Sprinting Svetlana
May 22, 2010 9:23 AM   Subscribe

The authorities of Russia's city of Volgograd closed a 7 km-long bridge across the Volga River late Thursday after strong fluctuation in the construction was detected.

You might remember this film clip of the Tacoma Narrows bridge - aka Galloping Gertie - from high school physics class.
posted by rtha (46 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
'Detected'?
posted by MtDewd at 9:29 AM on May 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Impressive!

It sort of sounds like the TARDIS in need of a tune-up.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 9:30 AM on May 22, 2010


Yikes. I was surprised at how many people were still using the bridge while it was wiggling.
posted by Forktine at 9:36 AM on May 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


That video is wild. It hurts my brain to think about all that concrete and steel wobbling about like it's trying to cover "Single Ladies."
posted by gingerbeer at 9:36 AM on May 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


That looks totally [afterFX] shopped to me.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:39 AM on May 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's a clip of Gertie that that is hilariously contemporary with intro sound effects too.
Oddly in both cases (looking for whitecaps on the water) the wind doesn't seem to be inordinately strong. I guess the wind has to be of a consistent speed whereas if the wind were gusty it wouldn't harmonize with the period of vibration.
posted by vapidave at 9:52 AM on May 22, 2010


They should re-purpose it as a whale massage bed.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:05 AM on May 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


somewhere in Russia, a civil engineer just got relocated up north
posted by Fupped Duck at 10:08 AM on May 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


It sort of sounds like the TARDIS in need of a tune-up.

In a recent episode, it's revealed that the TARDIS makes that noise because the Doctor keeps leaving the parking brake on.
posted by hippybear at 10:08 AM on May 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Someone needs to send Russia some camera tripods.
posted by crapmatic at 10:34 AM on May 22, 2010


'Detected'?

That's why it's called detective work, I guess.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:35 AM on May 22, 2010


In Soviet Russia, bridge crosses you.
posted by jquinby at 10:40 AM on May 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


Why is this the only video of such a spectacular occurrence? You'd think YouTube would be full of home videos... and there seems to be something a little off about the way that guy is calmly walking down the length of the bridge. I'm going to say it's a fake until I see some other angles.
posted by brenton at 10:45 AM on May 22, 2010


Got to say, that's pretty damn proactive thing for Russian authorities to do.
posted by Relay at 10:46 AM on May 22, 2010


The part that confuses me is that the side pieces which look like concrete are compressing and stretching in the first shot of the video.
posted by smackfu at 10:54 AM on May 22, 2010


The bridge is 7 kilometers long. The oscillation is taking place on a longer stretch of surface than foreshortening makes it seem.
posted by longsleeves at 11:23 AM on May 22, 2010


I'm going to say it's a fake until I see some other angles.
posted by brenton at 10:45 AM on May 22 [+] [!]

Yes, because one angle can be faked, but others cannot.
posted by kcds at 11:31 AM on May 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's so weird to watch materials I normally picture as solid and sturdy move like fabric in a breeze, or something. Fascinatingly weird.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:34 AM on May 22, 2010


No, I am pretty sure this is a videoshopped fake viral clip. It's a 'new' neat trick to align distortions with a moving camera.
posted by effugas at 11:36 AM on May 22, 2010


side pieces which look like concrete are compressing and stretching in the first shot of the video.

I think that is folded sheet metal flashing, probably intended to allow rain water runoff to drop off into the air rather than run down the structure.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:37 AM on May 22, 2010


.

(for the small dog that wouldn't get out of the car on the tacoma narrows bridge)
posted by scruss at 11:43 AM on May 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Flexy bridge is flexy! o_O
posted by disclaimer at 11:46 AM on May 22, 2010


Here's what seems to be a Russian TV news report about the bridge. Maybe it's fake too.
posted by rtha at 12:05 PM on May 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


somewhere in Russia, a civil engineer just got relocated up north

Siberia is East.

While I'd consider any news link with .ru at the end minimally slightly suspect, the video is from (the UK) ITN's official YT channel.

smackfu, I don't think that's concrete -- I think what you're seeing are steel beams that are alternately appearing and disappearing beneath the deck as they resonate at different rates.

there seems to be something a little off about the way that guy is calmly walking down the length of the bridge

Similar footage from Tacoma Narrows (if not in this thread, it exists). It's apparently less apparent when you're actually part of the resonance.
posted by dhartung at 12:17 PM on May 22, 2010


Yes, because one angle can be faked, but others cannot.

My implication was more that additional footage would take more time to produce, and probably wouldn't be worth the effort. If a lot of different footage was on YouTube uploaded by various users and it was all different, this would make it a lot more credible. Right now the best thing it has going for it is that the bridge seems to have been actually closed for some actual small fluctuations (nothing like what is in the video). Pretty good prank, overall. But this kind of bridge just doesn't wobble in that way.
posted by brenton at 12:41 PM on May 22, 2010


But this kind of bridge just doesn't wobble in that way.

Why not?
posted by rtha at 12:49 PM on May 22, 2010


The side features that are compresing / stretching are definitely sheet metal flashing, and in fact it seems likely they're making the distinctive metallic "erk erk" noise as the bridge flexes. It's not terribly surprising something like this would happen; everything old becomes new again, and lessons that are learned in one generation are taken for granted by the next, and forgotten by those who follow until they're learned again the hard way. US engineers have Galloping Gertie pounded into them from their freshman days but it probably isn't so in other parts of the world where the lesson wasn't so close to home.
posted by localroger at 1:39 PM on May 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I call bullshit. Concrete and metal do not compress and stretch like rubber that quickly. No way. maybe part of that footage is real, but it seems like much of it :04 to :13 is nonsense. Some sort of canned video software effect.
posted by Skygazer at 1:52 PM on May 22, 2010


"Gallopin' Gertie" (that poor dog mentioned, color video), another view. Yeah, concrete and metal don't do that.
posted by dabitch at 2:24 PM on May 22, 2010


I call bullshit. Concrete and metal do not compress and stretch like rubber that quickly. No way. maybe part of that footage is real, but it seems like much of it :04 to :13 is nonsense. Some sort of canned video software effect.

And what of the Russian news clip? Even without speaking Russian you can see the bridge is closed down & they're talking about its structural integrity. They're not all standing around discussing some video prank. I guess the BBC has fallen for the stunt as well. I can appreciate skepticism but come on.
posted by scalefree at 2:26 PM on May 22, 2010


Oh, I think the story is real, I just think the footage I mentioned has been ...enhanced to the point that it's silly looking. More like a bad acid trip, than a wonky bride.
posted by Skygazer at 4:11 PM on May 22, 2010


What...bride? I meant BRIDGE, of course. Although I imagine a wonky bride (or groom) might be a lot like a bad acid trip.
posted by Skygazer at 4:12 PM on May 22, 2010


:04 to :13 in this clip.
posted by Skygazer at 4:15 PM on May 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Skygazer, that side railing is sheet metal most likely riveted at top and bottom. It's not structural. The actual support members aren't visible since this fascia is blocking the view.
posted by localroger at 5:21 PM on May 22, 2010


I heard Henry Petroski give a lecture not too long ago in which he argued that the basic principles of designing reliable bridges were well understood by the 1850s. Since then, bridge builders have repeatedly pushed the envelope in attempts to make their designs svelter, lighter, and cheaper. Every now and again, one of these sleeker designs proves to be in need of retrofitting or replacing, and bridge design becomes more conservative - for a while.

It's sort of disconcerting to suppose that a field as serious and long-term as civil engineering is subject to the same foibles of fashion and fads that, say, middle management is afflicted with. But we're all human, I guess.
posted by Western Infidels at 5:48 PM on May 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't speak Russian, but I'm pretty sure that the female voiceover on that bridge video mentions computer graphics.
posted by carping demon at 8:04 PM on May 22, 2010


Oh, I think the story is real, I just think the footage I mentioned has been ...enhanced to the point that it's silly looking. More like a bad acid trip, than a wonky bride.

Did you watch the second video, of the Tacoma Narrows bridge? This hardly an isolated or unknown phenomenon, and "Galloping Gertie" not only ripples like she's made of rubber, but twists like taffy.
posted by desuetude at 8:47 PM on May 22, 2010


That looks totally [afterFX] shopped to me.

Came here to say that! I saw it on the teev last night, half asleep, and it was so mesmerising and rhythmical it started to look fake. Or maybe it just started to look fake, period?

But then I thought of the famous Tacoma Narrows Bridge footage.

Zzzzzzzz.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:20 PM on May 22, 2010


carping demon: "I don't speak Russian, but I'm pretty sure that the female voiceover on that bridge video mentions computer graphics."

"what you are seeing is not computer graphics"
posted by alexei at 2:20 AM on May 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Here's what seems to be a Russian TV news report about the bridge. Maybe it's fake too."

Maybe it is. Ever seen "Close Encounters"? The Greys are coming... to Volgograd!
posted by markkraft at 3:45 AM on May 23, 2010


While I'd consider any news link with .ru at the end minimally slightly suspect, the video is from (the UK) ITN's official YT channel.

Here's a link to the same video from the ITN News website.

No, I am pretty sure this is a videoshopped fake viral clip.

I don't think ITN News would create fake, viral news clips:
"For over 50 years, ITN News has built a strong reputation as the UK's leading provider of independent broadcast news, delivering powerful, authoritative, world-class coverage. Renowned for its groundbreaking journalism and pioneering edge, ITN News produces high-quality news programming for the country's two biggest commercial broadcasters, ITV1 and Channel 4."
posted by iviken at 3:48 AM on May 23, 2010


In the Russian news clip, during the wobbly footage, the reporter says something that sounds like "komputer nagrafika".

Maybe someone with some understanding of the language could translate?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:30 AM on May 23, 2010


On non preview, aw, shucks.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:31 AM on May 23, 2010


The YOUTUBE has already told me this is FAKE. Why would YOUTUBE lie?
posted by clvrmnky at 5:54 PM on May 23, 2010


Looks like they reopened it on the 25th.

"The vibrations “show the high aerodynamic stability and reliability of the structure,” Volgomost, the company behind the bridge’s construction, said in a statement Monday, RIA-Novosti reported. The company called the vibrations “the first of their kind” anywhere for beam-type bridges."

Feature, not bug!
posted by rtha at 4:17 PM on June 12, 2010


I recently had the pleasure of strolling across this pedestrian bridge in Omaha, and there's a section where you can really feel the wind shear. There's one support cable within arm's reach that vibrates like a guitar string. You can grip it firmly and transfer the vibration throughout your body. We were speculating on how strong someone would have to be to absorb all of the vibrations through their arm, thereby stilling the bridge.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:21 PM on June 12, 2010


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