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In the face of a recent 7.4-magnitude earthquake, Taiwan’s iconic Taipei 101 skyscraper emerged virtually unscathed, showcasing the effectiveness of its unique safeguarding mechanism. CNN reports that the building’s resilience can be attributed, in part, to its innovative design featuring a giant pendulum known as the “Damper Baby.”

The Damper Baby, officially called a Tuned Mass Damper (TMD), is a massive 660-metric-tonne steel sphere suspended over 1,000 feet above the ground at the building’s center. This ingenious mechanism serves as a counterbalance during seismic events and strong winds, absorbing shock and minimizing the building’s sway by up to 40%.

Constructed from 41 layers of steel and nearly 18 feet in diameter, the pendulum swings within a controlled range of 59 inches to prevent excessive movement. Positioned between the 87th and 92nd floors, the Damper Baby is a key feature of Taipei 101’s engineering marvel.

The TMD, also known as the wind-damping ball, is a passive system specifically tailored to address the needs of tall structures like Taipei 101. Its primary function is to mitigate swaying caused by strong winds, ensuring a comfortable environment for occupants. While traditional damping systems are typically concealed, Taipei 101’s TMD stands as both functional and aesthetically pleasing, offering visitors a glimpse of its operation from the observation deck.

Explaining the mechanism behind the Tuned Mass Damper, engineers at Taipei 101 detail how the spherical damper moves back and forth during earthquakes or typhoons, absorbing the force of intense swinging. This movement effectively reduces the building’s motion by up to 40%, minimizing discomfort for occupants.

Closed-circuit TV footage captured during the earthquake vividly illustrates the minimal movement of Taipei 101 against the backdrop of a shaking skyline. In contrast, security camera footage from neighboring buildings depicts significant swaying, underscoring the effectiveness of Taipei 101’s innovative engineering in withstanding seismic events.

Taipei 101, once the world’s tallest building, continues to stand as a testament to Taiwan’s resilience and the power of innovative design in safeguarding structures in earthquake-prone regions.

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Baltimore, USA: A major commuter bridge in Baltimore collapsed early Tuesday after being struck by a container ship, plunging vehicles into the water and prompting authorities to declare a state of emergency. The disaster at the Francis Scott Key Bridge has resulted in chaos at one of the busiest ports on the US East Coast and disrupted crucial transportation routes.

Baltimore Fire Chief James Wallace confirmed that two individuals have been rescued from the water, with one sustaining serious injuries. However, up to seven people are still unaccounted for, adding urgency to the ongoing rescue efforts.

The vessel responsible for the collision, identified as the Dali sailing under the flag of Singapore, is operated by Synergy Marine and is on charter to A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S. The 32,000-ton ship, laden with approximately 4,900 containers, collided with the bridge, severing a vital link on the major highway encircling Baltimore.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore swiftly declared a state of emergency in response to the incident, while the White House has assured monitoring, indicating no signs of deliberate intent. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has extended support for the ongoing rescue operations.

The bridge’s collapse poses significant challenges for travelers, especially ahead of the Easter holiday weekend, disrupting traffic flow between New York and Washington, DC. Additionally, the closure affects the vital shipping operations at the Port of Baltimore, known for handling large volumes of cargo, including automobiles, light trucks, and various commodities.

At least 21 vessels, including bulk carriers and tankers, are stranded in the vicinity of the collapsed bridge, raising concerns about navigation and congestion in the waterway. The impact of the shutdown extends beyond transportation, affecting prominent companies with distribution facilities in the area, such as Amazon, FedEx, and Under Armour.

The Dali, which had arrived from China, was en route to Asia after making deliveries along the US East Coast. The incident underscores the vulnerability of critical infrastructure and the ripple effects of disruptions in transportation networks.

The aftermath of the bridge collapse is expected to cause prolonged congestion and logistical challenges for both commuters and businesses, highlighting the need for swift and coordinated efforts to mitigate the impact of the disaster.

As rescue operations continue and investigations into the cause of the collision unfold, authorities are grappling with the immense task of restoring normalcy to the affected region while ensuring the safety and well-being of the community.

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