Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Fatal Remedies: a very short review

Donna Leon's eighth Guido Brunetti novel is Fatal Remedies, and it hews to the major lines of a Brunetti book, with its fine Venetian atmosphere, its continued exploration of family life in modern Italy, and of course its ability to tell an exciting, page-turning story.

Particular elements that stand out from this book include Paola's adventures in political protest, Signorina Elletra's game of Buzzword Bingo, and a rather opaque plot about organized crime trafficking in the smuggling of prescription medications.

Certainly good, but not strongly compelling in the way of some of Leon's others.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Oakland Inner Harbor Pipeline Crossing

A decades-long project (350 page PDF link) to replace the main water pipelines throughout the city of Alameda continues to move along. Some of those original water pipelines were more than 100 years old, I believe, and have been at tremendous risk of failure as they age.

After the most recent crossing failure (Derby Street crossing in 2009), hydraulic model investigations determined that the failure of one of the remaining crossings would lead to a reduction in available fire flow rates on the island. Further investigation was recommended in order to determine vulnerabilities of existing crossings and impacts of those failures.

About 7 years ago, EBMUD finished all their approvals (600 page PDF link) and began work on the first part of the project, which installs a new pipeline that crosses from the downtown Oakland area into the Marina Village area of Alameda (right under the building where I first worked when I moved to California 35 years ago!)

Last weekend, an enormous step in that process was completed as the new pipe was pulled through the bore hold from Alameda to Oakland.

Construction crews drilled a bore hole 160 feet beneath the estuary and fused together 63 sections of high-density polyethylene water transmission pipe. This 3,000-foot pipeline stretched more than half a mile along Mitchell Avenue in Alameda before it was pulled through the bore hole north of Estuary Park in Oakland on April 7 and 8. The new pipe material significantly increases flexibility and durability, improving system reliability during an earthquake.

Check out this great picture of the pipe winding its way through city streets and parking lots as the equipment pulls it through the borehole.

Or, even more fun, watch this short drone video that follows the pipe end-to-end just before the pull begins.

This is, however, only the first part of the project.

In the coming months, crews will continue with the installation of two miles of 24-inch steel pipeline to connect the new high-density polyethylene pipe to the EBMUD system in both Oakland and Alameda. To support long-term goals for diverse water supply sources, once the new transmission line is put into service, EBMUD will investigate whether the old crossing can be repurposed to serve as a recycled water line. In addition, work on the second Alameda transmission replacement at Bay Farm Island will begin in approximately five years, and the final crossing parallel to Park Street will occur last.

That's a long ways from now; I'm not sure I'll be around when the new water pipeline finally reaches my area.

Still, I'm glad it's moving forward, and it will be a very major improvement to this part of the world.

Yay for infrastructure!

Friday, April 7, 2023

Another Victim of Global Search-and-Replace

I can pretty much hear the conversation in my head:

"Hey, Joe?"


"Did you finish those posters I asked you to make? The ones showing the map to the new store?"

"Yep; here they are."



"It's actually 'Prescription', not 'Perscription'."

"Really? Oh, sorry. OK, I'll fix it before I put the posters up."

What a difference two years can make

Check out this amazing photo essay from the Associated Press comparing California's reservoirs in 2021 to their condition today: Dramatic photos show how storms filled California reservoirs

All the rain and snow, while drought-busting, may bring new challenges. Some reservoirs are so full that water is being released to make room for storm runoff and snowmelt that could cause flooding this spring and summer, a new problem for weary water managers and emergency responders.

The storms have created one of the biggest snowpacks on record in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The snowpack’s water content is 239% of its normal average and nearly triple in the southern Sierra, according to state data. Now as the weather warms up, water managers are preparing for all that snow to melt, unleashing a torrent of water that’s expected to cause flooding in the Sierra foothills and Central Valley.