Originally Posted By: Harvey Lankford
Subject: Re: What In The World Happened Here? XXXIV

Rod, I may be picking up the scent

clue: #31 gets me to Boston
clue: massive bridge clue gets me to Mass turnpike, maybe
clue: college insults must be Harvard vs MIT stuff
clue: charlie must be Charles River ( with dirty water)

did someone famous jump off the bridge? which one?

It is the Harvard Bridge, which carries Massachusetts Avenue (Mass Ave) over the Charles River between Cambridge (specifically, MIT) and Boston.

Oliver R. Smoot (a cousin of the recent Nobel Laureate) was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity (MIT, class of 1962). He was used as a unit of measure for measuring the length of the Harvard Bridge (frat activity). The length of the bridge is 364.4 smoots +/- an ear (usually quoted as "plus an ear").

MIT students of my acquaintance consider the bridge to be inferior engineering and are happy to have it named after Harvard, which is down the street and considered by them to be a second-rate university.

Oliver R. Smoot
Smoot (unit of measure)
Harvard Bridge
George Smoot (Nobel Laureate)

This is my favorite WITWHH so far because I instantly recognized the place in an obscure photo, although only because I have run across those Smoot markings on a few occasions. I did not attend MIT (or the place down the street), but "some of my best friends are..."

The straight dope on MIT

Last edited by AlanK; 06/28/11 06:47 AM.