The Eiffel Tower turns 126!

1889 | Eiffel Tower opens


In 1889, to honor of the centenary of the French Revolution, the French government planned an international exposition and announced a design competition for a monument to be built on the Champ-de-Mars in central Paris. Out of more than 100 designs submitted, the Centennial Committee chose Eiffel’s plan of an open-lattice wrought-iron tower that would reach almost 1,000 feet above Paris and be the world’s tallest man-made structure. Eiffel, a noted bridge builder, was a master of metal construction and designed the framework of the Statue of Liberty that had recently been erected in New York Harbor.Eiffel’s tower was greeted with skepticism from critics who argued that it would be structurally unsound, and indignation from others who thought it would be an eyesore in the heart of Paris. Unperturbed, Eiffel completed his great tower under budget in just two years. Only one worker lost his life during construction, which at the time was a remarkably low casualty number for a project of that magnitude. The light, airy structure was by all accounts a technological wonder and within a few decades came to be regarded as an architectural masterpiece.

The Eiffel Tower is 984 feet tall and consists of an iron framework supported on four masonry piers, from which rise four columns that unite to form a single vertical tower. Platforms, each with an observation deck, are at three levels. Elevators ascend the piers on a curve, and Eiffel contracted the Otis Elevator Company of the United States to design the tower’s famous glass-cage elevators.

The elevators were not completed by March 31, 1889, however, so Gustave Eiffel ascended the tower’s stairs with a few hardy companions and raised an enormous French tricolor on the structure’s flagpole. Fireworks were then set off from the second platform. Eiffel and his party descended, and the architect addressed the guests and about 200 workers. In early May, the Paris International Exposition opened, and the tower served as the entrance gateway to the giant fair.

The Eiffel Tower remained the world’s tallest man-made structure until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930. Incredibly, the Eiffel Tower was almost demolished when the International Exposition’s 20-year lease on the land expired in 1909, but its value as an antenna for radio transmission saved it. It remains largely unchanged today and is one of the world’s premier tourist attractions.


Is life fair?


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post hvd

Believing that life is fair might make you a terrible person. By Oliver Burkeman

How much sympathy you have for this woman probably depends on whether you feel the universe is a just place.

Photograph: Alamy
If you’ve been following the news recently, you know that human beings are terrible and everything is appalling. Yet the sheer range of ways we find to sabotage our efforts to make the world a better place continues to astonish. Did you know, for example, that last week’s commemorations of the liberation of Auschwitz may have marginally increased the prevalence of antisemitism in the modern world, despite being partly intended as a warning against its consequences? Or that reading about the eye-popping state of economic inequality could make you less likely to support politicians who want to do something about it? Continue reading

School lunch from all over the World


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Huffington Post showed us the incredible differences from one country to another. Where would you like to study of you could be a kid again?


More than one-third of kids in America are obese or overweight. In 2013, the National School Lunch Program, a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools, served 5.1 billion lunches, Bloomberg reports. The quality of these lunches must somehow correlate to the health of America’s youth, considering more than 32 million children are served NSLP every day.

Parents could model better eating habits and stock their crispers with fresh fruit and vegetables, but a viable starter solution might begin at lunchtime. Sweetgreen, a healthy quick-serve restaurant that values local and organic ingredients, clarified disparity between American student lunches and those of other countries by photographing typical school lunches from around the world. The visuals are eye-opening.

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Lost in translation


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English words that get lost in translation when you’re traveling abroad by Tyler Vendetti (

In my lifetime, I’ve encountered two people that have admitted to genuinely disliking traveling and on both occasions, I had to be practically dragged away from the conversation to avoid bombarding them with reasons why they should change their mind. Traveling is something that I believe everyone should experience, even if that means hopping in your car and driving to the next town over. If you’re ambitious and decide to go overseas, you may eventually find yourself in a communication blunder that ends with you blubbering on about how you don’t understand slang and being the butt of the joke. Some words that may be completely innocuous in English may have different connotations abroad, which may result in you feeling utterly embarrassed or getting reprimanded by one of the locals.

1) Mist

Meaning in English: a light sprinkle of water that floats in the air

Meaning in Germany: manure

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