Bridge-tunnel inspires transit planners

The opening of the 9.5-mile Oresund bridge and tunnel between Denmark and Sweden Saturday not only advanced the science of crossing complicated bodies of water but got others thinking about the possibilities. Among those are the Seattle-based Discovery Institute. The public-policy think tank sees the Interstate 5 corridor from British Columbia to Oregon, and the rail and highway systems within, as the catalyst for economic growth in the Pacific Northwest. It is particularly concerned about the overcrowded 12.5 miles of Route 520, including the aging Evergreen Point Bridge. There are 120,000 jobs in the two-mile-wide corridor around the limited-access highway. Replacing the floating bridge and its approaches has long been the subject of regional studies and forums. The latest conference -- "State Route 520, a Corridor in Crisis" -- was held last week in Kirkland and was sponsored by the institute. Among the agenda items: the $3.5 billion Oresund Link, connecting Malmo, Sweden, and Copenhagen, Denmark, by rail and highway. The link, across a strait leading into the Baltic Sea, consists of an artificial island with a tunnel on one side and a long bridge on the other. "We are going to have to look at the world's technologies and how it is done," Bruce Agnew, who heads the institute's transportation project, said this week. Read More ›
Message in a bottle
Message in a bottle on the beach
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DNA: The Message in the Message

We are so conditioned to expect scientific breakthroughs that exceed our expectations, Barr observed, that we reflexively reject any idea that science has limits. Yet science reveals not only the rich possibilities of nature but also its limitations. To give obvious examples, we know that we will never fulfill the alchemists’ dream of chemically transmuting lead into gold. We know that a parent of one species will never give birth to offspring of another species. Science reveals consistent patterns that allow us to make negative statements about what natural forces cannot do. To persist in seeking natural laws in such cases, Barr suggested, is as irrational as any primitive myth of the thunder gods. Read More ›