Friday, February 3, 2012

File This Under "What they can't do these days!"

It's something i certainly wish they could do here.

We have been undergoing road construction on our interstates in this state for so long that many of us are starting to believe the state flower is the orange barrel.

In fact, there has been some form of construction, including much needed widening, almost continuously for the 30+ years i've lived here.

It takes forever, and is always a decade late to address the need. This explains our traffic pattern, where morning rush hour is from 6am to 10am, evening rush hour is from 3pm to 7pm, and Friday evening's rush hour begins Thursday morning.

Well it seems engineers have found a way to speed up the process a bit, at least when it comes to bridges.

On Interstate 15 in Mesquite, Nevada, they needed two bridges replaced. Usually such a thing would take a year and cost millions in extra gas and wear on vehicles to drivers, as well as shortening tempers and lengthening commutes.

This time, instead, they built the new bridges right next to the old ones, on temporary platforms. When those were ready, the old ones were demolished and the new ones were slid into place using hydraulic jacks, metal beams, and, best of all to me, the old standby Dawn dish detergent.

The method is called accelerated bridge construction, and sounds like one of the best new engineering feats to come along in a while, at least as far as road construction is concerned.

Traffic was interrupted for only a week, instead of over a year.

We are facing at least another year around here. Wish our DOTD could be this innovative.

Today is:

Bubble Gum Day -- kids pay for the right to chew in school today, the money going to charity

Day of Remembrance for Oleg the Prophet -- Ancient Norse Calendar

Give Kids A Smile Day -- US, sponsored by the ADA to encourage children's dental health

Heroes' Day -- Mozambique

Magnolia and Fish Jubilee -- Fairy Calendar

Maha Shavartri -- Hindu

Martyr's Day -- Sao Tome and Principe

National Carrot Cake Day

National Wear Red Day -- US (wear red for women's heart health awareness)

Setsubun-sai (Bean-Throwing Festival) -- Japan/Shinto (many fests throughout Japan)

St. Anskar's Day (patron of Denmark, Iceland, Norway)

St. Blaise's Day/Blessing of Throats Day (Patron of throat health)

Takisanji Oni Festival -- Takisan-ji Temple, Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, Japan

Tapati Festival -- Rapa Nui (Easter Island) through the 17th

The Day the Music Died

Veterans' Day -- Thailand

Winterlude -- Ottowa, ON, Canada (through the 20th)

Anniversaries Today:

Wake Forest University is established, 1834

Birthdays Today:

Maura Tierney, 1965
Morgan Fairchild, 1950
Dave Davies, 1947
Fran Tarkenton, 1940
Shelley Berman, 19226
Joey Bishop, 1918
James Michener, 1907
Norman Rockwell, 1894
Gertrude Stein, 1874

Today in History

Bartolomeu Dias of Portugal lands in Mossel Bay after rounding the Cape of Good Hope, becoming the first known European to travel so far south, 1488
The first paper money in America is issued by the colony of Massachusetts, 1690
Philadelphia establishes a "pesthouse" to quarantine immigrants, 1743
The Dutch States-General forbid the export of windmills, 1752
Spain recognizes US independence, 1783
The world's first commercial cheese factory is established in Switzerland, 1815
The sovereignty of Greece is confirmed in a London Protocol, 1830
The Wisconsin Supreme Court declares the US Fugitive Slave Law unconstitutional,1855
Emperor Meiji becomes the 122nd emperor of Japan, 1867
The 15th Amendment to the US Constitution, guaranteeing Black suffrage, is passed, 1870
Albert Spalding, with only $800, starts a sporting goods company, which eventually manufactured the first official baseball, tennis ball, basketball, golf ball, and football (American style football), 1876
Circus owner P.T. Barnum buys Jumbo the elephant, 1882
The 16th Amendment to the US Constitution, the income tax, is ratified, 1913
Canada's original Parliament building, in Ottowa, burns down, 1916
Percival Prattis becomes the first African-American news correspondent allowed in the United States House of Representatives and Senate press galleries, 1947
A plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa kills Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, and pilot Roger Peterson and the incident becomes known as The Day the Music Died, 1959
British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan speaks of the "a wind of change" of increasing national consciousness blowing through colonial Africa, signalling that his Government was likely to support decolonization, 1960
The unmanned Soviet Luna 9 spacecraft makes the first controlled rocket-assisted landing on the Moon, 1966
In Cairo, Yasser Arafat is appointed Palestine Liberation Organization leader at the Palestinian National Congress, 1969
New York Police Officer Frank Serpico is shot during a drug bust in Brooklyn and survives to later testify against police corruption, 1971
John Buster and the research team at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center announce history's first embryo transfer, from one woman to another resulting in a live birth, 1984
Astronaut Eileen Collins becomes the first woman to pilot the Space Shuttle as mission STS-63 gets underway from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, 1995
The New York Giants defeated the heavily favored and previously undefeated 18-0 New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, 17-14, in what is known to be one of the greatest upsets in sports history, 2008


  1. I had no idea it be bubblegum day!
    im celebrating.
    with the child.
    bubble pics to come :)

  2. You totally cracked me up with the Orange Barrel state flower!

    The side by side bridge idea... such an obviously superior way to go about it, you wonder why it isn't standard everywhere? Probably cost... though they never bother to include OUR costs as the public from all the delays.


  3. Bubble Gum Day? Who thinks these things up? Not the poor janitors whose job it is to scrap up this stuff.

  4. Carla, you and the Tornado enjoy.

    Crabby, the state capital wants to be renamed Barrel L'Orange, since there are no more red sticks around (Baton Rouge). ;)

    Stephen, i think one of the rules is they have to dispose of it properly, so they can participate next year. As a janitor by trade, i understand.