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Oh, that's huge

If you'll be in Red Wing, Minn., this week, you probably will want to follow the crowds to Main Street to see the biggest thing to hit town in years. That would be the work boot built by employees and retirees from a nationally known footwear maker that's celebrating its first century in business. Exactly how big is it? Size 638-1/2D ... which is another way of saying 16 feet high, 20 feet long, and 7 feet wide. It's so large, in fact, that Red Wing Shoe Co. says a human wearing it would have to be 120 feet tall. Construction took 13 months, 80 cowhides, and 300 pounds of glue. The boot is an authentic replica of the company's signature model. And, yes, it already has a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records. It has no mate, but if it did the pair would retail for $200,000.

Boring in on the world's next engineering marvel

Authorities in Spain and Morocco have been discussing one of the most ambitious engineering projects of our time - a tunnel under the Strait of Gibraltar that would connect Africa and Europe. The idea was raised years ago, but only in December was a route for a 24-mile tube agreed upon that would skirt the most direct distance between them to avoid deep waters. No firm commitments have been made for starting construction, but preliminary drilling is under way. The tunnel would be similar to the 31-mile Eurotunnel (also called the Channel Tunnel or Chunnel) between England and France, with rail tunnels on either side of a smaller service tunnel. The world's longest transport tunnels, their locations and distance in miles (* indicates underground):

1. Seikan* (Japan) 33.5
2. Eurotunnel* (Britain/France) 31.0
3. Moscow Metro 19.0
4. London Underground 17.0
5. Daishimizu (Japan) 13.6
6. Simplon II (Switzerland/Italy) 12.4
7. Shin-Karmon* (Japan) 11.8
8. Great Appenine (Italy) 11.5
9. St. Gotthard (Switzerland) (tie) Rokko (Japan) 10.0
- www.geocities.com

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