Posted at 11:30 AM on November 15, 2012
by Paul Tosto
St Paul's Ford assembly plant closed eleven months ago. The lingering question remains what should be done with the site. My favorite idea remains transforming the plant into a Google server farm.
Ed Kohler, a local web strategy guy, argued in a 2007 open letter to Google, that the tunnels beneath the Ford plant -- dug to mine silica to make glass for Ford vehicle windows in the early days of the plant -- would be a perfect "secure, climate controlled environment" for a data center.
His letter cycled back into my head today after I read the newest pitch by state officials to locate data centers in Minnesota. The Department of Employment and Economic Development says that "Minnesota's cool climate, low energy costs, and great tax incentives make our state an ideal location for data centers."
OK, let's put the pieces together.
1.) DEED is chatting up Minnesota's geography, talent and, apparently, awesome business tax structure ("Minnesota's business taxes rank among the 10 lowest in the nation"!) to lure data centers.
2.) Google recently began showing off its data centers around the country, boasting about their efficiency and use of renewable energy.
3.) St. Paul has a giant industrial site -- with its own source of renewable energy -- and a network of already constructed underground tunnels!
The group Action Squad has photos of the Ford tunnels posted on its website. Here's one:
A shot taken from the dual freight elevator area, back toward the twin entry shafts. - 6/9/1937
Yes, the tunnels might not be in pristine condition. But it's probably cheaper to fix tunnels than build new ones, right? Plus, there's a dam!
Don't make us beg more than we have to.
-- Paul Tosto
Posted at 10:05 AM on November 15, 2012
by Nate Minor
By now, I'm sure, many of you have read the witty yet scathing New York Times review of TV personality Guy Fieri's new restaurant in Times Square. If you haven't, here's the review, and here's Fieri's response on Today.
What caught my eye though, was this blog post from Willy Staley, a former waiter who's been there when they recognize a Times critic walking in the door. As you might expect, Staley says managers, chefs and waitstaff go berserk. But there's more:
I'd like to point out the quieter classism that is inherent to the restaurant review: that very dispensable service employees are outed for minor errors by critics whose audience consists of those who can afford to eat at these places.
You must pretend that you think you're off-record — or more precisely, not even near a journalist at all — even when you know that all your actions are on-record. The chef gets a phone call with the critic, for fact-checking purposes. The waitstaff certainly doesn't. Not that they should. And I have no suggestions for making this system better.
But having been on the raw end of this deal, and having done some reporting myself (where I have held back on details that were immaterial to the story, but would have put people in trouble at work), I can't help but wonder about the ethical issues, even if they're relatively minor.
Chew on that for awhile.(2 Comments)