Friday, April 18, 2014


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8 Inspiring Women Who Are Self-Made Millionaires
By Bryan Nelson,
Mother Nature Network, 16 April 2014.


Women have made great strides in the workplace, but they still face economic inequalities. For instance, a glass ceiling still prevents the average woman from earning a salary equal to the average man. Even so, there are a number of incredible women who have bucked the trend. Here are eight inspiring examples.

1. Madam C.J. Walker

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Photo: Wiki Commons

Madam C.J. Walker is widely regarded as the first female self-made millionaire in America. After suffering from a scalp ailment that resulted in her own hair loss, she founded a company, Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company, and developed a successful line of beauty and hair products for black women.

Her achievements are particularly noteworthy given that she was the first free-born child in her family. At the time of her birth in 1867, her parents had only recently become freed slaves.

2. J.K. Rowling

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Photo: Daniel Ogren/Wiki Commons

Before authoring the "Harry Potter" series, J.K. Rowling was a divorced mother struggling to scratch out a living on government assistance. Today she has been called one of the most powerful women in the United Kingdom. She has used her fortune and influence to become a notable philanthropist, supporting charities like Comic Relief, One Parent Families, and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain.

3. Oprah Winfrey

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Photo: Alan Light/Wiki Commons

Few names are as iconic as Oprah's, and her rags-to-riches story is one of the most profound in American history. Born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother, she experienced considerable hardship during her childhood. She was raped at age 9 and became pregnant at 14, but her son died in infancy.

Somehow, though, she carried on. At age 19 she landed a job at a radio station, and never looked back. Today she is North America's only black female billionaire, and certainly one of the most influential women in the world.

4. Coco Chanel

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Photo: Wiki Commons

Coco Chanel became one of the biggest names in the history of fashion, credited with liberating women from the constraints of the "corseted silhouette" and popularizing the acceptance of casual chic as the feminine standard.

Her early years, however, were far from glamorous. After her mother, a laundrywoman, died at the age of 12, Coco was placed in an orphanage by her father, who worked as a traveling peddler. She was eventually raised by nuns, who taught her how to sew - the skill that would eventually lead to her life's work.

5. Shama Kabani

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Photo: Wiki Commons

Shama Kabani, chief executive officer and founder of the Marketing Zen Group, is an example of a remarkable immigrant success story. Born in in Goa, India in 1985, she did not migrate to the U.S. with her parents until the age of 9. She built a massively successful web and social media consulting agency from a US$1,500 initial investment, and she went on to become a best-selling author, public speaker and prominent web personality.

6. Ursula Burns

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Photo: U.S. Government Printing Office/Wiki Commons

As the CEO of Xerox, Ursula Burns is the first African-American woman to head a Fortune 500 company. Her rise to the top has been truly meteoric. Born of two Panamanian immigrants and raised by a single mother, she began her job at Xerox as a summer intern. Today she is ranked among the most powerful women in the world.

7. Arianna Huffington

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Photo: David Shankbone/Wiki Commons

As the founder of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington has become one of the biggest names in online media. Huffington, who was born in Athens, Greece, has played both sides of the political fence, beginning as a conservative commentator but eventually evolving into the iconic liberal she is today.

Although she sold The Huffington Post to AOL in 2011 for a cool US$315 million, Arianna has retained her position as president and editor in chief of The Huffington Post Media Group.

8. Stephenie Meyer

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Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wiki Commons

Stephenie Meyer had no experience as a writer and had never penned so much as a short story before writing her best-selling "Twilight" series. A devout Mormon, Meyer never planned on being more than a stay-at-home mom until she got the idea to write "Twilight" from a dream she had in 2003. Today, she has sold more than 100 million copies and is listed as one of the richest female authors in the world.

[Source: Mother Nature Network. Edited.]

Thursday, April 17, 2014


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Best Laptops for Students 2014
By Daniel P. Howley,
Laptop, 16 April 2014.

Whether you’re a student on a budget or a recent grad looking to upgrade, the market for laptops has never looked better. From wallet-friendly Chromebooks to Windows 8-powered multimedia powerhouses, there’s a notebook out there for just about everyone. What’s more, many of today’s laptops pack Intel’s latest Core processors, tons of space for all of your movies and enough battery life to get you through those all-night cram sessions. But of all the great laptops out there for students, these are the 10 that should be at the top of your list.

1. Toshiba Chromebook 13-inch (Starting at US$299)

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If you're in the market for a budget-friendly laptop for taking notes and getting online with ease, take a look at Toshiba's Chromebook 13-inch. The first Chromebook to receive a Laptop Mag Editors' Choice award, the US$275 Toshiba Chromebook features a colourful display, booming speakers and strong overall performance. Better still, this Chrome OS-powered laptop gives you more than 8 hours of battery life before calling it quits. That's a lot of YouTube watching - er - research.

2. Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display (Starting at US$1,299)

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Apple's MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display is one of the best laptops money can buy. For US$1,299, you get an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a super fast 128GB SSD. With its aluminium unibody chassis, the MacBook Pro is also one of the sexist notebooks ever made. But the star of the show is the Pro's wonderful 2560 x 1600 Retina display, which produces some of the best visuals you'll find on a laptop. If you like the OS X and can afford the premium, this is the notebook to get.

3. Acer Aspire E1-572-6870 (Starting at US$492)

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Acer's Aspire E1-572-6870 is an excellent Windows 8-powered notebook for students on a budget. For less than US$500, you get a 15-inch laptop with Intel's latest Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. And at just 4.6 pounds, the Acer is lighter than most of its competitors. Throw in nearly 6 hours of battery life and a comfortable keyboard, and you've got a value-priced system that will easily handle all of educational needs.

4. HP Spectre 13 Ultrabook (Starting at US$999)

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If you want a thin, sexy laptop with some serious power and a gorgeous 13.3-inch display, look no further than HP's Spectre 13 Ultrabook. At just 3.3 pounds, the US$999 Spectre 13 won't leave you with a stiff neck after carrying it around campus all day. Inside, the HP's powerful Intel Core i5 processor and 128GB SSD provide more than enough horsepower for your most demanding tasks. New to Windows 8? No problem. The Spectre 13's slick supersized Control Zone Touchpad makes using and understanding Windows 8 gestures a breeze.

5. Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro (Starting at US$1,049)

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Looking for the power of a laptop and the convenience of a tablet in one device? Check out Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro. With a screen that can flip back 360 degrees, the Yoga 2 Pro goes from Laptop mode to Tablet mode in a snap. The Pro's Tent mode is also perfect for watching movies, while Stand mode is great for making class presentations. No matter what mode it's in, the Yoga 2 Pro's 13-inch, QHD 3200 x 1800 resolution screen provides sharp and colourful images.

6. HP Envy TouchSmart 15 (Starting at US$759)

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HP's Envy TouchSmart 15 is a big-screen system with the performance chops to hang with the best laptops on the market. Powered by an Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GT 740M graphics chip, the TouchSmart 15 will run all of your class-specific programs and mainstream games. Four speakers and a subwoofer combine with HP's included Beats Audio technology to create a notebook that can double as a boombox, and a built-in fingerprint reader means you'll never have to worry about someone hopping on your TouchSmart without your permission.

7. Lenovo ThinkPad T440s (Starting at US$999)

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If you're a serious student that needs the kind of performance and power only a business notebook can provide, the Lenovo ThinkPad T440s is a fantastic choice. A Laptop Mag Editors' Choice award winner, the US$999 T440s features a sharp 1080p touch-screen display, 14 hours of battery life and strong performance. And if you're going to spend long nights typing papers, the Lenovo's best-in-class keyboard will make the experience a bit more bearable.

8. Dell Chromebook 11 (Starting at US$279)

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The Dell Chromebook 11 is the perfect laptop for young students that need to get online without emptying their parents' wallets. At US$299, the Chromebook 11 features a handsome design, comfortable keyboard and surprisingly loud speakers. The built-in Smart Management app lets parents monitor certain apps and see who uses them.

9. Dell XPS 13 (Starting at US$1,049)

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Dell's XPS 13 packs a vibrant 1080p touch screen display that's great for both watching movies and browsing the Web. A speedy 128GB SSD and Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM provide a quality user experience, and can handle games like "World of Warcraft" with ease. The Dell's 55-WHr battery lasted an impressive 8 hours and 32 minutes, more than enough for most school days, on the Laptop Mag Battery Test.

10. Alienware 17 (Starting at US$1,499)

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If you're a student gamer with some extra cash to throw around, then the Alienware 17 is the laptop for you. This beast of a rig (starting at US$1,499, US$2,799 as tested) sports an incredible 17-inch 1080p display, lightning fast Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M graphics chip and a 256GB SSD paired with a 750GB HDD. With that kind of power, you can play "Bioshock Infinite" at a smooth 35 frames per second with the resolution set to 1080p and the graphics pushed to the max. To top it all off, the Alienware 17's sleek chassis and awesome lighting effects makes it one of the hottest looking laptops around.

[Source: Laptop. Edited. Some links added.]


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10 Of The Craziest Construction Projects Ever Proposed
By Kier Harris,
Listverse, 17 April 2014.

Human beings are a very creative species. We’ve fashioned clothes for ourselves, made fire do our bidding, and flung monkeys off our planet to starve in the blackness of space. But one of our most impressive accomplishments has always been our architecture. Just look at some of the tallest buildings in the world, and it seems like there must be nothing we can’t create. But not all the ideas are winners or get off the ground. Sometimes, they’re before their time or just too far out there for the general populace to accept.

10. Paris’s Road Tower

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Photo credit: Popular Mechanics

In 1937, Paris almost became the home of a 700-meter (2,300 ft) tower with a road spiralling up its entire height, like an automotive barber pole. The top of the tower would be a hotel, and you could drive from the ground all the way up into its parking garage, which would house up to 400 cars. A restaurant would be sandwiched between the hotel and garage, like a triple-decker of architectural insanity.

A monorail system would hold descending cars in place and control their speeds, so they wouldn’t careen through the guard rails and drop to their (presumably explosive) deaths. On the way up, however, cars would operate totally under their own control, which seems like a pretty huge oversight, since fatal accidents occur on perfectly normal roads.

The tower was never built, presumably because it flies in the face of everything we know about how buildings are supposed to work.

9. Shimizu Mega-City Pyramid

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Photo credit: Discovery Channel

The Mega-City Pyramid is a proposed giant, floating pyramid in Tokyo Harbour. It would be so enormous that it could house one million people and so tall that 100-story skyscrapers could fit inside it easily. The idea makes a lot of sense in theory - Japan is very crowded, and some designer probably looked at Tokyo Harbour and thought, “If only this fish living space were people living space, there’d be more room!”

The Pyramid will be made up of five trusses stacked on top of one another, each about the same size as the great pyramid in Giza. The finished pyramid itself would be about 14 times the height of Giza’s.

If built, this would be the largest structure on the planet, but it’s so enormous that none of our currently available materials could handle the strain - they would literally tear apart under the structure’s weight, and if one truss fails, nearly a million people tumble into the sea. So we’ll have to file this one under “science fiction” until we master carbon nanotubes, which could lead to a strong enough construction material.

8. Burj Khalifa Fabric Wrap

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Photo credit: Arabian Business

A project has been proposed to cover the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, in a fabric “sock.” Such an undertaking would require an enormous sheet exposed to elements and enormous strain, so you might assume this serves some higher application. Perhaps it will harness the power of the wind to smite Dubai’s enemies or something like that.

Actually, the lead designer of the project says, “In the spirit of exploring creative potential in the public realm, Exo-Burj aims to create a fluid urban ambience.” Or in English: “Because it looks neat.”

One of the features the project designer lauds is that visitors can “walk up-close and experience the installation first-hand.” Yes, one of the selling points is literally “you can walk up and touch it,” which is not exactly a revolutionary idea in the world of construction. The installation will be temporary - if they follow through, they’ll effectively set up the world’s largest art exhibit, only to tear it back down a short while later.

7. Vertical Farming

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Photo credit: Vincent Callebaut

If there’s any complaint to be made about farming, it’s that you can’t do it hundreds of feet in the air, and vertical farming is out to solve that problem. Vertical farming grows crops in skyscrapers, and the concepts look pretty artsy, like a digital age version of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Vertical farming would solve a lot of issues if it were at all feasible. It’s estimated that 80 percent of people will live in urban areas by 2050 (as opposed to the current 60 percent). Some project that this kind of distribution, coupled with the added strain of a growing world population, could lead to shortages of food and farmable land. Vertical farming literally creates farmland on floor after floor. Couple that with the land being indoors in a controllable climate, and you could also farm all year round.

Propositions for vertical farms include the Dragonfly, a dragonfly wing–shaped prototype smack dab in the middle of New York City. The main problem with the idea is that technology hasn’t quite caught up with our aspirations yet.

6. Plan Voisin

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The Road Tower wasn’t the most extreme plan proposed for Paris. This city is quite possibly the most romantic and beautiful place on the planet, but back in the 1920s, architect Le Corbusier wanted to knock it to the ground and rebuild it in a decidedly different fashion, which he called Plan Voisin.

Historic Paris would be levelled, and in its place, Le Corbusier would build 18 enormous glass towers. These towers, connected by subway stations and surrounded by a sprawling garden city, would house Paris’s entire business district.

At the time, dismantling Paris made some sense because a lot of it was filthy and in disrepair, but it’s hard today to imagine a world where the Paris we know doesn’t exist.

5. The World

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Dubai has no shortage of wild construction projects, but this particularly crazy one actually got off the ground - before failing miserably.

The idea behind the World was to create a set of islands off Dubai’s coast in the shape of the continents. Then these islands would be sold off and lived on. They wound up building the islands, though not all the necessary associated structures. Then the global economy tanked.

Today, only one of the islands is inhabited - a part of “Greenland,” owned by Dubai’s ruler. And despite the company’s claims to the contrary, the project has stalled out for so long that the other islands are starting to erode back into the sea. The World is crumbling, and if its designers don’t get the funds together to finish the project, it will eventually wash away entirely - even though 70 percent of the islands have already been sold, some to celebrities like David Beckham.

4. Project Chariot

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Sometimes, the end result of a construction project isn’t a crazy building or a weird concept. The truly bizarre part of the project is sometimes the means of construction. Enter Project Chariot, otherwise known as “Operation Nuke a Harbour Into the Side of Alaska.”

Shortly after dropping bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the US was determined to prove to the world that atomic weaponry could be used for peaceful, productive purposes. Edward Teller (creator of the hydrogen bomb) got the bright idea to use a handful of nukes as a makeshift shovel to widen the Panama Canal and to dig a harbour in Alaska.

A village named Point Hope stood 50 kilometres (30 mi) from the site of the harbour. And remember, this was the ’60s; we knew what radiation poisoning was. But that didn’t stop the government from outright lying to the citizens in Point Hope and telling them there was no possible danger whatsoever.

The project was ultimately shelved because the residents of Point Hope wouldn’t stop protesting. Plus, it was just easier to blow stuff up in the middle of the Nevada desert, where we already had a test site.

3. Sutyagin House

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Not all insane construction ideas are on a grand scale. In 1992, Nikolai Sutyagin wasn’t satisfied with his home in Arkhangelsk, Russia, so he decided to add on to it. And add on. And on - until it became the world’s tallest wooden house, at 13 stories and 44 meters (144 ft).

At first, he added on three floors, but he didn’t like the appearance. Then he added more, and it still didn’t look right. Sutyagin was never really satisfied until he went to prison, and when he came back, he no longer had the funds to support the construction, so the house slowly rotted and broke down around him.

The city council of Arkhangelsk deemed it a fire hazard and wanted him to tear it down, but Sutyagin added a metal slab on the former roof of his home and claimed that everything above that was just decorative, not part of the actual structure. The city wasn’t buying it, and they forced Sutyagin to dismantle his wooden palace. Now all that remains is the original home and pictures of the castle-like structure that it once was.

2. The Manhattan Dome

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The ’60s were an era of great interest in science fiction, and domed cities repeatedly showed up in these stories. So it should come as little surprise that, during this time, architect Buckminster Fuller proposed doming in a real city: New York City, to be specific.

The dome would cover most of Manhattan and filter pollution out of the air. None of the buildings inside the dome would need to be heated in the winter or cooled in the summer. Instead, the dome itself would be kept at a constant temperature.

Fuller claimed that once he figured out how to actually make the thing, the city would save enough money in heating, cooling, and snow removal to easily pay for the dome’s cost. However, no one really went for the idea. The cost would’ve been enormous, and no one knew if it would really work, so domed cities were forever banished to the realm of science fiction, much to Fuller’s chagrin.

1. Freedom Ship

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Freedom Ship was originally proposed back in the ’90s as a gigantic, self-sufficient floating city capable of traversing the world. The ship would have its own economy, complete with shops, schools, jobs, and everything else enjoyed by regular, land-bound society.

The 1,371-meter (4,500 ft), 25-story ship would circumnavigate the Earth once every two years, stopping at all major ports along the way. It would be so mind-bogglingly enormous, however, that it wouldn’t actually fit in the ports. Instead, residents would have to fly into the cities - from the airport on the ship’s top deck.

So why didn’t it work out? Well, aside from the massive undertaking of actually building the thing, they had to convince 50,000 people to live on it. No one at the time seemed willing to totally uproot their lives and live on what could very well be the next Titanic. As much of a romantic idea as Freedom Ship was, buyers just weren’t ready to be a part of it in a world of terrorism, conflict, and people fighting even when they weren’t crammed together like sardines.

Even if interest materializes now, the company would have to drum up US$9-US$10 billion to get the project off the ground.

Top image: The Dragonfly vertical farm. Photo credit: Vincent Callebaut, via Inhabitat.

[Source: Listverse. Edited. Top image added.]


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Ancient Engineering Fail: 11 Historic Structural Disasters
By Steph,
Web Urbanist, 16 April 2014.

You can’t exactly fault ancient architects for building structures that were unable to withstand stone-shattering earthquakes, or simply experimental in nature - failure is part of the learning process, after all, and engineering methods were obviously less advanced back then. Big ambitions led to taking big chances, which often resulted in faulty construction and, occasionally, deadly collapses. Here are 11 examples of mistake-riddled churches, statues, lighthouses, stadiums and more from the period between 2600 BCE and the Renaissance.

1. Bent Pyramid of Egypt

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Why does Egypt’s Bent Pyramid, an unusual example of early pyramid development created around 2600 BCE, have a sudden change in angle about halfway up? Archaeologists believe that what we see today is basically a mistake created during the learning process, in which the builders realized that the steepness of the original angle would be unstable and prone to collapse. The lower portion of the pyramid inclines at an angle of 54 degrees, while the top is a shallower 43 degrees. Another 54-degree pyramid is believed to have collapsed while this one was under construction, leading the builders to suddenly change their plans. Subsequent pyramids in the area were constructed at the 43-degree angle instead.

2. The Colossus of Rhodes, Greece

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One of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the towering Colossus of Rhodes was a statue of the Greek Titan Helios that stood over 98 feet high on a pedestal in the city’s harbour. Erected by Chares of Lindos in 280 BCE to celebrate Rhodes’ victory over Antigonis I Monopthalmus of Cyprus, the statue was among the tallest of the ancient world. The statue stood for 56 years until the 226 BCE Rhodes earthquake, which brought it crashing down. After the oracle of Delphi stated that the Rhodians had offended Helios, they decided not to rebuild.

It’s certainly not surprising that seismic activity would have caused the statue to collapse, given that it was built long, long before any real understanding of earthquake-resistant engineering. But the fact that such a tall structure could have been built in the first place during that time is a wondering itself; modern engineers have speculated about the bronze plates and iron bars that would have been attached to the feet to reinforce them.

3. The Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt

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Another ancient wonder, the Lighthouse of Alexandria stood somewhere between 393 and 450 feet in height, making it among the tallest structures on earth for centuries. But the limestone structure, completed between 280 and 247 BCE on the island of Pharos, couldn’t stand up to three earthquakes spread out over four hundred years. It likely lost its upper tier before the first one struck in the year 956 CE, and by the third disaster in 1323, it was abandoned. What was left of it was covered with a medieval fort in 1480.

4. Fidenae Amphitheater Collapse, Italy

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20,000 people were killed or wounded in the worst stadium disaster in history, which occurred in 27 AD at the Fidenae Ampthitheater about 8 miles north of Rome. The structure was cheaply built of wood and not up to the task of accommodating the 50,000 people who amassed to watch gladiatorial games after a ban on them was lifted. The Roman Senate decided that too many lower class people were ruining everyone’s fun, so they banned anyone with a personal worth under a certain amount from attending the events.

5. Circus Maximus Upper Tier Collapse, Italy

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Built in the 6th century BCE, the infamous Circus Maximus was an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium capable of holding 250,000 spectators who gathered to watch the Roman Games and gladiator fights, and later, the races.

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The oldest and largest public space in Rome, it has been in near-constant use ever since, with its latest incarnation as a public park and space for events like concerts and festivals. But in 140AD, it was the site of a major disaster: the upper tier of seats collapsed under the weight of too many spectators. 1,112 people were killed in what remains the deadliest sports-related incident in history.

6. Hagia Sophia Dome Collapse

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Built in 532 CE in Istanbul, Turkey, Hagia Sophia has been an Eastern Orthodox cathedral, a Roman Catholic cathedral, a mosque and a museum. It was the world’s largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years until it was bested by Seville Cathedral in 1520, and is still considered the pinnacle of Byzantine Architecture. 

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Its dome, in particular, is notable for its size and innovative design - both of which contributed to a series of stability problems that led to one collapse after another. The dome is just plain heavy, and the way that the walls were constructed in order to support the weight made matters even worse, with builders using more mortar than brick and failing to let the mortar cure before beginning the next layer.

7. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

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Perhaps the most well-known symbol of historic engineering problems, the Leaning Tower of Pisa seems like it could fall over at any moment, but miraculously, never has. The campanile of a cathedral, the tower began to tilt while it was still under contraction in 1173 thanks to an inadequate foundation on ground that was too soft to support the weight.

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Before restoration work began in 1990, the tower leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees, which has since been corrected to 3.99 degrees. It has been declared stable for another 300 years after the removal of soil under the raised end to straighten it out, reducing weight by taking out the heavy bells, and anchoring the structure with cables. But just in case it ever does fall, residences in the path of the tower have been vacated.

8. Beauvais Cathedral, France

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Did the collapse of the vaulting in the Beauvais Cathedral before it was even completed in the 11th century scare French masons off working on large Gothic-style structures? Historians are divided on that point, but it did seem to usher in an era of smaller, less complex architecture, especially after a second failure in the form of the too-tall 502-foot central tower collapsing.

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Then, in 1284, part of the choir vault collapsed. Tie rods were added at some point to make up for the structural weakness, but other problems have continued to surface over the years, requiring the addition of trusses and braces. The cathedral remains incomplete as modern-day architects and engineers use laser scans and 3D models to identify the weaknesses and the best ways to add reinforcement.

9. Stirling Bridge Collapse, Scotland

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Nobody knows exactly why the Stirling Bridge collapsed in the middle of the famed Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. Was it a mechanical problem, or did the Scottish deliberately weaken the bridge to sabotage the English attack?

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It doesn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility that the bridge, which was then made of wood, just couldn’t hold up to the weight of all of those soldiers and horses. The bridge was so narrow that only two cavalrymen could cross at a time, and over 5,000 were thought to have crossed it shortly before it collapsed. The present-day Stirling Bridge, made of stone, was constructed about 65 yards downstream from the original.

10. Ely Cathedral Tower Collapse, England

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The octagonal tower of England’s Ely Cathedral stands out even to people who aren’t familiar with Romanesque and Gothic architecture of the Middle Ages. It seems like an obvious addition, not quite matching the rest of the cathedral, which was built starting in 1083. In fact, it was built in the 1320s after the collapse of the Norman tower, and it’s considered a triumph of engineering and clear improvement over the original structure. It’s not clear what caused the collapse, but it made way for a feat of Medieval architecture, with a complex wood lantern supported by eight stone pillars.

11. The Rialto Bridge, Italy

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The Rialto Bridge is one of the most beautiful and best-known of Venice, spanning the shortest stretch of the Grand Canal. It began as a series of floating pontoons in 1181 and was replaced by a wooden structure in 1250 as traffic increased.

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Fire-damaged during the revolution in 1310, the bridge ultimately collapsed under the weight of spectators at the wedding ceremony in 1444, and then again in 1524. Someone finally decided that such a well-used bridge - then the only way to cross the canal on foot - should probably be made of stone rather than wood, and in the 16th century, the version that still stands today was built.

[Source: Web Urbanist. Edited.]