And this is it, from a viewpoint where you can really appreciate how tall it is:
Finished in 1979, this is the Kochertalbrücke (Kocher Valley Bridge), and at 178 m (or 574 feet) it was, until 2004, the highest bridge in Europe. Remember that the Golden Gate Bridge, in comparison, is only 220 feet, so this bridge is just over double the height.
If you like photographs of bridges, you’ll find a number of them that I’ve tried to capture in my blog.
What I find totally amazing about this bridge is the complete silence underneath it. The traffic deck is so high in the air, none of the sounds of the passing vehicles can be heard from the ground.
Thomas Friedman wrote, if you haven’t visited a megacity in the last year, then you really haven’t seen it.
Hainan, an island off the southern coast of China is certainly not a megacity. Nevertheless, the exceptionally high tech nature of Chinese cities slaps you in the face when you step outside the airport and see this watertower, sporting a huge and bright digital display:
And this is the Neckar Viaduct, somewhat further away:
What’s just amazing is that this viaduct has a height of 125 meters, or just over 400 feet. In comparison, the more famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco has a height of only 67 meters or around 200 feet. That means the Neckar Viaduct is almost twice as high as the Golden Gate Bridge!
Most non-Swiss people I know – including many who have made Switzerland their home – think of Switzerland as exclusively land of the rich. And indeed, it tops the charts as one of the world’s most expensive countries.
But people often overlook the fact that not everyone in Switzerland is as affluent as your typical Zürich resident or Geneve resident. In particular, there are still many rural areas, often isolated in tiny villages and hamlets in the Swiss Alps, where the income and standard of living is somewhat less.
In order to help these regions, the Swiss grocery store Coop operates a collection of donation stations, where people can donate old clothes and shoes, like this one:
Additionally, they have a terrific websitethat gives full details about the various projects they support to improve the lives of many people in these remote mountain villages.
I rarely do book reviews, but in this case I couldn’t help.
Back in 1975 I was 10 years old, and an IBM engineer, Fred Brooks, wrote a fabulous book entitled “The Mythical Man Month” containing his wisdom and advice for software engineering projects:
The title of the book comes from an important observation he made about software engineering: if you add more people to a late software project, you’re like to make it even later! But in addition there fabulous observations about other topics, like prototyping, the different between software development for projects and software development for products, and the like.
It’s just amazing: after nearly 45 years, hardly any of the most important core principles has changed. The author himself writes in his newest addition:
“In preparing my update, I was struck by how few of the propositions have been critiqued, proven, or disproven by ongoing software research and experience.“
When people think of Germany, not a lot of people think about volcanos. But in fact, Southern Germany has a region called Hegauthat is dotted with dozens exposed and extinct volcanos. This snap shows just a few of them:
A few of them are topped with the ruins of medieval castles, and I’ll post further snaps as time permits.
Because it’s so impressive I’ve written several times about the Thyssen Krupp Test Tower in Southern Germany. Here is a snap of it I took from the autobahn, showing just how incredible it looks towering above the South German countryside.
You’ve heard of the great sandstorms of the Sahara Desert.
You’ve heard of the great windstorms in Oklahoma.
And if you like science fiction, you’ve read about the great firestorms of the Tesla Trees in the Flame Forests of Hyperion.
Here, then, is a storm you’ve probably never heard about: the Great Pollen Storms of Southern Germany. For just a few days each spring, when conditions in Germany are right, the wind can kick up enormous pollen storms:
Here is an interesting fountain located in the Marktplatzin Stuttgart which, like most fountains in Germany but NO fountains in Switzerland, does not have drinkable water but which does, unlike most fountains in Germany, sports a jungle of algae:
But what a lot of people don’t know is that, deep under the Markplatz, there is a hotel, now closed, constructed from a World War II bunker.