Friday, August 3, 2012

Zeroing In on Soubriquet's Poo Wi-Fi

Soubriquet over at Grit in the Gears blog recently did a tongue-in-cheek post about a dog park in Arizona which trades Wi-Fi minutes for bags of dog poo.  At least I THINK it was tongue in cheek. The dog park was located in Gilbert, Arizona, a beautiful city in the Phoenix east metro area (we used to call these cities "suburbs" but today there is no longer any open land between them. Still, they have their own mayors and city councilors and crime and corruption.) I know Gilbert pretty well because I go there frequently to visit family, and I know the dog park - or at least I know where it is; the actual family dog frolicking is done by the younger family members.

Over the years I have watched the orange groves be bulldozed over for parking lots and more and more houses. No more big orange groves along north Gilbert Road. I've watched the corn fields and pasture land give way to more parking lots and more houses. The dairy cows are gone now and the morning air now smells like McDonald's french fries instead of, well, dairy cows. People still have orange trees and grapefruit trees and lemon trees in their back yards, and enough bougainvillea and tropical bushes along the freeways to gag a maggot, but no more huge groves of oranges to speak of. The citrus industry in Arizona has gone to the dogs, if you'll pardon the expression. I used to like the rows of orange trees in the traffic medians in Mesa, but these have long since given way to extra traffic lanes and more left-turn bays. The farmers are now multi-millionaires, so there's that benefit.

What up-and-coming city could make it without at least one dog park? Even my little city in New Mexico is building a dog park even as I type this. The city says we would be fools not to build one since it only will cost $56,000. Maybe they are right. Personally, I get a little bitter when they tell me I can only use the hose to water every other day for 45 minutes and to take out my grass and put in rocks, while they brag about how big the fountain is going to be in the new dog park.

Anyway, back to Soubriquet's post. It must have seemed to him a far-away oddity. The purpose of this post is to let him know there really is such a place as Gilbert (although Arizona State University is next door in a city called Tempe) and there really is such a dog park. Just enlarge the maps below and I'll zero you in to the wondrous dog park. I'll spare you actual photos of the park and sundry dogs jumping on me.

I like dogs. Don't get me wrong. It's not their fault, after all.

1. Overview of where Gilbert is. Can't yet see the dog park.

2. Closer. Zeroing in. Still no dog park. Per se. It's there.

3. Now we are at least in Gilbert. Are you excited? Who can spot the dog park?
(Lower right on above map)

4. DaDAH! Paydirt! Take any of the Irish-named streets up to the dog park. Enjoy.

5. Satellite image. The only thing missing seems to be... dogs. Maybe we should have the satellite zoom in a bit more. But I don't want to get bitten here. Or pooed upon. Even for free Wi-Fi.


  1. So Soub wasn't lying after all?
    The loss of trees and the planting of houses instead, hmmm where have I seen that before?

    Lot's of Mexican names there mind....

    1. Soub never lies.

      Or tells funny jokes. :)

      Or plays good music...


      No, his jokes are funny. You just have to be smart to get them. That's my problem.

  2. Thank you, Max, as you so often do, you cut to the core of the matter, my fascination with the factthat places I read about actually exist, are peopled, that those people live lives, complex lives that interact with other lives in places of which I've also probably never heard.

    I am, however, sad to say I can only give you a 'B' on this assignment. You have, as they say here in England, dropped the ball. Why? Where?
    It would be a matter of your reading comprehension, your parsing of the given information, and your conflation of two disparate projects in two disparate countries.

    The park in Gilbert contains a dog-poo digester, an ASU project, which turns the energy contained in the faeces of Gilbert's canine population into electricity to light a lamp at the heart of the dog-park.

    But the dog-poo for wi-fi automated device is in Mexico, Mexico City, I think, a project by Mexican internet service provider, Terra. The idea there is similar to that in Gilbert, to provide an extra incentive to people to clean up their dog mess, and dog poo deposited into the machine actuates a period of wi-fi access for park visitors.

    Your conflation of these two is understandable. It seems to me to be a great way to enhance the one in Gilbert, and so far as I know, Terra's device is not actually powered by dog-poo, it's just a device that offers a reward in return for crap.

    The idea's flawed. If you're walking your dog, then you're probably not in the park to sit on a bench with your laptop. So the 'reward' is more about feelgood by supplying others with wifi time, whilst doing what you should have done anyway.

    A further value, though, is that these projects might just make us make us think of microgeneration of power in different ways.
    Our own poo, for instance, inn the volumes handled by a city's sewage system, carries away how many megawatts of harvestable power?
    Bradford, in England, has a sewage works that generates methane, which is piped to engines which run pumps and generators that run the plant, and also export energy into the national power grid.
    In California, there's a pilot scheme producing hydrogen for car-fuel out of sewage.

    It's a start.

    1. Max lives in Mexico City......

    2. This sounds like a job for Amadinejab. After his oil ships are emptied, we can fill them up with human poo. Slurry, of course. And send them back to him full. He can make electricity out of the poo and not need uranium. That much poo would probably make pretty good bombs too. A twofer.

  3. p.s. I like the idea of orange groves. I like the thought of the scent of citrus on the breeze. I like farms and cows, and rural life, and people who don't need dog parks at all, because they don't live in a concrete wilderness.

    What I've seen in my U.S. travels so far, with regard to the spread and sprawl of cities, of unimaginative urban planning saddens me. Your nation led the world, and still does in its creation and protection of national parks and wilderness areas, but on the more local level we see strip malls and ribbon developments straggling on along the margins of highways, so you can travel for hour after hour without leaving the city, and franchises and chain-retail that are identical are repeated every few miles. It may be that most of those strips are only a half-mile deep, but the feeling is of being trapped in enldess repetition, nature held at bay.

    Britain is not blameless. London, for instance, is a filthy spreading organism. Build walls, I cry, don't let it get any bigger.

    1. The strip malls are only facades. There are orange groves and dairy farms behind them.

      Britain is blamesless.

    2. Don't be running down the British motherland. You may need a job reference someday. :)

  4. Any Irish named streets? I can see two, if I look hard - Dublin and Shannon. Unless of course you count Pub Alleyway and I suppose you could make a case for that. However, not one of them leads to the dog park.

    1. You are such a troublemaker. :) Isn't Megan Irish? I'd heard she was. I suppose you will also say that Erayrd also is not Irish.

      I think pub is meant to be public. I don't know for sure. It is almost certainly Irish, though.

  5. PS I rather wish I'd never mentioned dog poo fairies in the first place. There seems to be a virtual proliferation of dog poo, as well as on the streets.

  6. OMG, another long post. I'll be back to read it later. I have to go to the dentist.



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