Rise of the Eiffel Tower, 1887-1889

La tour Eiffel, the most-visited paid monument in the world, turned 125-years-old this year. Paris' most famous structure was also one of the first major construction projects to have been widely documented via photography.

We all know video killed the radio star. But did you know that radio saved the Eiffel Tower


(High res version of the above image)

Gustave Eiffel's iron-lattice tower, a quintessential piece of the Parisian skyline, was constructed from 1887 to 1889 in order to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. It was, at the time, the tallest man-made structure in the world. Many of Eiffel's contemporaries detested the tower, calling his design "obnoxious" and "vile." Upon its construction, it was understood that the tower would be disassembled after 20 years.

But the emergence of radio gave Paris a really good reason to keep Eiffel's tower around, as it became an "obnoxious" and "vile" yet totally useful antenna. According to World War I historian Barbara Tuchman, a transmitter in the tower jammed German radio communications and helped the Allies emerge victorious in the First Battle of the Marne, in 1914.

In 2010, the tower reached 250 million total visitors since its opening. It has become so iconic that you can hardly think of Paris without images of iron-lattice coming to mind.

Not bad for a structure that was supposed to be scrapped after a couple decades.

Source: Public Domain Archive

Ideology drives us apart. Neuroscience can bring us back together.

A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.

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  • How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
  • To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
  • The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
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Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
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