Third Alien Shore

In a struggle to be happy and free

Drystone Wall

Category: design Page 1 of 3

Good news and bad news about Niagara Falls

I read an article a few days ago titled, “American Side of Niagara Falls Will Likely Be Completely Dry Within Three Years”1. That sounds like some bad news! An environmental catastrophe in the great lakes perhaps? The good news is it’s just journalistic sensationalism. The New York State Parks System needs to replace two bridges to Goat Island and two of the three proposed plans require that all the water heading for the American Falls be redirected to the Canadian Falls, leaving the American Falls entirely dry. The plan that doesn’t require stopping the water has already been deemed too expensive and is unlikely to be selected.

You may recall that I posted briefly about how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “dewatered” the American Falls in 1969. They were studying the erosion on the Falls and wanted to determine if all the rock rubble at the base of the falls should be removed. They decided to leave it as it is.

If things go according to plan, sometime in the next three years, the American Falls will again go dry while the bridges are replaced. I’ll be there, camera in hand!


  1. American Side of Niagara Falls Will Likely Be Completely Dry Within Three Years,” Epoch Times, retrieved on 2016-01-24.

Don’t mess with physics!

Hyundai has a television ad running for their 2014 Elantra. In the ad, they say,

At Hyundai, we challenge everything. Even physics.

The question is what they mean by challenge. The logical answer is that they want to get as close to the limits as they possibly can. Like the best possible fuel efficiency, the most aerodynamic car body, and so on. The problem is that when one challenges someone, one means to beat them … and one doesn’t beat physics. The universe is set up so you can’t beat the laws of physics. One either simply fails, or fails in a spectacular fashion. In this case, it’s the ad firm behind the campaign who failed. Spectacularly.

You don’t beat physics … physics beats you!

Board!

4M6C2413.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 50mm 1:1.4 @ 1/125, f/2.8, 1600 ISO

4M6C2413.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 50mm 1:1.4 @ 1/125, f/2.8, 1600 ISO

I bought a board! All 2″×6″×10′ of it. Why?

Cats like a commanding view. I believe it comes from not only being a predator, but also from being prey. People I’ve lived with have had cat trees, so I looked up what that cost and quickly realized that I wouldn’t be buying any cat tree that I found acceptable. So what to do?

I’ve got quite a number of bookshelves, and I typically don’t make much use of the top of them. So what’s the easiest way for the cat to make use of the top of the bookshelves? A plain old board! A quick mental run-through of the Pythagorean theorem told me that if the shelves are 6′ tall, a 10′ hypotenuse would be inclined at a little less than 45°. The angle shown in the photo is much less than that because the boards placed one shelf down from the very top.

It turns out that the cat will still have none of it. I’m planning on wrapping the board in carpet so I’m hoping that will make the incline navigable. We’ll see!

Aren’t we past this?

I saw this ad in the Home Hardware flyer yesterday. My first thought was “Aren’t we past this?” and I then felt a bit of sympathy for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

My first thought was because of the antiquated Western stereotype that everything pink is for girls, and that girls like everything pink. We are past this and manufacturers and marketers who play it up are more likely to cause outrage than make a sale.  Even worse is the suggestion that woman can’t simply use an item … they need a special version, which invariably is exactly the same except for the colour. Just ask Bic about their For Her line of pens.

I’m insulted, and I’m a guy!

This whole pink thing brings me to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. They’ve created an immediately recognizable brand with their pink ribbons. My sympathy comes from the fact that it’s somewhat limited. If a toolbox manufacturer wanted to increase sales and do some good by getting together with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation by giving part of the sales of a line of toolboxes, how would they advertise it? They could slap a sticker of a pink ribbon on the toolbox. That’s what they should do, but it’s not very visible. So to gain that visibility, they make the toolbox itself pink. It’s far more visible, but it’s also patronizing, and I have no doubt that it also limits sales.

I just hope the idea for this came from the toolbox manufacturer rather than from Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. I can understand why a company that makes toolboxes is completely clueless about marketing products to women, but I’d be surprised to learn that the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation is similarly clueless. In fact, I would hope that the Foundation did their best to dissuade the manufacturers from going out of their way to piss-off potential customers, and because the Foundation would not want to be targeted by any of the bad feelings the product causes.

But what do I know? I’m not the target demographic for the god-awful toolbox.

Kitchen cool

A decade or two ago, I asked my mother for something in her kitchen. I’m not about to make off with it though. I’ll wait for a renovation.

Have a look for yourself:

20130206_tissue_dispenser

Is that not the coolest retro kitchen accessory? My mom started work at a hotel in 1963, and at that time they were renovating the washrooms. They each had one of these beauties, and since they were being removed as part of the update, my mom asked if she could buy one. She was told that they all were being thrown out. Selling them or giving them away would be more trouble than it was worth. Ever resourceful, my mom managed to find a few before they were all gone.

The hotel was built in 1929 and mom is certain the tissue dispensers were there in the hotel when it opened. I had thought they were from the 1950s. It hadn’t occurred to me that they were quite that old.

Still, I’ve got dibs!

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