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Engineering eye.

The Eye learns that historic images of the original architectural drawings of the Forth Bridge and London's Paddington Station have been published on a new Network Rail virtual archive. This brings together "19th century engineering and 21st century technology," according to an excitable spokesperson. The railways hold a special fascination for the Eye, so it was glad to see this celebration of the work of rail engineers. Visitors to the site can chart the history of the railway's most significant structures, including the Tay Bridge and Box Tunnel. The archive holds records of famous engineers including Robert Stephenson and William Henry Barlow. The Eye wonders what structures, products and engineers would be included in an archive of contemporary engineering. It is sometimes felt that we have nowhere near the heritage in recent times of the Victorians. Send us your suggestions please.

Common ground it seems between shale and, of all things, custard. A reader posits that both are, erm, non-Newtonian pseudoplastic fluids and "thixotropic". What? Surely not the property of becoming less viscous when subjected to stress, such as being shaken or stirred? Yes, said the Eye's source, that's exactly what I mean. It seems that the controversial process of "fracking" could see shale have a time-dependent rate of change of state--much like when stirring custard--further increasing the unpredictability of the drilling technique. Phew, glad we sorted that one out.

And finally, poetry corner. A reader writes:

   Dear Sir,
   I am wondering why
   You choose to have only one eye.
   I think you should see
   You're half-blind like me,
   And that birds with one wing cannot fly.
   Regards, Cyclops.
      To which the Eye responds:
   Dear Cyclops,
   Why assume I'm a sir?
   And that I chose one eye.
   Born that way in my lair
   I can still see the sky.
   The engineers that toil
   On this sceptred isle of soil
   Know my name and my sight,
   I bring them news I hope delights ...
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Publication:Professional Engineering Magazine
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 1, 2012
Words:322
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