December 10th, 2006

krazy koati

I'm wondering where does the universe end

In the window of campus bookstore there's this giant stuffed lion doll. It's really huge, the kind which if it rolls over on you will crush the air out of your lungs. (Maybe it's not quite that huge.) I was down there to pick up some tape and something to drink, and I noticed there was a woman with a tape measure trying to get the distance around the doll's belly. (She needed more than the one tape measure, really.) So now I'm just wondering what in a bookstore job gets one assigned to measure the circumference of a large stuffed lion.

In the library's restroom I noticed the unfortunate automatic sensor-tuned faucets had gotten themselves into a curious little mode. The faucet had a little bit of a leak, which would cause water to build slowly until a drop or two fell down ... right in front of the sensor, which would cause the water to start and run for a little while. After what I guess is the preset time given to let people move their hands into the water, the faucet switched off, with just enough water that it was ready for a little leak to build up and start things over.

Trivia: Architect Louis Mulgardt designed a skyscraper-bridge to connect San Francisco to Oakland in 1924. Source: Skyscraper: The Search for An American Style, 1891-1941, Edited Roger Shepherd.

Currently Reading: The Perfect Machine: Building the Palomar Telescope, Ronald Florence. I'm generally very happy with Florence's writing, which has just the right blend of detail and narrative flow for my tastes. And I'm delighted that he even quotes Robert Benchley essays in talking about public reaction to the problem of casting a 200-inch glass disc. I'd just take issue with his characterization of Benchley as casting barbs at the project; Benchley just didn't do barbs, not in humorous essays like these. Probably something like What do they do with gigantic telescope discs out there in California -- eat them? and If you ask me, they have got started making gigantic glass lenses up at Corning and can't stop were not so funny to the people frustrated at the glass discs not coming out just right, but they're not really barbs. Florence also excerpts the same essay several times, making it sound like separate attacks; I only offhand have the one essay of Benchley's mentioning telescope discs, although I admit my collection is sadly incomplete.