Throughout San Francisco, 175 underground cisterns still exist as part of a dedicated fire emergency system developed in 1908. Most of them can be identified by a distinctive brick circle on the road.

Following the 1906 earthquake, the Auxiliary Water Supply System (AWSS) - a separate and distinct water supply system for fire protection use only - was built. The system includes dedicated reservoirs, pump stations, fireboats, cisterns and hydrants. The cisterns are disconnected from the network, with no pipes, in the event of major damage to the distribution system. 

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Top photo: Robin Scheswohl, Bottom left Paul Mison, bottom right mailgirl333

1. The Super-Rich Wouldn’t Make Our Decisions for Us

Decisions about higher education should be made by everyone, with public tax dollars allocated in a democratic fashion. But our tax dollars have gone away. The Reagan-era “government is the problem” attitude led to dramatic tax cuts and a resulting decline in government funding for public universities. Instead of paying for all the societal benefits heaped upon them, billionaires keep getting richer — just 14 individuals making more than the entire federal education budget two years in a row.

2. We Wouldn’t Spend So Much Money on Security for Rich People

Nationally, we spend over $1 trillion per year on defense. Not just the half-trillion Pentagon budget, but another half-trillion for veterans affairs, homeland security, “contingency operations,” and a variety of other miscellaneous military “necessities.”

3. We Wouldn’t Give All the Credit for a Tech Product to One Person

In the extreme capitalist mind, Steve Jobs started with boxes of silicon and wires in a garage and fashioned the first iPhone. The reality is explained by Mariana Mazzucato: “Everything you can do with an iPhone was government-funded. From the Internet that allows you to surf the Web, to GPS that lets you use Google Maps, to touchscreen display and even the SIRI voice activated system— all of these things were funded by Uncle Sam through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), NASA, the Navy, and even the CIA.”

4. Public Sentiment Would Prevail Over the Demands of Lobbyists

Society’s needs are often ignored in our individual-oriented capitalist system. Over 90% favor laws on clean air and water, but Congress has proposed to weaken them. Over 90% want background checks for gun purchases, but the NRA constantly bullies over 200 million Americans. And 80% of us want to take on Wall Street.

5. Our Jobs Wouldn’t Be Held Hostage in Tax Havens

The great majority of Americans — including many millionaires — want to end overseas tax loopholes for corporations. But Fortune 500 companies ignore the rights of the public. They owe more than $600 billion in taxes on their tax haven hoardings.

Freedom now means winner-take-all capitalism, and it’s slowly morphing our political system into a plutocracy


Markus Scherer - InfoPoint BBT, Franzensfeste 2015. A continuation of the Il Forte de Fortezza renovation, the infopoint terminal is funded by both the Austrian and Italian governments, and part of a larger civil project named the Brenner Base Tunnel, a 55km tunnel through the eastern alps that will serve as a crucial railway connection between countries. Photos © Alessandra Chemollo.

Under Sanders, income and jobs would soar, economist says
Bernie Sanders' economic plan would create nearly 26 million jobs and increase median income by more than $22,000, according to University of Massachusetts Amherst economics professor Gerald Friedman.
By Tami Luhby

Median income up $22,000. 26 million jobs created. 3.8% unemployment rate.


Gurgaon is a striking symbol of India’s rapid, often chaotic, growth. Twenty-five years ago, Gurgaon was an expanse of farmland outside New Delhi inhabited by just 121,000 people. Today it has 2.3 million residents and a glittering glass skyline—though no citywide infrastructure for sewage, water or electricity.

Lars Mortensen photographed Gurgaon and eight other rapidly expanding cities for his series In Search of Habitat. His images show a packed jumble of residential towers, ramshackle slums, and abandoned buildings, and the infrastructure that often struggles to serve and connect them.

Check out more photos and read about Mortensen’s project.

While Estonia is the relatively smaller, poorer partner in the project, it’s arguably Finland that has the most to gain. Effectively separated from the rest of Western Europe by sea, the Finnish heartland’s only direct overland connection (albeit an undeniably useful one) is with St. Petersburg, 185 miles away. If Finns want to reach other Baltic neighbors via rail or road, they need to either take very long, inconvenient overland detours or transfer laboriously on to much slower ferries. By creating a new, faster route to Estonia, the tunnel could radically streamline Finnish access to the rest of continental Europe.

Helsinki and Tallinn Agree to Build the World’s Longest Underwater Rail Tunnel

[Map: Ministry of Transport and Communication of the Republic of Latvia / Wiki Commons]

Bernie Should Go Even Bolder In Revolutionizing America’s Infrastructure and Energy | The Progressive Army
Infrastructure represents one of the greatest challenges for the next presidential administration, but in the case of Bernie Sanders, it represents an enormous opportunity as well.
By Solomon Russell

The debate over the US Highway Spending Bill is over as President Obama signed the legislation late November.  The bill funds basic highway infrastructure spending for the next 5 years, allowing the Highway Trust Fund to avoid total bankruptcy. However as The Verge noted, the new legislation is very basic and well, stuck in the past.

(Continue Reading)

Rain didn’t cause the fatal flooding along the Mississippi River. We did.
Don’t blame the recent flooding along the Mississippi River on the rain. We created this mess.

The floodwaters shut down highways and forced wastewater treatment plants offline. Raw sewage poured into nearby rivers and streams. In West Alton, just above the juncture of the Mississippi and Missouri, some houses sat fully under water that was trapped between the levees designed to protect the town from the two rivers. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon estimated 7,100 structures were damaged in four counties in the St. Louis area.

Scientists point out that the floods, which followed a 10-inch rainfall over three days, were not natural disasters. “The historical Mississippi River would not have responded in such a profound way to this storm,” says Robert Criss, a hydrologist and geochemist at Washington University. But along with the wing dikes and other navigation structures, we’ve seen local governments continue to approve real estate development inside floodplains. To protect the new buildings, they build higher and stronger levees, which give the river ever less room to expand when the rains come.

“The modern river, highly channelized and almost completely walled off from its floodplain, exhibited a sharp response because the water had nowhere to go but up,” Criss says.


When building bridges, engineers and architects don’t always look for the shortest possible crossing. The new ring-shaped bridge across Laguna Garzon in Uruguay’s southern coast is such an example.

The concrete structure consist of two semi-circular bridges, joined at either end to create a ring, and was built to replace a raft crossing between the cities of Rocha and Maldonado. On the bridge’s unusual circular design, its architect Rafael Viñoly has a perfectly logical and functional explanation: the curved design will force drivers to slow down the speed of their cars while also prove an opportunity to enjoy the panoramic views of this amazing landscape. The bridge also has a pair of pedestrian walkways.

Before the bridge was built, the raft crossing allowed only two cars to cross at a time. The raft operated only at certain times of the day, and during windy or stormy days it remained closed. The poor connection has kept the region of Rocha away from further developments compared to what Maldonado has been experiencing in the last decades.

The new bridge will allow some 1,000 vehicles to cross the lagoon, and is expected to help drive the development of Rocha’s coastline. Source


Rafael Vinoly completes circular bridge with a point!

This bridge is completed by an architect Vinoly with a ring-shaped road that stretches across a lagoon on Uruguay’s southern coast. The architect is based in NY, and he has designed the bridge to connect the cities of Rocha and Maldonado. 

It is a concrete structure providing up to 1,000 vehicles crossing a day. The road is bracketed by a pair of pedestrian walkways as well. This ring-shaped structure frames a circle of water, which is a ‘lagoon inside a lagoon’-where people can swim, fish or sightsee. 

Vinoly explains that creating this circular shape and creating this lagoon is to reduce the speed of the cars, providing an opportunity to enjoy panoramic views to an amazing landscape. The bridge is made out of over 450 tons of formed steel, 40,000 meters of post-tensioned cables and 3,500 cubic meters of concrete. This has, clearly, provoked protests from environmental groups.

 It took a total of 12 months to complete and opened in late 2015. It is located near popular resorts Punta del Este and Jose Ignacio. It replaces a raft crossing allowing to increase the number of vehicles passing from a handful to 1,000.