Preparing for the VC’s address?


It appears the builders may have been given advanced notice of possible content of the VC’s all-staff address next week.

As they are such “considerate constructors” they have built us a gallows. Just in case anyone finds a sudden need for one and is lacking the requisite carpentry / Meccano skills.

I admit it’s a bit on the tall side. Fear not. There’s a cherry picker available to hoist yourself up with. They’re pretty simple to drive, you’ll work it out.

The Folly

Aah, the Folly.

The site is split into 2, with a bus lane running through the middle. The resulting building is one side of the bus lane, but all the space for their Portakabins, deliveries and so on is the other side.

And they don’t want to have to walk round. That might take 30 seconds.

So instead, they are all going to get super fit by climbing up and down stairs all day to go over a bridge between the 2 sites. You remember it’s going over a bus lane, yes? Most of the buses are double-deckers, so the bridge has to be twice the height you would imagine. That’s a lot of stairs.

Going over bridge, apart from being far more effort physically, is almost certainly going to take significantly longer than walking round. Particularly when you do it for the 20th time that day with legs that have had enough of climbing stairs.

To give you an idea of the scale of it, here it is looking from the Salisbury Road (North) end:


And from the Interchange (South) end:


Not small. It’s taken weeks to build.

You may notice the footpath entrance under the white bit of wood in the 2nd photo above. This is a covered tunnel the whole length of the site, right up to Salisbury Road.

When they have a crane lifting, say, several pallets of bricks from one side to the other, if the crane drops it all, you won’t get killed by being hit by tons of bricks, and buried under them.

Instead you will get killed by a collapsing tunnel that can’t take the impact of a few tons of pallets+contents being dropped from 20m and hitting it at considerable speed. For the physicists, there’s quite a bit of potential energy in them thar bricks at 20m, is there not?

( Editor’s note: can a chemist please advise on the amount of dynamite containing the same energy as 2 or 3 fork-lift pallets of bricks dropped from 20 or 30m? A physicist can help you with the potential energy bit, your job is the chemical energy. Then we can imagine putting a suitable bomb on the roof of the tunnel instead. )

I, for one, am not convinced that a tunnel made entirely out of scaffolding planks and metal pipes which are only clamped to each other is strong enough to withstand that impact. So you will still be dead, but buried under a load of steel and wood as well as pallets of bricks.

And don’t even think about what happens when the crane “drops its load” onto a bus. They are basically made out of tin plate. The roof of a bus is about as strong as the roof of a tent. But you know that already, everyone has seen a news photo of a bus that has driven into a low bridge; the top of the bus just crushes totally where it hits the brige.

We should do what many countries do in such situations: build a little shrine (complete with candles) at each end, so you can at least say a prayer before entering. The prayer will be at least as effective as the tunnel.

Laws of gravity

28 Jun 2017

Digger clearly afraid of getting its toes wet. So safely up on pile of tarmac.

And it gets worse. Later in the day the truck arrived to carry away the tarmac. So the digger started loading the pile of tarmac into the truck. While still sitting on the pile, digging it out from under himself. WTF?

They pulled the same stunt with a smaller digger a few months back when digging a hole. They looked so surprised when the digger fell into the hole. Can’t imagine why that happened…