Archive February 2011

QuaDror – could this be useful for Christchurch? aimee whitcroft Feb 25


quadror 2On combing the interwebs today for the SMC’s weekly newsletter, I came across something incredible: the QuaDror.

It’s a structural support system which, says the website:

is a new space truss geometry that unfolds manifold design initiatives and can adapt to various conditions and configurations.

Gizmodo has this to say about it:

It has more structural strength, both horizontally and vertically, than a traditional A-frame, though it can be folded totally flat for economical shipping. It scales terrifically. It has potential applications in disaster relief, bridge-building, low-income housing, sound-insulation and art, though its elegant shape and movement is already pretty damn artful itself.

I’m not an engineer (sadly), but having had a look at the video for this design, and it’s amazing versatility, I can’t help but wonder whether it might not be a very, very useful thing for the Christchuch rebuilding efforts.


And the young designer behind it – Israeli Dror Benshetrit – is looking for businesses to partner with to get it out there!

Go here for an awesome article on Fast Co. Design about it

More fun details about it, with pictures, in the Press Reslease, which can be downloaded here.

Christchurch Earthquake: Holy ****! aimee whitcroft Feb 23


NOTE: I’m updating this constantly as new stuff comes in, with resources, accommodation stuff, etc

I didn’t feel yesterday’s quake*.

Sitting in Wellington, I would still have expected to (our building shakes pretty easily), but I was instantly aware that something was afoot when Twitter lit up with variations on the theme ‘holy ***, HUGE quake #eqnz’.

I’ve been glued to Twitter ever since, as messages fly around the country offering (and asking for) help with finding people, organising resources, beds, money, blood, standin work, etc.

There have also been a number of visualisations of the quake turning up, of which one of the best thus far has to be this one, from Paul Nicholls at the University of Canterbury.

Screenshot of the Christchurch Quake Map

Consensus at the moment seems to be that this is actually an aftershock (well, series of aftershocks, since there have now been over 11, or not-insignificant magnitude themselves) from the Darfield Earthquake in September of last year.  It appears to be along a different fault line, though…

Although of lesser magnitude than the Darfield quake, its proximity to Christchurch, the extreme shallowness at which it occurred, and of course the weakening suffered by many buildings last year, means the quake’s effects have been more devastating**, with widespread devastation as well as loss of life (currently, some 300 people are still missing).

If you have beds to offer those in need of them, the best site so far is this one.  If you need help, you can post here.  Another bed site is Quake Escape, here.

The twitter stream (well, there are many, but the predominant one) is #eqnz


The British Geological Service has a page featuring footage/interviews, maps and info

Google Crisis Response, with links to its brilliant People Finder (via #breakingspace)

CrisisCampNZ – a wiki documenting engagement to support the quake (via #GripNostril) – Pulling together info for people in Christchurch – report problems, find a bed, find people, etc (via @starrjulie)

An interactive map of petrol stations and other services available/not available in Christchurch from Environment Canterbury Regional Council

ECan services also has info for finding beds than does quakebeds.  Good site.

Moar update (Wed 23rd)

Trademe‘s now gotten a dedicated section up on its website, with sections on accommodation, transport, volunteer labour and lost and found pets.

Also, I just heard that has now had 100,000 visits!

Quakeaid‘s another new site which has gone up, which aims to connect people who need help, with those who can offer it.


Other links:

Engineering expert Peter Stafford comments on the quake

More commentary by experts on the quake here

Advice about disaster stress

Civil defense


TV3:  live coverage online

TVNZ: live coverage online

RadioNZ: live coverage online

Earthquake Government Helpline: 0800 779 997

News and emergency information sources for #Christchurch #eqnz (via Grant Jacobs)


* I was woken up by September’s

** Cool article in Scientific American explaining why the quake was so damaging

Introducing a new blog: Digging the Dirt aimee whitcroft Feb 18

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Sciblogs just keeps on truckin’, man*.


At this rate, it’s possible we may, at some point, assimilate _all_ the science bloggers.  Who will give in willingly, because putting up any kind of fight would be completely useless :)**

And so, we would love to introduce to you all Brigid Gallagher, who will be penning Digging the Dirt.

Brigid’s an archaeologist trained in Conservation.  While you may be most familiar with her as one of the diggers on BBC Channel 4′s Time Team, she’s since returned home to New Zealand to get stuck into all the wonderful archaeological wonder we have here.

And she’s going to be sharing it with us.

Welcome, Brigid!  We’re so happy you’ve joined us :)


* I blame the Thomas Pynchon I’m reading for that particular piece of vernacular

** Today is apparently reference day.  There are at least two in here.

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