The SOAO Weekly Roundup April 13th – April 19th, 2014

If you had a busy week, don’t fret, we’ve got you covered. Every Sunday we go through all the content from the previous seven days and pick out the ten most popular posts, as well as a few others you might have missed. So sit back, relax, and catch up on this past week in Socks.


Most Popular

Other Posts You Might Enjoy

Citicorp Building Design Flaw: A Skyscraper’s Nightmare

Manahattan Skyline - Citigroup - Citigroup Design Flaw: A Skyscraper's Nightmare

The Citicorp building, easily recognized by its slanted top, is one of many skyscrapers that make up the New York City skyline. I walk by the 59-story building on center stilts a few times a week. I, perhaps like most, never thought this fascinating architectural design had a major design flaw that could have collapsed if 70 mph winds struck the building at any one of the corners.

Built in 1977, it was designed by Hugh Stubbins and William LeMessurier, who was the chief structural engineer, were tasked with a structure that would hover over St. Peter’s church. According to an article by Slate, these were the building’s features:

  • Nine-story stilts suspend the building over St. Peter’s church. But rather than putting the stilts in the corners, they had to be located at the midpoint of each side to avoid the church.
  • Having stilts in the middle of each side made the building less stable, so LeMessurier designed a chevron bracing structure—rows of eight-story V’s that served as the building’s skeleton.
  • The chevron bracing structure made the building exceptionally light for a skyscraper, so it would sway in the wind. LeMessurier added a tuned mass damper, a 400-ton device that keeps the building stable.

What’s even more interesting, in 1978 Diane Hartley, a student studying the Citicorp building discovered that it would collapse if winds hit the corners of the unique structure because they were bolted instead of welded.

The issue was never publicized at the the time because of the 1978 newspaper strike in New York City. LeMessurier and Citigroup spent three months going into the building at night to do emergency repairs in secret.

Seventeen years later, on May 29, 1995 Joe Morgenstern of The New Yorker wrote about it in his article “The Fifty-Nine Story Crisis” followed by BBCs “All Fall Down” in 1996.

“All Fall Down” was part of the series, The Works about art and pop culture. This episode goes into the Citigroup building design flaw, interviews with LeMessurier and details about the secretive emergency repairs to prevent a tragedy.

Stick around and watch the video. It’s a three part video, ten minutes each.

Image credit: Jessica SheridanEastSide-Citicorps

The SOAO Daily Ditty: The UMC’s – One To Grow On

From AllMusic:

The UMC’s was a short lived New York-based rap duo, comprised of members Hass G and Kool Kim. The duo issued a pair of releases during their brief career — 1991′s self-titled debut and 1994′s Unleashed — but their lighthearted subject matter seemed out of place during an era when gangster rap ruled the charts, leading to the UMC’s split shortly thereafter.

TED Talks With Matthew Carter: My Life In Typefaces

From TED Vancouver, 2014.

From the TED YouTube channel:

Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you’ll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books — remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

NASA’s Astronomy Picture Of The Day: Ash And Lightning Above An Icelandic Volcano

Every day NASA posts a new astronomy related picture to their site — I bring them to you in case you forget.

This Sunday’s image is titled Ash And Lightning Above An Icelandic Volcano.


From NASA:

Explanation: Why did a picturesque 2010 volcanic eruption in Iceland create so much ash? Although the large ash plume was not unparalleled in its abundance, its location was particularly noticeable because it drifted across such well-populated areas. The Eyjafjallajökull volcano in southern Iceland began erupting on 2010 March 20, with a second eruption starting under the center of a small glacier on 2010 April 14. Neither eruption was unusually powerful. The second eruption, however, melted a large amount of glacial ice which then cooled and fragmented lava into gritty glass particles that were carried up with the rising volcanic plume. Pictured above during the second eruption, lightning bolts illuminate ash pouring out of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

Image Credit & Copyright: Sigurður Stefnisson

The 10 Most Notorious Hackers Of All Time!

Most of the time when we hear the word “hacker” we think of those that have exploited passwords, stolen thousands of dollars from businesses, or a person or group that created a nasty virus that causes mayhem across the web. Some may find an exploit and sell the information.

There are different types of hackers. The one described above are known as black hat hackers. Some hackers don’t have malicious intentions and you’ve probably have met a few of them. They’re known as “security consultants” or “security companies”. They are white hat hackers that hack for ethical reasons. Businesses go to them and give them permission to hack their systems to close up vulnerabilities and informing them how to close up and secure their networks.

One thing he forgot to mention in the beginning are grey hat hackers that are a combination of both white hat and black hat hackers. Gray hats may hack a network and may do any of the following: fix the vulnerability or leave it, tell the company privately about the vulnerability, publicly announce it or choose neither, or sell the information to white hats or black hats.

Most of the hackers in the media are black hat hackers. In this video by YouTuber Matthew Santoro, he highlights some of the most interesting hackers that made headlines.

Matthew Santoro
Featured Image: php code by Gabor Heja