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On a lighter note: “Walkie-talkie” berks forgot Archimedes’ reflector lesson

3 Sep 2013, 09:22 UTC
On a lighter note: “Walkie-talkie” berks forgot Archimedes’ reflector lesson
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Having been applauded for its good looks, the new skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street in the main business (and space insurance) district of London, now nicknamed the “Walkie Talkie” building due to is concave sided shape, has had a setback. It melts automobiles. Apparently, the Walkie-Talkie skyscraper’s designers disregarded what satellite communications antenna engineers have known for a while: parabolic shapes can focus electromagnetic radiation rays at a point.
For just as ancient mathematician and engineer, Archmedes, reportedly concentrated reflected solar rays from soldiers shields to ignite the attacking Roman fleet in the Syracuse harbour during the 3rd Century BC, so drivers and cyclists parking near the “Walkie Talkie” have found parts of their vehicles melted by similar solar heat ray. Likewise nearby shops noted heat damage to their buildings exteriors. The mystery heat ray has now been been formally traced to the buidling’s concave shape and window glass reflectivity. Apparently, the architects of the building did not, in fact, forget had, forget the heating effect of reflected sunlight but they had mainly discounted it.
So really it is one up for Archimedes, one down for the building berks! (For those non-Londoners, “berk” by the way is a ...

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