Posted by Wayne Bretski in

I prefer to use this method as "blogging-of-last-resort" but I've seen some extremely interesting things on the internet recently.

Two things make tall buildings possible: the steel frame and the safety elevator. The elevator, underrated and overlooked, is to the city what paper is to reading and gunpowder is to war. Without the elevator, there would be no verticality, no density, and, without these, none of the urban advantages of energy efficiency, economic productivity, and cultural ferment. The population of the earth would ooze out over its surface, like an oil slick, and we would spend even more time stuck in traffic or on trains, traversing a vast carapace of concrete. And the elevator is energy-efficient—the counterweight does a great deal of the work, and the new systems these days regenerate electricity. The elevator is a hybrid, by design.

While anthems have been written to jet travel, locomotives, and the lure of the open road, the poetry of vertical transportation is scant. What is there to say, besides that it goes up and down?
That's from a New Yorker piece called Up and Then Down. Check it out.

Another N.Y. piece from a while ago by the esteemed Malcolm Gladwell: The Ketchup Conundrum. Who knew this condiment had such an interesting history?

¿QuĂ© mas? Here's a link for the "50 Greatest Comedy Sketches of All Time", which so far we've found to be very spotty but probably worth your time. Avoid #49.

Finally, I really enjoyed this little article about typographical errors. Maybe that's just me.


the Ketchup Conundrum's great! I admit, I didn't even care about the ketchup story, and I gave up by the end, but the Grey Poupon part is interesting, and I loved the end of section 4---little kids don't eat brussel sprouts because it might've killed them!

Flo Rida and Timbaland just released a song called Elevator, for what it's worth.

We rode in a really old elevator in the hotel we stayed at in Berlin. Would have been fun to have an elevator man ask, "Which floor, madam?"

The ketchup piece was fascinating, thanks. The typographical thing, less so. And the comedy sketches loaded to slow on this silly computer here, so I didn't watch 'em. But thanks for all these. I love random good articles. And croissants were invented in Budapest, who knew?

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