50, 100 and 150 Years Ago; March 2005; Scientific American Magazine; by Staff Editor; 1 Page(s)
THE CURTAIN WALL--"The term 'curtain wall' is used nowadays to describe the sheath, or 'skin,' of a modern building. It looks quite different from its predecessor, the old load-bearing wall, and in fact it represents a big advance in architectural evolution. The structural specialization involved in separation of the skin and the skeleton in a building corresponds to the specialization of tissue in biological evolution. Yet no building skin today approaches the performance of the biological world. The curtain wall is passive, lacking the power to adjust to the fluctuating external environment. It should be able to intervene actively in the building's struggle to maintain its internal stability.--James Marston Fitch"
WEST NILE--"During an epidemiological survey of infantile paralysis in a village north of Cairo in 1950, three blood specimens from children turned out on laboratory analysis to contain active West Nile virus. The find was electrifying, for no one had seen a human case of this infection since the original one in 1937. Other Egyptian studies soon showed that Egypt was a hotbed of West Nile infection; close to 100 percent of the adults tested were found to have antibodies. West Nile virus has been isolated not only from Egyptian children but also from mosquitoes (of the Culex genus) and from hooded crows and pigeons. This is a remarkable range of hosts."