Getting Boats Uphill With a Ship Elevator
You know what sucks about water? How it and everything in it is gravity's bitch. When is the last time you saw water walking up a hill? Never. It's lazy. So imagine you're a boat. And you're flowing against the tide and you've got to go up a hill. Don't even think about it -- that violates every law of boat physics.
What do you want, a freaking elevator?
The Creative Solution:
The attendant gets tipped in $50 bills.
Boat lifts, or "lift locks" as they're also often known, are massive structures (shaped like elevators, oddly) that are capable of allowing ships and boats to traverse hilly inclines. The boat in question simply sails into the lift, which locks the boat and water in and then takes it all up to the connecting waterway at the top. It's not a new technique -- the first one ever built was installed near Dresden way back in 1789.
What's particularly freaky about this model is how coffin-like the boats look.
Luckily though, not all of these things look like knock-off versions of Splash Mountain; some can actually be quite architecturally interesting. For instance, there's this one that looks like what would result from the bastard union of a toaster and HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey:
Or this one that was constructed in Mordor, apparently:
They must have hundreds of trolls working the machinery down there.
Mercifully, this unholy Scottish monstrosity, known as either "The Falkirk Wheel" or "That Thing That Inspired Saw," just happens to be the only one of its type in the world. If that thing does turn out to be a Transformer, it wouldn't surprise us in the least.
Mohammed Shariff writes more cool things at MoviePlotholes.com. Adam Wears also writes for his own site Alert Level Stork! as well as for Wordplague, an independent group of Cracked writers who recently wrote Deathbook.
For more ideas that scare us just a little, check out 5 Certifiably Insane Cold War Projects and 5 Famous Sci-Fi Weapons That They're Actually Building.