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Greg Brouwer

Them

Sometime during the early 1990s, a queen Solenopsis invicta with a strong case of wanderlust hopped onto a sod truck heading through the Great American Desert toward Los Angeles. The trip was long, hot and monotonous. When she finally arrived, the ant, thinking she had wound up somewhere close to......

Cracked!

Sitting in his custom cubicle in a prestigious West Los Angeles engineering firm, Anders Carlson adjusts his glasses and scrolls through the different programs of his laptop. He double-clicks an icon, and a schematic of a large building appears. ”So the subtitle of this is ‘Whacking Steel Buildings,’“ he says......

Weld Wars

Photo by Slobodan Dimitrov In the beginning, the mysterious seismic-retrofit project in San Bernardino bore the unmistakable aroma of congressional pork. Through an intense, clandestine lobbying campaign, Lincoln Electric, America’s largest maker of welding materials, got Congress to set aside $5 million to solve the company’s biggest corporate dilemma: brittle......

Pushing Steel

Photo by M.R. Chassé Company Inc.The San Bernardino County Medical Center opened its doors last month, ballyhooed as a trauma center designed to be fully operational through a magnitude-8.3 earthquake. But the $640 million steel-frame facility, located just a few miles from the San Andreas and San Jacinto faults, has......

Welds Apart

Photo by Anne Fishbein When the Northridge quake awakened Los Angeles on January 17, 1994, it was considered at 6.7 magnitude a relatively moderate shudder. However, because of its location, it was the first true seismic test for many of L.A.’s 1,500 steel-frame buildings. At first glance, most edifices seemed......