One of the joys and frustrations of being an engineer who is also a hopeless dreamer, is that you can see the beauty of what the world could be, while also feeling the burden of every single thing that is in the way of achieving that beauty.
Envisioning this potential (and sometimes even having the opportunity to design some of it) is one of the greatest joys of being alive. But slamming up against the stubborn wall of society’s inertia, all day, every day, can lead to some displays of choice language.
If only we could grasp onto even a tiny fraction of the improvements that are hanging right in front of our faces, our society could bypass decades or centuries of pain, and billions of people could lead happier lives, starting this afternoon.
We can illustrate this problem perfectly with an example from right here in my home town. Take a look at this Google Maps satellite image of where Colorado Highway 287, (also known as Main Street) crosses over the St. Vrain Creek:
It’s pretty boring, right? And that is exactly my point. It’s a boring, utilitarian bridge, in