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Self-important vanity building

Hey, let’s create a skyscraper that deliberately looks unstable so we can show how clever we are. Further, let’s give no thought to foolish concerns like long-term maintenance and let’s situate it someplace where traffic in and out of it will cause maximum congestion. This will just be totally epic. We also need to insure that no icky people or even normals think they are free to enter, so we’ll need lots of guards and cameras. It’ll be a giant wobbly phallus reaching to the sky and will surely make a Statement.

This is a building that will never be renovated… that has no capacity for adaptive re-use, which is the foundation of enduring urbanism. That’s the trouble with these CAD stunts: they produce buildings so unprecedented that there is no extant knowledge about their long-term maintenance and renovation. It’s especially problematic where contemporary fabricated modular materials are concerned because the builders assume that these things will be available far off in the future. #Big Mistake. #Faulty Assumption. The bottom line will be a stupendous waste of money and, sooner rather than later, another techno-narcissistic white elephant cluttering up the urban scene.

My favorite touch in the rendering, though, is the eight-lane expressway that the building is located on. They complement each other perfectly.

From the comments, heh.

Computer-aided-design? Looks to me more like alcohol-aided-design.

Also gonna be a bitch to do those windows with standard scaffolding.

California snowpack 173% of normal


The drought is finally ending in California to recent humongous storms and snow, which eliminated 37% of snow-water deficit. This is hugely good news and bodes well for summer. The amount of rain was so extraordinary that some reservoirs are now full.

Painter told KQED that the volume of water that fell on the Sierra from multi-day storms that began on Jan. 7 and 18, respectively, was 25 percent more than the average annual flow of the Colorado River.

However, the ground water deficit remains. Water pumped out of aquifers does not replenish quickly.

“It is important to realize that any aquifer recharge that occurs as a result of this winter’s storms is just a small uptick in a century-long decline of groundwater storage, at least with respect to the once-vast reserves in the Central Valley,” said James Famiglietti, a senior water scientist at JPL. “The drought may be easing, but California’s chronic water scarcity is here to stay.”

Medical bills. Those least able to pay, pay the most

Sue recently had a health scare. She’s fine now, however the various tests and procedures cost about $10,000. We paid about $1,000 because she is covered under GEHA, the federal government employee health plan.

For one bill, the amount owed was $4973.00. The negotiated amount GEHA pays is $1378.25. So for us, it was a done deal. We paid nothing. However, the owed amount for someone without insurance is $4973.00. Thus, those least able to pay have to pay the most. This is beyond unfair.

Sure, they may be able to negotiate and get the bill lowered. However, that depends on their skills at negotiating and if the medical facility is willing to deal. Some, like the Intermountain Healthcare chain in Utah will. You may have to show proof of income. If you are broke and genuinely trying, they can and will lower a bill 80-90%. However, other medical facilities though may not deal at all. They’ll just send out bottom dweller bill collectors to make debtor’s lives even more miserable.

A friend in Scotland told me he went to the hospital for triple bypass surgery and another major procedure. His bill was zero, and said “I think you Yanks are insane.”

One of the biggest causes of bankruptcy in the US is medical bills. Obamacare, whatever its flaws, is a big step in the right direction. Let’s fix what is wrong with it with the goal of decent, affordable healthcare for all.

King tides, waterfront property, municipal budgets

A hotel in South San Francisco routinely floods on the bottom floor during big tides. Offices and manufacturing in the same area also flood. Such valuable real estate and the buildings on it should have serious flood protection. Often they don’t, because the city can’t afford it. Instead, the city wants buildings that produce tax revenue, and as few residents as possible.

However this is short-sighted and doomed to failure.

Over the years I’ve had more than one mayor or city official in different parts of the country explain that each new resident costs the city money in services and infrastructure. What cities desperately need is tax revenue. That’s why we see a proliferation of casinos, premium outlet malls, entertainment complexes, and technology parks. A half assed soggy hotel is better for the city’s bottom line than anything that will burden the municipality with needy residents.

In the short term there are all manner of temporary quick fixes that can keep this system going. But over the long haul there are only two possible trajectories for these places. One is for huge sums of public money to be spent defending private property. The other is that the structures that currently occupy vulnerable positions will lose value, be abandoned, and gradually slip under the tide

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