Answers are urgently needed on Bay Bridge

The ongoing upgrade of the Bay Area bridge is a process that is in total failure mode.

And it is replacing the older bridge sections that withstood a major quake with only one section failing due probably to poor material, construction and/or lack of proper maintenance.

The construction of all "safety-related" items such as automobiles, airplanes, trains, buildings, bridges etc. normally develop extensive design specifications and related tests to maximize reliability after construction. The Bay Area bridge upgrade is no exception to this requirement.

Of all the articles that I have read regarding this project I have yet to see any reference to such data. I have to believe that this information exists and would clearly show the shortcomings of this project. In the case of the Bay Area bridge I would expect these specifications and tests would include all cables, bolts and struts that are critical to the strength of the final assembly.

As I understand it, the bolts that broke were merely being tightened to the normal torque for final assembly, not anywhere near the expected stress level expected when the Big One hits. If this were done right now I would expect that all of the bolts would break.

To summarize the following questions need to be answered:

  • What are the specs for all cables, bolts and other steel members? This to include tensile, hardness and torque requirements for normal assembly and for the expected earthquake that we all know is coming.

  • What were the test results of all previously used components? I suspect that most of this was not performed. Incredible but true? If so, everyone assigned to this program should be fired for allowing this to happen.

  • Why should anyone believe that the "fix" for the bolt problem should be any better? What are the specs for the "cables" to be used and related test results?

    David Brusiee

    Pleasanton

    Overpopulation warnings have gone unheeded

    The June 14 article, "U.S. whites decline; now a minority in under-5 age group" by Hope Yen, of The Associated Press, makes me wonder what everyone else was doing when the whites/Caucasians were reading and following the warnings of professor Paul Erlich's 1968 book, "The Population Bomb."

    Yen's article restates what we all know, "Fueled by immigration and high rates of birth ...." So, who was paying attention to overpopulation? Uh, never mind.

    Nancy Stevens

    Pleasanton

    Darwin may not have been atheist, agnostic

    Jerry Landis, in his recent letter touting evolution as an answer to God as creator, ridiculed the idea of God as a "fantasy." I would take issue. Probably the one most referred to as challenging the idea of God as the creator is Charles Darwin. His explanation of how the immense diversity of plants and animals on this earth came to be was set forth in his 1859 book, "The Origin of Species." I just finished reading that book in an effort to understand for myself what he had to say.

    My conclusion: his views, which he described as the Theory of Natural Selection showed conclusively that each species of plant or animal developed over the eons of geologic time through small changes, each such change resulting in an improved version, and in some cases resulting in a completely different species such as we know today. He meticulously gathered fossil evidence of how this had occurred. His theory did not completely satisfy all of his scientific colleagues, but these problem cases he contended were due to a misconception of the extremely great periods of geologic time involved. The furor that resulted from the publication of "The Origin of Species" resulted from the clear conflict with the view of creation as set forth in Genesis and taught as literal truth by the Christian churches. The publication of "The Descent of Man" in 1871 only compounded the conflict. No one in our day and age believes in the Genesis version. Darwin seems not to have grappled with the theological issues he and other scientists had stirred up but nothing I read would indicate he was an atheist ... or even an agnostic.

    Donald F. King

    Livermore

    Germans right to name school after U.S. pilot

    In between so much negative news, here is a heartwarming news item from Berlin. In June 1948, the Soviets blocked all access (roads, railroads, waterways) to West Berlin, hoping that the Western allies (America, Britain, France) would not risk a confrontation and would leave free West Berlin to the communists.

    It was a miscalculation: for almost one year, American and British aircraft flew food, coal and supplies from West German air bases to West Berlin. This enormous "Operation Vittles," better known as the "Berlin Airlift" saved West Berlin and its more than two million citizens, and in May 1949, the Soviets signaled defeat. They ended the blockade of West Berlin.

    During the airlift, planes landed at Berlin's airports around the clock, sometimes every 90 seconds, in every imaginable weather. One American pilot was Gail S. Halvorsen. As he landed his C-54 transport plane, he spotted Berlin kids watching the planes. He decided to throw them chocolate and candy. Halvorsen attached small parachutes and would throw them out of his plane while on final approach. He became the most famous airlift pilot. He and many other pilots would be known as "candy bombers." Thanks to Halvorsen and his fellow "candy bombers," two countries, Germany and America, who just four years earlier had been at war, became friends.

    Berliners have never forgotten these men who tirelessly saved their city. Halvorsen is already an honorary Berlin citizen and has the keys to the city. A few days ago, on June 15, a Berlin high school was renamed "Gail S. Halvorsen School." The 92-year old. Halvorsen attended the event and unveiled the plaque. This action by grateful German children and their parents who voted Halvorsen as the most deserving person to name their school should remind us how acts of kindness can significantly change relations between two nations.

    Patrick Weidhaas

    Dublin

    'New' GOP looks awfully familiar

    Thirty-eight votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, poison-pill amendments to derail immigration reform, knowingly passing anti-abortion laws that are unconstitutional and wasting taxpayer time and money on endless conspiracy hearings that are nothing but fishing trips.

    If this is the Republicans' way of re-branding themselves, they might want to get new coaches.

    Kevin S Bryant

    Dublin