Saturday, January 31, 2015
Los Angeles' skyline has none of the soaring spires that grace the Burj Khalifa or the Chrysler Building. Instead, it's uniformly flat, like someone took an axe to downtown and left only stumps of buildings. And it's all because of a piece of misguided regulation.
L.A.'s architecture has long been stunted by a clause in the city code that requires every building to have a helipad on top. At last, this regulation has been repealed. May the pointy buildings begin to rise!
Civil Engineering magazine recently brought our attention to Regulation 10 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code that was revised last fall. Under Regulation 10, every building over 75 feet tall has must have a helicopter landing pad on its roof for emergency evacuations during a fire. The result? A downtown full of uninspiring flat roofs.
Now, the helipads are not a great idea, even if you take aesthetics out of the equation. Helicopter rescues are dangerous and chaotic; the hot air of a fire makes helicopters very difficult control. Imagine trying to land one on a roof full of people. In all the time Regulation 10 was in effect, helipads were used just one time in Los Angeles, to evacuate a handful of people during a fire in the then First Interstate Bank building (now the Aon Center) in 1988.
Helicopter rescues are so rare and helipads are so expensive the firefighting money is better spent elsewhere. Modern buildings now have automatic and redundant sprinkler systems, smoke-control systems, and fire-protected areas of the building—making helipads essentially obsolete.
But now that Regulation 10 has been revised, L.A. may finally get a more graceful skyline. The Wiltshire Grand, which will be the tallest building west of Chicago when completed, will be one of the city's first non flat-topped buildings. You can see it below, sticking out like a unicorn with its spire jutting into the sky.[ASCE, LA Times, KCET]
Top image: AP Photo/Nick Ut
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And then there's the $18m in BTC on his laptop, say lawyers
The trial of accused Silk Road ringleader Ross Ulbricht continued despite inclement weather in New York City this week, with prosecutors seeking to rubbish Ulbricht's attorneys' earlier claim that someone else ran the darknet drugs souk.…
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Friday, January 30, 2015
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Phillip Swann at TV Predictions notes that Verizon, Time Warner Cable and Cox have all recently either lowered the price of traditional HBO or are offering promotional HBO offers. The reason? They're likely trying to get out ahead of this year's release of a standalone HBO streaming option. The long-awaited option was announced last October and is expected to launch sometime around April. Of course many wonder if the ISPs themselves will be the ones selling the HBO streaming service, and I can't help but wonder if there will be any caveats to ease the impact on pay TV subscriber tallies (like requiring users subscribe to a certain price and speed tier of broadband service).
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The first thing I did when my family finally broke down and purchased internet service was disobey my mother. I'm sorry, Mom, but I made a ton of internet friends.
It was the late 90s, and parent groups were convinced the internet super highway was nothing short of a pedophile's gateway to fast and convenient kidnapping—chatrooms, forums and online communities were off limits "for my own good."
I spent those early days lurking around the "Luigi in Super Mario 64" Inside The Web message board; I wasted hours chasing rumors, making jokes and playing one of the best games of my childhood over and over. Eventually I moved on to some Pokemon forums, Something Awful and now, well, mostly just Facebook—but those chaotic online communities were a huge part of my youth.
The internet has changed since I was a child, but there are thousands of vibrant, active, wonderful (and sometimes terrible) communities out there. Tell us about your first, favorite online community—be it a message board, chatroom, listserv or gaming clan. Was it great? Was it embarrassing? Do you still keep in touch with the friends you made? Let's get nostalgic together.
Image credit: XKCD
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