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A new web-based, structural-engineering BIM collaboration platform is providing its developers with a few surprises about how the product is being used, with more small projects loaded than expected.
The Combine, an Atlanta-based software firm, developed Konstru in partnership with engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti’s technology incubator TTWiiN, which supplied the industry expertise. After a beta launch this spring, Combine co-founder and partner K.P. Reddy says, “What we’re really learning is that, although we expected it would solve a lot of complicated, hard problems, it’s being used for a lot of simple problems a lot of the market is dealing with. We thought adoption would be on the biggest, most complicated projects, but we’ve seen plenty of smaller and midsize [projects], like schools and office buildings.”
The Combine provides seed-stage expertise to develop and commercialize new technologies. It launched Konstru as a new “portfolio company” through the partnership with Thornton Tomasetti. In the first half of 2017, the team plans to spin off five companies, each of which will seek Series A investor funding. Konstru was the first.
Reddy says Konstru is a web-based platform that lets engineers collaborate via browser while letting them continue to use the tools they are accustomed to, such as Microsoft Excel, Autodesk Revit, Trimble’s Tekla, Bentley’s RAM Structural System, Grasshopper, and CSI’s ETABS and SAP2000. “Konstru is neutral. We’re the glue in the middle,” says Reddy.
Serving smaller firms and projects is a good market to land in “because those companies are largely ignored,” Reddy adds. “Small firms get priced out.”
Konstru is competing with Autodesk’s BIM 360 portfolio of real-time design collaboration tools and especially BIM 360 Glue, which is seeing increased adoption, says Sarah Hodges, director of the construction business line for Autodesk. The industry is “waking up to this notion” of digitizing construction, she says. Autodesk announced enhancements to its multiple-user co-authoring tools within Revit with the late February release of Revit Live version 1.7, which synchs to BIM 360 team.
Ricardo Khan, Sr. Director of Project Solutions at Mortenson Construction, says his team investigated Konstru and predicts Konstru “will be competing with Autodesk BIM 360 platform, specifically around [Autodesk’s] Glue application and the services Autodesk is building around BIM 360.” Konstru is optimized for structural engineers and contractors especially with distributed teams. “It is always interesting to see new solutions emerge on the market to drive competition,” Khan says.
A 2016 survey by the Associated General Contractors of America and Sage Group found that 63% of construction businesses that use or are planning to use cloud-based platforms are doing so to improve access to information from any location, although many respondents noted that technical advances with 4D and 5D modeling tools, among others, are outpacing improvements in collaboration and communications.
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Una de nuestras películas favoritas de muchos es si lugar a dudas Monsters Inc.
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A team of researchers from Washington University in St. Louis has helped discover a new chemical method to immobilize uranium in contaminated groundwater, which could lead to more precise and successful water remediation efforts at former nuclear sites.
Researchers in the lab of Daniel Giammar, the Walter E. Browne Professor of Environmental Engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, ran a series of experiments in a laboratory setting using water containing uranium — present in contaminated groundwater at various sites in the United States as a legacy of Cold War-era processing and waste disposal activities associated with nuclear materials production.
Calcium and phosphate work together chemically to immobilize uranium, which is shown to lead to increased cancer risk and liver damage in humans when ingested. Past field studies, including one at the Hanford Site in the state of Washington, focused on an in situ solution that injected phosphates directly into contaminated groundwater. Remediation efforts were not fully successful, because the scale of overlap for the calcium, uranium and phosphates was limited.
“A challenge with subsurface remediation is finding the right way to bring the necessary ingredients together in a poorly-mixed system,” Giammar said. “In the field-scale test, much of the added phosphate never reached the uranium because it precipitated out near the injection well. The solution is to figure out scenarios where it is possible to send the phosphate to where the uranium is, and other scenarios where the phosphate can be added to a location where the natural groundwater flow will bring the uranium into contact with it.”
The research was led by Giammar and Vrajesh S. Mehta, who earned his PhD at the School of Engineering & Applied Science. Other co-authors are Zheming Wang, senior researcher at the Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory in Richland, Wash.; Jeffrey G. Catalano, associate professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University; and Fabien Maillot, former postdoctoral researcher in Catalano’s lab.
In three different types of experiments conducted in Giammar’s lab, the researchers first determined the exact level of calcium in the water. They were then able to add specific amounts of phosphate that formed calcium phosphate, chemically neutralizing and structurally incorporating the uranium. The exact combination of calcium and added phosphate rendered the uranium inert and trapped it in the groundwater.
Giammar’s lab will continue this research, with the goal of developing a technique to tailor the location of phosphate injection that would be used in conjunction with the groundwater’s existing calcium to remediate the uranium also present.
“The results of this work suggest that there will not be a one-size-fits-all approach to using phosphate to remediate uranium-contaminated groundwater,” Giammar said. “With knowledge of the location of the uranium contamination and the composition of the groundwater, we can decide whether to inject phosphate directly into a plume of uranium-contaminated groundwater or to inject phosphate downstream of the uranium to form a calcium phosphate barrier.”
The research findings were recently published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
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Children can learn about vehicles you see at construction sites in this fun video with retro video game graphics and music. Featuring all your favorite trucks and heavy equipment! From the creators of “Street Vehicles”
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This one is from the same little trip as the trailer. It’s from a construction site where a big indoor football stadium is being built. Like most of my images lately it’s an HDR processed in Photomatix with the curves and hue/saturation adjusted in Photoshop. I also cloned out some buildings which I thought were distracting. Then a modest dodge and burn to the sky and a vignette added to better bring out the subject.
Low angles work best for me. I rarely extent the legs of my tripod. It’s a good way to keep out all kinds of unwanted and distracting details.
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LONDON Major central banks should press ahead with interest rate increases, the Bank for International Settlements said on Sunday, while recognizing that some turbulence in financial markets will have to be negotiated along the way.
The BIS, an umbrella body for leading central banks, said in one of its most upbeat annual reports for years that global growth could soon be back at long-term average levels after a sharp improvement in sentiment over the past year.
Though pockets of risk remain because of high debt levels, low productivity growth and dwindling policy firepower, the BIS said policymakers should take advantage of the improving economic outlook and its surprisingly negligible effect on inflation to accelerate the “great unwinding” of quantitative easing programs and record low interest rates.
New technologies and working practices are likely to be playing a roll in suppressing inflation, it said, though normal impulses should kick in if unemployment continues to drop.
“Since we are now emerging from a very long period of very accommodative monetary policy, whatever we do, we will have to do it in a very careful way,” BIS’s head of research, Hyun Song Shin, told Reuters.
“STAY THE COURSE”
“If we leave it too late, it is going to be much more difficult to accomplish that unwinding. Even if there are some short-term bumps in the road it would be much more advisable to stay the course and begin that process of normalization.”
Shin added that it will be “very difficult, if not impossible” to remove all those bumps.
Good communication from central bankers will be important, but even more crucial is the need for banks to be strong enough to cope with any turbulence.
The BIS identified four main risks to the global outlook in the medium-term.
A sudden flare-up of inflation which forces up interest rates and hurts growth, financial stress linked to the contraction phase of financial cycles, a rise in protectionism and weaker consumption not offset by stronger investment.
The first seems unlikely for now at least, with Shin saying that the BIS, like many, had been surprised that inflation and wage growth has remained so subdued as growth in major economies has picked up.
The question for central bankers, therefore, is whether new technologies and working practices had fundamentally changed the inputs in their economic models and whether it is right to keep such a heavy focus on keeping inflation at certain levels — near 2 percent for likes of the European Central Bank and U.S. Federal Reserve.
“Inflation is certainly not the only variable that matters … and we should keep one eye at least on financial developments,” Shin said.
A broadening away from inflation-targeting to financial market conditions would require a mindset change in large parts of the world and could speed up interest rate cycles.
When the U.S. Federal Reserve last embarked on rate increases more than a decade ago, it took two years to raise them from 1 percent to above 5 percent, with hikes at 17 consecutive meetings. In the current cycle, it has taken 18 months for a 1 percentage point increase.
The BIS report added that the lack of clarity over inflation also makes it far harder to judge how far rates could go up before they start coming down again.
“In practice, therefore, central banks have little alternative but to move without a firm end-point in mind,” it said.
The report also touched on another current global theme — protectionism, potentially one of the most damaging of the four main risks it identified.
One piece of research based on the U.S. transport industry estimated that if 10 percent tariffs were put on imports from Mexico or China, U.S. labor costs would have to drop by about 6 percent to compensate for the higher costs of “imported inputs”.
For some of the largest emerging markets there were also concerns about dollar debt and protracted credit expansion, often alongside rising property prices, storing up risks. Low interest rates, though, have generally kept debt-service ratios below critical thresholds.
“The policy challenge is to take advantage of the current tailwinds to put the expansion on a sounder footing,” said Claudio Borio, head of the BIS monetary and economic department.
“First and foremost, that requires building resilience, domestically and globally.”
The BIS’s financial results, which were also published on Sunday, showed the Swiss-based bank had made a net profit $1.124 billion over the year to March 31 and had a balance sheet worth $329 billion.
(Editing by David Goodman)
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