Doggerland, the Missing Link Between Britain and Europe
This crazy scheme would have restored the prehistoric land bridge between the UK and the Continent
Word of the day: epeiric. That term describes shallow, salty seas covering part of a continental shelf. Examples include the Sundance, Zechstein and Turgai Seas – all excellently named, but alas all dried up. Epeiric seas still around today include the Hudson Bay and the Persian Gulf. And the North Sea, of which we shall now speak.
Some 10 millennia ago, during the last Ice Age, so much water was stored in huge polar ice caps that sea levels were 120 m lower than today. The North Sea consequently wasn’t a sea, but a land bridge between Britain and Europe. Geologists call this Doggerland, after the Dogger Bank, the shallowest, largest sand bank in the North Sea today. In all probability, this now sunken land land of once undulating prairie was quite densely inhabited by Stone Age humans. These must have been their hunting grounds, their prey the mammoths whose bones fishermen sometimes still dredge up from the sea floor.
In the 1930s, there existed at least one wild plan to reclaim this particular piece of sunken real estate from the seas, if maybe only in the pages of Modern Mechanix, an American magazine (1928-2001) that ran under a variety of titles (the best-known perhaps being Mechanix Illustrated). This map, dated to September 1930, has a slightly unbelievable air to it, and its inspiration probably isn’t Doggerland, but might well be the better-argumented Atlantropa scheme (discussed in #287 of this blog).
Under the title 'North Sea Drainage Project to Increase Area of Europe', a caption reads:
“If the extensive schemes for the drainage of North Sea are carried out according to the plan illustrated above, which was conceived by a group of eminent English scientists, 100,000 square miles will be added to the overcrowded continents of Europe. The reclaimed land will be walled in with enormous dykes, similar to the Netherland dykes, to protect it from the sea, and the various rivers flowing into the North Sea will have their courses diverted to different outlets by means of canals.”
Conspicuously absent are the scientists’ credentials. The logistics of building a 450-mile-long dyke connecting Norfolk (England) to Jutland (Denmark), rising 90 feet above the sea level, seem daunting enough for our own age, let alone for the 1930s. A similar dyke at the North Sea’s south end, barely 150 miles long, would only leave Antwerp and London with direct sea access, depriving the whole of the Netherlands and much of Germany and Denmark of a coastline.
The only element on this map that has become reality, is a fixed link between England and France, although it is a tunnel rather than the bridge imagined on this map. No direct train, then, between London, Berlin, Moscow and the Far East via Harwich (with its abandoned naval base) and passing in between Rotter- and Amsterdam. An inset map at the lower right shows how the map of northwestern Europe might look like, should the North Sea be reclaimed according to this scheme.
Many thanks to Flit for sending me this link to this page at the Modern Mechanix blog. (‘Yesterday’s Tomorrow Today’). And now, just for the fun of it (you never know when it might come in handy), some North Sea trivia:
Strange Maps #296
Got a strange map? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
The controversial herbicide is everywhere, apparently.
- U.S. PIRG tested 20 beers and wines, including organics, and found Roundup's active ingredient in almost all of them.
- A jury on August 2018 awarded a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma victim $289 million in Roundup damages.
- Bayer/Monsanto says Roundup is totally safe. Others disagree.
The pizza giant Domino's partners with a Silicon Valley startup to start delivering pizza by robots.
- Domino's partnered with the Silicon Valley startup Nuro to have robot cars deliver pizza.
- The trial run will begin in Houston later this year.
- The robots will be half a regular car and will need to be unlocked by a PIN code.
Would you have to tip robots? You might be answering that question sooner than you think as Domino's is about to start using robots for delivering pizza. Later this year a fleet of self-driving robotic vehicles will be spreading the joy of pizza throughout the Houston area for the famous pizza manufacturer, using delivery cars made by the Silicon Valley startup Nuro.
The startup, founded by Google veterans, raised $940 million in February and has already been delivering groceries for Kroger around Houston. Partnering with the pizza juggernaut Domino's, which delivers close to 3 million pizzas a day, is another logical step for the expanding drone car business.
Kevin Vasconi of Domino's explained in a press release that they see these specially-designed robots as "a valuable partner in our autonomous vehicle journey," adding "The opportunity to bring our customers the choice of an unmanned delivery experience, and our operators an additional delivery solution during a busy store rush, is an important part of our autonomous vehicle testing."
How will they work exactly? Nuro explained in its own press release that this "opportunity to use Nuro's autonomous delivery" will be available for some of the customers who order online. Once they opt in, they'll be able to track the car via an app. When the vehicle gets to them, the customers will use a special PIN code to unlock the pizza compartment.
Nuro and its competitors Udelv and Robomart have been focusing specifically on developing such "last-mile product delivery" machines, reports Arstechnica. Their specially-made R1 vehicle is about half the size of a regular passenger car and doesn't offer any room for a driver. This makes it safer and lighter too, with less potential to cause harm in case of an accident. It also sticks to a fairly low speed of under 25 miles an hour and slams on the breaks at the first sign of trouble.
What also helps such robot cars is "geofencing" technology which confines them to a limited area surrounding the store.
For now, the cars are still tracked around the neighborhoods by human-driven vehicles, with monitors to make sure nothing goes haywire. But these "chase cars" should be phased out eventually, an important milestone in the evolution of your robot pizza drivers.
Check out how Nuro's vehicles work:
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