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Gothic architecture: Can this 12th-century style radically change how we build today?

Little over a year ago the world nearly lost one of its most recognizable examples of Gothic architecture, as the spire and a sizeable part of the roof of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris burned to ashes. Now the debate carries on about what to do with the damaged building. Should the missing spire be restored to its original Gothic form, or updated with something more in line with the architecture of today? And what does it mean to be "Gothic" anyway? If something is Gothic can it also be contemporary? For such questions we need a little background.

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What Abraham Lincoln can teach us

"The President quite unwell," reported John Hay on November 26, 1863. On his return from the dedication of Gettysburg National Cemetery, where he delivered "a few appropriate remarks" that would stand to define the war and the meaning of America, Abraham Lincoln had taken ill with varioloid fever, a mild but highly contagious form of smallpox. Even the New York World, a virulent anti-administration newspaper, hoped that "the President will soon be restored to health and strength."

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