This week we are told to expect temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s. This raises a question for me: Will my favorite place to get cool be open during the day to the general public? I’m talking about Union Station.
After COVID-19 struck, Union Station stopped letting people sit in its Great Hall from the morning until 5 p.m. Most of the year, I walked through the Great Hall on my way home from Real Change to get out of the rain. In the summer, I used it to get out of the hot summer sun. I’m hoping to enjoy that again during this heat wave.
Could we have benches or chairs for people to sit on in the upper levels of the downtown light rail stations from Pioneer Square Station to Westlake Station? Those are relatively cool and ought to have places to sit. I remember even Grand Central Station in New York City had benches. I’ve seen them. I remember New York’s Port Authority had chairs. Why can’t we have nice things like that here in Seattle?
Speaking of places that are cool, I live in the Chinatown-International District (CID), so I was excited to read that the National Trust for Historic Preservation, whoever they are, has added the whole CID to its list of 11 Most Endangered Historic Sites in the United States. That’s my neighborhood being endangered and getting recognition for it. Woo hoo. I suppose our being listed has no political significance, but I’m getting a kick out of it.
It’s like when, following the 1970 U.S. census, the Beacon Hill neighborhood was declared the most diverse neighborhood in the U.S. Just for that census. No benefits came with it, but I liked the idea of it anyway.
We have Sound Transit and its plans to build new stations for light rail around here to thank for getting us the historic place recognition. I thought that a couple of months ago it was settled that they’d go with two new stations, north and south of the CID, but now it seems they are still studying their options. Hence, no end to the endangerment.
It’s starting to remind me of the 10-Year Plan to Plan Planning to End Homelessness, where they never stopped planning to end homelessness in order to end any of it. There was more homelessness than ever when the 10 years was up.
In Science Marches On news, scientists are learning how to listen to the Earth in balloons floating at 70,000 feet. It turns out their instruments can actually hear earthquakes that high up in the air. The vibrations make it up that high in the form of infrasound, sound humans can’t hear but can be recorded and sped up to be audible.
Part of the idea for doing this is there is a plan to set helium balloon probes in the upper atmosphere of Venus and use the same techniques to learn about the seismic activity of that planet, something that couldn’t be done with a probe on the ground because the conditions on the ground in Venus destroy ground probes within minutes.
The surprise in studying the sounds collected by the balloons in Earth’s atmosphere is there are other noises the scientists can’t yet identify, besides the seismic noises. It’s nice when there are still puzzles left over after you think your work is done.
Meanwhile scientists got around to analyzing data from a couple of probes sent by NASA around the moon way back in 2011. They figured out the moon has an iron core similar to the Earth’s core.
Back to Earth again, the E. Jean Carroll versus Trump civil suit decision caught me by surprise, even though I detest Trump so much. I just assumed there’d be MAGA hat-wearers on the jury who would throw the decision. But no. The rape allegation didn’t stick, but the sexual abuse allegation did, to the tune of a $5 million award in her favor. Trump is already appealing the decision, I’m guessing because he doesn’t want to have it come out that he doesn’t have that kind of money. He’d rather people believe he’s a whiz and cheating on his taxes.
Listen carefully to all the lawsuits swirling around Trump, and you can hear him crack.
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Dr. Wes is the Real Change Circulation Specialist, but, in addition to his skills with a spreadsheet, he writes this weekly column about whatever recent going-ons caught his attention. Dr. Wes has contributed to the paper since 1994. Curious about his process or have a response to one of his columns? Connect with him at [email protected].
Read more of the May 17-23, 2023 issue.