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Daily Drill: A Gargantuan City and Spider Web Cables


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photo courtesy IK's World Trip/Flickr

China's "World's Largest City" Already Exceeds S. Korea in Population 

Pearl River Delta. It sounds almost like a rural farming community. It's not. Pearl River Delta is the unofficial name of a 15,000 square kilometer mega-city presently under development.  China knows something about collectivizing, and they are collecting/building together the cities of Shenzhen, Dongguan, Huizhou, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Guangzhou, Foshan, and Zhaoqing. The resulting single city will have an expected population that exceeds that of S. Korea. The gargantuan mega-project will have its own $2 trillion economic output, and will be about the size of W. Virginia. But with 30 times the population. I worry about cab fare, but let's take a tour.

New York's Ancient Underground Leads to "Peek and Shriek" Road Repairs

To the rhetorical question "Why are New York City's Streets constantly under repair?" the answers are several, and weird. The 6,300 miles of road between the five boroughs that comprise New York are constantly under repair due, in part, to the "Freeze-and-Thaw" phenomenon that plays such heck with road materials.  But there is also a vast underground infrastructure that dates back to the earliest days of the city. It is so generally unknown what's down there, the local road construction folk have come to call the process of opening a New York street a "Peek and Shriek" operation. Remove the manhole cover, I'm going in.

Construction Irony: World'sTiniest City Reportedly Built from Stones left by Giants

The tiny city of Hum, on the Istrian peninsula in Croatia, dates back at least to the year 1102 and today has 20 inhabitants. The tiny hamlet's bureau of tourism assures the curious traveler that, even during "peak season" there will be no traffic jams and plenty of parking.  When peak season occurs in Hum is left to the reader's imagination. I'd love to visit the place if I can find it.

Japanese Designer Reimagines Solder as a Beautiful and Conductive Interior Surface 

Solder has long been the unlovely stuff used to join unseen things together. Now a Japanese designer has found a way to use solder as an unexpectedly cool surface material for interior walls.  The new solder surface not only yields a strange and beautiful visual aesthetic, it actually conducts enough electricity to power lights clipped to its surface.  The process is being called a creative "misuse" of a familiar material. Light me up with more info.

Eeew! Spider Webbing May One Day Replace Steel

Nature knows what it's doing. Spider silk has more tensile strength than either Kevlar or steel, and can stretch up to 140% of its length without snapping. Naturally these qualities have excited the collective imagination of materials engineers everywhere.  Hundreds of combined arachnid threads, or their synthetic equivalent, may one day produce a crazily strong material able to take unexpectedly huge weight loads. Scientists are increasingly looking at the microstructures within nature as they search for lighter, stronger building materials. I am spider-averse but interested.

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