Concrete

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1.

 

The word concrete derives from the Latin word concrescere, from con– (together) and crescere (to grow). To grow together.

 

2.

 

The Colosseum was built from unreinforced concrete. Most large structures built today from concrete are reinforced.

 

3.

 

Dams. Dams are concrete. Except when they are made from bread, or sticks, or aggregates of human flesh and blood and bone mixed with lime.

 

4.

 

In Australia, where brutalist architecture was invented, concrete holding towers modelled on Smeaton’s famous lighthouse, were built during the War on Terror to house enemy aliens.

 

5.

 

In the 1970s there was a whole department of the BBC dedicated to proving the theory that inanimate matter such as concrete can record and play back human voices, the source of all known hauntings. The department produced a documentary on the subject, which can be watched in full on YouTube, called Voices from the Stone.

 

6.

 

To concretise is to make an idea or concept real, to give ideas and concepts specific or definite form. A car park is the concretisation of the idea of a car park.

 

7.

 

They did not pave paradise and put up a parking lot. Paradise is a parking lot.

 

8.

 

In post-war Britain and Russia, concrete apartment blocks were hastily constructed to house those whose homes had been destroyed by German bombs. As many as a million bombs had fallen on some houses, making craters so deep that some of these apartment blocks could be built directly into them and not be seen from road level. In the event of the Cold War going Hot, the Americans unsuccessfully experimented at this time with concrete-eating bacteria.

 

9.

 

Brutalism has nothing to do with the word brutal. The name comes from the French term béton-brut, which means raw concrete.

 

10.

 

Raw-head (n.). Also rawhead, name of a nursery spectre or ‘scare-child’ (usually coupled with bloody-bones), early 16c., from raw (adj.) + head (n.). Members of the BBC’s Voices from the Stone team heard the screams of so-called raw-heads but, whenever they played back their recordings, there was nothing there.

 

11.

 

Humankind has dreamed of a space elevator for many years. It is possible we will be able to build one by 2035 but it is doubtful concrete will be used in its construction. More likely, such a build would utilise diamond nanothreads, which are real, and were invented in 2014 by an Australian.

 

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