Temple Physics Professor: Stop Tornadoes by Building Giant Walls

Rendering courtesy of Temple University's Dr. Rongjia Tao

Rendering courtesy of Temple University’s Dr. Rongjia Tao

Tornadoes cause untold damage, but they’re considered an unavoidable natural disaster. Well, maybe. Temple physics professor and department chair Rongjia Tao says in a new paper that giant walls could block tornadoes.

In case you didn’t see it in the latest issue of the International Journal of Modern Physics B, Tao argues that giant walls would not just prevent tornadoes in the United States’ tornado alley, it would be cost-effective, too. This is despite the fact that such walls — four of them, he says — would have to be 984 feet high by 164 feet wide. A release about his paper makes a local comparison.

In Philadelphia, there is one skyscraper building, Comcast Center, about 300 meter high. From the cost of Comcast Center, we estimate that to build one mile [of] such wall, we need about $160 million. On the other hand, the damages caused by single tornado attack in Moore, Oklahoma on May 20, 2013 alone were multi billion dollars. Therefore, it seems that the cost for building such a wall is affordable.

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Bill Cosby to Temple Grads: Algebra Easier Than Cotton Picking


Last Thursday, Temple University held its 127th Commencement Exercises at the Liacouras Center on North Broad Street. Inquirer co-owner (well, at least for now) Lewis Katz gave a pretty good speech after receiving his honorary doctorate, and singer Jill Scott said a few inspiring words after getting hers.

And then, as the nearly two-hour ceremony came to a close, Temple President Neil D. Theobald asked Temple trustee and alleged sex assaulter Bill Cosby if he wanted to say a few words. Has Cosby ever declined such an invitation? Read more »

Temple: Eagles Want Big Rent Increase for Linc

The NCAA has been in the news a lot recently: Players want to unionize, the basketball tournament’s Most Outstanding Player sometimes went to bed hungry and the NCAA takes in a ton of money.

I guess the Eagles saw a lot of stories about that money, because the Inquirer’ John Mitchell reports the Eagles want a lot more money from Temple for the right to play at Lincoln Financial Field.

Temple says the Eagles currently want double what they’re getting from the University in rent for the handful of dates the school plays at the Linc each season. The school says the team has not given a reason for the increase. Temple is so upset they’re talking again about building an on-campus stadium! So perhaps this whole thing is just a way to get a government-built stadium in North Philly, who knows.

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Gil Scott-Heron, Godfather of Hip-Hop, Would Have Been 65


A version of this article ran on phillymag.com in March 2012.

When he first told America in 1970 that “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” after writing it in 1968 at age 19, Gil Scott-Heron set the stage for what would become part of the musical and poetic soundtrack for black, white and brown progressives and revolutionaries. And he didn’t stop until 40 years later. Gil was the “musical grandson” of insurrectionist Nat Turner and liberator Harriet Tubman, and the “poetic son” of fiery author David Walker and anti-lynching editor Ida B. Wells.

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VIDEO: Police Looking for 4 Girls Who Hit Temple Student with Brick


Update [5:48]

According to Philadelphia Police Public Affairs, there are five juveniles in custody in relation to the attack of a Temple student with a brick. As of this update, there have been no arrests and no charges filed, though public affairs noted that that could change “at any moment.”


NBC10 reports that Philadelphia police have made an arrest in the attack.

Temple says five suspects total are in custody.


Four teenage girls attacked a Temple student with a brick and attempted to rob her boyfriend on the 1600 block of Norris Street Friday, police say. The cops have now released a video of the four suspects.

NBC 10 reported a student was attacked by a group of 7 to 10 girls before the assault on the other two students.

Commissioner Charles Ramsay told KYW 1060’s Jim Melwert the teens are in for a rude awakening: “We’re going to charge them. If we find them, we will charge them. There’s no question about that. They’ll find out very quickly it’s not funny.”

Police say the group hopped on a SEPTA bus at 17th and Norris after the attack and attempted robbery. If you see them, police say to dial 911. To report a tip, call 215.686.8477.

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Suspicious Package at Temple Library Was Student Project

Whoops! False alarm, everyone! This is the second time in two days this has happened; Penn dorm Kings Court English House was evacuated yesterday in a similar science project situation.

Incidentally, in 2006 Saint Joseph’s University evacuated a building and called police due to a bicycle with a sticker of the band This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb.


A suspicious package has been reported at Paley Library, at 1210 Polett Walk, on Temple’s main campus in North Philly.

This has been quite the rough few days for Temple, with students being attacked late last week.

Photos on Twitter show students clustered outside.

More on this as it develops.

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