Looking Back: Cleaning Up Hamburg’s Nightclub District


I used to draw a fair number of humor pieces from the oddball news. Or from noticing things that weren’t quite oddball but that I happened to notice and that caught my fancy. I’m not sure why I fell out from that. Possibly because reading the oddball news leaves you likely to run across the actual news. Also Reuters took out their “Oddly Enough” news page, and BBC News has moved theirs (“Also in the News”) somewhere I can’t find.

Well, anyway. Here’s a piece from a couple years back when it was easier to find merry little stuff. As often happens with me, it’s based on new advances in materials science, because I’m just like that. I don’t know. I can’t help it. Something about “things that can be surfaces of things” fires my comic imagination, which should do much to explain why I am a humor blogger rather than a successful humor blogger.

Statistics Saturday on an April Fool’s Day


And with that we have officially the start of a fresh month, and I like to take that as a chance to review a bunch of numbers, in this case, about what my blog is doing. Mostly that’s being read. In particular, according to WordPress’s statistics page, some the old page and some the new:

I had 1,053 page views here in March 2015. This is up from February, but only technically: there were 1,046 that month. Both are down an insignificant amount from January’s 1,071. The number of visitors has been drifting faintly downward too, to 483 in March, compared to 505 in February and 533 in January. I doubt any of this is a significant change — the views per visitor went from 2.01 in January to 2.07 in February to 2.18 in March. Possibly I’m not doing that terrifying self-promotion and marketing effectively enough, although I do feel better-engaged with my readers lately.

Readers maybe like me more too: I’m recorded with 443 likes in March, a high for me on record. This is up dramatically from February’s 345 and January’s 382. Comments are up, also, growing from January’s 93 and February’s 99 to a full 113. This is short of December 2014’s current-record 138, but not riotously short, I think.

The blog starts the month at 15,664 total views, with 551 WordPress followers and some number following me on Twitter.

The most popular articles the past month have been:

And finally, the most inexplicably popular part of these monthly reviews: lists of countries. The country sending me the most readers was the United States, as ever, with 868 of them. Canada sent 52, the United Kingdom 20, New Zealand 17, Spain 15, and Australia 14. Sending a single reader each were Austria, Belarus, Finland, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Puerto Rico, Romania, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey. The repeats from last month are Finland, Romania, and Turkey; Turkey is on a three-month streak.

My shameless ploy to grab Indian readers seemed to work, as my notes yesterday said I had 17, although WordPress’s statistics page today only admits to 5. I don’t understand that. Also yesterday it claimed I had five readers from the “European Union”, but it doesn’t list that at all today. I have no explanation for this phenomenon.

Cleaning Up Hamburg’s Nightclub District


If I did not occasionally check in on Reuters I would have no thoughts, one way or another, about the problems of public drunken urination in the nightclub district of Hamburg. I don’t think I’m being shortsighted in this, what with my not being in or near Hamburg and having no particular responsibility for the nightclub district. I suppose we’ve all got some responsibility for public drunken urination, supporting or opposing, but I come down on the opposing side because I’ve never figured how you would wash your hands properly afterward, using warm water, soap, and a good lather. The best I can figure is go in somewhere that has a bathroom and then the public-drunken-urination part of things seems like pettiness rather than real need.

But according to Reuters the drunken public urination problem in Hamburg has been getting worse, and I’m going ahead and assuming that’s because modern liquids are so much more moist and damp than old-fashioned ones are. I’m assuming we’re making liquids more liquidy than we used to, what with advances in materials science and how much blenders have come down in price. Apparently Germans even have a great name for people who go drunkenly urinating in public, “Wildpinkler”, which makes the whole phenomenon sound like it’s an aggressively whimsical musical microgenre, possibly including pianos.

So according to Reuters, Julia Staron, who organized a local interest group that I am from context assuming opposes the public drunken urination phenomenon, said, “Wild peeing has been a problem here for a long time”, which delights a side of me that’s more immature than even I imagined. In fact, this whole essay I know is going to ruin some people’s image of me as a rather mature, faintly stodgy person sitting in the corner and not wanting to get to close to all that foolishness over there. They’re never going to go back to seeing me as a person who literally and unironically responds to some things by going “teehee”.

Staron’s group thinks they’ve got a solution to the Hamburg public drunken urination problem, and it’s in what the article calls super-hydrophobic and oleophobic nano-coating, which isn’t a terrifying pile of words to throw against one another like that at all. But that’s because you’re making an understandable mistake: the oleo they’re phobic of is not the short bits vaudevillians did in front of the curtain while more complicated acts were set up behind. I’m glad to clear that up. Still it does sound like this is a kind of paint that just can’t get along with anybody. I hope it likes bricks at least.

But the result of all this hydrophobic oleophobic stuff is that it’s a kind of paint that liquids splash back off of almost perfectly, so someone trying to piddle on the wall ends up piddling right back on themselves. I can’t see any unwanted consequences arising from turning groups of drunken revelers piddling on buildings into groups of drunken revelers who tried to piddle on buildings and instead urinated on their own legs. And in fairness the plan is to have signs around the hydrophobic buildings that warn “Do not pee here! We pee back!” in all the key languages of drunk people in Hamburg’s nightclub district, so the drunken revelers will be able to use their good judgement about where to urinate after receiving a warning and threat from the local signage. My suggestion would be, maybe a step or two farther back from the building.

It’s a fairly expensive paint, coming in at about eight dollars per square foot, so I guess we’re not going to see water towers painted with it just for the fun of making the city’s water supply feel insecure. And the news article reports that the urine-reflecting paint was developed by Nissan, in a research project that I feel must’ve been pretty far under way before someone asked, “Paint to make German nightclubs less attractive to drunken revelers? Aren’t we supposed to be making cars?” And then everyone slaps their head and says, “Cars! Oh! Right! We were confused.” But by then they were far enough along it was silly to stop. If I’m wrong I don’t think I need to know.