Video: Climbing to the Top of a 1,768-Foot TV Transmission Tower

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It's really easy to take the infrastructure of television and radio for granted. They're old technologies; most innovation activity has moved to other sectors. But what we forget is that the system has to be maintained. Things break. Replacement parts have to be made and installed. Storms deliver damage. This video is perhaps the most dramatic visualization of the importance of operations and maintenance that you're ever likely to see. In it, a technician climbs to the top of a tower more than 1,700 feet tall. Most of the time he's not using a rope (which is allowed by safety regulations) and he's dragging a huge bag of tools as he goes up, up, up. You should definitely watch the video. Go all the way to the end. If you're even a little bit afraid of heights, you'll get the emotional fear response that we need to stimulate people into maintaining and rebuilding the country's infrastructure. Last time the nation's engineers told us about the hazardous state of our dams, bridges, roads, levees and pipelines, few listened. Maybe in its own weird way, this video can help us remember that we can't take the things we built in the 20th century for granted.

[via Boing Boing]

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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