Sunday, March 22, 2009

The roof over our heads

Some products and design concepts withstand the test of time.  Slinkies, Barbie dolls, and M&M's come immediately to mind.  

Add Bermuda roofs to the list.

A concept that has been in use on the island for over 400 years has, like most great ideas, a simplicity and practicality that amazes me.  The roofs here are all white,
 almost without exception, and stepped in 3-4 inch increments to the apex.  Solid, sealed in limestone and a thin layer of cement and then whitewashed with a non-toxic paint, the steppes collect rainwater and funnel it into underground cisterns for household use and are constructed in a way that make them virtually hurricane proof.  Time to think about requiring this for all residential construction in hurrican zones in the US (and elsewhere, where the costs of hurricane devastation are frequent and devastating).

For some reason, I was reminded of Inca stone building construction that I saw frequently in Peru several years ago.  The manner in which blocks were cut and 
seamlessly fitted together, with archways constructed at strategic locations, made many of these structures virtually earthquake proof in a region plagued by tremors.

I wonder sometimes whether our national pride about Made in America sometimes gets in our own way, preventing us from borrowing ideas from other cultures and civilizations.  I've been reading that Obama & Co are looking to the Swedes and Japanese for the how-to's and how-not-to's for dealing with the Catastrophe.  Impressive.  Imagine W in similar circumstances.  He'd be making wisecracks about the Stockholm Syndrome or some such.....

Rainy morning here so not a tennis day today.  
Leave this afternoon for NYC and a challenging week ahead of a different sort.  

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