The Anatomy of a Field Goal (With Data to Back It Up)

The February issue of Popular Mechanics has a wonderful two-page spread, if I may be so bold, that explains the anatomy of a football field goal. Yeah, you guessed it, I researched and wrote the text, which is accompanied by splendid graphics (that I didn’t create). I chatted with researchers at the University of Nebraska and Sacramento State University and also took some time with former Nebraska kicker and current Philadelphia Eagle, Alex Henery. Everyone I spoke to was excited about the research, a topic that is just now getting explored. Henery took part in the Nebraska study and provided great insight into both the mechanics of a kicker and the mind of a kicker, not all of which I was able to include in the technical-heavy article. Check out the print spread for the visualness of it all, or view the online version here.

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A Bridge Truss Travels Along a Portland River

In what could be the largest bridge ever moved, crews in Portland, Ore., moved the 1,100-ft. Sellwood Bridge. Jacks lifted the steel bridge right off concrete footings and slid it along a host of translation beams for use less than 100 feet away as a detour bridge. Crews will now build a new bridge in its place. Check out all the details of this intricate move in my Engineering News-Record article here.

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CH2M Hill Takes a New Approach to Subcontracting at Hanford

At a place where specialty jobs are quite specialized, CH2M Hill will look to hire its subcontractors instead of pay markups for multiple years of service. The new plan could save up to $9 million over five years. Check out more about this from my Engineering News-Record article on the topic.

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Tracking Elite Athletes, Right Down to Centimeters

Expect a heavy dose of sports from my Popular Mechanics offerings this week. Early on Tuesday came the posting of the top 10 tech advancements in the NFL, just a few minutes before my next PopMech piece on Catapult Sports, based in Melbourne, and its efforts to provide indoor GPS tracking systems for elite professional teams. The devices track individual players, in relation to each other and even the ball, giving pinpoint data on a wide spectrum of player metrics. For all the techy details, check out the article here.

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The Top-10 NFL Tech Advancements (via PopMech)

Picking out the top-10 tech advancements in the NFL over the years for Popular Mechanics was actually easier than I thought it would be. And, surprisingly, you quickly learn how many old rules haven’t been updated by teams that leave the sidelines in a technological darkness. From HDTV to iPad playbooks and from that fancy yellow line we see on TV to using nine different fabrics to construct a uniform, the list has a bit of everything for either tech or NFL fans. The advancements in camera and audio technology have also been surprisingly recent. Head over to and check it out.

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The Seattle Arena Design Turns Toward Jello Mold

In my latest Engineering News-Record blog, I go through the sustainable features and the design of the proposed $490 million Seattle Arena. With the planned design changing from a ferry-inspired box to one featuring a jet engine, the arena has basically turned into a Jello mold. Check out more about the design and the sustainable features at my blog here.

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Brewers Name Winner in Fan-Designed Uniform Contest

I imagine that more teams will join on this bandwagon, but credit to the Milwaukee Brewers for hosting a wildly successful promotion that invited fans to design a uniform. With over 700 designs coming in, the winning uniform will be worn once during Spring Training in Arizona and then at a preseason exhibition contest in Miller Park. Check out a little more about the winning design at my article.

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Getting Down to Details on a White Sox Throwback

More than any other sport, baseball has ample opportunity to try out alternate uniforms and throwbacks. A variety of teams use home Sunday games as the time to trot out these different looks. In the upcoming season, the Chicago White Sox will pay tribute to their 1983 team, wearing the pullover throwbacks of the day. I chatted with a White Sox official about some of the details of the design for Read more here.

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ENR Releases 2012 Newsmakers and I Wrote About Three of Them

Each year Engineering News-Record magazine highlights its top 25 Newsmakers from the year before. It is an extensive voting process that whittles the list to the most deserving nominees. This year, three of my nominees made the final list (last year I was able to share about two of the 25). So, go to this page and check out Dean Allen, Glen Frank and Brian Winter to see why they are deserving of recognition. A banquet honoring all 25 will be in New York in April.

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Nike Goes Space-Age With NBA All-Star Shoes

Nike’s having a bit of fun with the NBA All-Star weekend, breaking out a trio of shoes for its big-name stars based off a space theme, since the game is being played in Houston and all. Designers and color folks even derived an entire fictional world around the three star athletes (Kobe, Lebron and Durant) and designed the shoes and apparel line to match. For more, check out my Sports Logos dot Net article here.

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