"His Life Aquatic": Elisabeth Eaves' account of taking a ride into the briny deep in Malta in a U-Boat Worx C-Explorer 2, a two-person submarine that can dive as deeply as 3,300 feet (1,000 meters), and that only millionaires (maybe billionaires) can afford.
We sit at a table on the upper aft deck of the Alk, a steel-hulled 100-foot former research vessel anchored in the clear blue sea off the island nation of Malta. The sun blazes, and the air temperature, even on the water, is in the eighties. In the middle distance off the stern, something breaches the surface and rises up out of the sea: a five-foot-wide clear acrylic sphere and what looks like two bright yellow pontoons.
It is a C-Explorer 2, a two-person sub made by Bert Houtman’s company, U-Boat Worx. The submarine obsession he called “a fantasy that became a passion” had also produced something real.
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"Some of Their Parts": What is it like to be treated like a collection of parts instead of a whole person? For a body-part model, it's familiar, if not entirely enjoyable, as Chris Stokel-Walker uncovers:
“I did a Weight Watchers campaign. And my role was to squeeze a cod liver capsule between my lips as it all squirted into the camera.”
Saare grimaces at the recollection of it. “We did it over and over and over and over again.” By now she’s laughing at the memory. “That was real cod liver oil, all over me, in my mouth. Everywhere. And that was awful!”
"A Separate Peace": Hospitals have secret places, call rooms and chapels and roofs and other spots that medical professionals escape to for a bit of relief from the intensity of work, Dr. Saul Hymes, a pediatrician, tells us:
One of my co-residents (I’ll never remember exactly who it was) saw me struggling to cope with all of this and took me aside. “Come on, let’s go get pudding.” She led me up to the 8th floor obstetrics postpartum area, to a fridge in the patient and family pantry that was filled with pudding snacks. A chocolate pudding cup and spoon were thrust into my hand, and, ignoring my slack jaw and incredulous face (how could I not have known?! pudding!), I was led up to the roof.
"Best Used By": If our bodies are our temples, they may need spackling and a new roof, says Rich Mogull:
“Rich, this is Dr. Bailey calling with your test results.”
“How close are you to the hospital? Is someone around who can drive you?”
"Works in Progress": The New Deal’s infrastructure and arts program left a legacy that’s being rediscovered, Celeste LeCompte has uncovered:
Coit Tower attracts more than 150,000 visitors each year, generating over $600,000 in revenue for the city’s parks department, of which a tiny fraction is used for its upkeep. While I (unsurprisingly) wasn’t able to find the official records about the investment made in the Coit Tower murals, other sources indicated that 25 artists and 19 assistants worked on the murals, at an average wage of $33.22 per week, for six months. That’s just over $35,000 in labor costs, or about $625,000 in 2013 dollars.
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Coit Tower photos by Carol M. Highsmith, from the Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. In the public domain.
Published 6:00 am Thu, Oct 31, 2013
About the AuthorGlenn Fleishman, @glennf, is the editor and publisher of The Magazine, a fortnightly electronic periodical for curious people with a technical bent. Glenn hosts The New Disruptors, a podcast about connecting creators and makers to their audiences, and writes as “G.F.” at the Economist's Babbage blog. He is a regular panel member on the geeky media podcast The Incomparable. In October 2012, Glenn won Jeopardy! twice.
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