John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
The Scots have a neat way to make two chimneys suffer mutual destruction.
What’s better than blowing up a nearly 500-foot smokestack? How about toppling two in such a way they collide like sumo wrestlers, exploding into righteous falling showers of dust?
That was the wonderful scene on Saturday, when Scottish work crews demolished the chimneys of the Cockenzie Power Station east of Edinburgh. The coal-fired plant had provided energy to the region since the late 1960s, but was decommissioned in 2013 over pollution concerns. In 2009, authorities called it the worst facility in Europe for nitrogen-oxide emissions, which can cause smog and respiratory problems.
Locals got to breathe in a little bit of Cockenzie one last time as its stacks disintegrated into powder, thanks to explosives packed into 300 holes around the bottom. Here are a couple different views of the mutual suicide: