July 3rd, 2008


Engineering Geek

I love beautiful structures. Be they bridges, buildings, tunnels, etc, I am an engineering geek. I'm not a "Modern Marvels" junkie, but if I happen across it while they're talking about some new massive engineering project, I'll definitely stop to see what it's all about. I love well-designed and built infrastructure.

To anybody who has tried to get to Las Vegas from the south, you know what a bottleneck Hoover Dam can be. It's always packed with tourists both in their cars and out. Highway 93 is also a major north-south artery, so it's usually a traffic nightmare. The USBR did its part to help alleviate the congestion several years ago by building a huge parking structure on the Nevada side. There was talk of a bridge to bypass the dam, but when I left the Lower Colorado Region, they were still bickering about which design would cause the least amount of environmental damage. After 9/11 the major concern became terrorism. It would take next to nothing to blow up a truck bomb on the top of the dam. Trucks were banned which just shifted the truck mess to Highway 95 to the west.

It looks like work has finally (ok, it's been a couple of years) begun on a bridge to bypass the dam. And what a bridge! HERE is the wikipedia article about it. There's also an official website for the project as well. I'm looking forward to seeing this bridge once it's complete! 840 feet above the river! Whoot! I wonder how long it will take before someone BASE jumps from it.

"The Atomic Cafe"

Yup! I watched another documentary today courtesy of Netflix online. This was one that came out just as I was entering college. It was a campus movie several times, but I never went. It was very appropriate for the time since this was the era of Ronald RayGun and his "we begin bombing in 5 minutes" rhetoric.

It is a very cool movie made up extensively of old civil defense and Department of the Army films of the 40's and 50's which dealt with America entering the nuclear age. It was just incredible what was being dished out to the American public. I would laugh harder, but hearing ads today on the radio for Ready.gov made me realize that nothing has really changed over the past 50 years. Oh, there's nothing wrong with being prepared, I just feel there's an underlying message of promoting fear of which I am tiring.

So if you get a chance to see this film, give it a watch. It gives you insight on a very interesting time in America's past and also makes you think that more things have changed, the more things have stayed the same.

Here! Have a cute little anthropomorphic turtle! Be aware that the clip is 9 minutes long, but highly amusing.

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