2024年5月23日 星期四

Projects to Fortify Bridges Face Test as Ships Bulk Up 強化橋梁結構 問題是船愈來愈大

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2024/05/24 第486期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 Projects to Fortify Bridges Face Test as Ships Bulk Up 強化橋梁結構 問題是船愈來愈大
In 'Godzilla x Kong,' They Came. They Pounced. Who Suffers? 哥吉拉與金剛:人類死活誰在乎?
Projects to Fortify Bridges Face Test as Ships Bulk Up 強化橋梁結構 問題是船愈來愈大
文/David W. Chen and Mike Baker

強化橋梁結構 問題是船愈來愈大

As larger and faster container ships began to chug up the Delaware River in recent years, transportation officials feared the prospect of one going astray that would lead to a repeat, or worse, of what happened in 1969, when a tanker struck the Delaware Memorial Bridge and caused significant damage.


So, last year, work began on a $93 million project to build eight massive cylinders that would stand guard in front of the bridge's piers in order to protect a system that carries tens of thousands of vehicles a day.


"The tankers and cargo ships of 1950 aren't the tankers and cargo ships of today," said James Salmon, a spokesperson for the Delaware River and Bay Authority.


Tuesday's collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore after a cargo ship nearly three football fields long crashed into it, claiming the lives of six people, has prompted questions about whether similar disasters could happen elsewhere.


But the work on the Delaware Memorial Bridge reflects the fact that some transportation and maritime experts have been mulling the hazards of new cargo ships squeezing under decades-old bridges for some time. There are no easy answers, in part because ships keep getting bigger.


Many transportation officials say drawing parallels to the Key Bridge is difficult because what happened in Baltimore appeared to be such an unusual event — a confluence of factors at the worst time. As the ship, the Dali, hurtled through the harbor without a tugboat connected to it, it experienced a "complete blackout" and lost control, then struck a pier that had small protective barriers.


Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday that they were not only examining the protection system around the Key Bridge, but seeking records about the protections around other bridges in Maryland.


Efforts to enhance bridges are frequently slowed because of the many state and federal governmental entities involved, the often glacial pace of funding and the construction time required for such large-scale projects. Still, some places have seen results.


In Minnesota, a boat pushing 12 barges rammed into a Union Pacific railroad bridge near St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2017, damaging a century-old pier. A protection system was built around the new pier.


In New York, the Bayonne Bridge was raised by 64 feet in 2019 to accommodate increasingly larger vessels calling at the container ports in New Jersey and Staten Island.


In 'Godzilla x Kong,' They Came. They Pounced. Who Suffers? 哥吉拉與金剛:人類死活誰在乎?
文/Esther Zuckerman


By the end of "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire," the latest in the so-called Monsterverse franchise from Warner Bros., multiple cities around the world have been rendered essentially uninhabitable and treasured monuments have been turned to dust. Godzilla, Kong and their adversaries flatten sections of Rio de Janeiro, ripping buildings in half during their climactic brawl, as a monster that can shoot ice from its mouth coats the coastal setting, presumably freezing a bunch of citizens as well.


Earlier, the two big guys punch their way through the pyramids in Cairo as tourists and locals scramble away from falling rocks. On top of that, at one point, Godzilla also takes up temporary residence in the Colosseum in Rome after he stomps through that locale. It's frankly pretty cute the way he curls up to nap in the ancient amphitheater like a puppy, but the fact that he probably killed thousands of people getting to his makeshift bed isn't really addressed.


Over the years, films starring Godzilla and his pals have varied wildly in how they deal with the creatures' victims — they have been serious and outright silly. While sometimes, Godzilla can be a way to explore very human fears, at other times, he's just an outlet to watch things go boom. "Godzilla x Kong" puts him firmly in this noisy camp, which makes the treatment of death just seem careless.


But as the Monsterverse has gone on, the material has gotten goofier, landing us where we are with "Godzilla x Kong." It's a pattern that also occurs in the original run of Japanese Godzilla films. Yes, Ishiro Honda's 1954 original is a reflection of nuclear anxiety made in the shadow of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But by 1968, Honda made the bonkers "Destroy All Monsters," in which Godzilla and his kaiju buddies on an island known as Monsterland are released by an alien species known as Kilaaks and attack global hubs such as Moscow and Paris.


"Godzilla x Kong" also has something else in common with the superhero genre: In this movie, Godzilla and Kong are supposed to be the good guys stopping monsters that are more evil than they are. If so, why does no one care that they kill so many people in the process? The audience might, but no one on screen gives a damn.


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