Matters of Scale - Hubris on the Yangtze

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Height of the Washington Monument, the tallest structure in the U.S. capital
555 Feet
Height of the new Three Gorges Dam in China, which is wider and taller than 100 Washington Monuments edge to edge
575 Feet
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Cubic meters of concrete used to build the Panama Canal
4.3 Million
Cubic meters of concrete required to build the Three Gorges Dam
26.4 Million
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Number of cracks, up to 2.5 meters in depth, that have appeared in the Three Gorges Dam since its construction
80
Number of engineers and other experts in China who urged their country's government to "rethink" its plans to push ahead with the Three Gorges Dam
53
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Number of Cherokee Indians who were forced to abandon their homes and land in the infamous Trail of Tears emigration of 1838
2,800
Number of Chinese who will have been forced to abandon their homes and land by the building of the Three Gorges Dam
1,900,000
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Percentage of farmers displaced by the Three Gorges Dam who will not receive land in compensation, according to current plans
40
Percentage of migrant laborers displaced by the dam so far who have failed to find replacement jobs in factories
40
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Number of months an American official was jailed for fraudulently stating that evidence showed Saddam Hussein had the capability to launch weapons of mass destruction against the United States with 45 minutes' notice—a statement that helped trigger a war that cost thousands of American and Iraqi lives
0
Number of months journalist Dai Qing was jailed for stating her opinion that the Three Gorges Dam would prove to be "the most environmentally and socially destructive project in the world"
10
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Sources: Cracks in the dam: John Gittings, The Guardian, June 13, 2003, and China Daily as reported by BBC, April 12, 2002; engineers asking Chinese government to "rethink"the dam: International Rivers Network (IRN), May 8, 2000; displacement of 1,900,000 people: IRN; Cherokee Trail of Tears: Ralph Jenkins, tngenweb.org, 1996; migrant laborers not finding jobs in cities: Yunyang County Labor Department, China; farmers not getting land for land: Adrian Sleigh and Sukhan Jackson, The Lancet; Dai Qing jailed: CNN, 1999.