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January 08, 2007

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Quite right about the manhole covers, hilzoy: a perfect opportunity for "upgrading" a mundane, utilitarian object into something like a work of art with little effort. Yet (almost) never done.

BTW, cool bike! Just out of curiousity, how did you choose this particular model? Myself, given their range, I would have gone for the Humuhumu-nukunuku-apua'a bike: if only for the pleasure of reciting its name, when asked!

Jay C: tempting as the name was, the Humuhumuetc. has only a single speed.

Basically, having once been a fiendish and fanatical bike rider, but not having done it for a while, first because of living in LA and then because of living at the top of a very, very, very tall and steep hill, I realized that now that I've moved, I need a bike. Commuter bike: that seemed clear. Disk brakes: I ride in the rain, and have had enough "oh hell" moments trying to stop with wet brakes that the idea of disk brakes seemed like a godsend. Why anyone would want a single-speed bike is a mystery to me. Didn't want to spend a fortune in bike terms, though this one seemed like a fortune to me. Somehow, I ended up with this, and I am besotted with it.

Oh: and wow.

Unfortunately in DC the manhole art would occasionally explode tens of feet into the air. But that would add some excitement.

The concern about what goes underfoot extends a lot further. This link discusses some of the 'sidewalk amenities' in Kyoto. This comes in large part because handicapped access is mandated thru the Road traffic and safety act, rather than the way it is done in the States, which is to mandate it within restaurants and other facilities that are supposed to be publically accessible. A huge effort is being put into 'normalization' and 'barrier free', in large part because of the rapidly aging population.

My fave thing is not the decorative manhole covers, but the permeable sidewalks, made from recycled tires (perhaps they are common in the US now, but whenever I've back, I've not noticed them) These put the water back in the ground, rather than into the drainage/sewer system, and when you are walking, they have a bit of a bounciness that is really quite nice.

Sidewalks? Aren't those some pinko invention that lets poor people walk around our subdivision?

The manhole covers of Rome amuse me with their "Senatus Populusque Romanus" brand.

A friend of mine has a website devoted to this kind of public art, if you're interested.

My condolences to Buckeye fans everywhere. We'll return THE to you when we're done with it.

Why anyone would want a single-speed bike is a mystery to me.

Less maintenance (since you don't have derailleurs to worry about) and less attractive to thieves. Of course, if you're really with it, you don't just go single-speed but fixed-gear. (Coasting isn't cool.)

Slarti: And how. In fact, would you mind keeping it for the next, oh, few years? I'm sick and fecking tired of "*** Ohio State University"...

here's one i took of what i assume is a fire hydrant or water line access, on the sidewalk in Tokyo, last March: cleek the leenk.

So, have we pretty much decided that we can launch airstrikes wherever and whenever we feel like it? Or only on countries who, you know, have no chance of fighting back?

I think so, yes. It's been that way for quite some time, too.

cleek: excellent. (For some reason I really like the silly little firemen.)

Re that dark matter article: holy smoke (literally, sort of)!

Can I get an over/under on U.S. and/or Israeli military strikes on Iran? I'm thinking 10 months.

Can I get an over/under on U.S. and/or Israeli military strikes on Iran? I'm thinking 10 months.

i'll put $25 on average_length_of_preimpeachment_hearings - 1 week.

Apparently Microsoft used to ask the why are manhole covers round question in interviews. Another reason given was that since they are relatively heavy having them round allows them to be rolled.

nah, scratch that last bet.

instead, let's go with:

inauguration day 08 - average_length_of_preimpeachment_hearings - 1 week.

This, for example, makes me nervous nervous nervous. And I don't want to have to be begging the Cheney administration to hold off on their Iranian attack plans once again* when my wife and I go to Africa, though the current bombings/attacks in Somalia are scary enough.

*Or maybe that just means I'm paranoid.

from Ugh's link: The strike would attempt to kill 5,000 to 6,000 of Iran's top tier nuclear engineer talent.

Wow. It's like uber-hawk war-porn.

I'd wonder how Steve Clemons knows the target set. It doesn't appear to get even cursory mention in his link.

I'd wonder how Steve Clemons knows the target set. It doesn't appear to get even cursory mention in his link.

Good point, though I would guess it's something he's heard through his various sources (he seems a relatively connected guy, AFAICT).

Here's the thing about that: if Steve Clemons has various sources that are telling him things like this, those various sources are probably right now in jail.

Because this sort of thing tends to get classified at the highest levels.

Scratch the above, if his source is Sandy Berger.

if Steve Clemons has various sources that are telling him things like this, those various sources are probably right now in jail.

Because this sort of thing tends to get classified at the highest levels.

From what I've read on his blog,* I'd guess his source was Saudi.

*Which, of course, makes me qualified to comment on just about anything and everything, no knowledge or experience required! ;-)

The idea of targeting 5,000 to 6,000 nuclear engineers seems ridiculous on its face. Are they all gathering for a big conference, or is the plan to completely obliterate several cities?

Well, here's what I think. It's probably worth substantially less than what Steve Clemons thinks, but the price is the same:

I think that if Israel was really considering such an attack, Steve Clemons would get first get wind of it shortly after it happened. Again, this is the sort of thing that's classified at a level that equates to codeword, here, and the only people that would know about it are the civilian and military chain of command, and the pilots who were selected to fly the mission.

I also doubt if the Sauds have anyone deep enough to have discovered this, and even if they did they wouldn't practically guarantee his death by whispering stuff like this to a blogger.

The idea of targeting 5,000 to 6,000 nuclear engineers seems ridiculous on its face.

Don't you go misunderestimating the administration, they specialize in ridiculous on its face.

Sauds

Did I mention I got a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas?

Did I mention I got a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas?

You'll put your eye out.

Slart - you're probably right, though I wonder why Clemons would say such a thing if he hadn't heard it from someone else (i.e., I don't think he would make it up from whole cloth, though maybe he's just repeating something someone else made up from whole cloth).

And I never did understand the appeal of A Christmas Story. Tried to watch it on a plane the other day and just couldn't get through it.

And I never did understand the appeal of A Christmas Story.

If that doesn't violate posting rules, it certainly should. ;)

Again, this is the sort of thing that's classified at a level that equates to codeword, here, and the only people that would know about it are the civilian and military chain of command, and the pilots who were selected to fly the mission.

maybe he got the info from the same person who said the Ayatollah had died, last week.

Cleek--your manhole cover is for a fire hydrant. That's what the Kanji says.

Also, Hilzoy, Hakodate (the second) is known for seafood.

If that doesn't violate posting rules, it certainly should. ;)

Let's hope that when I eventually get around to watching B5 I like it, otherwise it's "Banned from ObWi!" for me.

Let's hope that when I eventually get around to watching B5 I like it, otherwise it's "Banned from ObWi!" for me.

Nah, I'm sure I'll be gone before that happens.

You'll put your eye out.

Hopefully everyone noticed that I already had put my i out.

Obviously not. I just had a knee-jerk response.

Hopefully everyone noticed that I already had put my i out.

Heh! Teh funny (and add me to the list of not noticing the first time).

abcdefghijkmnopqrstuvwxyz

Figures, I wait around for five years before getting a new cell phone and when I finally break down and get one, two weeks later Apple comes out with this.

Hilzoy,
Thanks for posting this. As it happens, I'm teaching a course on differential geometry this semester, and one of the topics is constant-width curves. This is a very nice application of the concept, which I'll probably appropriate.

two weeks later Apple comes out with this

check out Steve Jobs's presentation of it. it's drool-inducing.

Apple finally got its iPhone site up.

So is it time to make the jump to the Mac now?

"Jobs's" ... yeah, i'm speaking Gollum today.

Ripken and Gwynn to the Hall, Gossage comes in third with a little over 71% of the vote.

What I don't understand is how Ripken could only get 98.5% of the vote. I mean, are there baseball writers out there who really think he doesn't belong in the hall of fame?

There is a small contingent of voters who think that only the greatest of the great should be on the first ballot. It's one of many silly things the writers do. I put up a brief note about it over at my place.

Once you think about it, manhole covers are a perfect place for public art. I don't think gorgeous manhole covers would cost that much more than normal ones, especially if the design didn't involve paint, and double especially if the artists were willing to provide the design for free, in order to get the exposure.

I can't believe that I beat Spartikus to this. Vancouver's manhole art contest.

Apropos of nothing, Arabic is really hard. Trying to read right to left is going to break my brain.

Apropos of nothing, Arabic is really hard. Trying to read right to left is going to break my brain.

Hm...apparently it's already broken, since I'm repeating myself.

DPU: My friend Teva* just informed me Toronto is running a similar contest. Here's the shortlist of candidates; winners will be announced January 16th.


*non-compensated plug - although she did purchase quite a bit of bourbon for me on my birthday last year (from what I can recall).

I can't believe that I beat Spartikus to this. Vancouver's manhole art contest.

Heh....and I was going to enter it and everything...

...I like the frogs, but the cosmic bubbles aren't working for me.

Trying to read right to left is going to break my brain.

Serves you right for skipping Hebrew School...Oh, wait, never mind.

Andrew: not just the right to left, but the grammar, and even the pronunciation.

(Though one of the best and silliest nights of my life, when the ex-love of my life and I were still in the process of falling for one another, involved a prolonged attempt on his part to teach me how to say 'ain, while (both of us) drinking way too much scotch...)

Just remember: the 'gh' in Baghdad is not pronounced 'g', but as a sort of french 'r'. ;)

When do we get an "Open Manhole Covers Thread"?

abcdefghijkmnopqrstuvwxyz

And a happy winter holiday right back atcha. A couple of weeks late, though.

"When do we get an "Open Manhole Covers Thread"?"

After one of the moderators falls through one?

Shouldn't they be "Personhole Covers"?

Anthropocentrist bastard.

Hole covers?

Shouldn't they be "Personhole Covers"?

How about "Personable Covers"?

Anthropocentrist bastard.

Cats are people too.

Hay, Slarti, you're the one who brought Christmas into the thread, no doubt acting on orders from BillO.

So, this weekend, my wife and I finally made an offer on a house in Cleveland. It was accepted by the seller, and we're awaiting the signed purchase agreement tomorrow by fax. It's a lovely, 62-year-old brick colonial in Cleveland Heights, about 9 miles out of downtown. 3BR, 1.5BA, hardwood floors, woodburning fireplace, 2-car garage, finished basement . . . basically everything we wanted.

Yay! I'm a homo . . .wner!

Yo Phil: congratulations!

Note from one who has been there: the fact that you won't be able to sleep for a few days shortly after you actually buy the house, and incur the huge debt, is entirely normal, and it passes. ;)

Congratulations, Phil.

It seems like, ahem, shooting fish in a barrel to mock poor Hakodate, a port city on the northern island of Hokkaido whose town mascot is the squid. I bet would treat its ika fetish with more respect once you had a bite of the town's world-famous (well, okay, sort-of-well-known-in-southern-Hokkaido) squid-flavored ice cream...

Congrats, Phil! You're going to love being a homeowner.

Which reminds me, I need to put a buy order in on Lowes. And it's probably not too late to slip the home inspector a duodeca-sawbuck so that he'll clue you in on the house's actual shortcomings.

I had students from Hakodate, and at the parties, after many drinks, they would always end up doing a song and dance thing that, if memory serves, was called the ika popo dance. Always a winner.

Other Japan stuff, when we bought our house, which was used, we were told that it is custom to get the actual cash from the bank for the full amount of the loan and give it to the person selling the house. Given the cost of housing and land here, it is a serious stack of bills.

Congratulations, Phil.

To echo Slarti (sort of), get a good inspector, preferably someone with serious OCD. It's the best investment you'll ever make.

Mark S.,

How's the calamari in Hakodate?

As it happens, I'm teaching a course on differential geometry this semester, and one of the topics is constant-width curves.

Woohoo! More math geeks! Rock on!

Congrats Phil, sounds lovely. I second (third/fourth/n-d) the recommendation for inspection reports. It really helps to plan the expenses if you know that you will have to replace X in about 6 years time and such too (or isn't that part of the inspection reports in the US?)

Thanks, guys. We're in a pretty good position as far as the inspections go: Our realtor -- a very good friend of mine for 13 years -- recommended two top-of-the-line guys, but even better, we have two family members who can help us out with that. My wife's stepfather is an architect, and my mother's boyfriend is a general contractor and former inspector.

We know that the electrical will have to be updated at some point, probably to the tune of $5-6K, and probably the furnace sometime too. But neither are close to needing replacement right now. The house has all-new replacement windows throughout, so we're in excellent shape there.

Sounds excellent, Phil. What about the roof? Best of luck on the new house.

does anyone else find this discussion of eager-to-ban admins kicking people out for mere dissent from orthodoxy somehow familiar ? read the comments, too. note how well they mirror recent discussions of Bizzarro World.

(psst: we will have a new poster shortly...)

(psst: we will have a new poster shortly...)

Joe Klein?

(psst: we will have a new poster shortly...)

bril?

:-P

I think I've still got some old Led Zep posters that were in the album sleeve, hardly ever used.

Thomas from Bizarro World?

(psst: we will have a new poster shortly...)

Jeff Goldstein? Jules Crittenden? Misha?

Fafnir?


Since this is an open thread: something completely different:

PHOENIX, Arizona, January 9. ONE hundred and sixty-seven former East German (DDR) athletes will be financially compensated through Germany's Olympic Committee for the systematic doping of DDR athletes from 1973 through 1989. When told of this fact, Shirley Babashoff's first comment was, "Only 167 Athletes!"

Reports from the East German Stasi files, first obtained by Phil Whitten and reported in Swimming World Magazine, indicated that more than 10,000 athletes were party to the abuse; most unknowingly and without parent permission. Many of the women have gone on to experience psychological problems or have delivered children with birth defects from the after-effects of doping.

"It is really sad that it has taken this long before someone even thought about the people," said Babashoff. As a member of the USA Women's Olympic Swim Team, she was the most visible victim of the injustice during the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada.

And of course there's lots more.

I think it was Ulrike Richter, one of the DDR medalists, that had seven miscarriages.

Slarti: Were you a swimmer at one time? Just curious as to where you might have competed.

I swam, but wasn't competetive at the collegiate level.

Indiana. Late '70s, mostly.

Would it be possible to switch the link on the blogroll from tacitus.org to theforvm.org?

Tac's site is currently on permanent hiatus and the most of the old community (minus Tac)have migrated to TheForvm.

Probably that would work, but I'd bet a funny thing would happen if you click it.

But if we all got with the program, could we have a rousing chorus of "Comity Tonight"?

And, lacking open threads, good golly:

LONG BEACH, California, January 14. NATALIE Coughlin broke her own American and U.S. Open record in the 200-yard freestyle Sunday night at the 2007 Toyota Southern California Grand Prix of Swimming, turning in a time of 1:41.66. It was the first of two wins for the five-time Olympic medalist Sunday.

Coughlin's performance in the 200y free shattered the previous mark she set in 2002 (1:42.65) by almost a full second. She outdistanced the rest of the field by about five seconds, ahead of fellow Olympians Kaitlin Sandeno of Club Wolverine (1:46.61) and Margaret Hoelzer of Auburn Aquatics (1:47.89).

Further down in the article you can see that Michael Phelps got 2nd place in the 200 breaststroke (his worst stroke by a fair piece) in 1:56.90. Which is...not slow. It's faster than NCAA division 1 A-cut. It's not fast enough to win NCAAs now, but it's Steve Lundquist speed.

Yes, but what can you say about chocolate covered manhole covers?

Odd. I think it was just a few weeks ago that I was reading that.


Hmmm!

www.montrealherbalist.com


Hmmm!

www.montrealherbalist.com

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