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
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 -
Restoring the Joy in Learning). Consequently Google + Internet became
dependable extensions of my memory.
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).
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
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.