The Eiffel Tower was the tallest building in the world when it was completed in 1889. It was built for the World's Fair to demonstrate that iron could be as strong as stone while being infinitely lighter.
In the Petronas Towers (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), the shape of the floors is based on an eight-point star, common in Malaysian Islamic patterns. The towers have so many windows that window washers take a month to clean each tower!
In order to strengthen the John Hancock Center against Chicago's famous winds, engineers included five enormous diagonal braces on the exterior walls of the building. These diagonals block the view from two windows on each floor.
First Interstate World Center (Library Tower) in Los Angeles is located just 26 miles from the San Andreas Fault and has been designed to withstand an earthquake of 8.3 or more on the Richter scale, with a massively reinforced central core and lighter columns around the perimeter.
Called "the father of the skyscraper," the Home Insurance Building, constructed in Chicago in1885 (and demolished in 1931), was 138 feet tall and 10 stories. It was the first building to effectively employ a supporting skeleton of steel beams and columns, allowing it to have many more windows than traditional masonry structures.
New York's Citicorp Center (915 feet tall, 59 stories, built in 1977) was the first U.S. skyscraper to contain a tuned mass damper in order to control the building's sway.
The Blue Train has run between Cape Town and Pretoria, South Africa, since 1939 and derives its name from its blue locomotives, railroad cars, and leather seats. It is still considered one of the most luxurious trains running, having been upgraded in 1997 to include televisions and phones in all of its suites.
The French TGV (train a grande vitesse, or high speed train) is an electric train system. Trains run between Paris and several other cities, regularly traveling at speeds as high as 186 mph. A modified TGV set a world speed record in 1990 when it hit 320 mph in trial runs.
Running between King's Cross station in London and Edinburgh, Scotland, the Flying Scotsman was a luxury express train full of amenities. It featured a hairdressing salon, a Louis the XVI–style restaurant and bar, and, for a short time, a cinema coach.
The Japanese Shinkansen, or Bullet Train, runs at speeds of more than 100 mph over special tracks with minimal curves. In 1997, a newer version of the Bullet Train became the fastest scheduled train in the world, regularly reaching speeds of up to 186 mph.
The highest railway in the world, the Peruvian Central Railway is an engineering marvel, climbing 13,000 ft on its trip from La Oroya to Lima, Peru. The railroad, which features 66 tunnels and 59 bridges, zigzags across valleys in order to minimize the steepness of its climb. There is an onboard doctor who administers oxygen to passengers who get altitude sickness.
Traveling between Moscow and Vladivostok, the Trans-Siberian Express makes the longest regular train trip in the world, covering 5,778 mi and making 91 stops over the course of nine days. During the Cold War, Westerners could travel only in compartments, where they were subject to Stalinist propaganda played on loudspeakers.