Saturday, April 28, 2018
How strange it seems that education, in practice, so often means suppression: that instead of leading the mind outward to the light of day it crowds things in upon it that darken and weary it. Yet evidently the true object of education, now as ever, is to develop the capabilities of the head and of the heart.
It may be just my opinion, but in redeveloping an old building, the choice of an architect matters. I think we made a good choice. The better the plans, the better the sub-contractors can bid, and the easier one can get a building code permit.
Fixing old buildings may resemble building new ones, but it actually is a very different undertaking. Old buildings have their quirks. It has been my experience that honoring those quirks is a good thing. So, flexibility and adaptability are fairly key, especially in a historic tax credit project where the historical folks have some significant and specific demands on what the result must be. I won't tell you that the renovation has exactly followed the architectural drawings (I wouldn't want to speak untruths to faithful readers), but for the most part the results align with the plans. I will tell you that our architect, a true team player, was consulted regularly when issues and questions and changes arose. I do believe he will be proud of our creation. Here is a quick stroll through the drawings:
|The title page with all sorts of important information|
|The building code people care about this stuff|
|a basic site plan|
|A fairly old photo. I have no recollection of that fencing|
|The design for the basic one bedroom unit|
|The first floor|
|The re-design of the old boiler room. Should be a|
pretty cool, and very large, apartment
|Giving the electricians something to do|
|The new elevator shaft, part 1|
|The new elevator shaft, part 2|
|Your basic bathroom and mezzanine plan|
|One must go to plumbing school to make sense out of this schematic|
In the famous tale by Ahiqar, later picked up by Aesop (then again by La Fontaine), the dog boasts to the wolf all the contraptions of comfort and luxury he has, almost prompting the wolf to enlist. Until the wolf asks the dog about his collar and is terrified when he understands its use. "'Of all your meals, I want nothing,' He ran away and is still running."
The question is: what would you like to be, a dog or a wolf?
-Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Skin In The Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life
Aesop's tale of the Wolf and Dog is here
Gene Callahan reviews Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Skin In The Game:
"In this intellectual climate dominated by “interventionistas” and “IYIs,” nothing is more salutary than a bold and original thinker willing to call a fool a fool and a knave a knave."
Friday, April 27, 2018
Before much of anything can get done in a building project, the interior walls need to be framed in. While the existing bones of the Old School are brick, concrete and ceramic block with plaster interior walls and ceilings, most of the new walls are either 2" x 4" or 2" x 6" wood studs. The new walls were added mostly to create bathrooms, bedrooms, and the kitchens. The old plaster walls were saved wherever possible. One of the issues confronting the design of the renovation was hiding the new plumbing. Since it is a three story building, and the rooms are essentially stacked upon each other, it was necessary to hide the plumbing for the third floor units from the second floor units and the second floor from the first. We solved problem by creating a mezzanine over each bathroom. For the most part, all the plumbing lines, hot water heaters, and exhaust systems are hidden there.
|Basic framing for a smaller "studio" unit. Note the removed blackboard|
on the existing left hand wall. These will be the Old School Apartments,
so each unit will have a blackboard
|A one bedroom unit, without full bedroom separation|
|The former "boys" room, a future studio apartment|
|One of my favorite units, this one bedroom will have a kitchen island. The|
window in the far wall of the island was previously located in an interior
classroom wall. We are reusing everything reusable
|I don't remember any schools I attended having a fireplace, but this one did.|
Likely it was the Superintendent's of Principal's office when it was built. No,
we will not allow the fire place to be used. Chimney has been capped.
|This piece of furniture was built-in storage in one of the classrooms. It will|
be fixed up and cleaned up. We think it adds a nice touch to this
one bedroom unit.
|Typical closet space for most of the units. Also home for|
the electric panel for this unit
|One of the four two bedroom units|
|This is the mezzanine located over all of the bathrooms. You can see the|
necessity of hiding the plumbing from the unit above.
|Typical one bedroom framing|
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
To call a book on the development and applications of science The Pursuit of Simplicity may seem paradoxical. Science and technology are more often viewed as the source of complication in the world than as simplifying factors. Large numbers of educated people, even learned people, in the western world are gripped by a malaise of despair at a world that seems too complicated to understand, much less affect. They wish that the world were more simple, more the way it used to be. Their pursuit of simplicity begins with wanting to discard science and technology. Rejecting science and technological progress, even if it were possible, would certainly not solve people's problems.
Edward Teller, The Pursuit of Simplicity, 1980
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Monday, April 23, 2018
Sunday, April 22, 2018
.......................................Enjoy a preserved cinematic view of New York City (population about 4.7 million) in 1911. A different time:
...........................................but systems frequently get gamed. Something about human nature. Always remember - the one unbreakable law is the law of unintended consequences. Ben Carlson is on the case. A wee excerpt here:
Incentives drive the world in many ways so getting the right compensation system in place can have a huge impact on people’s actions. Measurement can help an organization better achieve its goals but it can also lead to unintended consequences. Performance bonuses or fees are typically seen as aligning interests of all parties involved but there are downsides when the wrong measures are used.
Skies over the North Atlantic were mostly clear when the unarmed twin-engine DH-98 Mosquito climbed out of Goose Bay, another factory-fresh fighter-bomber on its way to help the British repel Hitler's war machine. The pilot, an American civilian employed by the Royal Air Force Ferry Command, banked out over the Labrador Sea and powered his agile aircraft toward a rendezvous with the "hurricane express" - a fierce but friendly tailwind blasting out of Canada at nearly seventy-five miles per hour. RAF meteorologists called it "the Iceland Wave." By whatever name, the rushing wind stream promised a faster-than-normal ocean crossing, possibly even another world record, since the captain was taking a rather daring direct route to Prestwick.
Under normal circumstances, the Mosquito's limited range made such a plan suicidal. A straight line to the coast of Scotland was about twenty-two hundred miles - nearly a thousand miles beyond the plane's maximum fuel range. Even with a temporarily installed two-hundred-gallon gas tank lashed to the floor of its empty bomb bay, this fighter-bomber would need a hefty tailwind to avoid ditching hundreds of miles short of land.
Young Captain Kirk Kerkorian was feeling lucky. A month earlier he rode the same air current and shattered the existing nine-hour speed record for an Atlantic crossing by nearly two hours. It was exhilarating, the way winning big at poker was exhilarating. He liked it - the thrill of victory, the rush of adrenaline, the payoff. For a quiet, seemingly mild-mannered guy, Kirk was surprisingly comfortable with risk. At least that's what his poker face suggested.
-William C. Rempel, The Gambler: How Penniless Dropout Kirk Kerkorian Became The Greatest Deal Maker In Capitalist History