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A Major ‘Pixie’ Failure

CBS carried the story as: Utility worker pierced pipe before Massachusetts gas blast. It is only after you get into it that you discover that the painted lines and little flags were in the wrong place, which is why the pipe was pierce by the worker using a probe to check for a possible gas leak.

Fortunately people were immediately evacuated from the buildings in the area, so there were no fatalities, but the first responders at the scene who had stayed after completing the evacuation and the utility crews called in to repair the pipe were injured when the gas exploded.

Natural gas companies have been converting to plastic pipe which has important advantages over the steel and iron pipe that was used for years. One of the major drawbacks of plastic pipe is trying to locate it underground. The local gas company buries a wire with the pipe, and locates it by searching for a signal sent through the wire. It works well if the wire isn’t displaced from the pipe when they fill in the ditch. That happened in the yard of the first placed I lived when I moved back. Things got pretty exciting when my landlord put in an irrigation system and they discovered that the gas line was two feet away from the painted line. The wire was definitely under those lines – the gas company found it when they put in the new line.


1 cookie jill { 11.27.12 at 2:10 am }
2 Badtux { 11.27.12 at 9:59 am }

Of course another disadvantage of the plastic pipe is that it’s much easier to penetrate it than to penetrate iron or steel. They don’t put plastic armor on M1 tanks. Just sayin ;) .

3 Bryan { 11.27.12 at 4:19 pm }

As I sit here I can look out the window at a stack of 4-inch plastic gas pipe they are about to install across the street as part of the same project that took out the telephones. It is definitely visible above ground, being greenish yellow. but shovels are color-blind.

Some of those are really funny, and do remind me of past and present ferals, Jill. The crew in the house are a bit too mellow and/or lazy for that much action.

4 cookie jill { 11.28.12 at 2:01 am }

The cats getting up on their hind legs and “walking” away just crack me up.

5 Bryan { 11.28.12 at 3:07 pm }

Property can do it on rare occasions, but the ‘boys’ have never mastered the ability to balance on their hind legs.

6 Steve Bates { 11.29.12 at 6:48 am }

I want some of that “steal” pipe. How do I obtain it? Hmm…

Cats vary considerably in their ability to two-foot it. Lily can; Esther can’t. On her hind legs, Lily gives the impression of facing me at eye level! Unfortunately, she’s losing the inclination as she ages (and grows larger…).

7 Bryan { 11.29.12 at 8:29 am }

Any ‘medal’ shop should carry it, Steve.

I would think it is a lot easier for naturally thin cats to do it, and it would depend on the center of balance, as to whether they can do it comfortably.

8 hipparchia { 11.29.12 at 10:06 pm }

hunh. it figures that i would have cats that are “special.” a couple of mine balance on their two FRONT legs.

so far i’ve only seen them do this when i suggest they get out of the chair i want to sit in. they sloooowly lower their front feet from the chair to the floor, and then sloooowly remove their back end from the chair, and then just… hang there. doing kitty handstands.

apparently they’re waiting to see if i’m going to change my mind about sitting in *their* chair and are planning to just rewind the videotape. otoh, they’ve all got heads like rocks, so it could just be a gravity thing.

9 Bryan { 11.29.12 at 10:19 pm }

I’ve seen a video of a cat going down a hall on her/his front legs, but I have never seen one in person that could even balance on their front paws. Generally, standing on the rear legs is like fluffing and arching, a defensive posture to appear bigger, but it is normally seen in kittens and rarely occurs after they mature.

Maybe it is part of their Manx heritage, Hipparchia ;)

10 hipparchia { 11.29.12 at 10:50 pm }

tails, the missing counter-balance! who knew?

although at least one of the long-tails does this too.

11 Bryan { 11.29.12 at 11:59 pm }

The lack of a tail would certainly alter the center of balance, and thinking about it, Property does use her tail like a balance pole when she stands on her hind legs.

Check out what the long-tail does with the tail. The same effect could be achieved by tucking the tail between the legs, or for balance adjustments, like Property.