The Best Tool for Tracking Our Crumbling Infrastructure Is In Orbit

The sad state of America’s bridges is a perennial topic amongst engineers and a regular talking point for politicians, all of whom have a plan to fix them. An interesting post from the European Space Agency shows how one of the best tools for repair is actually hanging out in Low Earth Orbit. » 5/18/15 11:00am Monday 11:00am

Learning From Australia's Drought Lessons to Avoid a Mad Max Future

The drought is no longer a California problem. The Colorado River, which supplies water to one-eighth of the country’s population, is reporting record low water levels due to overallocation. The US needs a little perspective when it comes to how bad this is going to get. Luckily we have one: Australia. » 5/15/15 12:00pm 5/15/15 12:00pm

I Can Barely Watch This Video of the World's Longest Skywalk

You’ll want to read the rest of this post with your eyes shut if you have even the remotest fear of heights: This is the world’s longest skywalk, which recently opened in China. The skywalk allows crazy people to walk 87 feet off a cliff for spectacular vomit-inducing views. Don’t worry, it’s only about a half-mile… » 5/14/15 3:55pm 5/14/15 3:55pm

Comcast Treats City to Fiber After Suing It For Installing Fiber

Insulting news, residents of Chattanooga! Comcast will soon offer its 2 Gigabit-per-second fiber internet service to some 200,000 customers in the area. Why insulting? Because just a few years ago Comcast sued Chattanooga’s utility board for building a fiber network, forcing residents to use its own super slow… » 5/01/15 1:16pm 5/01/15 1:16pm

Ask Your Questions About Finding and Mapping Lost Urban History

Los Angeles is no stranger to failed infrastructural schemes and vanished landscapes. But did you know that a nine-mile bike highway once traveled part of the way from LA to the nearby city of Pasadena? It’s one of 19 map-annotated essays about the city featured in the new book LAtitudes: An Angeleno’s Atlas. » 4/29/15 2:00pm 4/29/15 2:00pm

Spraypainting Phalluses On Potholes Is One Way To Get Them Fixed

The roads around my house have emerged from the winter looking like the set from a WWII epic set on a war-torn Moon. Local government, as a rule, sucks at repairing car-eating potholes in a timely and effective manner — unless, that is, you surround said pothole with a brightly colored penis. » 4/27/15 11:55pm 4/27/15 11:55pm

A Failed Lab Experiment Accidentally Invented a Replacement For Cement

As the world’s cities expand at faster and faster speeds, so does its use of cement. One oft-quoted statistic shows that China alone used as much cement in the last three years as the US used in the last 100. Just one problem: Cement is responsible for pushing a hell of a lot of carbon dioxide into the world. » 4/16/15 2:00pm 4/16/15 2:00pm

Tokyo Has the Largest Underground Water Tank in the World

This enormous, cathedral-like building is the main water tank of the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel facility in Kasukabe City, 19 miles north of Tokyo, Japan, which is one of the most famous water infrastructure complex in the world, and also the world’s largest underground flood diversion… » 4/10/15 9:00pm 4/10/15 9:00pm

How Wild Animals And Cities Are Adapting To Each Other 

From coyotes camping out in Queens bars to giant snails eating houses in Florida to llamas roaming the streets of Phoenix, there’s no shortage of sensational news featuring wild animals infiltrating our cities. But these brilliant ever-adapting creatures are also finding new ways to live among us humans, and some… » 4/09/15 2:05pm 4/09/15 2:05pm

The Plan to Build an Undersea Cable Around the US—and Why We Need It

There’s a new undersea cable in the works, unlike any system that’s been built before. It is almost 10,000 miles long. It winds under the Arctic Ocean, from the United Kingdom, over Canada, and down to Japan, offering the fastest possible route between London and Tokyo. It stops on icy Canadian shores along the way,… » 4/08/15 10:45am 4/08/15 10:45am

That Time New York City Wanted to Put Highways On Top of Its Skyscrapers

Some might say New Yorkers had more money than sense in the Roaring Twenties. Somewhat profoundly, John K. Hencken's idea to build highways on top of skyscrapers in Manhattan required both. Bummer about that stock market crash—otherwise these elevated boulevards might have been built! Emphasis on the might have. » 3/30/15 6:10pm 3/30/15 6:10pm

A Simple Design Tweak May Keep Drunk People From Falling On Train Tracks

The number of deaths linked to drunk passengers who wander off the platform and onto the tracks has steadily increased over the years. But a new study of these falls shows that many of them occur in the same way—and that there might be a few simple ways to prevent some of them. » 3/30/15 11:05am 3/30/15 11:05am