September 12, 2004

Clever Things That Work

Traffic lights are managed through an amazingly efficient system. The people that designed it have probably saved more lives than any cop. But because it is such a good system, it goes unnoticed until it malfunctions. Then we swear at the lights and sit nervously waiting for some bold idiot (probably in a company car) to charge into the intersection and make the decision for us.

The world is full of very clever, well-designed systems that save countless lives every single day. Someone should sponsor an award, or do a TV series, on the people who design, implement and maintain these services in New Zealand. They deserve to be sung heroes occasionally.

I was reading the other day in my book on Iraq about a major road (the major road, really) through Iraq and into the mountainous border region. Itís called the Hamilton Road and was designed by a New Zealand engineer by that name in the 1920ís. It would be interesting to research a book on the history that the road has contributed to. Even from the passing references in the book I read, you can tell that the history of the whole country in the 20th Century could have been very different if that road was never built.

Posted by phreq at September 12, 2004 10:46 AM | TrackBack


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