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Builders Compete for Best Earthquake-Proof Toothpick Tower

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 12, 2022

Perhaps intuiting our shared love and fond remembrance of school engineering competitions (egg drop! toothpick bridge!), Spencer Wright alerted me to the latest issue of The Prepared, specifically this bit about a competition to design toothpick towers that can withstand simulated earthquakes. Wright writes:

I’m a big fan of egg drop contests, in which teams make some kind of contraption that lets a raw egg fall — and not break — from a high height. Well, Sojo University’s Department of Architecture holds a seismic loading competition, in which teams of high schoolers build toothpick towers that stay standing when shaken by a simulated earthquake. The towers fail in delightful ways — some lean slowly, some topple all at once, some twist up over a period of minutes before collapsing on themselves. The full 2021 competition (which was live streamed!) can be seen in this video, though highlights of the 2010 competition are perhaps more fun to watch.

I’ve embedded the 2010 competition highlight video above…it’s a fun watch. (via the prepared)