Nope. These are an infrastructure thing, and they do very well and very simply a job you might not have even known to wonder about. Still haven't guessed?
Taking a cue from awesome colleague Melissa C. Lott, I'm jumping on the Photo Friday bandwagon. Here's a thing I ran across in my infrastructure travels recently and thought I'd share. Know what it is?
Just look a second and see if you can identify. I'll post the answer later today.
The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Scott Huler was born in 1959 in Cleveland and raised in that city's eastern suburbs. He graduated from Washington University in 1981; he was made a member of Phi Beta Kappa because of the breadth of his studies, and that breadth has been a signature of his writing work. He has written on everything from the death penalty to bikini waxing, from NASCAR racing to the stealth bomber, for such newspapers as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Los Angeles Times and such magazines as ESPN, Backpacker, and Fortune. His award-winning radio work has been heard on "All Things Considered" and "Day to Day" on National Public Radio and on "Marketplace" and "Splendid Table" on American Public Media. He has been a staff writer for the Philadelphia Daily News and the Raleigh News & Observer and a staff reporter and producer for Nashville Public Radio. He was the founding and managing editor of the Nashville City Paper. He has taught at such colleges as Berry College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
His books include Defining the Wind, about the Beaufort Scale of wind force, and No-Man's Lands, about retracing the journey of Odysseus.
His most recent book, On the Grid, was his sixth. His work has been included in such compilations as Appalachian Adventure and in such anthologies as Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont, The Appalachian Trail Reader and Speed: Stories of Survival from Behind the Wheel.
For 2014-2015 Scott is a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, which is funding his work on the Lawson Trek, an effort to retrace the journey of explorer John Lawson through the Carolinas in 1700-1701.
He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife, the writer June Spence, and their two sons.