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SYSK Selects: How the Panama Canal Works

2019-03-02 | 🔗

It's on more than one list of the Seven Wonders of the World and for good reason - the Panama Canal is one of the great feats of engineering ever undertaken. First conceived of in the 1580s and finally completed in 1914, the canal has a fascinating history (including a stint where it was considered U.S. soil). Learn all about it on this episode.

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To begin your investigation had on over to the Iheart Radioactive app apple, pod, gas or wherever you get your podcast one crime for suspects? Can you solve it. Hey everyone. Hope you haven't a good weekend. Chuck Bryant hear her hostess Ah, yes, your listening to I am in charge the picking this week's subpoena Select episode. It is from April two thousand thirteen the day after April, Fool but I dont worry. This isn't a how three deeper words when I famously fake quit and was replay I've been Bowen. None this is the episode about the Panama Canal so interesting, I love civic projects. I love huge on the projects that seem impossible to complete Panama canal was, and is that so an arrogant, you're love this when everyone how the Panama Canal works
Welcome to study should now asking for external aid and welcome the Pakistan Josh Park with resources child to reach a bright and establish the pod cast the two of us together. Might you know what I've been seeing over and over and I just whistled it injurious now get stuck in my head yet with whom we are grown up. My sister was singing it and I realise that she was singing turn like what what is it sign of inhaling son, don't be an idiot That is why there is in this. Interesting cause they're. So many misinterpreted song lyrics famously over the years, but I never have heard most being one of again is, especially since the song is named Panama, near here
this in turn and run maybe We were talking about the people who are working on the early french effort to build a canal in Panama here boy that didn't go over so well we'll get to that. Ok, sport, the French didn't build the Panama canal. I thought we're going get to right now. And talk about the gamma, the Balboa, twond, which one is George Stanzas favorite favorite? It was a d Gama or Balboa man. I and one of the two the gamma knows it yeah, I think so the funding conversation Bobo back in the day was, was wandering around in a region called Darwin and he summoned to the peak. There was like holy cow. If I like this away, I see the Pacific ocean. If I look at that away, I see the Atlantic Ocean or the Caribbean and the
thing between these two big bodies of water is this little its mass of land young and have a lot of trouble with that NASA Decency Strip. Ok, so strip of land. Here is the only thing between and we should figure out. A way to use This is a thoroughfare yeah. Yeah because this is. It is committed to the world. The aid does exactly at the time the spanish we're trying to trade with the Chinese and we're doing a pretty good job of it in the Philippines and the best way to get to that. Was you come the atlantic go into the Pacific, we're very, very well and the idea of just having a- three go straight through, rather than go all the way down South America. And then back up man
just mind, boggling gear, it's like you, said to open up the world. This guy got it immediately. The problem was, it would take about four hundred more years before anyone finally got around to completing it successfully. We're in forget the rest of the world, the United States, just like hey, I wanna ship, this by boat from me, or to San Francisco. How can I do that I can dislike can sneak around Florida right, Nope blocked, well, then, what am I gonna? Do you go thousand miles nautical miles around South America to get to California, or you know what you mean. I were Nicaragua we are in a town, yet in the nineteenth century was a away station for minor forty nine is going on to California dahlia and they would sail laundered Nicaragua, take a train and then ship out from Nicaragua. California, except the handful that was like. I think I might just get your next year, a better. There were some deeds are definitely I'm sure, but yet there was there was
a continent in the way in the idea that it was just a little narrow strip of land. And now there that made. A lot of people say this is the place to be in this still there. No, the eighteenth century Scottish showed up here. They are establishing outpost failed spectacularly near that there is a great section, fourteen ninety three about it. S really yeah this and they were there, the french or their day establish, pretty good outposts there. There was very clear: This little area, which was then part of Colombia, is now present day. Panama was going to be a high, Ben Spot, because there is no thinner portion of the north or south american continent than this one in every one need to figure out a way to get through yet, and it wasn't as easy as like: hey, let's just dredge, all the sand the waters meat- because that's not too hard- it's like dense oh and mountains in the Latin, the by yeah? So it's it's My first thought was like how hard
Ben. I didn't realize how treacherous that area was yet, and I think the Adam that Balboa in a lot of people who succeeded him with thought the same thing how hard is it true? but it is like that's the continental divide, that's a tough thing, the breakthrough! That's why they call it a divide. The elbow that's her to take time plates come together, a mountain range and like that's your cutting through not one, but two tectonic plates everybody your head around them seriously. Let's talk but it because, obviously than we were. Successful eventually, but the first attempt was not in the first attempts by the French who, in the eighteen twenties, I believe, started to undertake a what is known as a sea level can now, which is basically, they were getting but their way straight through the isthmus of Panama That's right and canals were all the rage at the time because of steam technology. So all of a sudden, you didn't have to use the very cool and quaint towpath and have a mule walk along.
Of a river canal ever better. You, though, that we are a lot of narrow like jogging trails and stuff. You know, which you know that's great, mixed, forget his share exactly and I've seen him meals on them these days, but it's great that people can use these top ass now to hear now press like a nature trail, Yes, the steam technology gave them and the idea that hey man we can. We can build the sea level canal here, because we can just right through it. We have steam. We don't need that the mules for the tow paths any longer. All we need is some good steam shovels or any cut right to this, no, if I'd right through this jungle. And as a result of this ambition, twenty thousand people died here and now there are able to, you know, get along little far thanks to the railroad they're in Panama, believe it or not, it was the first railroad in the world, to connect both sides of a continent, but wasn't
big, but it does need to be in a hurry, we're just gonna great, but that allow the bridge to get in there. They they were design between Nicaragua, Panama at the time. And they said, like you, said, can do sea level. We don't need these locks yeah. If you look at a map of Nicaragua, Likud, Panama, like the idea. Of going through Nicaragua, Panama, NUTS yeah, Spain, how the locks work, but it essentially just raises and lowers your ship right for feature in a little like based and of water, that's flooded and then drained. Actually that's like work so the year the French organised, this thing called the company universe Cell- do can now enter aussi anemic, very nice. Thank you and I led by a guy named Ferdinand Lesseps, who had created a sea level canal through the Suez yet connected the Mediterranean and the red sees it was a big deal cheer
So they brought him and he's like sure, we'll do another sea level canal and feeling good about this. Like added the Suez Canal. With my eyes, closed exact, like I can do this with one arm d by my back, but he didn't realize that digging through a bunch of sand is not like digging through two tectonic plates now in a bunch of jungle and malaria and, like I said, twenty three People died as a result of this like this guy was like no, we can do it, we can do it, we're gonna, do a sea level can out, we can do it and finally, I don't think we can do this. It was too late the odd a lot. A lot of people are dead from yellow fever, malaria from accidents per we financed. So a lot of people lost a lot of money. Do exactly is in his company goes under why you and try to salvage the first? He tried to hire Gustaf Eiffel of Eiffel Tower. Fain right said: hey, I think we need those locks after all, and you're good at building big steel things. So can you help- and he was like, of course
and and then it was too late, though, that the business was done right, they had done a little bit o lad a lot like they. They made eleven miles a canal up to that point now bent about a quarter of the weather right, but this was the year when did they start shook the eighteen? They want one easier so Chuck as we understand it, they started in the eighteen. Twenty six, thing went bust by t know too. I believe Well, that's when coming I mean they were bus before that. But that's when the? U S dependence, it hey will buy your junk. Eighteen. Eighty eight so instead sixties about sixty year. Here they are had managed to dig eleven miles a canal bill, a bunch of buildings, they'd alot of equipment supplies their journey. And yet the? U S said a word smelly, really really great opportunity and Congress Hatless spent. Some cash were feeling good about things these days where
we annexed Hawaii. Recently importer Rico Phillipines what else hub? Why not take over this very ambitious project. Why the american century by now, and we can stick, it did the French at the same time exactly so they did this in nineteen o too, with the one stipulation that said are. You guys have to Colombia, controls Panama right now, and you guys to work out a deal with them, and we tried and that failed. So he said you know it just overthrow him we are then in right give the control to the Panamanian. Yet with a we support this panamanian independence, movement and yet threw off the shackles of Colombia in Colombia is like what did you just? Do because we gain control of that debate. We followed, congressional mandate and gain control, his Panama Canal zone. Basically the swath it went through Panama was considered. American soil thanks to a treaty
from my believe: nineteen o to the Hague. But now very a treaty, we're Panama, signed over the canal zone? There is no sign, the translation of this treaty. So basically the U S when in overthrew colombian control, of Panama support. Panamanian independently and then rob Panama of its canal lobby in one eye fell swim like a year. Yet in Colombia is like all this. I guess we'll do start exporting Kay EM ass, exactly you will get you back one day, so the end they paid about forty million bucks in nineteen o four for the asset this french company, a lot of money back then and about ten million dollars as this very cheap the article. By the way, did you notice to give a little they offered She referred to it as alimony of sorts to Panama, ten million bucks to it gained the rights to this canal zone and basically we're gonna run the show we're gonna finish your canal
from the eleven miles mark to the EU to the Ocean YAP. Where belongs He said it. I think there was a certain amount of snub to probably so but they said you know what we gotta do. First, though, is to decide on can go see level like was it just now French were incompetent, or is it really impossible at sea level? Yet like we need to do our own due diligence basic sugar and they did that and Theodore Roosevelt chose chief engineer, John Frank Stevens, and he was like it's all about the locks deeds you want can now here you have to go over these mountains, not them right so here's the thing in this is just a brilliant, because there is another problem with this is and the thing called the shark s river yet and it is very temperamental, yeah was prone of flooding. All sorts of crazy stuff associate with this river. So not only did you have the canal divide in the jungle and malaria to deal with once you,
pleaded it or are you gonna, do it this river Stevens came up with this great idea that you go over the mountains and you go over the mountains. You kill two birds with one stone by damning, the river and you create a lake that will carry Over the mountains, gettin like yeah, I'm sure that's, not gonna, directly, think about That is one of the most brilliant feats of engineering. I've ever heard of the Panama Canal game. That specific aspect of it out sure damning the river to create a lake. So you can go over the mountains, that's just incredibly beautiful the whole, to end at the time did in the early nineties. Hundreds is just like it's amazing that they could be got off yet cause they're, all wearing like knickers. Instead, its varied there's, some awesome documentaries out there. By the way you should watch and there's one there's one cool just got it the Youtube's and put in time lapse in a market. Now oh yeah, and it takes you the full out and and it may have nice said eight to ten hours and it's gonna need
and the boat goes in thanks and in that sinks, but lowers and then raises area, tools along in the lake for a little while and then thinks and lowers and raises yeah, because, like an eighth ten, our transit from my from deep water to depart eight to ten hours a year, depending on your boat Agus once you finally get clearance to go through the track. So he's damned up the river created cartoonist, ships going to the Pacific, gonna enter it Lemon Bay in the Caribbean go through complex upward in just it's like walking up steps, basically, except it's a big and it's done with water, and then they navigate through that lake for little while and then go towards Panama City through another series of locks, down down down over the mountains and boom. You are connected to the rest of the world right, so when they They agreed on the lock method, they
one other thing the handle and one has led by the Scottish, maybe there confused with locks, meaning lakes maybe this is therefore a lot like we're all the lock like the right. There's. No! Beware the locks So there is one other big problem that had level the french effort, which was yellow fever near, which you can be immune to if you're exposed to it and childhood, but if you're from New York yeah you're, not You go down to Panama and you are stunned by mosquito in you die. The thing is nobody knew that it was mosquitoes until a guy named Ronald ROS in eighteen, Eighty seven studied mosquitoes in India and found malaria present in their stomachs and that it was in medical through their saliva. Yet they didn't know what it was. They were all sorts of different theories yeah. They thought it may be from Mum, unclean living here
however, that when they found out that it was the mosquitoes they do that is everything so they institute is really rigid anti. Mosquito programme. They cleaned out the country base. And basically eradicated came close to her. The catering yellow fever in the area which paved the way for this lock systems would be built. Yeah Can thank Conaway, I'm gorgeous for heading up that sanitation squad and yeah. I mean it worked, and that was the key as he can't have your work dropping debt of yellow fever every day, but they have to drop dead of a landslide. Yet, even though a lot of these workers were poor black people, I think eighty five percent of people had died were black in a lot of people still died, but it wasn't like that twenty two thousand drop in dead from yellow fever wreck very dangerous project, mudslides, off sorts of drownings things like that.
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so we get that we get the Elephant liked. We settled on the walk system, yeah and dumb. Jumping Stevens is placed by gaining Lieutenant Colonel George Washington. Go thoughts, He was a walk expert and he looked at the time and he said you know what we're gonna do by this up into three sections. That makes perfect sense. It does you, the Pacific section, that's gonna be working from limb on Bay by the way means line in Spanish. Did you know that I did not So they're working from Lemon Bay to the new he created they get to get out the Atlantic division. Here ok, you're right, so the Atlantic division is synonymous with the Caribbean, yes and then see yet the Atlantic division working from get turned to parliament to get in
you have these central division was the hardest part, yet their working in like a tune to basically create a channel through this continental divine divide, doctor cuts, level, but you you do need to make sure these ships aren't gonna like run aground in the mountain cheer and then have the Pacific division, which is working from the the continental divide pass, which is Pedro Miguel walks down to the Pacific right, that's right and We said the railway, the panamanian rail railroad. Is there We had like awesome, here. At the time it was is no longer, you know: men, chiseled in sledge, hammers and stuff it was steam, shovels wrought. Drills dynamite they moved ninety six million cubic yards of earth and rock right, which is seventy three million cubic metres.
That's right and it was really hot though, and it was a pretty bad scene and they called that Hell's gorge, and it was Honduras, and that's where I think most of their lives were lost on this second pass, yet most definitely the hardest work, but they made it through and by nineteen fourteen a crane there was used in the construction of the Panama Canal was the first thing that ever make it through all the way. Here they were like swayed yeah an ape later it was open for business. As far as I understand yeah big business, should we walk people through or I guess, swim people through you? I think we should ok you approach from the Atlantic you go through. Get to relax. It's gonna lift your vessel up. Eighty five feet: death! Pretty awesome and take you to get to make very nice there. You're gonna wind through that channel for about twenty three miles then entered the gallery, cut the power
miles through their you're gonna reached the, your Miguel locks and then they're gonna lawyer ship about thirty feet to the mirror. Where's lake in the past about a mile long and then he too stepped mirror floors locks organ in return, you find, we back the sea level to seven my passage from there to the Pacific and all told you ve gone fifty miles in about eight to ten hours, and mine bogglingly. I saw that it takes fifty two million gallons of fresh water to move a ship from one end to the other, while fifty two million and they're getting all that from Lake Gettin Genesis, Maginnis recycled back into the system right. No, what is it what happened to it? They lose it most of it. It's it's either, pumped back in either go flows back into Let's get outta, or else it flows out into the oceans. Ok, which is not enough, early, get their worried that lay gettin may become brackish area, an Likud,
It is now the fresh water supply of Panama and they're using a lot of it. Yet, while it's always presented a bit of environmental quagmire right, especially with their plans to expand which will get you, but right now they have to a traffic. You're looking to make that a three in highway, which would have Lee, adding that third lane will double the amount of traffic near, which is crazy, you'd think it would increase by third yeah me. I don't know. Maybe it's wider Anybody allows for two ships at a time like this and jam like aid in their once, and I know I do that, if you are a large enough ship, they don't you drive yourself because you know you get one drunk he kept in an all of a sudden, your Luxor, our commission, so they use electric towing locomotives to tell those big bad boys right, and we should say just briefly with box. If you want to move a ship upward, you flow into a lock. The lot closes behind you and it filled up with water
that you can flowed over the lip of the next higher lacking that the date closes by and you with that one in that fills in with me. And it fills up with water so that you can flowed over the lip of the net, it takes place when you're stepping down here, it's basically going into a little square pool, with water and so on and so forth. Yet its remarkably basic yen and the opposite takes place when you're stepping down yeah, it's basically going into a little square pool, raising a lowering the water level sea can go up or down. It's really neat yet and if you ve got a minute and have to kill, he can take this voyage. An old timey nineteen. Oh eight, swindling tour to again control the Panama Canal Zone and it had complete control. And seventy nine when Jimmy Carter. Malays forever with their citizens they unveiled a statue. Jimmy Carter inspires Malays forever race and one of the townspeople Gus he's histories greatest monster,
anyway. Carter negotiated with the leader of Panama at the time Omar Careers, Herrera and said: hey how like the thing back, give twenty think they said. Hey we'd like this back, I unlikely give them a man can magnanimous hepatitis measure. So he said you know it without over this long because we're talking carterets entirely possible, he distorted, contain people inside was a. U S have that we can tell her give back. It's good point is so yeah hee hee but he sold like one of the like that people, and so it was a. U S have that we can tell her give back He thought was frivolous: yeah, that's also in Panama Canal he's like but this, let's get rid of a significant portion of our economy anyway, gives it back after twenty years. In December first, ninety ninety nine, which is why I suspect they Aided a twenty year deal yeah, I mean ahead to transition. He can't stand the keys over and be like right, cinder crew in
but not only that like why not a fifteen year a dealer, eighteen daily tenure deal, they were with twenty because it was gonna end on December thirty. First, ninety nine new millennium here actually leaden startled, doesn't one right yeah, but you know look so its symbolic right, ok, so the Panamanian take over and dumb immediate start taking flak because the things aging traffic's jammed up They ve done a good job of it, though it's it's just by nature of how things are these victims, a circumstance, ia and five percent. The world's trade goes through the the Panama canal. We saw them a lemon other can now hurry, but there, the millionth ship went through in two thousand ten hundred forty four thousand ships go through a year and a a narrow, little strip? You know that means wait, no line. Lot of waiting in line puss. Also, there's an upper limit to the size ship. They can go through its called Panama panel MAX here,
is the is the ships I said, I'd, never out of them, what a great name the biggest ship that rail pandemics can be bigger than that one of these ships that are called Post, Panama, exactly a lot of verse, shippers or, like you know why I'm tired awaiting its actually going to be more economical for me, yeah build a ship that kinda through the Panama Canal, but hold a lot more and other sail around the lower part of South America and dumb fits I am increasingly happening plus Nigger, were threatened to open their own canal, so Panama, Ok, whatever wait, let's told a referendum and see if we can expand the sing and modernizing and save the canal and panamanian said yes, let's go into doesn't six, they approved this third lane yet is expected to be open. My two dozen fourteen, there is Nick ROD was still planning a canal. I don't know, I don't know if that shouted down are not well, and there is also talk now of a north west passage thanks to
but people might say, is climate change and melting ice caps. There may be a way to get there. By land. Henry Hudson is clapping in his grave so we'll see. If that happens, I don't know I didn't get a chance to really look into that research, unlike how real is that right, even still the Panamanian, will probably make their five point: two five billion investment back eventually although it took the? U s. Good, thirty years to make for her million back yeah the I think the nineteen fifty cents finally broke even yet, that's crazy. An arm you break even by charging a toll on we the mention that you obviously like any way station or or acid you gotta pay according to have what how much stuff you got when it's like. I think the record is. I looked it up as a hundred a thousand or somethin yeah they do it by tonnage. The thing is, if you are
carrying a lot of really expensive. Joe Gas, all right, you're gonna pay a lesser toll than if you're carrying a bunch of less expensive or even equal, expensive coal, which is unfair and if you're in future putting a lot of raw steel. Why should you pay more so there there and if figure out a new toll system, especially for the newly expanded version, the canal, that into account the value of the of what's on board, rather than just the wait right. So they make a little more money thou. I yeah this is still accurate, but the record that I is a hundred and fifty three thousand dollars. Six hundred a hundred fifty three thousand six hundred and sixty two dollars yeah and the cheapest was dude swam across it any they'd like a hundred fifty pounds, and so they charge somewhat like thirty six cents, yeah that back in nineteen twenty eight Richard Halliburton and he swam the Panama canal- and I guess it was some sort of publicity stunt. I'm sure people love doing stuff like that back then,
yeah. But if you look at this, this high speed route on Youtube pretty neat and there's a lot of times. We like for the boat and then turn I'll get you there's a lot of activity out there. You know it's not a pleasure crews, well now, and it's not one ship at a time when they they have, like you, said two way: traffic rights that right and they treading keep going through as efficiently as pie sport and I say also the The new ox that they have yeah conserve about sixty percent of the water use so bill as addressed a lot of environmental concerns. Hopefully I got a couple oval facts here. If your interested the an entrance to the canal in the Atlantic side is twenty two and a half miles west of the Pacific entrance, which is interesting because as a unique at shape and then and
the locks themselves are. Seven feet thick each. So if you want it they keep out that much water like two to basically dame of the oceans, you need to do it with seven foot, the car greed. Ninety two percent, the workforce. Is panamanian right now, which is pretty great. And its, but all I got sixty milk in pounds of dynamite was used to construct. This thing is some nice debts chuck? Yes, not bad cop. You anything else, Now the refugees are category pen, canal forever if you want to learn more about the Panama canal. You carry this very good article on how stuff works, that calm type in Panama, canal or turn run can now see what
and when the latter Chuck hold on what's was take a message break. What was your first musical memory for the first out more that first contact my name's quest level? legendary roots, crew and bills, and some of the things I want to know about when I and my team Supreme sit down with the guests for new episode of my podcast Questlove Supreme Week. We chat with one of our favorite creators and thinkers, and we find out what makes great it's not about gotcha journalism or trying to get the most Alicia's story. Although I'm not If someone spills theology table it's really acknowledging allowances and the hours upon hours of work that goes on not only
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listener mail email about. What's in your mouth, hey guys, I'm currently on the seven, only seven train heading. We remain after a long day working as an auditor at a cpa firm. As usual and listen to park this time of the death mask episode and concluding with some of mail, and this is instance, it was from Martha regarding peak oil. And I think Martha was talking about the auditing of oil reserves, and he says this. She was correct for those regarding the audit of oil reserves held by entities who stocks may be publicly traded on the stock market, thing I was so aghast by that. I felt needed to type this for me own as I'm on the train. Still the SSC does not perform any audits of its own on these companies Firms like the one I work for that out of these companies under as he sees guidelines actually
a b public companies, Oversight worth guidelines that, if you want to get them as he see, may perform a type about it, but when they do they are usually auditing and audit firm or an audit that already been done by an audit firm as part of some kind of investigation. What The audit and audit like as if I got you have actually been through one of these audits and it is no fun at all. For some reason, it seems everyone who works it s. You see, is what you stereotypically picture as an account with no humor plus. The word audit loses all mean right. I digress their best. Pull up a tin K annual filing public company can see in the audit opinion the audit firm which perform the Maeotid for that particular year, though, that things up in recommends in Henry. I am not sure that cleared it up by them.
A thousand accounting. I would probably say: yes, I thank you very much. Only those very nice of you to correct somebody who is correcting us here and I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I think this thinking, seven train man, the terrible trade do their own sake, old, red train. That looks like it's about the fall off the midnight we trained personnel. Now it's midnight me when I meet train. It's got many Jones and readily copper in it actually based on a clear Barker short story of his that's: an old joke between monopolies. Doubts famously peaches, afraid chef com chef, but he was so he would simply take so long. We referred his meals, admit him. He had made a joke about. Culture is taken by twenty four hours yet another. This is not a flame on Fiji. No, we love him in any
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Transcript generated on 2020-01-01.