Building the World

June 25, 2013
by buildingtheworld
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Alaska Highway – Environment

Alaska — Image from Wikimedia Commons

A cooperative endeavor undertaken by Canada and the United States, the Alaska Highway was dreamt of from the days of the Yukon gold rush, sketched a half century later, and finally built during a military emergency. It was one of the earliest attempts at homeland security. The arduous road, likened in difficulty to building the Panama Canal, challenged 16,000 workers for 1400 miles through frost, mud, and bogs in the 1940s. For the fascinating story of how the road was actually built, see (www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/introduction/alaska/). Today, together with the Alaska Pipeline, the northern territory faces another emergency, climate change. The polar bear has become a symbol of the environment of Alaska and the northern treasures of our world. How should we protect and preserve Alaska in the midst of environmental change?

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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May 24, 2013
by buildingtheworld
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Public Health — Panama Canal

Panama Canal public health programs reduced malaria, spread by mosquitoes. Image: World Health Organization

Do you know how malaria got its name and how the Panama Canal helped to reduce the dreaded disease? Originally thought to be caused by “bad (mal) air (aria),” the term was coined in Italy’s marshlands. Frenchman Alphonse Laveran pioneered health science on malaria. But the breakthrough came when British scientist Sir Ronald Ross, inspired by Laveran’s work, on August 20, 1897, in Secunderabad, India, determined the role of mosquitoes in transmitting the condition. Sir Ronald was so excited he wrote both a scientific article and a poem about the discovery, perhaps one of the first instances of poetry composed by a pioneering scientist. Ross’ work was followed by Americans in Havana, Cuba, to combat malaria and yellow fever; the effort was lead by Surgeon Major W.C. Gorgas, United States Army. In 1904, the Isthmian Canal Commission invited Gorgas to visit the construction site for the Panama Canal, an area prone to malaria, with a rainy season lasting nine months in a tropical environment. Gorgas reduced the percentage of malaria-infected canal workers from 9% in 1905 t0 5% in 1906, and finally to 1.6% in 1909. Working with Gorgas, Joseph Augustin LePrince, developed a larvacide mixture; Samel T. Darling introduced a daytime tent inspection program that was simple yet highly effective. The Panama Canal did not, unfortunately, eliminate malaria, but its integrated mosquito control program set a new model for public health. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (http://www.gatesfoundation.org) and Partners in Health (www.pih.org/) are among today’s leaders in conquering malaria. How can public health be improved through large-scale efforts such as public works?

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

 

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May 22, 2013
by buildingtheworld
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Shortcuts in History: Panama Canal

The Panama Canal from Hofstra University at hofstra.edu.

 

The Panama Canal saved 7,872 miles in transit for cargo, and people, when it opened to applause from shippers around the world. No longer was it necessary to sail around South America. Difficult to build, the Panama Canal’s story is a drama involving changes in leadership, tragedies and victories in public health, and perhaps one of the greatest achievements in public relations. The Panama Canal caused a new era in shipbuilding. The new and improved version, technically known as the Third Set of Locks Project ,doubles capacity with new locks on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides, as well as raising Lake Gatun. The reason for the expansion? Accommodation of “Post-Panamax” megaships carrying ever-bigger loads of cargo and ever-more decks of tourists for transit of one of the world’s most famous cruise itineraries. Expansion of the Panama Canal caused ports to enlarge their capacity: Baltimore, Norfolk, and Miami are among United States ports accommodating post-panamax ships in a post-2015 world. Where will the world’s next cut-through be? Cuba? Or will Ernst Frankel’s design for the Bering Strait, delivered in the Annual Frank P. Davidson Lecture in Paris, 2012, be next short-cut to transform world transport?

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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August 21, 2012
by zoequinn001
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Panama Canal Promoting More Than Pacific-Atlantic Shipping

Workers on the new Panama Canal locks, from cnn.com.

In a recent article in the New York Times, the plans for the future of American ports is credited, perhaps, to the success of the Panama Canal. With more and larger ships slated to be passing through the canal by 2015, some American ports are preparing to accept larger shipments in hopes that their million dollar investments will produce much larger returns.

For more on the developments in Panama and U.S. ports, please see:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/us/us-ports-seek-to-lure-big-ships-after-panama-canal-expands.html?pagewanted=all

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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