Saturday, March 20, 2010

Interna

I'm back in Sweden, working on the jetlag. When I arrived last weekend, Sweden was still covered by snow. But the last days the snow has been melting in places, just to then freeze again, converting most walkways into outdoor skating arenas. Today however is the first day this year I am looking out of the window and do not see a closed white surface. Yes, spring is coming!



Some of you have been asking how the pothole situation is in Stockholm compared to Waterloo. I haven't seen potholes. At least in the area I live there hasn't been any salt on the streets either. (You notice it when you get home and the shoes leave stains.) Absence of salt contributes noticeably to the outdoor skating experience. They do extensively put gravel on the streets, but that doesn't melt the snow, so it just adds layer on layer on layer. Walking on it is possible to some extend, but if you try to push a stroller, ride a bike, pull a suitcase (guess which one is me), you can forget about it. The extensive salting Canadians engage in seems to wreck the upper layers of the pavement, contributing to pothole growth. However, in the last 2 years no-salt ice-melters have become more common. They are allegedly better for the environment. And for your dog. Don't know about the potholes though.

It seems however the Germans have had a lot of potholes this year due to the unusually cold winter. Well, what the Germans call potholes wouldn't even count as a surface crack in Canada. Note: if you can't store a turkey in it, it's not a pothole. But either way, it's caused considerable damage to the streets and most of the expenses fall to the communities. One German town that's short on money is thus seeking sponsorship for potholes. For EUR 50, they'll tar over a hole and put a plaque with your name on it. If you ever wanted to own a pothole - a GERMAN pothole - here's your chance!

17 comments:

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

It seems that your mind is lead to a symmetry regarding thought as expresses with your seeming obsession with holes, whether they be black holes or pot holes. However, there are differences and similarities to be found, as the latter problematic as it lacking matter, yet has form, while the former having at its core infinite matter with no definable form. I then find the two represent being the ying and yang of holes, as one being form yet not whole and the other being whole without form:-)

Best,

Phil

Bee said...

And there's a hole in my jeans too. I hope it's not leading to an instability though ;-)

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

That is why science is there for you, as to when it should come to having the Jeany being released from the bottle you will have the method of reason required to have it forced back in. Is it not interesting that one such approach is known as the holographic solution, where every part represents the sum of the whole and yet not the whole of its sum, as having its resolution being reduced. So then as with many things, their conception will stiil be found to have holes until they are made whole in finding the the correct resolution ;-)

Best,

Phil

Arun said...

I'd much rather have this 500-HP 4-wheel drive German Pothole Dodger. Unfortunately 50 Euros doesn't cover it :) :) :)

Plato said...

Interesting analogies in relation to the "Tao of things" Phil.

Immediately, you spark recognition of the Tao symbol. To me, this was a sensual transformation of "momentum and particularization" on the birth of the universe "constantly reforming itself?"

I mean you cannot just get to the "Jets" without ever seeing the overall geometrical action taking place in order to get to this result.

So the "constituents of this universe" had to come from some place else and are constantly being refined like a "figure of eight"(infinity symbol)?

So the next time you think of w/holes think of that renewal?:)

Best,

Plato said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Plato said...

Okay here's a thought

How many w/holes per square inch?

In analogy, this is a "universal question" about the state of the universe? Can the current state be assume to be supported by it?

Also Bee's picture can be used, "to think in context" of this question above.

If you discount "one part of that equation" it is either/or and a white space would not seem relevant without it's contrast.:)

That's just the way of it.

Best,

Steven Colyer said...

I liked the whole turkey in a pothole definition. :-)

That would probably be a good idea to put some surplus birds in them until the tar guys get around to fixing them. I lost 3 tires and $400 for replacements to potholes in the last 2 years. Curse them.

Steven Colyer said...

I liked the whole turkey in a pothole definition. :-)

That would probably be a good idea to put some surplus birds in them until the tar guys get around to fixing them. I lost 3 tires and $400 for replacements to potholes in the last 2 years. Curse them.

Uncle Al said...

The science of asphalt failure is extensive. Ignoring grantology, the Officially impossible solution is as trivial and inexpensive as preventing Space Scuttle external foam shedding during launch. Add fibers.

Alkaline concrete is a chemically aggressive environment. Aggregate bound with asphalt is a pussycat aside from its application temperature. A little rock wool added to the topcoat would work wonders. The matrix might crack but chunks would not be released. Failure would be gradual not catastrophic positive feedback.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Plato,

“How many w/holes per square inch?:”

I’ve never seen, even in mathematics, where anyone has considered the packing problem as it would relate to holes of any description. So you might say you’re asking nature to tell the truth,the hole truth and nothing but the truth; to which I’m must draw your attention that including and up until now she has resorted to taking the fifth;-)

Best,

Phil

Plato said...

I suppose you are two fathoms deep in mathematics,
and if you are, then God help you, for so am I,
only with this difference,
I stick fast in the mud at the bottom and there I shall remain.
-Charles Darwin


Hi Phil,

Honestly, I had never thought to approach it this way but it makes sense to me in that context to tackle it that way.

While it s a mathematical proposition with which I had given, I understand what you mean, and with that I will speak to your attempt at your place.

Best,

Arun said...

You are ahead of the Times :)
Hole Earth Catalog

excerpt:

"A week later, though, I saw a television report on Niederzimmern, a German village where citizens can sponsor pothole repairs after this year’s especially cold winter. For a $68 contribution, they get their name embossed, over the town crest, on a patch of new asphalt.

With a few tweaks, New York could have its own sponsor-a-pothole program.

True, Niederzimmern is home to only about 1,000 people, and traffic is probably a lot thinner than in New York. Once a pothole is fixed in Niederzimmern, it’s likely set for a while.

In New York, potholes are like pets — requiring constant care over years and years — so our program would mean almost literally adopting a patch of road. It would also come with a slightly higher price tag than in Niederzimmern: filling a New York pothole costs about $30; new asphalt every 18 months for 15 years would cost $300.

But the idea of such a commitment contains the germ of a viable educational plan for New York: call it Pick-a-Pothole, a citywide civic investment program. "

Arun said...

Hi Bee,

This attempt to explain math. on the NYT blog is commendable.

-Arun

Anonymous Snowboarder said...

Bee - apologies for my tardiness to reply to this post. Salt is a big contributor to the problem but I think it also has a lot to do with traffic volume (trucks in particular) and paving technique. When they do roads these days they seem to put far smaller layers down than in the past, likely as asphalt is so much more expensive.

I also think the climate has a lot to do with it. Places which tend to stay uniformly cold or warm will fare better. It is those places, such as NYC, where temperatures swing around the freezing point that suffer most as the rain water and snow melt seep into the cracks and then freeze, expand and cause larger and larger cracks.

In Vermont they mostly throw down dirt and rocks on the roads and sand and sometimes salt on the sidewalks (not that there are many). I've considered saving the dirt that the dog and I bring in over the winter for flower pots in the spring; it's amazing how much you can drag in with you.

But I must ask, do they have frost heaves in Sweden? While in general this has not been a dreadful year, I have unfortunately gone on one mountain pass which had really, really, bad frost heaves. My front end will soon need realignment!

Bee said...

Hi Snowboarder,

I don't know. I haven't been out a lot though. I'm not a big fan of outside activities if the temperature is below zero. But I've seen these scary images from Germany (forget the text, click on the photo). It's apparently some sort of sudden holes that can form during spring in ground that has a high percentage of water solvable minerals. I had never heard of this before.

As to the traffic, well, Stockholm is the capital, so traffic here is substantial. It thins out dramatically though once you're past the airport. I think during the summer I'll have to have a closer look at Sweden.
Best,

B.

Steven Colyer said...

Arun, thank you for your link to Stephen Strogatz' NYT article. Strogatz is a fantastic expositor of all things Non-linear (like QFT) over Linear (QM). His "Non-Linear Dynamics and Chaos" text is a classic.