Towers: Upright, Leaning, and Collapsed

Sinking and sliding ground, or other creeping degradation, can cause failure.

Engineering

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November-December 2020

Volume 108, Number 6
Page 340

DOI: 10.1511/2020.108.6.340

I have long worked at a desk stacked with towers of books and papers. Whenever I returned from an extended absence, I could also expect to find a large pile of mail. On one occasion, it reminded me of a tower about to topple over, its instability coming from a curiously bulky envelope on which all the smaller and flatter ones rested. Reaching inside the puffy package, I felt something soft, which turned out to be a blue T-shirt bearing the slogan “The Upright Towers of Pisa,” printed above a photo of an Italian skyline punctuated by perfectly vertical towers.

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