Blender 3D 2.60a was released on Oct 24, 2011. The 2.60a release is a bugfix release for 2.60 shown in the changelog. The changelog/release notes for 2.60 show all of the great new features that were added.
Features of 2.60 release:
The Blender Foundation and online developer community is proud to present Blender 2.60. This is the beginning of the Blender 2.6x series, targeted at including all work that happened in branches or patches past years.
Most notable in this release is 3D audio, UI translation, improved weight painting and a lot of animation system updates. Check the list  for highlights and the full changelog.
Keep up the great work guys! Looking forward to 2.61 near Dec 2011 which will include the Cycles render engine. The Cycles render engine is merged in the trunk so any recent trunk build will include this. It will be the greatest thing to happen to the render engine in a long time. Get a fresh copy at graphical.org if you want to test Cycles out.
Today is our last binary day until the year 2100.
RISA Technologies has recently released RISASection 2.0. This new version of the program contains the following new features to enhance your modeling ability:
You now can import a 2D shape into RISASection, via DXF file. For a detailed look at this feature, please see Importing DXF Files into RISASection.
Other Features include
Shape Type Assignment
New Parallel Align Tool
Additional Torsional Properties for Hot Rolled Shapes
New Merge/Explode Function
for more info see Risa News
2010 AISC Seismic Provisions for Structural Steel Buildings Available as a Free DownloadSeptember 12, 2011 from American Institute of Steel ConstructionChicago, IL – The 2010 AISC Seismic Provisions for Structural Steel Buildings ANSI/AISC 341-10 is now available for free downloading on AISC’s web site at www.aisc.org/2010SP. This new specification supersedes the 2005 AISC Seismic Provisions for Structural Steel Buildings and all previous versions of this specification. The new specification has been approved by the AISC Committee on Specifications and is ANSI-accredited.
via 2010 AISC Seismic Provisions for Structural Steel Buildings Available as a Free Download.
RISA-2D 10.1 includes fully integrated concrete wall design. Model concrete walls and RISA-2D will design the reinforcement! This update also includes code updates to make RISA-2D fully compatible with IBC 2009.
Visit the RISA-2D product page to learn more about this exciting release.
RISA-3D, RISA-2D and RISAFloor have the capability to project distributed and area loads onto members. How do they work, and how do you choose the right loading for an inclined member? Find this answer and more in RISA’s article.
LEAP Bridge v8i (SELECTseries 2) v10.00.02 is a maintenance release and incorporates the following fixes to itself and its component programs:
LEAP Bridge v10.00.02
LEAP CONSPAN v10.00.02
LEAP RC-PIER v10.00.02
LEAP CONBOX v10.00.02
LEAP GEOMATH v10.00.02
Visit here to see the full list of fixes.
Technology Review published an article on the traveling wave reactor. The fuel supply available for this type of reactor estimated to be enough to last for a million years according to Terrapower.
Terrapower, a startup funded in part by Nathan Myhrvold and Bill Gates, is moving closer to building a new type of nuclear reactor called a traveling wave reactor that runs on an abundant form of uranium. The company sees it as a possible alternative to fusion reactors, which are also valued for their potential to produce power from a nearly inexhaustible source of fuel.
via Advanced Reactor Gets Closer to Reality – Technology Review.
The WBDG has published an article on Net Zero Energy Buildings.
The concept of a Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB), one which produces as much energy as it uses over the course of a year, recently has been evolving from research to reality. Currently, there are only a small number of highly efficient buildings that meet the criteria to be called “Net Zero”. As a result of advances in construction technologies, renewable energy systems, and academic research, creating Net Zero Energy buildings is becoming more and more feasible.
While the exact definitions of metrics for “net zero energy” vary (this is discussed below), most agree that Net Zero Energy Buildings combine:
The Whole Building Design Guide (www.wbdg.org) has updated their online calculator to estimate time to freezing for water in an insulated pipe.
Reference: 2009 ASHRAE HoF, Chapter 23, Equation 1 (pg 23.4)
This calculator estimates the time for a long, water-filled pipe or tube (with no flow) to reach the freezing temperature.
Via [Mechanical Insulation Design Guide – Estimate Time to Freezing for Water in an Insulated Pipe | Whole Building Design Guide.]