Heavy storms dumped two feet of rain across the White River watershed in Arkansas during March and April, forcing the Army Corps of Engineers to work at "the extreme edge" of its water management plan. With thousands of acres of farmland still underwater, the Corps is holding as much water as possible in several lakes, angering property owners along the submerged lake shore. "There was nothing of this magnitude modeled in the plan," admitted Jan Jones, chief of the Corps' Little Rock Reservoir Control Branch.
Engineers at an earthquake conference got a firsthand look at the latest seismic construction techniques on Thursday as they toured the new Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland. Designed with some 300 seismic sensors and pliable steel beams, the structure will replace the east span of the old Bay Bridge that collapsed in the 1989 Loma Prieta quake. "There are some aspects of the project that are beyond my comprehension ... it's serious engineering," said Mutaz Mihyar, a civil engineer with 22 years' experience.
The $150 billion in rebate checks now hitting taxpayers' mailboxes will do little to stimulate job growth, according to a panel of experts at the New School in New York. From a long-range perspective, the money would have better deployed building public transit, bridges and schools, panelists argued. "Infrastructure spending could prove a major source of growth for the U.S. economy," said Heidi Crebo-Rediker, co-director of the Global Strategic Finance Initiative.
Houston's bayous, long contaminated by fertilizer runoff and leaky sewer pipes, are getting help from a $1.5 million county flood-control project. A series of ponds are being dug and filled with native plants designed to filter out E. coli bacteria before it reaches the bayous. Tests have shown that the ponds increase water quality by more than 200 times with no electricity or other technology.
Five common business mistakes can turn a good startup idea into a stalled plan. They include not making enough profit to bring in employees or subcontractors and picking a target market that is too small.