Saturday, October 18, 2014

SA October

I'm re-sending this as it is the current crises.

My understanding of the Ebola Virus is it originated around 1976 in a huge cave in Africa that was made by elephants tusking around the edges, maybe for salt or something, then the walls kept collapsing where they were undermined. This resulted is a huge vaulted cavern where monkeys somehow got infected with something from the caves. Since Africans and some Asians eat the brains of some monkeys (Better make mine well done, please) it was passed into the human strain. Easily transmitted thru blood, it will devastate the body in a matter of days, during which the body has a melt down with large quantities of infected blood gushing out all over the place. Anyway, the virus was transmitted throughout Africa along the Kinshasha highway, mostly be truckers who frequented the prostitutes along the way. This virus is nasty, killing the infected within 2 to 18 days, with a death of 50% to 90%. This stuff destroys the blood vessel lining resulting in hemorragic fever. Fortunately it acts so quickly that it kills it’s hosts before it can spread all over. There is no known vaccine for it.
Can you imagine the mess, when a person has bled out all over the hospital room? Would you be a volunteer nurse to clean it up?

 I suppose one must not miss the Caffe Florian , if you're hanging around the Piazza San Marco. We should have had coffee instead of drink, as the price was not as high as Harry's, but pretty close.  Anyway, one must immerse onseelf into a little history once in a while, damn the cost!. The first coffee house opened in 1683 on the Campo (Piazza), and Florian Francesconi open his in 1720. Soon there were 30 coffee houses on the Campo. But Florian seems to have prevailed, and his is the largest one on the Campo. I suppose part of the cost of your drink goes to pay the four musicians (Classical) entertaining you. Of course, this was the place to be seen for a couple of centuries, where now, we?re just all bloody tourists having a small taste of luxury.  The Rousseaus and Casanovas have all gone.  Let's go around the corner and see if we can spend more fore a Martini at Harry's Bar.

I'm re-doing this as the published text got screwed up in earlier blog, somehow.

BOOK REPORT - The Tallest Tower by Jos. Harris
Towards the end of the 19th century, the holy Grail of construction was a one thousand foot  high structure, so that was the program of the competition of such for the Paris Exhibition of  1890 . Only Eiffel had the construction expertise to pull off his design, a basic minimalist tower
that would not be blown over and would carry fair goers to the top, as well as several posh restaurants   on the first stage.  By thee time the Paris Fair Board made up their mind which design they chose, there was two  and half years to design & construct the tower. Of course, the elevator was just being invented, to say nothing about one slanted and changing angles.
   At the same time, forged steel was just  being invented, but Eiffel incorporated both these in his bid to build it. He eventually got paid  $900,000 from the city of Paris, as well as putting up a million and a third of his own money.
When all was complete, on time, it was a little under budget. He had a deal to run the
concessions for twenty years, which reimbursed him for his investment. The previous tallest
structure was the Washington Monument in USA at 555 feet and took 36 years to complete in
  It as surprising to note that Eiffel did not design it, but his chief engineer did. Although very
probable Gustave was a major influence on the concept. Although we see the tower as
beautiful, his solution was strictly utilitarian, barely an extra pound of steel anywhere in the
structure. He made one exception to that to alleviate the feeling of the time that an arch was
necessary for a structure, so he added a superfluous steel arch on the four sides of the base,
something I've always wondered about.
In order to reduce the problem of the workers who would have to climb all the way down to a
cafe nearby and load up on cognac for lunch, Eiffel opened his own cafe so they could stay up
high but he only sold wine and food, all at a super reasonable cost. However, danger was still
rampant, as they worked through two winters, where wind, snow and ice were formidable foes.
But no loss of life, except for one idiot worker, showing off for his girlfriend after work, fell to his
Briar canal over Loire River
death. splat!
I've been on three of his structures, starting with the rail bridge over the Gironde river at
Bordeaux, (his first large project), the Briar Canal Viaduct that spans over the Loire river for  about a thousand feet, as well as the tower. We are not used to the concept, where the
designer is also the builder. Even though his designs are classic, his inventiveness of
construction methods were amazing. Hydraulic water jacks, sand jacks for alignment , etc. were  only the beginning of his creativity.
Le Canal Viaduct