When it opened in 1914, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Panama Canal not only changed how goods move across the world: It defied gravity. In the late 19th Century, the French had tried building a sea-level canal through Panana that ignored water’s inevitable flow downward. It was aborted after 22,000 Frenchmen died of tropical diseases. Now, a massive $5 billion infrastructure project is attempting nothing less than to master gravity again, and, in the process, to tame the flows of globalization.
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