Page of History

The Skyscraper Museum recently reposted one of its earliest (vintage 1997) web pages “to match our online projects produced or redesigned during the past 18 months. . . .” The website had undergone a technical change from “hard-coding” to a content management system, which accommodates the museum’s historical content in a much more manageable format. The illustrated chart above shows a timeline of “the world’s tallest building” dating from the first “skyscrapers” to today’s title-holder, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. This graphic is only the tip of the tower, though — The Skyscraper Museum’s website has plenty of other features to hold the attention of anyone who has even a passing interest in tall buildings.

Environmental Sounds


The Tesla lineup (l-r): Models S, X, 3 and Y; photo from Tesla.

Soft and unobtrusive, so-called “elevator music” was originally designed to have a calming, soothing effect on people who were anxious about riding in elevators (especially those riding for the first time). For a time, the uncomplicated melodies and orchestral arrangements were fairly ubiquitous, emanating not only from elevator cars, but also waiting rooms, shopping malls and even car radios. At some point, though, the simple – some would say bland – tunes began to fall from favor, with many people becoming openly hostile toward the unassuming genre. As the hostility grew, the number of places you could hear the music became less and less, until even few elevators continued to serve up their signature sounds.

Not everyone hates elevator music, however, and a recently announced plan by a tech billionaire – none other than Elon Musk – could mark a comeback of sorts for the musical style. According to USA Today, the entrepreneur plans to have the electric cars from his company Tesla play elevator music through their external speakers, sharing the sound with pedestrians and other motorists. Musk announced the new offering in an August 20 tweet. No timeline was given as to when the feature would be available, but Tesla frequently sends upgrades via over-the-air updates (similar to smartphones), so it could happen anytime.

“Heathrobots” Join COVID-19 Fight at London’s Heathrow

Robots delivering food and supplies to quarantined COVID-19 patients in Chinese hotels, while indisputably strange and sci-fi, makes perfect sense. Now robots, outfitted with virus-killing ultraviolet (UV) light systems, have been enlisted at London Heathrow airport in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, the BBC reports. Here, the short, rounded robots — which bring to mind R2D2 — cruise the terminals and enter areas like restrooms (when unoccupied, of course) to disinfect them with powerful UV light (which is also harmful to human skin, hence the provision restrooms be unoccupied.) In the video below, the host describes the airport’s other virus-fighting measures, including retrofitting escalators with UV-light sanitation systems and placing anti-viral coatings on high-touch areas such as escalator handrails and lift buttons.