The Barrow Poets

The Barrow Poets  (according to this site) started out selling poems from barrows in the late 1950s, then moved into performing in pubs.  I saw them performing in London, probably in 1972.  In spite of their undoubted originality and creativity, it seems they are not worthy of a place on Wikipedia, but here is one person’s  version of their story, followed by some samples of their musical poetry  (or is it poetic music?):

I first encountered the fabulous Gerard Benson in the very early 1970s when the Barrow Poets played in a scrubby basement in the Sir Christopher Wren pub in the old Paternoster Square, by St Paul’s Cathedral in London, when I was barely old enough to buy a (legal) drink. While other young things were into Genesis or King Crimson, I was gripped by their spectrum of poetry and music, from their own compositions to Purcell, Byrd, Blake, Keats, Stevie Smith and lots of Anon.

With the endlessly energetic Gerard, small and roundish, reciting, singing and playing kazoo and saw, the visually contrasting William Bealby-Wright, tall and thin and slightly lugubrious, on the homemade cacofiddle – once described in the Guardian as “a kind of DIY, cymbal-augmented double bass, seemingly built by the Clangers” – and the other wonderful musicians and poets, they were electrifying. Later they played in grand venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, but nothing could match the immediacy of the basement bar…

More at ‘Gerard Benson and the Barrow Poets were electrifying’

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How Reinforced Earth works

“Reinforced Earth” is the name of  a construction system widely used in retaining walls around the World.  Here is a short video demonstrating how the system works, which is both informative and entertaining:

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RC Design Functions 8_03

The RC Design Functions 8_03 spreadsheet is now available for free download from:

RC Design

The main changes are:

  • The NA layer check has been corrected for compression steel in tension
  • The new AS 3600 crack width and curvature methods have been added to the Circe function
  • The AS 3600 formula for crack width has been corrected for the effect of shrinkage.
Posted in Beam Bending, Concrete, Excel, Newton, UDFs, VBA | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Largest Early World Map …

… is unveiled for the first time:

Click image for link to map with pan and zoom:

On July 25, 01585, near the end of a century of unprecedented change, four Japanese boys stopped in Milan on their way back home to Japan. They’d been sent as the first Japanese Embassy to Europe three years earlier by the Jesuit missionary Alesandro Valignano. Their European tour took them through Spain, where they met King Philip II, and to Rome, where they met with the Pope. Now, in Milan, they encountered Urbano Monte, a gentleman scholar from a wealthy Milanese family whose interests had lately turned to geography. Writing about meeting the Japanese boys, Monte “commented on their appearance and manners; the former he found odd but he thought their manners impressive and their eating habits fascinating.”

The encounter with the Japanese embassy inspired Monte to undertake an ambitious project that would consume his efforts for the next twenty years: the Trattato Universale, a four-volume compendium and geographical treatise that attempted to showcase the entire geographic knowledge of the world. The third volume of the Trattato contained his most impressive and innovative work: a map of the world across sixty individual sheets that, were it to be stitched together as his instructions dictated, would be the largest world map made in the sixteenth century.

See the full article at:  Urbano Monte’s planisphere was centuries ahead of its time

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1952 Vincent Black Lighting

A live performance from Richard Thompson:

My favourite comment:

“Trying to decide if Suzanne Vega and Louden Wainwright are looking on in awe or thinking “shit we’re next”!”

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3D Frame with zero stiffness hinges

The previous version of 3DFrame allowed for spring releases at beam ends, but if the release stiffness was entered as zero it was treated as a rigid connection for that freedom.  Effectively zero stiffness releases could be modelled by entering a very low stiffness value, but this sometimes caused arithmetic problems, resulting in enormous deflections being reported for the released freedoms.  To avoid this problem the code has been modified so that any freedom entered as zero stiffness is treated as fully released.  The new version (Rev. 2.08) may be downloaded from:

The solver links to two dll files that need to be installed as described here:

Installing C# dll files, reminder

The download zip file also includes a VBA only version, that should work without any further installation, other than extracting from the zip file.

Typical input showing both spring and zero stiffness releases is shown in the screen shot below:

Further details of the program 3Daxis system and the related stiffness matrices can be found at:

3D Frames, axes and stiffness matrices

Posted in Beam Bending, Excel, Finite Element Analysis, Frame Analysis, Newton | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Rubick’s Cube Solves Itself

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