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The Chunnel By Kathy Wolfe Considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern world, the Channel Tunnel, or Chunnel as it is commonly called, links England and France underneath the English Channel. Learn more about this engineering accomplishment that takes travelers through the world’s longest marine subway.
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• The idea of an undersea tunnel between England and France was conceived as early as 1802. A French mining engineer envisioned a passageway lit by oil lamps and serviced by horse-drawn coaches. The proposal included an artiﬁcial island midway as a stop for changing horses. Several plans were presented over the next several decades, but it wasn’t until 1988 that the actual excavation began. • Construction commenced in 1988 and concluded in 1994. Three of those years were devoted to the actual boring of the chalky earth beneath the sea. The boring machines spanned the length of two football ﬁelds and could bore 250 feet (75 m) a day. There are actually three tunnels, two of which are full-sized, large enough to accommodate rail traﬃc. Between these two train tunnels is a service tunnel, a smaller tube that is an emergency escape route. During the peak of construction, 15,000 workers were employed. • The Chunnel bridges a distance of 31.4 miles (50.5 km) between Folkestone in the United Kingdom and Coquelles, France, near Calais. The tunnel actually runs under water for 23 of those miles. Boring machines worked from both the English side and the French side in a race to the middle, a contest won by the British. The tunnel’s average depth is 148 feet (45 m) below the seabed, with its deepest point at 250 feet (75 m). • On the day of the oﬃcial dedication ceremony, England’s Queen Elizabeth traveled through the
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Tidbits of Greeley & West Weld County
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To advertise call 970.475.4829 Chunnel on a Eurostar train, while French President Mitterrand traveled from Paris. Their trains stopped nose to nose as part of the festivities. Over the next six years, 12 million passengers utilized the new rail service. Last year, close to 10 million people rode the rails under the English Channel. • The Chunnel certainly couldn’t be considered an economical venture. It was one of history’s most expensive construction projects, carrying a price tag of $21 billion, (about 700 times the cost of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge!), 80 percent above the forecasted budget, and taking over a year past the estimated completion date. The project claimed the lives of 10 workers, eight Brits and two Frenchmen. • Since its opening, there have been three major ﬁres in the tunnel, producing serious damage. One year into operation, 31 people were trapped in a ﬁre, but the service tunnel proved its worth, as all passengers were able to escape. In addition, there have been other incidents when passengers have become trapped by electrical failures. One such failure kept passengers stranded for six hours, while another incident trapped 20,000 under the sea overnight. • The average ticket price on a Eurostar passenger train from London to Paris is about $200 for a trip that takes two hours and 20 minutes. About 30,000 people ride the train daily.
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Tidbits of Greeley & West Weld County
From Bundt to Sponge - Tidbits Takes the Cake! This week’s Tidbits treates you to all kinds of information about several diﬀerent types this sweet treat, from bundt to sponge. • Ancient Egypt was home to the world’s ﬁrst large-scale bakeries, which were the ﬁrst to use yeast to make cakes rise before baking them on hot stones. To the ancient Romans, cake meant a small bread, as there was no sugar, and honey was an expensive commodity. • Cake-baking underwent a dramatic change in the mid-1800s. Previously, yeast was used as a leavening agent, but yeast was replaced with the introduction of baking soda and baking powder, both of which are greater raising agents. Temperature-controlled ovens also contributed to increased success. • Flour is classiﬁed by its protein content. The higher the protein, the harder the ﬂour. All-purpose ﬂour has a protein content of 10-11 percent and is a good choice for cookies. Bread ﬂour’s content is much higher, 15 percent, and is not suitable for cakes. Cake ﬂour’s protein measures 7-8 percent, and its low gluten content makes it a perfect choice for delicate cakes. • Sponge cake uses only eggs, sugar and ﬂour in its preparation, with no fat or leavening. The trick to a perfect sponge cake is to beat air into the batter at several stages during preparation. • Order up tiramisu for dessert, and you’ll receive layers of ladyﬁngers soaked in espresso liqueur and layered with a custard mixture, topped with chocolate shavings. Ladyﬁngers, light sweet sponge cakes about four inches long, have been around since the late 1400s, when they were created to celebrate a visit of the King of France to Italy. They are also used in triﬂes, a layered dessert that incorporates cake, jam, custard, fruit and whipped cream. The triﬂe is served in a clear glass bowl so that all the beautiful layers can be seen. • Bundt cakes have been around since 1950, when the ﬂuted tubular pan was created by the founder of the kitchenware manufacturer Nordic. A group of Jewish women in Minneapolis approached David Dahlquist, asking him to design a pan based on an old European kugelhopf mold brought from the old country. The name “Bundt” was derived from the German word bund, which translates “community” or “gathering of people.” • German chocolate cake, that rich chocolate layer cake with coconut pecan ﬁlling topped with chocolate frosting and more coconut, has nothing to do with Germany or its inhabitants. Back in 1852, an employee of the Walter Baker chocolate company developed a milder, sweeter baking chocolate than the bittersweet chocolate that was commonly used. That employee, an Englishman, was named Sam German, and the Baker company named the invention after him. • Do you know where the pound cake gets its name? Developed in England during the 1700s, the recipe called for a pound each of butter, eggs, ﬂour and sugar. Maybe it could also mean how much you’ll gain from eating this delicious confection! • Smith Island, Maryland, located in Chesapeake Bay, is home to that state’s oﬃcial cake, aptly named Smith Island Cake. The recipe dates back to the late 1600s and consists of 10 to 12 thin layers of yellow cake sandwiched together with chocolate fudge icing. • A dome-shaped cake ﬁlled with mousse and/or custard is known as a bombe, from the French word meaning domed or rounded. The cake is ﬂipped from its dome-shaped mold onto a plate, then covered with a layer of chocolate or meringue. • What’s full of spices, frequently “re-gifted” and the subject of comedians’ jokes? That’s right, a fruitcake! Although this dense cake dates back to Roman times, its popularity increased greatly in the 1800s, when it became the preferred choice at Christmas gatherings and weddings. Loaded with glazed dried fruit, raisins and nuts, fruitcakes are often soaked in brandy, whiskey or liqueur. • The ﬁrst boxed cake mix in the United States appeared around 1930, distributed by a molasses company, O. Duﬀ and Sons. Seven other companies followed suit over the next 15 years. Betty Crocker and Pillsbury didn’t hit the grocer’s shelves until Scan with the late 1940s. Smartphone • When Charles and Diana wed in 1981, they had 27 to Apply Online!
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Tidbits of Greeley & West Weld County
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To advertise call 970.475.4829 wedding cakes. Their oﬃcial wedding cake was prepared by the head baker of the Naval Armed Forces, a process that took 14 weeks. Two identical cakes were made, in the event one might be damaged. The bottom layer required 12 hours to bake. A roulade is what most of us know as a jelly roll, a sponge cake that is ﬁlled with buttercream, fruit, lemon curd, whipped cream or ganache, then rolled up. At Christmas, you might see a Buche de Noel, or Yule Log, a roulade ﬁlled with chocolate buttercream and frosted with yet more chocolate, then decorated with chocolate branches to resemble a tree log. In 1832, Prince Metternich of Austria was expecting important guests for dinner and gave his head chef the task of creating something new and sumptuous for dessert. The only trouble was that the chef was sick, leaving a 16-year-old apprentice in charge. Young Franz Sacher set to work inventing a chocolate sponge cake cut into three layers, ﬁlled with apricot jam and frosted with a rich icing. The dessert became known as Sachertorte and endures today as Vienna’s most famous specialty, with its recipe a safely guarded secret. A 1906 romance novel was the source of the name of the lady Baltimore cake. The story, set in postCivil War Charleston, mentioned the title character serving the dessert, a creation of tall white cake layers with a ﬁlling of chopped nuts and candied fruits, frosted with boiled white icing. The actual recipe was developed by two Baltimore women who opened a tea room after the success of the novel. These days, this cake is a popular one for Southern weddings. A Southern custom is the Groom’s Cake, a separate wedding cake served to unmarried women attending the wedding. This cake is taken home and placed under the lady’s pillow, with the hope that she’ll dream of her future husband.
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Tidbits of Greeley & West Weld County
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Two Old Men
By Samantha Weaver • It was Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw who made the following sage observation: “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” • We’re all familiar with the act of CPR -- we often see a ﬁlm or television character come to the rescue and save a life using the technique. And on TV, according to a recent study, CPR is shown as being successful 75 percent of the time. The reality is not quite so rosy, though. A study conducted in 2010 found that when CPR is used in real life, only about 8 percent of the patients were still alive after one month. Of those who did survive that long, 97 percent couldn’t live a normal life. • Do you suﬀer from astraphobia? If so, I hope you don’t live in Florida. Those who are afraid of lightning would be terriﬁed in the Sunshine State, especially in Tampa, known as the lightning capital of the world. • Researchers in the United Kingdom have invented a robot that eats slugs and is powered by the gas from the decaying creatures. They have dubbed their creation the SlugBot. • For six generations, many members of the Fugate family of the Appalachian region of Kentucky have suﬀered from a rare blood disorder called methemoglobinemia. The disorder seems to have no adverse health eﬀects, but it’s not at all diﬃcult to diagnose it at a glance: Suﬀerers have blue skin. Not just a slight tinge, either; various family members have been described as “blue as Lake Louise,” “the bluest woman I ever saw” and “almost purple.” -----------------------------------------------------Thought for the Day: “A stockbroker urged me to buy a stock that would triple its value every year. I told him, ‘At my age, I don’t even buy green bananas.”’ -- Claude Pepper (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.
Two old men had been best friends for years, and they both live to their early 90’s, when one of them suddenly falls deathly ill. His friend comes to visit him on his deathbed, and they’re reminiscing about their long friendship, when the dying man’s friend asks, “Listen, when you die, do me a favor. I want to know if there’s baseball in heaven.” The dying man said, “We’ve been friends for years, this I’ll do for you.” And then he dies. A couple days later, his surviving friend is sleeping when he hears his friend’s voice. The voice says, “I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that there’s baseball in heaven.” “What’s the bad news?” “You’re pitching on Wednesday.”
A Lonely Frog! A lonely frog, desparate for any form of company telephoned the Psychic Hotline to ﬁnd out what his future has in store. His Personal Psychic Advisor advises him, “You are going to meet a beautiful young girl who will want to know everything about you.” The frog is thrilled and says, “This is great! Where will I meet her, at work, at a party? “No” says the psychic, “in a Biology class.”
Last week’s column began with this quote by Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, “You are the same today as you’ll be in ﬁve years except for two things, the books you read and the people you meet.” We dealt with “the people you meet” last week. This week Dr. Ron Ross we focus on “the books you read.” Let me ask you a question: If you desire inﬂuence and power over others, which would be, in the long run, the most valuable to possess: a closet full of guns, a wallet full of money, or a library full of books? While guns and money may be useful in the short run, the answer is “a library full of books.” Here’s why: guns give you brute force, wealth gives you ownership and control, but books give you wise counsel. Surely you’re aware that history is littered with the fallen statues of arrogant dictators and the bankrupt lives of rich fools. You want to be neither, right? You want to be a person of intelligence and wisdom. Then read good books. There’s a Spanish proverb that speaks to this point: Books are hindrances to persisting stupidity. Here are three positive steps to take so you can hinder your own “persisting stupidity” by reading good books. Start with what interests you most. Some months ago I bought a used copy of Solzhenitsyn’s “The Gulag Archipelago” (524 pages – no pictures!). I’ve not started it yet and I don’t suggest you start there either. Are you a golfer? Then start with a book written by or about your favorite golfer. Tiger Woods has written a book titled “How I Play Golf ”. I don’t play golf, but if I did, I sure think I’d start there. Learn how to read a book. Years ago while struggling to meet the heavy reading requirements of graduate school a professor handed me a copy of “How to Read a Book” by Mortimer J. Adler. I didn’t know then that there are a variety of ways to read a book. Adler explains the diﬀerent ways so you will learn the most and so you won’t feel obligated to read every word of every book you pick up. You can probably get Adler’s book at your local library, but I suggest you buy one. There are 140 used copies available on Amazon.com for only four bucks. Take time to read. In May 2008, Nielsen Reports discovered the average American watched 127 hours and 15 minutes of television, which comes to something just over 4 hours a day. The same report revealed that Internet usage increased to 26 hours, 26 minutes per month, up 9% from the previous May. Additionally, they reported that the average American watched 2 hours, 19 minutes of video on the Internet in May and mobile video subscribers watched an average of 3 hours, 15 minutes on their devices. (Nielsen.com) If you’re even close to being an average American then I don’t want to hear the complaint, “I don’t have time to read.” Yes you do. Find it. The rules of power and inﬂuence have changed. Guns and money are powerful, but in this age, information trumps them both. Those who have the information have the edge; those who don’t are left behind. “Prepare for the Boom” is a series of columns that will appear over the next six months. A compilation of the series will be made available toward the end of the series. Dr. Ross is the publisher of Tidbits of Greeley & West Weld County. To contact him email: RonaldDRoss@gmail.com
Tidbits of Greeley & West Weld County
March 21, 2012
������������ ������������ Tidbits of Greeley & West Weld County Published by Handshake Publishing Ron & Amy Ross All inquiries: 970.475.4829 or 720.934.7677 1813 N. Del Norte Aveune - Loveland CO 80538 www.TrustTidbits.com - GreeleyTidbits@gmail.com
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