carolina.

posted at: 12:02 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Mon, 04 Jul 2005

July 4, 2005:
Le Tour de France and our International Family

The 2005 Map of Le Tour de France: A one year anniversary of close encounters with bridge builders:

Almost a year ago (July 21, 2004), David Wurtz gave me my first bridge building seminar on the platform of the west span. As part of our seminar we made a visit to one of the cable construction stations in the interior of the west pylon which is how I discovered Freyssinet. Later Olivier Forget, the leader of the international Freyssinet team, as well as Eduardo, Cyril, Jose, Pavil, Bruno, Philiu and Niko joined our seminar and helped me to understand the design, construction and testing of stay cables. Now, a year later, the Tour de France has just started and I am remembering the excitement of my first visit to the main span. Wade, Peo, Marvin, Brian, Lori, Wilbur, Derik and many many others gave these pages a bit of life. Thanks to all of them!

posted at: 10:00 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Wed, 22 Jun 2005

June 22, 2005: About these web pages

On June 12, 2005, Gene Stead, 97 years of age, quietly died. Gene was Chairman of Medicine at Duke from 1947 - 1967 and was my first boss. But he was more than a chairman. He paid great attention to individuals, whether faculty, students or patients, and worked at enabling them to reach beyond their grasp. He understood that problems could rarely be solved by technology alone and demonstrated over and over again that success often rides on resolving personal and cultural issues.

Several years ago, my son, Josh, and I visited Gene for the weekend. Gene was frustrated by the difficulties in maintaining communication with younger people. We talked about the Internet, about Google, about what to learn and how to avoid the forgetting curve. We shared our frustration that many younger people have lost their curiosity and wrote a short paper about restoring the joy in learning and about learning and forgetting. I built his web site as a tool for exploring Internet-centric learning and addressing issues of curiosity and forgetting. These pages about the building of the new Cooper River Bridge (Ravenel bridge) reflect a continuation of our explorations in learning, sharing and igniting curiosity among young learners.

posted at: 08:25 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Fri, 17 Jun 2005

June 17, 2005: Exploring Graphical Navigation

I am often frustrated with the difficulty of finding stuff on these web pages. I think there must be a better way. Jack, my son, suggested some sort of graphical navigation. The idea is that you can click on a region of an image and bring up more detailed photos.

I have built a rough draft test page to develop this idea. There are about 2500 images and finding what even I want, well, its simply out of control. Perhaps a graphical interface with the photos is the way to do. Google does this with Google Maps using Ajax (asynchronous javascript and xml), a new web technology. This is not Ajax - just plain ordinary javascript - but a start. I need your input, your ideas, your code, your whatever.

posted at: 13:21 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Mon, 13 Jun 2005

June 13, 2005 Humorous stories

From time to time, I receive some humorous stories of past experiences with the Grace bridge. This seems like the best place to share them. To the right you see (right to left) the Grace, Pearman and Ravenel bridges. Note the steep incline associated with the older bridges. (Click the image for a larger format.)

J. LaVerne Ard, former mayor of Pamplico, SC and VP of Marsh Lumber Company - circa 1950 story (as told by Bette Cox, Florence, SC):

"As a high school teenager, he drove a flatbed truck during the summer. One trip to Charleston was for a load of fertilizer. Trying to come back across the bridge with the flatbed fully loaded, a traffic light caught him, and when it turned green, the truck simply wouldn't climb the grade. He sent his little brother to the back of the truck to lay sacks of fertilizer against the back wheels to keep from rolling back into the traffic behind him. Then, along came a policeman.

The helpful policeman stopped all traffic, had him back up about two blocks and rev the motor to get a running start, and cheered him on as the truck chugged up the hill and on across the bridge."

Terry Edmonds, Apex NC

"When I was 15, in 1963, and had just gotten my learners permit to drive, my father, sister and I drove from Wilmington, NC to Tampa, FL for Christmas. I was driving on Hwy. 17 when we got to Mt. Pleasant. The old 2 lane bridge into Charleston came as a very un"Pleasant" surprise. Dad just looked at me and said that I was driving. Two way traffic on that old bridge was terrifying. I must have left clear indentations on the steering wheel with both hands. Never will forget it. And, I have told my kids the story so often that all of them have reported back to me when they made their first trip across 'the bridge'. "

posted at: 10:00 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Thu, 09 Jun 2005

June 9 2005: Opening Dates Announced

Patiently waiting is not one of my virtues but I have learned that waiting impatiently takes just as long. Here is the best information I have, following an announcement from SCDOT today (June 9, 2005):
July 9 Saturday afternoon Bridge Open for pedestrian strolling
July 10 Sunday afternoon Bridge Open for pedestrian strolling
July 11 Monday evening Fundraising event
July 14 Thursday evening Fireworks then stay-cable lighting
July 16 Saturday 9am Bridge Dedication and formal opening
Other event times are a bit uncertain, but I shall post them as soon as I find out

posted at: 10:00 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Wed, 08 Jun 2005

June 8 2005: A short web lesson:
Managing a small web site is a challenge, a learning opportunity and an opportunity to explore my Google-Internet memory amplifier. In addition to the bridge web pages, I follow the lives of a few spiders in our garden and built web pages which reveal a bit of their lives (see Natasha or mating banana spiders). Every morning I review the web access logs to see what is happening.

This morning I saw that Google-directed hits to our banana spider pages are increasing and almost equal to the Google-directed hits to our new Cooper River Bridge web pages.

What is the software base that enables me to manage these web pages? I use the open source distribution of GNU-Linux from RedHat for my web server environment which includes Apache as the web serving software. For development, I use the GNU-Linux distribution from the RedHat sponsored Fedora project which also includes Apache. Finally, I use Google to answer technical questions that arise when I am building these web pages.

Apache writes an entry into either an access log or an error log each time a web page is accessed. Monitoring the logs helps track web site access patterns and identify errors that creep into these web pages. To analyze the logs, I use AWstats. This tracks where web page requests originate and more important, summarizes the search expressions used to access web pages. From these data, I can directly see what is interesting and what is never touched. This provides guidance for experimenting with different ideas and determining how to better meet the needs of readers.

Here is the table from the summary of web activity since Sunday June 5.

key phrases Frequency Percent
banana spider 160 4.5 %
cooper river bridge 128 3.6 %
new cooper river bridge 52 1.4 %
ravenel bridge 51 1.4 %
butterflys 47 1.3 %
banana spiders 41 1.1 %
forgetting 31 0.8 %
french wildlife 24 0.6 %
matrix calculus 22 0.6 %
charleston bridge 18 0.5 %
arthur ravenel bridge 15 0.4 %
nernst-planck equation 13 0.3 %
nephila clavipes 13 0.3 %

Note: I never know when I'll learn something new - and making this blog entry provided an unexpected surprise. When I first wrote the above, I had forgotten the HTML tags for a table header - so I used Google and the search words: how to make html table . The first entry: sorttable: Make all your tables sortable did not answer my question but revealed a way to enable browser-based sorting of columns within a table. Since this looked like a fun idea, I followed their recipe and suddenly the colums in the above table became sortable. The total time required for this experiment - 10 minutes. Curious about other tricks available from this site, I backed up a level and found a collection of interesting scripts for enabling other browser-based presentation features. This is a typical example of the positive impact associated with chasing curiosity within our Internet connected world.

posted at: 10:00 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Thu, 02 Jun 2005

June 2, 2005: The simple elegance of symmetry - without words

The real thing

A digital sketch

posted at: 10:00 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Sun, 29 May 2005

May 29, 2005: Learning from the bridge and the Internet

Our new Cooper River Bridge is a great motivator for learning. That said, Google + the Internet are great resources for both learning and for remembering. (If you see a disconnect, visit the forgetting curve.) Earlier this week I faced the challenge of learning how to stitch photos together in order to make a panoramic presentation. The results (see below) were ok, but the junction of the images was apparent, particularly the junction of the left image and its neighbor. Since this is Charleston, 2nd class results are simply not acceptable, so I faced another challenge - how to improve the blend between the images.

Last week, I found an open source program hugin - a Panorama Tools GUI available from Sourceforge. Last night, I started my search with Google and found a link to another Sourceforge offering, Enblend, as well as a tutorial about blending exposures using Gimp. I visited the enblend web site and sure enough, there was both an example, based on Hugin, which I used last week to build the panoramic image as well as the code for computing the blended image. So I downloaded the code, and another surprise, it compiled without an error. I then followed the instructions and created the above result. Needless to say, I was grinning from ear to ear.

A word about open source software. I have been associated with open source resources since I obtained our Unix license at Duke in 1974. Although open source software is often called free software, it requires some effort to build, integrate and use. Richard Stallman, a champion of the open source movement, prefers that the term, free, refer to the personal liberty that is associated with the use of open source software and not its cost.

These bridge web pages reflect the freedom and liberty associated with being able to access and integrate open source software in producing a result. For example, my web server software is Apache and my desktop system runs Fedora Linux. At the application level, Gimp is my image processing tool, now joined by ImageMagick, Enblend and Hugin.

posted at: 16:12 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Wed, 25 May 2005

May 25, 2005: A view from the top - Exploring photo stitching

Sunday found me on the bridge again to check out what had happened the night before. What had happened was a lot of paving on the outside south lane. Also Murray and Wade were deep in discussion and suddenly there was an opportunity to visit the top of the west pylon. This time, I was determined to take a series of photos of the horizon and later to try to piece them together to make a panorama.

I was in luck - the temperature was cool, the humidity was low and the view was perfectly clear. At home, I found an open source program hugin - a Panorama Tools GUI available on sourceforge, a really great resource where many many people manage open source development projects (including my IT Lab at MUSC). So I downloaded the software, installed it, followed their how to tutorial and tried to piece two images together. It worked the first time - so I tried 4 photos stiched together. It worked as you can see above.

Whether it is the bridge project or open source software or research, Google, as the card catalog and the Internet, as our library, level the playing field such that everyone has access to the same resources. Only our energy level and curiosity make a difference.

posted at: 10:00 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Mon, 16 May 2005

May 16, 2005: Pylon airflow
Sometimes you never know when your past will catch up with you. When I first came to MUSC, our outsourced IT support folks could not execute within my frame of reference - Internet-centric learning. So I formed the Information Technology Laboratory, aptly named the IT Lab by Nafees BinZafar, one of my first. The IT Lab was set up to give me the freedom to execute within the web world and I can honestly say that I have learned more from them than they from me. I simply ignited their curiosity fuse and then got out of their way. One of the few rules in the IT Lab was that you cannot resign - only graduate.

Nafees and Nathan are two of my graduates that now work for Digital Domain - doing systems and animation infrastructure - and they continue to contribute back to our IT Lab. Today Nafees wrote and confessed of being confused by the design of the tops of the east and west pylons. Being a well trained graduate of my IT Lab, he did a simulation to explore two different alternatives. In his words

Hi Frank.  I've been looking at your cooper river bridge pictures.  
And I wondered why the tops of the towers were indented, and not flat.  
I guessed it had to be for aerodynamic reasons, but I couldn't find anything 
on the web about the exact reasons.  So I ran a simulation.  I couldn't 
find the exact dimensions for the tops, so I eyeballed it from your 
pictures.  For comparison I modelled a tower with a flat top.  
I suppose I should have done one with a pointed top also.

I'm attaching movies of the top view and the side view of the simulations.  
The wind is blowing in at about 22 mph.  The massless tracer smoke is 
generated by 2 sources; 1 on top, and 1 on the leeward side.  The sims 
didn't really show anything numerically conclusive.  My simulation 
resolution is much too low for that.  The vortex shedding frequency seems 
a little bit higher in the "flat-top" configuration, and downstream 
the flow is more turbulent.  Also, there is a very substantial pressure 
drop in the indented region.  So I suspect that you will have some 
really good photo-ops of condensation trails on a cold and windy day. 
Here are the two videos (avi and mpg format). As with any collaborative effort, there are issues. In this case, the avi or mpg files may require some care when displaying. We are exploring alternative formats.

posted at: 14:23 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Sun, 08 May 2005

May 8, 2005: Our extended bridge family

It is all about people chemistry. New chemical compounds are impossible as long as the reagents live in their individual bottles. Mix them together, add a bit of heat (sometimes) and something interesting might happen. The same with people. When I sit in my office or home, bottled as a chemical reagent in the supply room, nothing interesting happens. When I get up and poke around, I collide with others, and the possibility of something interesting is amplified. So it is with our bridge project.

Earlier this week, Sandrine phoned me about a surprise birthday party for her husband, Oliver (who directs the local Freyssinet work). This was a complete surprise for me because Sandrine did not have my phone number. But being the resourceful woman that she is - she managed to locate it. Yesterday, we all gathered at Oliver's place - for wonderful afternoon of celebrations. We celebrated the birth of their daughter, Lucille, we celebrated the appearance of Oliver's mother-in-law, Jackie, who quickly became the energy of the party, and finally, we celebrated Oliver's birthday. There is a photo essay of course.

posted at: 14:46 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Fri, 06 May 2005

May 6, 2005: Exploring digital sketches
There comes a time when simply capturing the action of constructing the new Cooper River Bridge approaches blindly following a recipe - and I try to avoid falling into a rut. I have standard places that I go, standard sets of photos that I take and standard ways to process the images for placement in these web pages - all the ingredients of a rut. Several weeks ago I began experimenting with ways to alter the images so that they took on the characteristics of a sketch. I cannot draw an attractive stick figure, so for me, this was an opportunity to explore something that I was totally incapable of doing on my own.

When I look at a sketch, I see the outlines of objects the artist projects. So I started with processing an image with an edge detection algorithm. These algorithms compute the difference in intensity of adjacent picture elements (pixels). When the intensity difference is small, then the point appears black. When the intensity is large, then the point appears white. Consequently edges (where there is a large intensity difference) will appear as while lines. But an artist sketches with a black pencil, so I inverted the image - white became black and black became white. Because these are color images, edges are computed for each of the three colors - red, green and blue. I then alter the black-white range of intensities so that I get a more balanced image. The results, as seen here, are interesting. Bibi, an art history student at UC Berkeley and friend of our family finds that these transformations bring something new to the art table - an improvement beyond simply copying an artistic style.

posted at: 05:45 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Sun, 01 May 2005

May 1, 2005: Adventures with elevators and the traveler

Yesterday I met Murray Feldman and indirectly Bill Nesteruk and his company, Specialized Engineered Products Ltd. Bill creates these modern marvels that transport stuff horizontally (as with the bridge traveler) as well as vertically (or almost vertically) - i.e. the bridge elevators. Murray makes them work in the field. Again, design and engineering of the traveler and elevators generated for me, a quiet smile.

The traveler, used for cleaning and inspecting the underside of the bridge, is a necessity. Similarly, the four elevators that travel up and down the inclined surfaces of the east and west pylons, provide access to the pylon base, the crossbeam and the top. I experienced these elevators when I was learning from Freyssinet about building stay cables - but somehow the issue of traveling up and down an incline where the angle of the incline changes at the pylon crossbeam never caught my curiosity.

posted at: 10:00 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Thu, 28 Apr 2005

April 28, 2005: Getting a presentation together

Looking at the photos from the past 21 months reminds me of how much change has occurred - in both the bridge construction as well as weather and light conditions. Typically I experienced early morning conditions from October to April and then switched to afternoon photos from November until May. This was primarily in response to the sun's position (in the morning) relative to the line connecting my photo spot with the new Cooper River Bridge. I experienced clear weather, cloudy weather, fog, rain and nearly hurricane conditions. By and large most of the details of the photo conditions are long lost memories - a result of the biologial forgetting process.

Looking at these photos reminds me of the rich variety of viewing conditions I experienced as well as the development of the bridge. Organizing them as a time lapse photo stream seems like an interesting way to view almost 2 years of fun. I have started with 3 compositions: growing the west span, growing the east span and reaching for the clouds while closing the gap.

posted at: 08:25 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Sun, 24 Apr 2005

April 24, 2005: Closing the loop

Way back in January, when there was a gap separating the east and west main spans, I took a photo of the crane used to lift edge and floor girders from barges to the deck and then hold them in place while the iron workers attached the splice plates.

Here is the "Last Dinosaur Standing" as seen from the old Pearman bridge. (Click to see the story about Philip and the Last Dinosaur Standing.) Yesterday I was taking some photos of the main span paving and two guys walked up and started talking - they were Philip and Lewis. Philip, I sort of knew because of email from his mom and wife. I had never met Lewis but had watched Lewis (and Jack) attach the splice plates that linked the north side of the east and west edge girders - thus bridging the gap.

But yesterday was special. I was able to meet both of them, talk a bit and for me, close the loop from distant observer to acquaintance. This closes another gap, the people gap, and enables my understanding of the bridge project at both the technical level as well as at the people level.

The bridge project has impressed me from the people perspective. I have come to know many people associated, either locally or remotely, with the building of the new Cooper River Bridge. First Bill Mankin from High Steel Structures, then David Wertz (SCDOT) then Wade Watson (PBC) then Peo Halvarsson (Skanska and PBC), Marvin Tallent (Flatiron and PBC) and Oliver Forget and his Freyssinet team, Wilbur Poole (PBC) and on and on the list goes. Everyone has helped me understand some aspect of our bridge project and has given generously of their time.

Helping me understand different components of bridge building has enabled me to convey what was happening on the main span and approaches with both the local Charleston community as well as our Internet community. What pleases me, from my MUSC perspective, is the opportunity to share the work product of my hyperactive curiosity with other members of the MUSC community as well as young learners outside MUSC (particularly with Jonnell at E. L. Frierson school (Wadmalaw)) - and illustrate the opportunities Google provides for building episodes of "just-in-time" learning. All these lessons help me better understand the IT infrastructure needs at MUSC that facilitate the paradigm shift from "just-in-case" learning (that is compromised by the the biology of the forgetting process) and "just-in-time" learning (which is much more immune to the forgetting process). The real winner is MUSC which now, thanks to my bridge friends, has a rather unconventional source of new insights into learning in general and Internet-centric learning in particular.

posted at: 15:31 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Fri, 22 Apr 2005

April 22, 2005: Springtime in Charleston

Yesterday while walking home from MUSC, the sun touched some spring flowers in a remarkable way. Similarly, last night we had an almost full moon. So here is springtime in Charleston. (And I do not yet have a firm date for when the new Cooper River Bridge will formally open. I shall post it here in our blog when I have a pretty firm date.)

posted at: 10:00 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Thu, 21 Apr 2005

April 21, 2005: Another kind of cable strand
As you know, I am chasing the question: What is the meaning of life, the universe and everything - as stated in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Said another way, is there life after our adventure with the new Cooper River Bridge?

Yesterday was simply chaos cubed. My primary web server (monitor) died while I was deleting some old files in order to free up some space. Obviously I deleted something that should not have been deleted - so from about 1pm until 4pm - my site was dead and I was frantic. Clearly, I needed a distraction.

Last night, Ellen and I had a quiet dinner and talked a bit about our projects. Now is when baby spiders start to appear in Charleston, so I went out about 7:30 pm looking for our evening spiders ( Neoscona hentzi or barn spider). These little wonders build their webs in the early evening and destroy them in the early morning - at least usually. I found a few babies (about 0.5 cm in diameter) in our garden and tried to take some photos, but the conditions were not good, a gentle breeze was blowing the spider and web in and out of the focal plane and I had no tripod. Knowing that they would still be there in the morning, I returned about 5:30am, with camera, tripod and chair. To my surprise one was rebuilding her web instead of unbuilding it. I set up the camera, found a good focus and with a flashlight to illuminate her, started taking photos. I got lucky and one photo showed her with a silk strand extending from her spinneret. Just like Freyssinet unwinding strands from a big spool of cable, these little wonders synthesize and extrude silk from a spinneret and build strands in an as yet unknown manner. So above is a photo of her, extruding a silk strand and her weaving. I am accumulating these images and a story which are available here. Earlier photos of a (large) adult Neoscona hentzi are here. And all of my spider (and underwater) photos can be found here.

Meanwhile, I have sent email to the Boston company that was awarded the contract to remove the old bridges - but so far, no reply but I am cautiously optimistic. No matter what, I plan to take a routine data set each week starting whenever.

posted at: 17:21 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Tue, 19 Apr 2005

April 19, 2005: What to do next?
Now that the two main spans have been joined and the two tower cranes have been disassembled very little change is visible from the S.C. Aquarium and from my bicycle as I ride across the old bridge. So continuing my weekly set of standard photos will bring us little new data. The work on the East Bay on ramp continues and I shall continue to track this. But I am rapidly running out of ideas. So, if you have a burning question, now is the time to add your input into our bridge project. Send me email with your ideas.

And another request. I am thinking about building a photo exhibit selected from the 6000+ photos I have taken over the past 18 months. The idea is to provide something interesting from an art perspective as well as an opportunity to see some of the temporal changes in major bridge features. The question again is what is interesting for all of you? I have thought about the following topics:

  • Monthly view of the two pylons and closing the gap. I have photos from August 2003 until now capturing most of this.
  • Building the east approach (as seen from my bicycle rides)
  • Building the east deck
  • Building the west deck
  • Building the west approach
  • Building a stay cable (Freyssinet)
  • Images that just happened - mostly photos that show aspects of the bridge in different light.
Lee, at Duncan and Parnell here in Charleston, can make large (4 ft. x whatever length) inkjet prints of image compositions. Lee has helped me with some test prints showing the time sequence of closing the gap on a textured paper that really brings the images to life. Exploring the presentation in this manner has challenged me - how to make this something other than a group of plain jane photos. Using textured paper amd organizing multiple images on the same paper brings something new to this presentation. I have also had Shutterfly print some test images in a large format: 11x14 and 16x20. Both sizes are amazing and there is no observable evidence that indicates the digital nature (5 megapixel) of the images. For me, this was a big surprise. So again - any ideas about the topics and image composition of such an exhibition that would make it interesting for you? What would grab your attention and attract you for a closer look? Again send me email with your ideas. I shall make an additional tab on the top menu bar of our bridge web pages so that you can see what I am thinking and display your suggestions. Thanks.

posted at: 05:58 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Wed, 13 Apr 2005

April 13, 2005: A bit of history
John Baxley, an aerial photographer from Springfield, SC, has found a bit of Cooper River Bridge history. Almost every visit I make to the new bridge coincides with a cargo ship or tanker sliding along the Cooper River and under the bridge. During the transition from a web site for my grandchildren to what it is today, I remember reading some discussion about the islands that were built at the base of the east and west pylons. Specifically, these islands were designed to be sufficiently large in diameter to prevent a ship from colliding with the pylon.

As a relatively newcomer to Charleston (we moved from Chapel Hill in 1998), I am not aware of much of the history and stories surrounding the older members of the Cooper River Bridge family. Many of you have told me stories of family experiences with the bridge that bring a personal touch to my understanding. However, thinking about the earlier lives of the Cooper River Bridges never clicked until John sent me this photo of a collision in 1946. Clearly, historical information is as important to our web project as today's images. Another nice contribution to our project. Thanks, John. And a P.S. Tim Linder frequently contributes to our project and dramatically improved the quality of the original image. Thanks to you also, Tim. Another P.S. - Jim Bogle from Columbia remembers the story of the collision of the Nicaragua Victory and the Grace Bridge as told by his parents. According to him, the Army rigged a Bailey Bridge until repairs could be done. The opportunities for walking across the Grace Bridge as I build the story of the Unbuilding of the Grace and Pearman Bridges are rapidly disappearing. With input from Jim and John - I shall be much more attentive to the Grace structure and see if there are any residual signs of the collision.

posted at: 11:24 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Fri, 01 Apr 2005

April 1, 2005: A new project
Tim Linder has a great idea. What about collecting aerial and satellite images acquired during the construction of the new Cooper River Bridge. We found this image from the US Geological Survey (1999). In addition, the US Geological Survey has a very useful image browser. This link includes southern South Carolina. has a more recent (October 13, 2003) photo from GlobeXplorer at coordinates: Latitude: 32.8070077 , Longitude: -79.927839 .

Terraserver ( readily gave me permission to use their 2 meter (Oct 13, 2003) resolution image of the construction site. In addition, I found imagery at NASA's Gateway to Astronaut Photogrphay of Earth. I have sent email to Spot Image in France, another source of satellite imagery. My experience is that "front" doors sometimes don't work as well as some "back" doors. So if any of you have some back door contacts with satellite imagery groups - send me email with your information. I shall build a new page of satellite imagery with what we are able to locate. Thanks

posted at: 23:55 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Mon, 28 Mar 2005

March 28, 2005: This past weekend was full of surprises.
First the Charleston Post and Courier (specifically Jim Parker and his team) ran a wonderful piece about me, the bridge / spider web pages and issues of learning, forgetting and the Internet that are near and dear to my heart.

In addition, I received more than my usual weekend share of email about the bridge web pages. As many of you know, I love learning and enabling others to learn. Among the weekend emails, Lewis Hudgins of Athens Georgia related a delightful story about the early days of the project.

"I lived in Charleston for several years.  I was Joe Riley's Executive Assistant.
I didn't think the nuances of the construction could possibly interest me as 
much as the prolonged political intrigue which, happily, resulted in an 
agreement to get the new Cooper River Bridge built. I was wrong. Your pictures 
and narratives have been wonderful.  It made all of us feel we were up there 
with the crews.  Also, it makes us want to know more about them and what 
happens to them now. And, the awesome, technical aspect of the work was made 
easier to understand because of you. (Who knew about the wax?)"

What we have all created with this web site, I believe, is a new sense of community and being part of something that is remote from many of us. As many of you know, many engineers and lay people have provided me with particular insights and questions. PBC, SCDOT, Freyssinet, High Steel Structures and the FHWA Bridge Division, have opened many doors that gave me an insider look at things I never imagined (like injecting wax into the cable anchors). Together we have built a learning site where we are all able to contribute in many different ways. This is my time to thank all of you!!!

posted at: 13:57 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Sun, 20 Mar 2005

March 20, 2005 Another attempt in improving the usability of these web pages

Each week I receive email from a number of you requesting some new insights (for example, tracking the progress of the approaches or tracking the unbuilding of the west tower crane). As I put these stories together and increase the weekly set of routine photos, I wonder how anyone but me can find anything among these pages.

Over the past year and a half, the organization has progressed from 1 long linear web page to a group of pages to groupings of pages. I have created an archive page with links to everything. But again, unless you know what is in the archived pages, it might take several attempts to locate what you are looking for. Last week, Jason Osborne of Clemson, made a wonderful suggestion - why not put a last updated time stamp on the menu bar and in the archive. I am feeling a bit guilty that I did not think of this a long time ago. So now we have time stamps indicating the last time I updated a story.

But today I thought about Google. Why not include a Google search box in the header of each story and limit the Google search to my web site. Google has a simple way to constrain search results by including the clause in the search expression. So I set up a Google search box with this embedded in the search expression. Let me know if this helps locating things.

posted at: 10:00 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Fri, 11 Mar 2005

March 11, 2005 Closing the Gap and Our Website Community

As many of you know, these bridge photo essays started as a simple way for my grandchildren to watch the growing of the new Cooper River Bridge. Sometime in the early spring of 2004, Bill Mankin of High Steel Structures, sent me email with some comments about the web site. High Steel fabricated all the edge and floor girders for the main span. Bill's email and our subsequent exchanges changed the web site from a Read Only web page to an interactive Read Write web site that reflected information from our web page community. Bill helped me understand some of the issues associated with erecting the steel girders and later invited me to visit their facility in Lancaster Pa.

Many engineers and many more armchair engineers have joined our conversation. When I encountered puzzles, many were quick to respond with answers. For example Joe Krolak, an hydraulic engineer with the Federal Highway Administration, Bridge Divistion, helped me understand how one stabilizes barges that support cranes while erecting girders while Boyd Gregg, a civil engineer with Black & Veatch in Alpharetta, Ga helped me understand the concept of tensioning - specifically when I encountered PBC tensioning the lateral tendons that stabilized the central segment of the east and west pylons. So I copied and pasted Boyd's explanation into the details web page. When I really got into engineering trouble, David Wertz with SCDOT and Marvin Tallent with PBC helped me understand what was happening.

More recently, Peo Halvarsson provided opportunities to explore different aspects of building the main deck and Oliver Forget with Freyssinet helped me understand erecting cable stay pipes and pulling strands of cable. I had a chance to see many things that simply increased my curiosity. During these times, I met Wilbur Poole, an iron worker who also manages the hydraulic systems used to position the deck. All these folks were my teachers and I transferred what I learned to these pages.

But many many people simply sent email to encourage me to continue. These are the people that energized me to continue my weekly visits to the SC Aquarium to take my "core data". Then Tina Cotter got into the picture. Her husband, Philip, an iron worker, named one of the deck erection cranes "Last Dinosaur Standing", the kind of humor that really turns me on. When Tina told me the crane story, I could not resist adding some humor to the placement of the last concrete floor panel - was Philip signaling the crane operator, or was Philip secretly waving to Tina? Look at the photo above and you be the judge.

What I am trying to say is that this web site is a community project - not just Frank Starmer taking photos for his grandkids. The stories and photos reflect significant influences from two of my kids - Michael told me a long time ago that my photos were chaos. "Never take a photo unless you are prepared to tell a story". Not only good advice, but great advice. Josh then introduced me to the humor side of photo essays with his dialog associated with photos of my work in south India (2001).

Gene Stead, chairman of Medicine at Duke, was my first boss and taught me the joy of learning. Gene asked lots of questions - not because he was testing people, but because he was curious. Gene helped me to understand that being curious was OK - not something that should be suppressed as one becomes a teenager. My dad was also very curious and shared with me that he never met someone from whom he could not learn something. The Internet and Google level the playing field for all of us curiosity chasers. And these web pages are really an experiment in what I call Internet-centric learning. The days of teachers and students are nearing an end and a new Internet-centric learning paradigm is evolving. As with Gene - we are all learners in this world - traditional teachers are more like senior learners while traditional students are simply junior learners.

So these web pages are all about learning, my curiosity and your encouragement. What started as a simple set of photos has evolved to what we have now - a sort-of read write web site where many of you contribute to my understanding aspects of building the new Cooper River Bridge.

I am grateful for your help, for your curiosity and for your encouragement.

posted at: 10:11 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Thu, 10 Mar 2005

March 10, 2005 Unseen tal
I suppose that some of you will think I've completely flipped out. Thinking about where to go with the web pages and the images that I have acquired over the past 20 months has led me down many paths. One suggestion by a friend is to take a group of photos and make an art show. Knowing very little about formal art (except what I learn from Josh and Bibi), Ellen played the idea of our friend Debra Bieber, now in Dhaka Bangladesh. We met Debra and her husband, Glen, while I was a visiting professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (now Chennai). We were there from 1993 - 1994 and had the cultural experience of our life. During this time, I was successful in managing my lab at Duke via the Internet, one of my early experiences with Internet-centric life.

Anyway, I was considering three segments of an exhibit: time sequence of the bridge growth, people and processes. As many of you know, I enjoy learning from anyone and the bridge has provided many opportunities to learn something of bridge technology. So Debra suggests the title "Unseen tal". I am thinking, Deb has surely flipped out. Then Debra goes on to remind me that tal is the rhythmic basis of classical (Carnatic (south) and Hindustani (north) ) Indian music. I remembered going to my first classical music performance at IIT (in the OAT). It was my first encounter with classical Indian music and not at all what I expected. After the first few numbers, I was ready to leave since it was completely not understandable. There was a singer, drummer (tabla), violinist and veena and just as I was about to give up, I suddenly realized that there was a rhythm (from the tabla and veena) and a violin echo of what the singer was singing. And the singing was not what I thought of as western singing but rather the singer was playing his voice. All was suddenly understandable and enjoyable when I escaped from my western paradigm of singing words and harmony and saw that the singer was playing his instrument just as the violinist was echoing the improvised composition with his instrument.

Tal (see the references below) is all about rhythm and Debra saw in my photos a rhythm that is unseen by those viewing the bridge from afar. So she composed the word, Unseen tal. I thought this was brilliant and felt that Deb had caught the driving force of my bridge curiosity and my passion for capturing the rhythm of the building of the bridge. So I am thinking and playing with some ideas for a presentation.

posted at: 08:01 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Wed, 09 Mar 2005

March 9, 2005: Making ends meet (my wife wishes she could use hydraulic jacks and fork lifts to deal with family budget issues).

Closing the last gap (maybe last gasp?). Yesterday PBC and their iron workers closed the final gap linking the west and east decks. Peo and his team coaxed the two platforms into perfect alignment so that the splice plate could be pinned and bolted. Shown here is driving the first drift pin into the vertical splice plate linking the center edge girder with the south 216 edge girder.

It was windy - really very windy. I discovered that the virtue of an 8 lane wide roadway is that when the wind blows your glasses - it takes a long time to cover the width of the road and disappear. Fortunately I quickly retrieved them. But in spite of the wind, the work continued.

I soon discovered some of the tricks these guys use to encourage the two decks to behave and align themselves. Two major tools:

  • Altering the horizontal alignment with hydraulic jacks (located at the pylon).
  • Altering the vertical alignment with counterweights. In this case, the counterweights were mobile - consisting of fork lifts that moved toward or away from the gap, with or without counterweights.
I would not have thought changing the alignment a few inches would be so involved - and yet relatively straight forward. It was a joy to watch this team do their magic!. Today they are completing bolting up the vertical splice plates and horizontal splice plates.

posted at: 10:00 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Sat, 05 Mar 2005

March 5, 2005: A visit from my dad

My dad transferred many gifts to me. But perhaps the greatest gift was that of endless curiosity. When I was a kid - we used to travel to different construction sites where he was installing elevators. Sometimes on the weekends, we would visit a sick elevator and repair it. Sometimes we simply walked from our home in Greensboro to the railroad switch house. We would sit for hours watching the trains pass. We would count the cars. Sometimes, we would enter the switch house and if we were good and very very lucky we got to throw swiches which changed the communication between parallel tracks. All the time, he displayed not only curiosity but an enquiring mind.

Yesterday my brother, Jack, phoned from Burlington, N.C. He had just driven to my dad's place from Pennsylvania and announced, "can we visit"? Of course, and so about 7pm last night they appeared. My dad is 88 and still just as curious as ever. I knew of his love of construction and thought of the possibility to drive to various places and view the new Cooper River Bridge. The perfect opportunity for an unplan-plan. Every time I said "Cooper River Bridge" he told a story about elevators he installed at Santee Cooper - probably 50 years ago (I don't really know). Anyway, this morning, we started our tour. We saw the bridge from many perspectives. All the time he was telling stories and looking and asking questions: a 16 year old curiosity hard at work.

posted at: 12:15 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Tue, 01 Mar 2005

March 1, 2005: A Dinosaur story
During the growth of the deck, there were 4 cranes, one located at each end of each deck. Philip Cotter named one of them "Last Dinosaur Standing" and I have a few photos of this animal. I was told that each crane was an antique - over 100 years old. I've not been able to confirm this, but perhaps it is correct. If so, then these cranes have seen many projects and I can imagine the stories they have to tell. I have assembled a few photos of the Last Dinosaur Standing and placed them near the end of the close-up page. Perhaps someone knows more about these creatures? If yes - don't keep it a secret.

Many of you have discovered this page - an exploration of using a blog (webLog) to express some of the content of these pages. I discovered blogs from my IT Lab brain trust - a group of the greatest and friendliest guys at MUSC. I was reluctant to engage this new tool - but as the bridge web site spun out of control, some sort of organization was necessary. This blog is a test of whether I can maintain some sort of links with photos that are posted to different sections of the site and maintain a 1-way dialog with all of you.

If you have not encountered blogs - it is the tool that is transforming web resources from read-only to read-write. Blog tools permit individuals to post thoughts and observations to the web without the geek-skills necessary to manage a web site. This morning I ran across an article that addesses Blogs in education. The thoughts parallel my thoughts about Internet-centric learning (see also Restoring the joy of learning ) and the evolution of the bridge web site - as a learning tool. I suggest you check it out and share your impressions with me and your friends.

posted at: 09:55 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Fri, 25 Feb 2005

February 25, 2005: Time for another reorganization
It has come time to separate my one way dialog (more like a web log or blog) into a separate section. Matthew, Brian, Satya and Christopher, my IT Lab brain trust, are pushing for a major reorganization along the lines of a Blog. They assert, probably correctly, that all my text sometimes gets in the way of my story. I have started experimenting with rebuilding the bridge story with Blosxom, a blog (and a preliminary view will be available soon). I am also exporing placing all the images in a database, with a separate tag field so that you could pull back all images with the same tags. I am thinking that providing a search facility will help some of you since I have little insight into the ways many of you wish to explore this story.

posted at: 18:23 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Thu, 17 Feb 2005

February 17, 2005: A request for help.
Now that the bridge is nearing completion, I am thinking about what to do with these web pages - and perhaps how to better package elements of this story. There are three ways to go about this:

  • I can assume I have all the knowledge and do it myself
  • I can appoint a committee and develop guidelines - following a sort of proprietary development strategy
  • I can use the communicative power of the Internet and manage our affairs with an open forum where we all are enabled to contribute to this concept

My explorations with Internet-centric learning and using the communicative power of the Internet to engage anyone has demonstrated to me the utility of open development - whether software or these bridge pages. My brain trust (the MUSC IT Lab) is pushing me to rebuild the pages using a Blog or something similar to a wikipedia to facilitate organization and navigation between story segments. Jim Abrahamson, friend of mine in Chapel Hill, suggested that I build a photo essay around the people that I have encountered during this adventure - and title it: The Living Bridge. After all, this comissioned composition for steel, concrete, bolts, surface treatment, cables, etc did not just happen, but required real people to do the work. PBC, SCDOT, High Steel Structures and Freyssinet have provided me with unique opportunities to watch (and photograph) their folks as they created the new Cooper River Bridge. I would like to know your thoughts. What would be interesting to you? What would be a useful way to package what we have jointly built over the past 18 months. How can I (we) use this opportunity to ignite the curiosity of younger learners? Send me your thoughts and ideas by email and tell me what would bring you and your friends and family back to this site? Can these web pages continue to evolve beyond the date of bridge completion, developing new life that continues to bring weekly or monthly something new? As you know, this has been an experiment with what I call Internet-centric learning and I have already learned more from you than I would have imagined (and the "you" is an international "you"). I am hooked on finding a way to continue the experiment and then transfering what I learn to the MUSC learning environment.

posted at: 17:21 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Sun, 13 Feb 2005

Feb 13, 2005: Feeling the construction process.
For the past few weeks, I have been following Oliver Forget and his Freyssinet team - more like a musical ensemble and a conductor. As I watched, I came to know several of his guys and my story began to change from a technical photo essay to a more personal photo essay. Just as I have been learning from Bill Mankin (High Steel Structures), David Wertz (SCDOT) and Marvin Tallent (QA/QC PBC), there is more to sculpting a bridge and doing it with excellence and beauty than simply assembling pieces of a tinker toy set. As the bridge construction winds down, I want to bring more of the people side of the story to these photo essays.

posted at: 10:00 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Sun, 23 Jan 2005

Jan 23, 2005: More than photos.
Thinking about the evolution of these pages over the past 18 months, I realize that what I'm doing is telling a story as it unfolds - a story about what I see each week as I look at the bridge construction from afar (running across the James Island connector at noon). I have removed "afar" and weekly I take a standard set of photographs from the SC Aquarium and while riding a bicycle over the old bridge.This represents the core "data" for my project. From these images, I can track changes, and when I see something new or puzzling, I start a side exploration, just as I would in the laboratory. I ask Google somequestions and if what I learn seems useful to share, it becomes part of the dialog in this photo-essay. For kids, I call this chasing my curiosity and it is ok not only for kids but also for adults to chase their curiosity and ask questions. In this manner, there are no teachers and students but a group of co-learners.

posted at: 06:11 | path: | permanent link to this entry

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