Monday, March 23, 2009

9-11 Twin Towers Attack Simulation

I just viewed this very interesting 3D simulation of the airplane crashing into the World Trade Center twin towers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Popsicle Stick Bridges Slideshow

Popsicle Stick Bridge Building Competitions have become a popular activity for students here and abroad. This blogsite had many visitors who "googled" about popsicle stick bridges. Here is a slide show of the popsicle stick bridges that competed in the 5th DLSU Bridge Building Contest.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Toys for Creative Minds

If you want to develop children's creativity, patience and imagination, give them a Lego or MegaBloks. Lego or MegaBloks consist of colorful interlocking plastic bricks, beams, axles and minifigures which can be assembled and connected in many ways to contstruct various types of objects such as vehicles, buildings and even working robots. Anything constructed can then be taken apart again, and the pieces used to make other objects. Lego and MegaBloks pieces are compatible.

My two kids especially my son, Geof enjoy creating objects using Lego and MegaBloks bricks. Geof designed his own Lego twin tower almost similar to the Petronas twin towers with perfect symmetry in design and colors. He creates cars, airplanes and buildings. He usually watches Lego creations in You Tube and gets inspiration from these movies. When inspired, he will diligently and painstakingly assemble the structure from his imagination. My daughter, Julia (4 yrs old), also creates her own cars and structures.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Lack of Textbooks in Civil Engineering

One of the challenges to an engineering professor here in the Philippines is choosing the main textbook of his courses. Before I recommend a textbook as the main reference, I first go around bookstores specifically National Bookstore or Goodwill bookstore to check what textbooks are available. Recently, I noticed the lack of textbooks in civil engineering in commercial bookstores. What you will see are Board exam reviewers and the old edition of textbooks like Strength of Materials by Singer and Pytel. Would you believe that even if we want to replace the textbook by Singer and Pytel in Strength of Materials with a new one, we can’t – because we can’t find a replacement. In our Engineering Mechanics course, we have to write our own textbook in Statics.

I know there are new and better textbooks like those written by R.C. Hibbeler. I usually use Mechanics of Materials and Structural Analysis by R.C. Hibbeler as my main textbooks in my two courses in structural analysis. And usually I recommend the latest edition. However, I observed that these books have become scarce. Even if I inform the local distributor to make the textbooks available, the situation remains the same – NO TEXTBOOKS. Why should I recommend a textbook which is NOT available for the students to purchase?

I would like to call the attention of book publishers and distributors in the Philippines to make their textbooks in Engineering Mechanics (Statics & Dynamics), Mechanics of Materials, Structural Analysis and Structural Design (Reinforced Concrete and Steel) available in commercial and university bookstores so that the faculty can choose their main textbooks in their courses. I raised this problem also to the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) - Technical Panel in CE during their evaluation visit at our university. Well the CHEd representative doesn’t have an answer to this ..... Ironically CHEd requires a minimum number of books and references per subject - what are they going to do about this ? Your guess is as good as mine.