S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Science and Technology Page keywords = science technology Krakatoa Krakatau volcano eruption explosion cataclysm eject ash lava magama pumice bridge dudgeon hydraulic ram jack

Updated:   06 Oct 2020; 18:30  ET
[Page created 24 Jan 1999; converted 27 Jul 2011

    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/sci-tech.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/sci-tech.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's


Science and Technology Page

This page was created to provide a place for comments and queries about




Civil War era Dudgeon Steam Automobile - still operable!
    (but see also below).
  Bering Strait Tunnel
  Long Island Sound Tunnel

This Page:

Quotations - quotations from famous people.
Krakatoa - the volcano.
Richard Dudgeon, Inc. - since 1849!.
Science/Technology Miscellany,
with Triumph of Technology - Pioneer 10 Lives after (29 years)!

The SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY Continuation Page 1: Internal Combustion Engines. (08 Aug 2007)
Bridges - continued (12 Jun 2015).
2019 Engineer's Xmas Tree. new (25 Dec 2019)

History of Technology Page.

The Metropolitan Waterworks, Chestnut Hill High-Service Pumping Station, Boston.
  ListingAdded (02 Sep 2017)
The 1913 Phillipsburg Waterworks. Peoples Water Company Pump House, Phillipsburg, New Jersey.   ListingAdded (02 Sep 2017)

- - - * - - -

Here's a photomontage of earth from space in true color:

Earth in True Color
(image from NASA-Goddard SFC)
[thumbnail image; click on picture for larger (233Kb) image]

This picture of earth reminded a friend of the story of the world's greatest lumberjack who worked in the Sahara Forest.  Don't you mean Sahara Desert?  Yeah, now it is.  ['Ceptin' 't aint funny, McGee!]

And here's old Terra from space at night:

Earth Lights
(image from NASA-Goddard SFC)
[thumbnail image; click on picture for another larger (205Kb) image]

This is a panoramic view of the world, taken from the new ISS (International Space Station), a night photo with the lights clearly indicating the populated areas, last November on a perfect night with no obscuring atmospheric conditions.  The U.S. is almost neatly bisected by North-South I-35, with an almost-continuous sheen of light to the east.  Vancouver, Seattle, the Bay area, and Los Angeles highlight the West Coast.  Cape Cod, Long Island, and the Florida Keys stand out clearly in the east.  Dallas-Ft. Worth and Houston are ablaze, as are St. Louis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, and Québec.  Philadelphia, New York, and Boston stand out.  The whole island of Puerto Rico seems alight.  Canada's population is almost exclusively along the U.S. border and the light density bears that out.  Moving east to Europe, there is a high population concentration along the Mediterranean Coast.  London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, and Edinburgh shine and it's easy to spot Amsterdam, Paris, Stockholm, Frankfort, Berlin, and Vienna.  Rome, Naples, and Athens are evident.  Note the development of Israel compared to that of the Arab countries, and note the incredible brightness along the Nile River; compare that to the rest of the "Dark Continent".  After the Nile, the lights don't come on again until Johannesburg.  Look at the Australian Outback and the Trans-Siberian Rail Route.  Moving east, the most striking observation is the difference between North and South Korea (especially Seoul).  Note the incredible density of Hong Kong, the west coast of Taiwan, and all of Japan.

Incidentally, if you enjoy such pictures of and from outer space, you may enjoy the
Astronomy Picture of the Day
sponsored by NASA-Goddard SFC and Michigan Tech. University;
"each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured,
along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer".

An archive of the previous pictures can be found at

And, on a lighter note, here's inner space; this was sent to me as "saw this guy in Florida when I was there this winter.  Digging a new drainage outlet, this guy was holding the site {sic!} stick for the transom {sic!}.  real hot here and this picture just cools me right off!"

Cool Job!

Well, I thought you might enjoy it; both the "sic" humor and the picture.  If that guy is working the transom, it'll be over his head!  He needs the safety helmet because of low-flying seaplanes and seagulls!


Inscribed on the west wall of the Cullman Room, facing the 188 Madison Avenue entrance to the new Science, Industry and Business Library (SIBL) of the New York Public Library (in the east end of the the old B. Altman's building between 34th and 35th streets) are some 35 quotations from famous people; I will reproduce all of them here as I get a chance.  However, here is the one that first caught my eye:

"Whenever a business decides that success has been attained,
progress stops
" - Thomas Watson {founder of IBM}.

[the rest will follow]


["KRAKATAU" in Indonesia]

A lecture on the cataclysmic explosion of Krakatoa on the morning of 27 Aug 1883 (after 3 months of disturbances), in which some 5 cubic miles of detritus was ejected some 17 miles {Encyclopædia Britannica} to 50 miles {lecturer} into the atmosphere, gives rise to a conjecture.

Krakatoa was an island of some 18 square miles, 2,623' at its peak, lying in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra.

In spite of the movie title, "Krakatoa - Somewhere East of Java", it lies almost due WEST of Java.

However, some additional information may be enlightening (and equally staggering); the resultant crater was from 90' to 1,000' {EB} deep and the ash fallout on neighboring Java and Sumatra reached 200' in height; the fine ash darkened the skies 150 miles away and eventually spread northward and southward to the latitudes of Scandinavia and the Cape of Good Hope, encircling the globe and giving red sunrises and sunsets for 5 years!.

Fine pumice covered the surface of the sea for hundreds of miles.

The tsunami (so-called "tidal wave") was over 50 feet high when it hit Java and Sumatra, washing away over 150 villages and some 36,000 poor souls, and carried detectably as far away as Cape Horn and the English Channel!

The shock wave was audible at Rodriguez, 3,000 miles away and at Bangkok, the Philippines, Ceylon, and Australia (1,300 to 2,250 miles away) and reflected back and forth such that it was heard up to seven times!

All that remains today are three small portions of the ringwall and a newer central cinder cone, rising 265' above sea level, that built up from the crater and is what we know today as Krakatoa Island (Anak Krakatau - the Child of Krakatau - in Indonesia).

So, with a force estimated at that of 100,000 hydrogen bombs, the greatest explosive event in written history, and perhaps second only to the mass extinction event (ah, you RR steam lovers, what hot lava/magma and cold sea water can do!) and all that ejecta propelled skyward,

what displacement in the orbit of the earth resulted?

For contemporary accounts, go to Riva's Krakatoa page.



{as in Lloyd?}

On 18 Apr 2001, the Italian government gave the go-ahead for a two-mile suspension bridge across the Strait of Messina:



The site is quite detailed and well worth the time of any bridge afficinado to investigate fully.

They also have an English-language (quaint, but English, nevertheless) Website at:



  [As it happens, the project was on again and off again and finally {?} cancelled in Feb 2013.]   added (06 Oct 2020)

Bridge buffs should look at the Website of Modjeski & Masters, the world''s premier bridge builders.


Maybe I'll go into competition with them:




How about this one?


That says it all!

(Yes, I DO know there are too many spans but, HEY, it fit!)

So, did you ever see a Transporter Bridge?  They exist(ed) at Brest, Bordeaux, Nantes, Rouen and Marseilles in France and in England at Newport, Manchester, and Warrington, across the Mersey, in England (the last two are the longest), Rio, Kiel, Stalingrad, etc., there was one in Duluth (1905-1929), and there is/was one in India (across the Hooghly?):

[A section of roadway/railway is slung on cables under a trolley on a high bridge,
running from bank to bank, very much like a travelling crane!
The major advantage is that, while the bridgework is high,
the crossing is made at low level.]

\   H   /     o_o_o_o=o_o_o_o     \   H   /
\  H  /        \||/   \||/        \  H  /
\ H /          ||     ||          \ H /
\H/           ||     ||           \H/
H            ||     ||            H
H           /||\   /||\           H
_____   H           ===========           H   _____
|_/_\ _____________________________ /_\_|

There was an incredible transporter bridge, spanning 1,850' (564m), at the 1933-34 Chicago Century of Progress Exposition (a David Steinman design).  Extant transporter bridges are well covered at Niederelbe (a multi-lingual site).

Ooops!  How about an


Like the:


or the


or the


How could I have missed this gem:


Of course, the original


made a very much bigger (and fatal) splash in 1907.  It was Ralph Modjeski, son of famed actress Madame Modjeska, who analyzed what went wrong and built the next one (although it's center section collapsed fatally while being hoisted - no doing of his):


He finally got it up [the BRIDGE, stupid!] and open in 1917 and it's still standing!

Actually, since M&M now specializes in cable-stayed bridges, how about this?


- - - · - - -

Disaster! - Much of the historic 2,052' long, 301' high Kinzua Viaduct, rebuilt in 1900 of steel to replace the 1882 iron bridge, collapsed during a violent storm on the night of 21 Jul 03.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper has an aerial photo of the wreckage.  The 1882 bridge was built by noted aviation pioneer Octave Chanute and carried the New York & Erie Railroad over Kinzua Creek.  The viaduct was on the National Register of Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks and the National Register of Historic Places; it had been under repair at the time it collapsed and was still the fourth highest railroad bridge in the country.  This loss strongly emphasizes our country's "too little, too late" attitude towards historic preservation.

Dan Alward has posted a great set of photos of the wreckage on his Venangoil site.

Kingposts and Queenposts - the question of what is a kingpost and a queenpost came up; I know that a queenpost is the "standoff" that holds the trussrod on an old railroad car but had to look them up for bridgework.  I found a perfect illustration of a kingpost bridge on the Kingpost Truss Bridge page on the Website of the New York State Covered Bridge Society:

(Image courtesy of the NYSCBS)

It didn't take me but a moment to convert that into a queenpost drawing:

(Modification of image courtesy of the NYSCBS by SB,III - 01 Aug 30)
[Thumbnail image - click on picture for larger image]

(Shouldn't the end diagonals then be "queenpost braces"?)

My brother-in-law sent me this photo of a so-called A-frame bridge in Shreveport, Louisiana:

(image courtesy of bro.-in-law - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail image - click on picture for larger image]

Sort of a kingpost-less kingpost bridge, or a an inverted "V-frame" bridge, or maybe a single-panel Warren with hangers. eh?  He reports that it is only one of two such remaining.  I have the unmitigated gall to question a big-time bridge builder; how can it be an A-frame when it has no straining beam?

Oh, heck:




Now, here comes France, with an English(!)-designed multi-cable-stayed bridge, the Millau Viaduct, closing the N-S gap in the A75 motorway, 343m (890') high and 2.46Km (1.5 miles) long!


   |  |  |  |  |  |  |
    |  |  |

_ |\/| | |_ |_ /-\ |_| _

All clowning aside, the Millau Viaduct, over the River Tarn, although vastly different than originally conceived, is simply staggering:

(image circulated widely via e-mail)
[Thumbnail image - click on picture for larger image]

Cisco Systems, Inc., the networking giant has a neat logo that consists of their name under a wave form that looks exactly like a suspension bridge; a little judicious tweaking et le voilà:

(Image by SB,III - 18 Jan 05)

This spoof is right in line with those on my Z-scale (1:220) Berlinerwerke-Z model RR saga names pages, Original Set (BW HO) (Berlinerwerke - the Berliner Works, etc.), Second Generation (Berliners Bessere Biffi Bauerei - Berliner's Better Biffy Builders, etc.), and BW RR, Business, and Place Names - continued (with such gems as ES2O - Stranded Oil Co., etc.).

- - - * - - -

Speaking of bridges, all 14 bridges carrying I93 across Medford, Massachusetts, were allowed to deteriorate to such an extent that they have to be replaced!  The project, somewhat reminiscent of the replacement of the Roslyn Viaduct carrying Northern Boulevard (NYS Route 25A) over Hempstead Harbor on Long Island, is being done while the Interstate is in constant use - a neat trick!  At this writing (27 Jul 2011), you can read about it at 93FAST14.  On 26 Jul 2011, driving east under I93 on Riverside Avenue, I noticed the ends of the main span girders had been cut away and I stopped on my way back to discover this:

(Image by SB,III - 18 Jan 05)

two of the biggest screw-jack lally columns I've seen in a month of Sundays at the northwest corner!  The MassDOT video of the demolition and construction on that site is well worth watching.   new (27/28 Jul 2011)

More on BRIDGES at Bridges - continued.   new (12 Jun 2015)

Richard Dudgeon, Inc. - since 1849!

Speaking of bridges, how do you lift a giant bridge?  Yes, Virginia, they really DO lift bridges (and I do NOT mean a lift bridge!).  Bridges have to be lifted for examination and repair of the pads on which they sit, to shift them after earthquakes, to replace them, or to get more clearance under them.  Well, one way is to call Richard Dudgeon, Inc., the firm.  Richard Dudgeon, the person, is the fellow who not only designed a steam car in 1855 but built it and drove all over the place in it (quite literally a "scorcher"!); it burned in the Crystal Palace fire of 1858 and he built another one in 1866 that survives in runnable condition in the Smithsonian and which was still running in my lifetime!  That car has its own page, et seq..  However, back to lifting bridges, or any other giant objects, such as great observatory telescopes or the monster pressure vessels or reactors shown on my RR schnabel and road load pages, one uses enormously powerful (if compact) hydraulic jacks from Richard Dudgeon, the firm.

Richard Dudgeon, the man, was an inveterate tinkerer and natural engineer who also developed the hydraulic jack in 1849 and formed the firm bearing his name in 1850.

For more on the history of the firm, see their History page and my own Richard Dudgeon, Inc. coverage on Dudgeon Continuation Page 1.

For a wild story about a steam press, see my Ordnance continuation page 1, in the paragraph starting "Ca. 1954, there was an absolutely ancient gentleman working at Watervliet Arsenal, - - - ."

A quadruple-threat steam site is John Woodson's Stanley Steamers site; all about Stanley, Doble, White, and other steamcars, steam engines, steam locomotives, and steamboats - what more could one given to the vapors want?

There is an incredible simulation program by Charlie Dockstadter on steam valve gear available on the Alaska Live Steamers VALVE GEAR ON THE COMPUTER page.

There is some other steam-related material (and links) on my Steam Automobiles page.

Science/Technology Miscellany

These two little bits of droll SciTech miscellany seem to have vanished from elsewhere on my site, so here we go again:

When I worked at Pall Corporation back in the late 1950s, we had an engineer by the name of Peter S. Ingrassia, he left the firm and was replaced by Raymond P. Mahon!!!  S'truth; I swear it!

A colleague from England used to visit us in NY and quite-unwittingly occasioned quite a bit of now-politically-incorrect hysteria in the Engineering Department; he was Peter Sweet from Faireys in Middlesex!  Ditto!

The Chunnel (the rail tunnel under the English Channel) and the Tsugaru Strait (Hokkaido-Honshu) rail tunnel are accomplished fact; isn't it about time we do the same under the Bering Strait?  And why not do the same for Long Island Sound and New York's Outer Harbor (Cross Harbor) Tunnel?

TRIUMPH of TECHNOLOGY!  Pioneer 10 Lives! (29 years later!) - the newspaper of 08 May 01 brought the simply staggering news that Pioneer 10, launched in 1972, and now about 78 AU away, is alive and well!  An Astrononmical Unit is 93,000,000 miles, the mean distance from the earth to the Sun, so Pioneer 10 is some SEVEN and a QUARTER (7¼) BILLION MILES miles away at this point!  The craft was heard from on 28 Apr 01 and a signal sent to awaken her communications systems as she nears "termination shock", where the Sun's particles slow from supersonic speed to subsonic (speed only - no sound in a vacuum), at 87 to 100 AU and then the heliopause, at 125 AU, where the solar wind becomes so weak that the craft can be said to enter interstellar space!  The signal took 21 hours and 45 minutes for the round trip at the speed of light!  The return signal started out at 8W and as is reported to have decayed to only a few billionths of a trillionth of a watt!  Talk about finding a needle in a haystack!

I should add that the two Martian rovers, Spirit and Opportunity are still operating, after two earth years, far beyond their intended service life (as of 04 Jan 2006).

There are several interesting technical referrals on my Reference Page, as well as on my Non-Woven Materials and Technology page.

On my own site, some of the technological wonders covered include the old Pennsylvania RR's Horseshoe Curve, the Hell Gate Bridge, Schnabel and other Giant RR Cars, and the closely-related Road Loads page (really HEAVY Highway Haulers!).

Space-oriented, but VERY far from a triumph of technology (except, perhaps, cinematography or animation), here are a sequence of stills ostensibly taken by an Israeli satellite of the breakup of the Columbia:








We shan't rat on the gullible soul who sent these to me with a series of forwarded comments that included:

"Unbelievable photos", "Quite hard to believe this; these are amazing!", and "Attached are pictures of the Shuttle Explosion from an Israeli Satellite in space.  I got these from {name deleted} from the Department of Justice in Washington D.C."!

"Unbelievable photos" serves best!  "Quite hard to believe" is pretty much the same thing; quite, indeed!  "These are amazing!" is certainly true.

There're two little problems here (whether or not you even believe there could have been a camera conveniently watching at just the right (or any) moment!

First of all, the shuttle didn't explode; it broke up rather slowly.

Secondly, it wasn't out in space; it was well inside the atmosphere and
    glowing on its leading edges and underside from atmospheric friction.

Good try, dear, but it won't fadge.

Can I sell you some gold bricks or the Brooklyn Bridge, perhaps?

They are truly amazing pictures, though, right out of some sci-fi film (unless, of course, Geo. W's boys set it up to look as if Saddam did it to justify an attack).  Well, my nice niece came through instamente; sure enough, these shots are stills from Armageddon, a 1998 film, showing the destruction of Shuttle Atlantis by an asteroid.

(Ref.:  "Snopes" (Barbara and David P. Mikkelson), Urban Legends.)

Oops!  Both the Mikkelsons and I missed the further detail that the shuttle orbits inverted, with its "top" (the cargo bay and vertical fin) facing the earth; it only rotates after descent is initiated in order for the heat-resistant tiles to face the oncoming atmosphere as gravity starts to pull the vehicle downward.

Two other little details - not only did Columbia NOT explode, it broke up from the leading edge of the wing aft, not from the engines forward, and there was no fireball!

Penn Station (NY) Electrical Service

I asked a question on the PRRT&HS Discussion Web (Pennsylvania RR Technical & Historical Society) on 03 Apr 03 regarding Consolidated Edison power supplies in Manhattan and the response, on my PRR page 3 at Penn Station (NY) Electrical Service is quite well worth looking at, going far beyond just PRR or any RR interests.

See the SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY Continuation Page 1 for more.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


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