Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fryscrapers - Tall buildings that cook their surroundings

The stories below highlight the immense power of the sun, especially when its rays are concentrated and focussed inadvertently as a result of the design/shape of the building.  These examples have been well-documented and they have gained world-wide attention.  Two are currently (Sep 2013) in the news - Walkie Talkie and Museum Tower.

Could these problems have been avoided?  Certainly!  With careful design of the building's shape and orientation, and proper selection of exterior materials.

Think lighting fires with a magnifying glass, or cooking with a solar cooker!  Not what you want to do with a building - unless of course you find a way to capture and re-use the heat and energy.


Walkie Talkie, London, UK

       

The "Walkie Talkie" building, currently (Sep 2013) under construction in London, England, has had its fair share of publicity lately.  And not all good!  It's been nick-named Walkie Scorchie and Wok-ie Talkie. 

The 37-storey glass tower has been accused of everything from melting car parts on a Jaguar, to melting bicycle seats, to setting a door mat on fire, to frying an egg, to setting a reporter's hair on fire (apparently while he too was trying to fry an egg). 

The reason:  The concave shape focusses the sun's rays onto a small area - much like a magnifiying glass or a parabolic solar cooker.

Read more here:  http://dailym.ai/15AaVQr

 

Walt Disney Concert Hall - Los Angeles, California

Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA, CA, jjron 22.03.2012.jpg

The Frank Gehry-designed concert hall in LA had similar problems.  No egg-frying but enough of a problem to raise temperatures in nearby condos by 15 degrees F and forcing people to crank up their AC.

Again it was the shape of the building combined with certain sun angles.  And, of course, the glossy steel exterior didn't help.

The solution involved sandblasting the offending curved steel panels.

Read more here:  http://usat.ly/17965NI

 

Vdara Hotel  - Las Vegas, Nevada


This curved, glassy tower concentrated sun beams onto the hotel's pool deck and actually burned people lounging and melted plastic drink cups and newspaper bags.  

The solution in this case involved covering the windows with a reflective film.  (Hopefully a dull reflective film.)

Apparently there's a name for this (no, not "death ray"), "solar convergence phenomenon".

Read more here:  http://abcn.ws/15K5Vsh

 

Museum Tower - Dallas, Texas

Museum Tower                    http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iw20y3.3FJOs.jpg

 

The Museum Tower is a 42-storey condo tower currently (Sep 2013) under construction in Dallas, Texas.  It neighbours the Nasher Sculpture Center which houses a gallery that depends on specially filtered sunlight, a feature that was painstakingly designed into the building in 1993.  Fast forward to 2013.

The glass walls of the tower reflect sunlight onto the glass roof of the gallery during the afternoons. The result: the museum’s art gets fried. 

Now a 2-year battle has resulted in City Council and the arts community demanding solutions and one man losing his job.
 
Experts are currently exploring options including re-designing the gallery’s special glass roof and adding retractable shades to the tower.  So far, neither side can agree on the solution.  Either way, the local sentiment seems to be that the Museum Tower owes the gallery the quality of light it so much depends on.  Sadly, the cost would likely be borne by the City’s police and firefighters because the Museum Tower is being developed by their pension fund.

Read more here:  http://bloom.bg/1718wCP
 
 
Cheers, Ralph

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sun Glare While Driving – August 2013


The following relate to the dangers of sun glare while driving and traffic safety in general.  They were derived from our twitter feed (http://twitter.com/SunPosition or @SunPosition).
 


Nasty! Drive safe. MT @TTJimOrlando: Sun glare's always a problem on I4 at JYP, and SR408 Good Homes to Hiawassee


Jim Grant‏@TTJimOrlando:  Thanks, Ralph! I was actually at work when I took this, since I report traffic for @TeleTrafficORL now.
 


Looks like sun in line with highway. RT @CTVBarrieNews: Here's a look at the crash on Hwy. 9

 


Sun glare can be blinding, especially as we move into the fall. Extra care now needed for driving

NEW MILFORD, CT - It's "school's open" time and there are lots of things to watch for. 

Be sharp! 

Remember, you tend to steer your car where your eyes are looking; look at the road or next corner, not the tree on the side of the road. 

On the many two-lane roads in our area, keep in your lane, especially going around curves with blind spots. 

Drive defensively. When you come into an intersection, anticipate the other guy in the intersection will do something ill-advised and think ahead to how you'll handle it. 

Sun glare can be blinding, especially as we move into the fall. If it blocks your vision, slow down. Use your sun visors for the front and the side windows and keep your windshield clean to help keep you out of trouble. 

 


Police targeting distracted drivers ahead of long weekend

ORILLIA, ON - Provincial police say officers will be honing in on distracted drivers as the last long weekend of the summer approaches. 

Deputy Commissioner Larry Beechey says so far this year, 47 of the 177 deaths on provincially patrolled roads involved distracted driving, compared to 32 impaired driving-related deaths. 

Police say with children returning to school next week, distracted driving is of particular concern. 



Back to school driving safety: Early morning drive comes with bright, blinding sun. Have visor and sunglasses ready

ABILENE, TX - Thousands of youngsters are heading back to school Monday morning.

All Abilene and Wylie School Districts will open up bright and early for the new school year. With more cars on the road Monday morning and possibly more traffic jams in school zones, Abilene police have tips for parents and guardians during the morning and afternoon rush. 

 


True story - saw guy so reliant on GPS, couldn't find his house on street map, didn't even know what part of city to look. Yikes.
 


MT @DianaBraier: Check out interactive map of int'l road safety

 


Sun Glare and Driving - today's top stories via @boyajian @petedavo @DavidJMarlow - http://paper.li/SunPosition/1376354290

Road Safety Advocate‏@petedavo:  Plan your trip accordingly - sun - heading - time of day - RT@SunPosition: Sun Glare and Driving - top stories http://paper.li/SunPosition/1376354290

RB:  Exactly.

MT @LearnmooreFleet: driving to or from the sun is not practical.

RB:  Adjusting travel time or route helps.
 


Another case of left-turning vehicle vs bike

BOULDER, CO - A bicyclist was killed this morning after being struck by a semi trailer, according to the Colorado State Patrol. The accident occurred at 6379 Valmont Road at around 6:50 a.m., according to Colorado State Patrol Trooper Dennis Wilder. 

The accident occurred at 6379 Valmont Road at around 6:50 a.m., according to Colorado State Patrol Trooper Dennis Wilder.  




Drivers, anticipate where the sun will be as you round a curve > Cyclists hit

Port Fairy, AUS - A woman dazzled by sun glare who crashed into two Port Fairy cyclists, causing them life-changing injuries, has been fined $1000 and lost her licence for three months. 

Julie Watson, 41, of Macarthur, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court to careless driving. 

The court heard the GP was with a group of six riders which had set out about 6am for a regular morning ride in the Port Fairy district. 

About 7am they were riding back into the town two abreast in an 80km/h zone on Regent Street. 

Travelling at 50km/h, Watson’s car struck Ms Hulin and Dr Sutherland from behind after she was suddenly blinded by dazzling sunlight. 


 

Reducing Sun Glare While Driving

Omaha, NE - Let's take a look at some ways to reduce sun glare while driving and we will start with your visor. 

Of course you flip it down when the glare gets bad, but try to push it forward as high as you can while still blocking the sun. That's because you need to be able to see signal lights up ahead just as much as the vehicles in front of you. 

Some visors have mini-visors that slide out from the inside. These are designed to fill gaps that might occur if the sun is coming in from a different angle. 

There are many types of aftermarket visors that you can buy and they can reduce a lot of glare without completely blocking your view. Most are adjustable in a number of ways and you can still see through them because they are made out of tinted “see through” plastic. 



Protecting Eyes From The Sun

In Australia, every day - whether it is sunny or cloudy, and despite the season - we are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Most of the time we don't even realize it, considering UV rays are invisible to the eye. However, just as sun can damage your skin (burning, wrinkling, skin cancer and premature aging) it can be just as nasty on your eyes. 



For YOUR safety, not Fido's. Don't let Fido be a deadly projectile. MT @aaasafety: Driving with a dog? You need a dog seatbelt! 



RT @NeinsteinLaw: Why Saturday Is the Most Dangerous Day to Drive

TORONTO, ON - When most people think of dangerous and frustrating road situations, they picture weekday traffic jams. Even though weekday streets may be crowded, travelling on a Saturday morning may be even more dangerous. Here’s a look at the types of Saturday drivers who can increase your chances of suffering an auto accident:
 


Our Two New Daily Papers re: Sun Glare & Driving, and Shadow Impacts & Urban Development - http://t.co/WfqqvoHnJ6
 


Toronto drivers beware, early morn low sun directly ahead on e/w streets for next wk. @AmberTraffic @ReconGeni @TrafficServices
 


Sun glare can make traffic lights hard to see. Be sure of the colour

Hillsboro, Or - Police are investigating whether a Camas woman drove through a red light Sunday evening when her SUV struck a pedestrian and her dog in Hillsboro, Ore.

The crash occurred around 8:40 p.m., as the sun was setting behind the traffic light, Roches said. Huntington said the light was green as she approached the intersection, though the sun glare obscured her view. When she flipped down the visor and saw Susbauer, she did not have time to stop.

 


Cyclist Killed In Semi Crash - CBS Denver - Troopers: Sun glare may have contributed to the crash

BOULDER, CO - The man riding his bicycle to work who was killed Tuesday morning in Boulder when a semi struck him has been identified as Randy Herndon of Centennial. 

The crash happened about 7 a.m. Tuesday at 64th and Valmont Road.  

The Colorado State Patrol said the driver didn’t stop and struck Herndon as the truck turned into a gravel pit. Troopers said sun glare may have contributed to the crash.  



Sun glare to blame for morning’s collisions in Port Hope: OPP

PORT HOPE, ON - For the second time this year, Northumberland County OPP is investigating whether the sun played a factor in a multi-vehicle collision.  

Shortly after 7 a.m. Thursday, Aug, 15, according to police, two tractor trailers and a pick-up truck collided on Hwy. 401, and as a result of the rising morning sun near Toronto Road in the eastbound lanes of the highway, a second collision occurred at the same location involving a truck with a camper.  

“The sun was blinding,” said Marc Ouellette, a truck driver from St. Thomas at the scene.

Back in March, police investigated sun glare as the possible cause of a fatal collision at County Road 9 and County Road 28. The collision killed Port Hope residents Danya Jiggins and Lisa Hoyt 


Leigh Buchan‏@lives2talk:  Knew you'd read about it - amazing that no1 was seriously injured or killed! Dgt saw the carnage! Think I might buy a Volvo

RB:  A Volvo and some good polarized sunglasses. 
 


Pedestrians & cyclists more likely to be hit on Tuesday: police

Toronto, on - Cyclists and pedestrians are more likely to be struck by a vehicle on a Tuesday more than any other day of the week, police told 680News. 

According to police statistics from 2011, around 650 pedestrians and cyclists combined were struck by vehicles on a Tuesday in that year. 

 


Sun glare caused 2012 floatplane crash

Brenda Mine, BC - The sun's glare can be blinding in a vehicle, in a plane it can be deadly. The Transport Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released a report today on the float plane crash near Brenda Mine on May 13, 2012; they list the sun's glare as one of the factors in the crash. 

The accident involved a de Havilland DHC-2 (Beaver) that struck trees and collided with terrain, close to the Okanagan Connector (Highway 97C). 

On 13 May 2012, a privately-operated de Havilland amphibious floatplane departed on wheels from the Pitt Meadows Airport for a flight to Okanagan Lake, British Columbia, with the pilot and three passengers on board. After 20 minutes on Okanagan Lake where it dropped off one passenger, the aircraft departed toward Peachland. While en route, the aircraft struck trees and collided with terrain close to Highway 97C. Most of the aircraft was destroyed by a post-impact fire. The three occupants were fatally injured - read original story here. 

The investigation determined that there was no indication of an aircraft system malfunction, no drastic changes in the aircraft’s flight path, and no emergency calls from the pilot to indicate that an in-flight emergency was experienced. The constant ground speed and flight path suggested that the aircraft was under the control of the pilot. Forward visibility was likely hindered because the aircraft was heading towards the sun; therefore, the pilot was likely following the highway looking out the left window. After turning northbound, the pilot’s vision was probably still affected by glare. Being in a shadow, the tree tops were likely not visible until contact was made. 

 


Blinding sun blamed for fatal car crash in East Herrington, Sunderland, UK

East Herrington, UK - A pensioner was knocked over and killed after blinding sun caused a driver to lose sight of the road.  William Hall, of East Herrington, was on Silksworth Road when he was hit at a crossing. 

An inquest at the Civic Centre heard that Raymond Gilstin, driving a Ford Ranger at 30mph, was distracted by the sun’s glare on December 7 last year and did not see the 92-year-old before hitting him. 


Leigh Buchan @lives2talk: Really wish we could do something about that pesky sun!

RB:  I try to alert drivers and peds about the dangers of sun glare via the examples of glare-related crashes.

RB:  Sun glare related crashes are much more common than people think.

Leigh Buchan @lives2talk: And you do a Gr8 job alerting drivers!

RB:  Tx Leigh. Much appreciated!
 


Blinding sun glare on wet road after rain > Massive 41-car pileup injures a dozen people in Virginia

LYNCHBURG, VA - A 41-vehicle pileup on a Virginia highway brought traffic to a standstill for hours and sent at least a dozen people to the hospital, officials said. 

The accident on Interstate 81 in western Virginia's Rockbridge County happened just before 5 p.m. and took about six hours to clear, WSET-TV, Lynchburg, Va., reported Sunday. 

Slick, shiny roads from an earlier heavy rain were said to have led to the accident. 

"It's like of course the rain and then the sun came out and the sun was so bright and no one could see 50 feet in front of them," said Shay and Danielle Tippens of North Carolina. "We were trying to do the best we could, and then people just started going off the road."  

 


Floatplane crash near Peachland BC, killing all three people on board, likely due to sun glare says TSB

RICHMOND, BC - A Transportation Safety Board report says a floatplane crashed into a hillside near Peachland, killing all three people on board, because the pilot's vision was likely obscured by the sun's glare. 

A report says the de Havilland Beaver was facing the sun, and the glare probably prevented the pilot from seeing the looming treetops after the plane took off from Okanagan Lake in May 2012. 

 


No wonder sun glare is so dangerous while driving. 90% of info required for driving is received via eyes. 



Good visibility can deteriorate in a matter of seconds (4 seconds between this photo and the next)


School on left, crosswalk ahead, intersecting street on right. Bet you didn't see them

 


Brutal.  RT @the_idb: A Pedestrian Is Killed in a Traffic Crash in the U.S. Every 2 Hours

Washington, DC - Traffic fatalities in the U.S. have been on a steady decline for nearly a decade, the result of safer cars, (hopefully) safer driver behavior, and laws that enforce seat belt use and crack down on hazards like drunken driving. But even in the midst of that big-picture trend, a small subset of this same data has lately been worrisome: Since 2009, pedestrian fatalities have actually been rising. 

 


Did you see the stop sign? Didn't think so...

 


Wow, that sun is bright when the humidity is low.  Drive safely and have your shades handy.
 


Another example of sun glare and car turning left in front of motorcycle

MONROE TWP, OH - A two-vehicle crash on Bethel-New Richmond Road July 29 left one woman fighting for her life. 

Cody Rose, a 21-year-old from New Richmond, turned his Dodge Neon into a private driveway without yielding into the path of a motorcycle driven by Steven Chaney, 43, of Cincinnati, said Trooper Sgt. Charles Jordan. 

 “The kid was coming westbound, it was about 6:40 (p.m.) and the sun was pretty high up - he was getting ready to turn into a driveway,” Jordan said. “The motorcycle didn’t have a whole lot of time to react.” 

Rose said he didn’t see the motorcycle because of the sun, Jordan said. 

 


Bikers pls add sun location awareness to your defensive driving skill set
 

Cheers, Ralph