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June 18, 2002

Huzzah!
Posted by Teresa at 06:38 PM *

The AC has been fixed, and is back in our bedroom window, right next to the bed. We rejoice. We admire it: How fine! It broke down weekend before last, and oh, how we’ve missed it.

We’re grateful to J&R Appliances & Repair (108 Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn 11215, next to the video rental place) for fixing it—and at a reasonable price, too. Good guys. Neighborhood institution. Not the first time they’ve fixed something of ours.

Huzzah, huzzah.

Comments on Huzzah!:
#1 ::: Greg van Eekhout ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2002, 07:28 PM:

3:56 PM MST on June 18, 2002, Observed at Phoenix, Arizona: 108 degrees F

My AC goes out, I die.

This is empathy, not one-upmanship.

#2 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2002, 07:47 PM:

Way cool!

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2002, 10:25 PM:

Thank you, Greg. I know it's not one-upmanship. As I think I told you the first time I met you, you're living a few blocks from the house I grew up in.

So it's 108 out there, but it's June, which used to mean low humidity and frequent strong winds. Does it still, or have they managed to screw that up too?

The worst I ever saw was 123 F., as recorded by the digital temperature readout on one of the local banks. They said it was only 119 F. that day at Sky Harbor, but the bank was down in the muck and sprawl of fume-exhaling traffic jams and half-melted asphalt pavement with the rest of us, and I believed it.

#4 ::: Greg van Eekhout ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2002, 01:02 AM:

It's still, as they say, a dry heat, Teresa. But I'm a wuss. I grew up near the beach. Heat, in all its forms, hurts me.

Since I've been here, I think the hottest it's been was 118. I had no car and had to walk 2 miles home from work, but really sort of enjoyed it in an odd way. As if it were an extreme sport. I'm still thankful for our low humidity. Even during the monsoon, we could have it much worse. In fact, we're actively trying to make it worse with all the golf courses and waterfront real estate projects.

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2002, 10:43 AM:

Two miles at 118 F. can be dangerous. Approaching it as a variety of extreme sport is not a bad idea.

The climate has already been made worse. The humidity used to be so low that swampbox coolers were effective right up to the monsoon season, and the air used to be so clean that asthmatics and tuberculosis cases from back East would move to the Valley when nothing else worked for them.

Waterfront real estate is yet another manifestation of water porn. I was just ranting about this in Cory Doctorow's weblog. Here's his piece: http://boingboing.net/2002_06_01_archive.html#85172328.

Here's my rant: http://www.quicktopic.com/boing/H/caxf4YcBeUxE.

Are Fountain Hills and The Lakes, those massively chuckleheaded projects, still in operation? In a world of just cost-benefit accounting, they and their like, plus all those watersucking private golf courses, would be charged for the additional cooling costs they impose on the general public.

When I was a kid in Mesa, a lot of what had been old rural roads still had a wide irrigation ditch running alongside them, with a row of big cottonwood trees on the other side of the ditch. I loved it when we drove down those roads; they were cool and shady, and smelled good. The cottonwoods were some of the biggest trees in a town notably lacking in same. Then they came along and cut down the trees, and turned the irrigation ditches into underground concrete pipes, because they said they lost too much water through evaporation.

I thought about that a lot when Fountain Hills and The Lakes got built.

#6 ::: Simon Shoedecker ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2002, 01:27 PM:

Teresa's comments about the rural roads and the irrigation ditches and the big trees apply, without too much change, to what are now the boulevards of the Silicon Valley industrial district, back when it was orchards.

#7 ::: Greg van Eekhout ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2002, 01:45 PM:

Actually, I now live just south of Baseline, about a block away from the Lakes. Eating breakfast at the lakeside cafe, watching Lakes residents playing some sort of floating poker game in their pontoon boats ... it's weird.

Our most recent waterfront project is Tempe Town Lake, just north of ASU. I guess it's not quite as weird, since it used to be the Salt River, but here's a picture of a sailboat going by the old mill on Mill Avenue:

http://www.loc.gov/bicentennial/propage/AZ/az-1_h_salmon3.html

Concerns about increased humidity are assuaged by claims that the moist air travels upriver or downriver, away from developed areas. In other words, it goes somewhere Not-Here, so no worries.

Water porn is the perfect term for it. I can't think of a more flagrant example than the Fountain Hills hydrophallus, which spews a column of water taller than the Washington Monument.

Photo:
http://www.roadsideamerica.com/roger/QueryTips.php3?tip.AttractionName=fountain&tip.State=AZ

#8 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2002, 12:19 AM:

Simon, are you from the Silicon Valley area? My friend Mike Farren grew up thereabouts, and remembers when it was beanfields. Some of the best agricultural land in the country, he said.

Greg: Just south of Baseline, about a block from The Lakes ... check. The other weird thing I remember about The Lakes is that it was the first development that leapfrogged south far enough that its kids wound up going to school with Yaqui kids from Guadalupe. The Yaqui had been promised a new high school for a long time, and when they finally got it, they had to share it with a population that could hardly have been more alien, or further removed in socioeconomic standing.

Here's an interesting bit I just ran across:

"Project Title: Urban lakes: Are they sinks for biohazardous substances?"
http://www.scerp.org/scerp/projects/W5.html

I've seen the new Tempe Lake. It could be weirder. I have seen water there before, though it was usually a roiling silty-brown mess that rolled car-sized boulders and who knew what else along its bed.

Fountain Hills used to have that damned fountain running twenty-four hours a day, not just once on the hour. On really dry days it would go up, then come down visibly diminished. Its surrounding "lake" is a big shallow evaporation dish at all times. The change in its schedule came when we had a particularly bad drought: over 100 days without measurable precipitation, with the big reservoir lakes rapidly dwindling into mudholes. When things got truly bad, Fountain Hills cut back to ostentatiously wasting water for only five minutes per hour.

Do they really say the humid air flows away along the watercourses? That's amazingly shameless. It's in a class with the old claims that Valley smog was produced by backyard barbecues, and had nothing to do with copper smelting. Funny thing, though -- when the bottom fell out of the copper market and the pits closed down, the worst of the smog magically went away.

#9 ::: Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2002, 08:00 AM:

Dr Plokta came back from Las Vegas with a new digital camera that takes videos. So, no surprise there. He'd taken videos of animated fountain cabaret shows. The council pat themselves on the back because these fountains use recycled water. But you know, in damp London, we use recycled water to make more water, not to spray off into the atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Thames Water hasn't banned hosepipes in the summer for a decade or more. Nothing in the garden needs watering except when new (plants have to survive without watering, or they die and I replace them with things that survive without watering). The *lawn*, however, gets lots of water. Being under a paddling pool will do that for a lawn.

#10 ::: Greg van Eekhout ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2002, 06:00 PM:

Teresa asks:
"Do they really say the humid air flows away along the watercourses? "

That's a preliminary conclusion from the only study I'm aware of addressing the issue:

http://geography.asu.edu/news_01/lake.html

Note the reassuring conclusion based on early results: "The citizens of Tempe may rest assured that the lake is not increasing the humidity of Tempe."

But even if the humid air does flow away along the watercourses, that's not the same as saying artificial lakes don't increase humidity in surrounding inhabited areas.

I have to say, though, upon reflection, that Tempe Town Lake doesn't strike me as an egregious misuse of water when compared to the other water projects. As you indicated, we merely restored water to a dammed river. And, unlike The Lakes, it's a public resource. I'm not allowed to walk along the banks of The Lakes.

(Small-world Dept: I worked with the principal investigator of the study you linked to on an online plant biology course.)

#11 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2002, 09:44 PM:

Small world indeed!

I cherish a lurking suspicion that if everyone acts on the assumption that the humidity will blow away, they're all going to be wrong. I'd drag Kant in on this one, but he's probably off posting comments to Patrick's weblog.

I can't really dislike the Tempe Town Lake. That was a river, back before the dams, and it is a public resource. But the idea of The Lakes slowly turning into the Valley's answer to the Gowanus Canal is an image to be cherished.

#12 ::: Greg van Eekhout ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2002, 09:28 PM:

Wanna see how the Fountain Hills fountain stacks up against (among other things) Godzilla, the Mall of America, a giant squid, and the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man?

From BoingBoing:

http://www.skyscraperpage.com/diagrams/display.php?buildingtype=t

The entire site is an amazingly cool timesuck.

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