There’s a new apartment building going up on Walnut Street in San Carlos, just north of San Carlos Avenue. That in and of itself isn’t unusual…but the way it’s being built is, at least for San Carlos.
That’s because it’s being assembled out of modules that are built off-site and trucked to the construction site. I’ve been told this may very well be the wave of the future, because it allows for economies of scale that are hard to achieve otherwise. Particularly since most multi-family dwellings aren’t built out of uniquely different units; they tend to draw from a set of plans, perhaps unique to a site, that reoccur within the overall building design.
Here’s a video of one of the units being installed (click to enlarge):
Apartment Module from Mark Olbert on Vimeo.
Early in the video, if you look carefully behind the crane’s boom you’ll see one of the engineers giving hand signals to the crane operator, to move the module into position. Towards the end, if you look at the right side of the video, you’ll see a contractor tightening bolts to warp the module into its final position (warp being an ancient nautical term not having anything to do with antimatter, dilithium crystals or Zefram Cochrane :)).
Recently my brother Art confessed to being a dinosaur because he dislikes web video snippets which would work much better as an article (I share the same feeling).
But that got me to thinking: why is being a dinosaur a bad thing?
Sure, they’re extinct. But:
- They ruled the Earth for hundreds of millions of years.
- They supplanted early mammals, or at least mammal-like creatures, and kept them suppressed for eons.
- It took a giant 10 kilometer diameter asteroid or comet impacting the Earth to knock them out.
There’s nothing shameful about being a dinosaur. Except for the being extinct part. And, hey, everything dies eventually :).
This past Sunday morning I got up a little before 6 AM to see the International Space Station cruise over San Carlos. It was one of the better displays, going from the western horizon to the eastern horizon, and passing very close to straight overhead. So it was visible for almost 10 minutes, outshining everything in the pre-dawn sky.
I waved at them, too. But I doubt they noticed me :).
It being Sunday I then went back to bed, waking up for good around 8:30 AM.
By which point the ISS was just about completing it’s second lap around the Earth since I’d watched them pass out of view.
Now that’s fast!
I’m sure many others have already had this experience, but it’s a new one for me. WiFi and internet access while cruising over Northern California at 34,000 feet doing 500+ knots!
Sure, the connection gets a little slow at times. But the amazing thing about the singing horse isn’t how poorly he sings, but rather that he sings at all :).
What is the Bechdel test? Well, it’s a way of evaluating the roles that women play in movies, theater, etc. A piece of entertainment passes the Bechdel test when it:
- Has two women in it who
- Talk to each other
- About something other than a man
This sounds like an easy to pass test…but it’s not. And it highlights some subtle (or not so subtle) gender roles, as portrayed by the entertainment industry.
The test’s origin traces back to a comic strip I’d never heard of, Dykes to Watch Out For. The test is named for one of the characters.
So where did I come across this interesting piece of trivia? Why, on John Scalzi’s blog, Whatever, which is well worth perusing. In addition to being a (fine) science fiction and fantasy writer, Scalzi writes a weekly column about movies. This week’s installment featured (you guessed it) the Bechdel test.