1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data http://cisephysics.homestead.com/files/NewSanFranciscoBridge.pdf My question is on this problem. For some reason, I have trouble seeing which direction the force is pushing when it comes to statics. In this case, why is the column pushing up? I thought it would be going down because of gravity. There have been similar problems to this in my physics book, where I just don't get it. I'm fine on solving once I have the direction. One that I can think of off the top of my head was with a tether ball. It showed the ball pushing against the pole, rather than into it. The diagram would look something like this below: o| Where the o is the ball and the | is the pole Then the vector for the x-direction is going to the left, but intuitively I'd imagine it's force pressing into the pole. Any help would be appreciated.