Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

Home

www.google.co.uk


Recent Comments


Monthly Archives


Most recent entries


Search


Advanced Search


Other Blogs I write for

Brian Micklethwait's Education Blog

CNE Competition
CNE Intellectual Property
Samizdata
Transport Blog


Blogroll

2 Blowhards
6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adloyada
Adventures in Capitalism
Alan Little
Albion's Seedling
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
Alex Singleton
AngloAustria
Another Food Blog
Antoine Clarke
Antoine Clarke's Election Watch
Armed and Dangerous
Art Of The State Blog
Biased BBC
Bishop Hill
BLDG BLOG
Bloggers Blog
Blognor Regis
Blowing Smoke
Boatang & Demetriou
Boing Boing
Boris Johnson
Brazen Careerist
Bryan Appleyard
Burning Our Money
Cafe Hayek
Cato@Liberty
Charlie's Diary
Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry
Chicago Boyz
China Law Blog
Cicero's Songs
City Comforts
Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog
Clay Shirky
Climate Resistance
Climate Skeptic
Coffee & Complexity
Coffee House
Communities Dominate Brands
Confused of Calcutta
Conservative Party Reptile
Contra Niche
Contrary Brin
Counting Cats in Zanzibar
Скрипучая беседка
CrozierVision
Dave Barry
Davids Medienkritik
David Thompson
Deleted by tomorrow
deputydog
diamond geezer
Dilbert.Blog
Dizzy Thinks
Dodgeblogium
Don't Hold Your Breath
Douglas Carswell Blog
dropsafe
Dr Robert Lefever
Dr. Weevil
ecomyths
engadget
Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights
English Cut
English Russia
EU Referendum
Ezra Levant
Everything I Say is Right
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Ferraris for all
Flickr blog
Freeborn John
Freedom and Whisky
From The Barrel of a Gun
ft.com/maverecon
Fugitive Ink
Future Perfect
FuturePundit
Gaping Void
Garnerblog
Gates of Vienna
Gizmodo
Global Warming Politics
Greg Mankiw's Blog
Guido Fawkes' blog
HE&OS
Here Comes Everybody
Hit & Run
House of Dumb
Iain Dale's Diary
Ideas
Idiot Toys
IMAO
Indexed
India Uncut
Instapundit
Intermezzo
Jackie Danicki
James Delingpole
James Fallows
Jeffrey Archer's Official Blog
Jessica Duchen's classical music blog
Jihad Watch
Joanne Jacobs
Johan Norberg
John Redwood
Jonathan's Photoblog
Kristine Lowe
Laissez Faire Books
Languagehat
Last of the Few
Lessig Blog
Libertarian Alliance: Blog
Liberty Alone
Liberty Dad - a World Without Dictators
Lib on the United Kingdom
Little Man, What Now?
listen missy
Loic Le Meur Blog
L'Ombre de l'Olivier
London Daily Photo
Londonist
Mad Housewife
Mangan's Miscellany
Marginal Revolution
Mark Wadsworth
Media Influencer
Melanie Phillips
Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
Michael Jennings
Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal
Mick Hartley
More Than Mind Games
mr eugenides
Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism
My Boyfriend Is A Twat
My Other Stuff
Natalie Solent
Nation of Shopkeepers
Neatorama
neo-neocon
Never Trust a Hippy
NO2ID NewsBlog
Non Diet Weight Loss
Normblog
Nurses for Reform blog
Obnoxio The Clown
Oddity Central
Oliver Kamm
On an Overgrown Path
One Man & His Blog
Owlthoughts of a peripatetic pedant
Oxford Libertarian Society /blog
Patri's Peripatetic Peregrinations
phosita
Picking Losers
Pigeon Blog
Police Inspector Blog
PooterGeek
Power Line
Private Sector Development blog
Public Interest.co.uk
Publius Pundit
Quotulatiousness
Rachel Lucas
RealClimate
Remember I'm the Bloody Architect
Rob's Blog
Sandow
Scrappleface
Setting The World To Rights
Shane Greer
Shanghaiist
SimonHewittJones.com The Violin Blog
Sinclair's Musings
Slipped Disc
Sky Watching My World
Social Affairs Unit
Squander Two Blog
Stephen Fry
Stuff White People Like
Stumbling and Mumbling
Style Bubble
Sunset Gun
Survival Arts
Susan Hill
Teblog
Techdirt
Technology Liberation Front
The Adam Smith Institute Blog
The Agitator
The AntRant
The Becker-Posner Blog
The Belgravia Dispatch
The Belmont Club
The Big Blog Company
The Big Picture
the blog of dave cole
The Corridor of Uncertainty (a Cricket blog)
The Croydonian
The Daily Ablution
The Devil's Advocate
The Devil's Kitchen
The Dissident Frogman
The Distributed Republic
The Early Days of a Better Nation
The Examined Life
The Filter^
The Fly Bottle
The Freeway to Serfdom
The Future of Music
The Futurist
The Happiness Project
The Jarndyce Blog
The London Fog
The Long Tail
The Lumber Room
The Online Photographer
The Only Winning Move
The Policeman's Blog
The Road to Surfdom
The Sharpener
The Speculist
The Surfer
The Wedding Photography Blog
The Welfare State We're In
things magazine
TigerHawk
Tim Blair
Tim Harford
Tim Worstall
tomgpalmer.com
tompeters!
Transterrestrial Musings
UK Commentators - Laban Tall's Blog
UK Libertarian Party
Unqualified Offerings
Violins and Starships
Virginia Postrel
Vodkapundit
WebUrbanist
we make money not art
What Do I Know?
What's Up With That?
Where the grass is greener
White Sun of the Desert
Why Evolution Is True
Your Freedom and Ours


Websites


Mainstream Media

BBC
Guardian
Economist
Independent
MSNBC
Telegraph
The Sun
This is London
Times


Syndicate

RSS 1.0
RSS 2.0
Atom
Feedburner
Podcasts


Categories

Advertising
Africa
Anglosphere
Architecture
Art
Asia
Atheism
Australasia
Billion Monkeys
Bits from books
Bloggers and blogging
Books
Brian Micklethwait podcasts
Brians
Bridges
Business
Career counselling
Cartoons
Cats and kittens
China
Civil liberties
Classical music
Comedy
Comments
Computer graphics
Cranes
Crime
Current events
Democracy
Design
Digital photographers
Drones
Economics
Education
Emmanuel Todd
Environment
Europe
Expression Engine
Family
Food and drink
France
Friends
Getting old
Globalisation
Healthcare
History
How the mind works
India
Intellectual property
Japan
Kevin Dowd
Language
Latin America
Law
Libertarianism
Links
Literature
London
Media and journalism
Middle East and Islam
Movies
Music
My blog ruins
My photographs
Open Source
Opera
Other creatures
Painting
Photography
Podcasting
Poetry
Politics
Pop music
Propaganda
Quote unquote
Radio
Religion
Roof clutter
Russia
Scaffolding
Science
Science fiction
Sculpture
Signs and notices
Social Media
Society
Software
South America
Space
Sport
Technology
Television
The internet
The Micklethwait Clock
Theatre
This and that
This blog
Transport
Travel
USA
Video
War


Sunday February 11 2007

A few days ago, I received an email from Michael Jennings about a Slate article, which concerned photography, intellectual property, and a bridge.  As far as my interests go, that’s: tick, tick, tick.

He commented on the piece thus:

This is quite interesting. The plagiarism aspect (or not) are one thing, but the shots of the Nanpu bridge in Shanghai are interesting in themselves. (You need to click all the way to the end of the slideshow - there are more photos of the bridge at the end).

Of course it is not the bridge itself that is interesting, but its approach from the western side. In built up cities beside rivers and harbours (particularly in the rich world where demolishing lots of buildings can be problematic) it can be very difficult to build new bridges not because of the engineering aspects of the bridges themselves, but due to the fact that the approaches to bridges take up a lot of space and that space in cities is often at a premium (and is often privately owned). You see fancy new bridges near docklands developments built on abandoned and semi-abandoned land, but seldom at the centre of cities). Tunnels are sometimes more expensive (although the gap between the cost of a tunnel and the cost of a bridge is dropping) but they require much less in the way of approaches, so new water crossings in rich cities these days tend to be tunnels rather than bridges. (For instance, when Sydney in the 1980s decided it needed to relieve congestion on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a second bridge was never really a consideration and a tunnel was built. Similarly, nobody has built another bridge connecting Manhattan with other parts of New York or New Jersey for decades, but there have been new tunnel tubes).

Which is background to the extraordinary approaches to the Nanpu Bridge in Shanghai. Instead of straight approaches, the bridge has the gigantic corkscrew structure that you see in the photographs. (There are a number of places where the corkscrew can be entered at different heights).  Rather than using a large amount of space for approaches, making the approach sit vertically on top of itself reduces the area, and it changes the need from a long thin area to a square area.

That said, spectacular as the photographs are, I don’t think any of them come close to doing the structure justice. They all fail to capture the vertical qualities of the corkscrew - it is much higher than it feels in any of the photographs. If you stand in the middle of it, it towers above you, and they don’t get that.

Capturing any photograph of the entire structure at all is something of a challenge. Finding a vantage point high enough and far enough away from it to see all of it is extremely difficult (I didn’t succeed) and may require assistance from local building owners and/or police.  Getting the whole thing into a single photograph at the same time is then going to be difficult, and is going to require an SLR with a very wide lens.  This is going to mess up the depth of field - hence the photographs failing to properly capture the vertical aspects of the bridge.

Normally I think I would blog this and add a couple of photos of my own, but the truth is that although I don’t have anything more than a few shots of what look like a chunk of any elevated motorway.

Here and here are a couple of pictorial attempts to communicate the size of this structure, both of which I found among these.

image image

One day they will build structures not by first erecting scaffolding, and huge and expensive cranes, and then piling heavy stuff on top of itself, but by filling the sky with toner powder and shining laser beams into it.  ZXZXZXZXZ!!!!  And there it will be.  All built, in a day.  When that happens putting new roads into the sky, on the top of thin columns which just stand in people’s gardens, will be easy.  Nobody will have to move.  The structures will just . . . appear!  Rivers will hardly register as barriers.  They’ll be like little streams under motorways now.  These roads in the sky will of course blot out the rays of the sun almost completely, but all progress comes at a price.  They can feed the suns rays through with mirrors, like that one they use to warm up that German town which would otherwise be permanently in shadow.