Spanning the Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco will forever stand out as one of the most beautiful cities in California.  With its hills, flora, and water elements it is certainly topographically distinct and irresistibly welcoming to tourists and visitors from all over the world.  With all of the sights and sounds of San Francisco, one can visit sea lions basking on the dock, a prison set apart from the mainland on an island, and tall sequoia and eucalyptus trees that present majesty in appearance. 

But one of San Francisco’s landmark attractions will forever stand on the pages of history.  The Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937 was the longest suspension bridge in the world at 4200 feet in length.  In 2016, it is now the 13th longest in the world and is surpassed in size only by bridges built in New York, Hong Kong, Japan, UK, and several other countries. 

It may not be the longest at this point, but it will certainly remain one of the most beautiful.  The bridge connects the city of San Francisco with Marin County and Sausalito on the other side of the bay.  Its magnificent orange color with Art Deco design elements allows it to be more visible during San Francisco’s periods of heavy fog, which is often times on a daily basis.  Lighting enhances the bridge’s beauty at night by outlining the towers and the cables. 

What is it that draws outsiders to want to see this awesome piece of architecture?  Bicyclists and pedestrians love the bridge not only because of the view, but because of the safety rails and metal curbs that protect them from the traffic on the six lanes of roadway across the bridge.  Those driving or riding public transportation over the bridge are awed by its seemingly never-ending length. 

The history of the bridge is also a reminder of determination on the part of Joseph Strauss, the original engineer who created the idea of building the expansive bridge.  He faced much opposition at the time from the Southern Pacific Railroad who owned the ferry company that would lose much business with the construction of such a bridge.  The navy was afraid that should the bridge be sabotaged during wartime, it could cause the shut-down of an entrance to one of the main harbors.  Union groups felt compelled to insist that their workers should be involved with a construction of such magnitude. 

Even though Strauss had built other bridges, he was not a suspension bridge builder.  He brought in many others who were more familiar and who had expertise with this type of design.  He downplayed their help and eventually took most of the credit for building the phenomenal bridge.  The cost of the project was approximately $35 million.  Safety netting was placed under the construction of the bridge and helped to save the lives of many of the construction workers. 

The bridge was completed and officially opened on May 27, 1937.  The week-long celebration for its opening, along with an official notice from President Roosevelt in Washington DC to begin vehicle traffic over the bridge, and the Golden Gate Bridge to this day is considered one of the wonders of the modern world.


Music changes our health for the better.

Don’t Take Away the Music

It seems lately that politicians have found ways to use music to pump us up, invigorate us, move us to commit.  Certain types of music have affected most of us in ways that we may not even recognize, subliminal messages referring back to our youth or different points in our lives, reminding us of times that made us happy or sad.

With this kind of potent ability, music creates a sustained format which changes our lives in more ways than is obviously apparent.  We know how much we love to listen to the words and let the sound fill us with emotion.  Sometimes we can’t even hear the words, but feel the sense of change in our spirit simply by the tone, volume, and beat of the music.

Physical Benefits of Music  Science has also jumped on board this music wagon. Research shows that music can help us both physically and mentally.  It can be a prescription for pain and has been used to relieve suffering patients in intensive care settings and during palliative care.  Music helps to reduce perceived pain intensity in geriatric patients and even decreases anxiety in patients before undergoing surgery.

In people of all ages, music aids in motivating athletes to run faster, bike harder, and boost physical performance and endurance.  Have you ever gotten on a treadmill or stationary bike, cranked up the tunes, and lost all sense of time?  Music tends to distract our thoughts while at the same time spurs us on to perform longer.  One research study even found that listening to music post-workout helped the listeners’ bodies to recover more quickly.  Relaxation was achieved by listening to quiet, slow music, but any kind of music helped in physical recovery.

In addition to these amazing physical benefits to the body, music also has the power to treat insomnia.  Research done on college students showed that listening to classical music helped them achieve sleep without the use of expensive sleep medications.

Music has been shown to boost the immune system and reduce stress by lowering cortisol levels.  It helps to aid digestion by helping people to slow down while eating, and also to consume less food.

Even our blood vessels are affected in a positive way when we listen to music.  One study found that the participants felt happier when in a musical environment, and this resulted in an increased flow in blood vessel function.

Mental Benefits of Music  Music has the ability to reduce stress and also induce a meditative state.  Slow musical beats can create brainwave activity that mimics those of a person who is meditating or in a state of hypnosis.  This has been found to produce therapeutic effects which have eased some symptoms of PMS, migraine, and even had an effect on some behavioral issues.

Besides elevating mood, music has been shown to pick up a person’s spirits and relieve symptoms of depression.  Research studies have shown that the type of music you listen to can create different reactions.  Meditative sounds and classical music can be uplifting in spirit, while certain types of heavy metal can distort and make depression symptoms worse.

Listening to music while taking tests has been shown to increase cognitive performance.  It has allowed those taking the tests to complete more questions and get a larger percentage of correct answers during the allotted time.  It has been discovered that cognitive function depends to some degree on whether the music improves the person’s state of mind first.

Certainly no one can deny the fact that listening to music while driving can positively impact a person’s mood.  Increased volume of the radio in a car has certainly decreased crankiness in most individuals and put them in a better state of mind at their destination.

So whether the music is being used to ease recovery in cancer or stroke patients, reduce anxiety pre-surgery, or just raise our moods during a commute, it is very clear that music is of benefit to us in our everyday lives. We enjoy it as it helps to unburden our pressures, especially when we are needing a pick-me-up.  Crank it up!