Category Archives: Nielsen

Moving truck

This is the truck my wife and I used to move from Canada to California. We bought it for $800 and built a wooden box in the back to haul our stuff. Amazed we survived.

chevy nieko

College tuition increased 1100 percent since 1978

The cost of going to University has skyrocketed. I remember paying $300 dollars a semester at the University of Calgary.

I could work summers and still pay tuition, rent, with the occasional night out.

What happened?

A take by mother jones.

It wasn’t always like this: The cost of undergraduate education is twelve times higher than it was 35 years ago, far outpacing inflation. While the indexed price of college tuition and fees skyrocketed by more than 1,122 percent since 1978, the cost of medical care rose less than 600 percent, and the cost of housing and food went up less than 300.

3D Concept modeling – or how does it really look?

I have been busy drawing up a concrete building in Sketchup and detailing some of the beams. I think it would do a designer good to actually draw the steel reinforcement, they designed, to scale. Then you could see how things actually fit together.

I remember checking a senior engineer’s design and seeing that steel often occupied the same space. The general feeling was, “oh they will kick into place in the field and make it work”. Not my idea of a good design assumption. 3D is coming and it can be useful for conflict resolution and what-if scenarios.

Take a look, does the steel fit? (not my design.)

typ edge beam

They Don’t Make ’Em Like They Used To

If you can get to the New York Times, read Henry Petroski’ lament. Do you agree, or is it a cloudy memory of times gone by?

Workmanship has declined in parallel. There continue to be expert craftsmen — carpenters, roofers, painters — who work with precision and pride, but they are increasingly being pushed out by cheaper labor with inferior skills (which is, of course, why the labor is cheaper). I have had paint jobs that blistered within days and had to be redone — at my expense. And I have heard and read of many analogous experiences.

This is not the fault of homeowners, but of the industries whose practices favor the use of inferior products and labor that drive modern construction: the developers, lenders, builders and Realtors who, to make quick money, have created a stock of domestic and commercial infrastructure that is a waste of resources and will not last.