Atom Wave: 21st Century

Atom Wave

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

21st Century

I never thought I’d see it, a bridge crumbling in Minneapolis. From the age of ten, many and I have pondered the future. The soaring starships, the talking robots, and the self-repairing autos all were possible.
Instead I see a smoking mass of twisted steel and fractured cement. Since when did we let things get this bad in America? Since nobody has been blamed yet, I better start. It is our lousy politicians that are more invested in building stadiums than in keeping our bridges, roads, and schools safe, and ours for giving the incompetents the job in the first place.
It all began at 6 P.M on the first day of August when the span gave way, beginning on the north side. Within seconds, the central span fell free into the river and the southern span buckled and collapsed onto vehicles already trapped on the wreckage.
Five people are known dead with eight still missing and probably dead.

Disasters are seldom the act of a single cause. The traditional disaster is a culmination of a number of smaller disasters all working together in a curious series of cause and effect. It is already known that the bridge has been structurally deficient since at least 1990. Construction was also in progress on the span, rebuilding of the concrete deck. It may have caused the failure, given how reports have now come to light that the Gusset plates on the bridge might have been defective. Gusset plates bind together the girders on the truss of the structure. Rumors persist that the bridge was wobbly in the days proceeding the fall, from construction workers. The end of this tragedy remains to be written.
In our youths the future once seemed very promising, with the flying automobiles and virtual reality arcades. Instead we have infrastructure decaying to dust. The manual should have arrived with “Some assembly required”.

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