Daily Archives: December 9, 2016

Asphalt Through the Ages: Paving the Way for Modern Pavement

Road ConstructionAsphalt, also known as bitumen, is a popular material in road construction, used as a binder for aggregate particles, creating asphalt concrete. Asphalt is a naturally occurring substance that comes as the semi-solid form of petroleum — a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid often referred to as pitch. Long before the founding of the United States, asphalt has served as a highly reliable building material, mainly due to its waterproof characteristics.

The following is a brief timeline of asphalt usage through the ages:

4000 B.C.

Builders in Mesopotamia begin using asphalt to waterproof water tanks and temple baths. The Phoenicians applied asphalt on the seams of their merchant ships. The Egyptians used asphalt as mortar for rocks laid along the banks of the Nile River; the basket of infant Moses had asphalt for waterproofing.

625 B.C.

The Babylonians were the first to incorporate asphalt into their roads, as far as archaeologists know. The Romans used asphalt to seal their aqueducts, baths, and reservoirs. Ancient Greece also used asphalt in its construction, even coining the material’s name from asphaltos, which means, secure.


The Age of Exploration enabled the spread of asphalt usage to more territories. Walter Raleigh once described a plain of asphalt on the island of Trinidad, near Venezuela. His discovery of the material allowed for the re-caulking of his ships.


Edmund J. DeSmedt, a chemist from Belgium, laid the first true asphalt pavement in the US. Off the success of his project in Newark, New Jersey, DeSmedt was also tasked to pave Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. — the undertaking used 54,000 square yards of sheet asphalt.


The boom of the automotive industry led to the substitution of refined petroleum asphalt in place of natural asphalt. This shift in the paving process gave way to multiple innovations in road construction, prompting the emergence of anything from sealcoating services to mechanization.


The National Center for Asphalt Technology was established at Auburn University, Alabama. It provides a centralized, systematic approach to asphalt research, and is currently the world’s leading institution for asphalt pavement research.

Theatre vs. Film: The Beauty of Both

Theatre in BrisbaneActing as an art has its roots way back in Shakespeare’s time and even farther and is still very much appreciated at present, albeit presented differently. Over the years, the art of performing has taken two major forms, the traditional live productions, and the ones filmed.

The Beauty of Theatre Production

The beauty of live shows lies in its rawness and imperfection. An actor suffering from a wardrobe malfunction is acceptable and tolerated when one is watching a live show in Brisbane, but would be never have happened in a film. Lives shows are raw as rehearsals are needed to acquire a perfect performance, Brisbanepowerhouse.org explains. They perform in front of the audience without any room for mistakes. Editing scenes are never possible in a live show. The audience knows what to expect, as the materials for theatre shows are mostly available to the public (i.e. Shakespeare’s classics).

The Appeal of Film Production

The beauty of film production, on the other hand, lies in its intricate and professional nature. If theatre production takes months to rehearse and perfect, a film takes months to shoot, edit and produce. Like theatre shows, there are no room for mistakes as everything is expected to be corrected and re-filmed if necessary. After all, editing is expected to be done on the big screen. The art of performing is highlighted by what the director thinks is appropriate for the film.

Cuts can be made, changes in emotions can be demanded as well as removing of scenes can be done for the sake of the film’s perfection. All of these leads to a film’s professional feel, as all angles and even the impossible, are taken care of.

Some prefer live shows over a film and vice versa. Though beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, the beauty of performance as an art is appreciated either way.