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You may know about the idea of “six degrees of separation,” which is the idea that everyone on earth is on average only six mutual acquaintances away from any other person on earth. The idea has been applied to all kinds of things, like how many degrees of separation lie between a person and a famous mathematician and a famous actor. So today, since I completely messed up on what I thought this postcard showed, we’re going to do a little six degrees of postcarding. We’ll start with this card and see if we can link it back to mail before the post is through.

This is the Mackinac bridge. It spans the five miles of open water between the upper and lower Michigan peninsulas. It is not the Tacoma Narrows Bridge that collapsed in 1940, which is what I thought it was. However, the design of this bridge was directly influenced by the design of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, because the engineers didn’t want this to happen again:

Now, in order to find out why the Tacoma Narrows Bridge got all wobbly and disintegratey, there was an inquiry. One of the members of the board of inquiry was this guy:

Theodore von Karman, renowned aerodynamicist, honored on this postage stamp from 1992. It would have been even more perfect if 29¢ was still the postcard rate in the US, but that changed just a few weeks ago. So pretend that I wrote this a few weeks ago, and it all falls into place!

I love how I’m always learning something new with postcards. Often because they make me look stuff up and realize that what I thought I knew was inaccurate.

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