Pat Shingleton: "Bridges and Duck Calls"
On this date in 1940, 35 m.p.h. winds caused a bridge collapse. The city was Tacoma, WA and the structure spanned the Narrows River. Following the official opening, excessive vibration put the bridge into the water. It was thereafter called "Galloping Gertie," and due to its lack of environmental consideration, it was permanently placed into the Engineering Hall of Shame. This example launched the start of the meteorological study of wind engineering. Currently, meteorologists, specializing in atmospheric winds, collaborate with structural and civil engineers in the construction of high-rise buildings, stadiums, bridges and other large structures. "Wind-Proofing" of coastal residences saves billions of dollars when storms strike. This weekend the “Luke Guarisco Duck Calling Competition” begins at Avoca and Pecan Island Duck Club. Last year's winner was Brad "Blowhard" Ewing with Billy "Gasp" Maxwell in second place. Luke's favorite dog, Coco, won the field trials recently, and also received the “Hank the Wonder Dog” Award. Luke tragically shot "Hank" and is sorely missed. Geese fly in a "V" formation, providing the flock with 80% greater flying range than if each was on its own. As noted in a previous column, flying out of formation causes resistance drag. Geese return to take advantage of the lifting power from the bird in front of it. When a lead goose tires, it rotates back and another goose assumes the point position. Geese in the rear honk to encourage those ahead to hold their speed. If a goose gets sick or wounded, two geese leave the formation to lend help; staying with it until death or flying again.