The internet has been flush with talk of nuclear war in Ukraine in the last week, especially since the big two sabotage events – Nord Stream and Kerch Strait. Such talk is a sign of desperation, though, by the side that is losing. And the Russians are saying there will be no nukes used unless there is a threat to the very existence of the Russian state. Russia is under no such threat at the moment. So, will there be nuclear Armageddon in Ukraine? – very doubtful. However Armageddon has been unleashed in Ukraine, of a general kind. For more, read on… Continue reading “Ukrainian Armageddon (?)”
On the day of the full moon, 24 Jun 2021, at 1:30 am local time, a 12-story apartment complex came crashing down, leaving 11 people confirmed dead and 150 missing as of this writing. The missing are believed to be buried in the rubble. Most of them would have been sleeping at the time. Residents had been concerned about the building’s integrity since early 2019, yet nothing had been done to correct it. This was a catastrophe that could have been avoided had timely action been taken, as in effecting the needed repairs to the building. There are many takeaways from the collapse of the Champlain Towers South building, not the least of which is America’s crumbling infrastructure. Continue reading “The Surfside condo collapse”
Il Ponte Morandi (the Morandi Bridge) in Genoa, Italy was a landmark bridge on the A10 Autostrada across the Polcevera viaduct. It was one of the main road links between Italy and France and part of the European route E80. On 14 Aug 18 at 11:36 am local time, a large section of it came crashing down, taking the lives of 43 people with it and permanently displacing over 600 others who lived below the bridge. It is set to be demolished within a month of this writing, along with the buildings below it, which are large apartment blocks and a few industries. The cause of the collapse is currently under investigation, with 20 people so far having been indicted for manslaughter over the incident, including government ministers of infrastructure. Lack of maintenance is widely held to be the cause of the collapse.
Spending on infrastructure in much of Europe has dramatically dropped since the 2008 financial crisis. A witness at a bus stop (article in Italian) described the moment the bridge collapsed, saying she saw the tie-rods snap simultaneously, making the carriageway rise up, and then the span broke, collapsing the entire section. Fingers were immediately pointed at the Autostrade Company, a private Italian contractor owned by the Benneton family, who oversaw the maintenance of the bridge, and from then on fingers were pointing everywhere – at the government, at the EU, at anyone who could possibly be blamed. Continue reading “Morandi: Bridges and Italy’s troubled waters.”