Incan Suspension Bridges

From the NY Times:

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Conquistadors from Spain came, they saw and they were astonished. They had never seen anything in Europe like the bridges of Peru. Chroniclers wrote that the Spanish soldiers stood in awe and fear before the spans of braided fiber cables suspended across deep gorges in the Andes, narrow walkways sagging and swaying and looking so frail.

Yet the suspension bridges were familiar and vital links in the vast empire of the Inca, as they had been to Andean cultures for hundreds of years before the arrival of the Spanish in 1532. The people had not developed the stone arch or wheeled vehicles, but they were accomplished in the use of natural fibers for textiles, boats, sling weapons — even keeping inventories by a prewriting system of knots.

So bridges made of fiber ropes, some as thick as a man’s torso, were the technological solution to the problem of road building in rugged terrain. By some estimates, at least 200 such suspension bridges spanned river gorges in the 16th century. One of the last of these, over the Apurimac River, inspired Thornton Wilder’s novel “The Bridge of San Luis Rey.”

Cockscomb

From Slashfood:

I love chicken, but I have to admit I never thought of eating the cockscomb.

First of all, get your mind out of the gutter. Thank you. The cockscomb (also called “le creste”) are those funny little things on top of the chicken’s head. Eating this probably never occurred to most people, since it would be like eating someone’s hat or maybe fingernails. But people do eat it.

Lotto Fraud

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

WHEN backpackers Caroline Day and Mei-Yin Lee discovered they had won Lotto they rang home from the newsagency. It was after one in the morning in Britain but Ms Day wanted to share the news with her mother.

During that joyous phone call, they calculated they had won about £220,000.

But three weeks later when Dr Lee rang NSW Lotteries to inquire about the money, a “bold” fraud by an employee at the newsagency came to light – and it would be another 27 months before the pair saw their money.

(via Schneier on Security)