Service of Questions

February 1st, 2016

Categories: Architects, Benefits, Questions, Unintended Consequences

I have two questions that Google doesn’t answer and a third that you might not find on Google for good reason but it’s something you might like to know.

Henny Penny

I can’t remember ice falling from skyscrapers after a storm when I grew up in NYC but that might be because I didn’t live or go to school in neighborhoods with very high buildings. Or maybe I blocked it out.

My question is: How come architects building structures in NYC today can’t come up with a way to stop this from happening? My office building had staff remove snow from the roof after the recent storm so nobody would get hurt. On the Sunday after 27-inches of snow fell on NYC we took a walk and were surprised by chunks of ice crashing on to sidewalks throughout midtown. This isn’t the first time yet many of the buildings we passed have been built in the last 10 years.


I [and thousands of others] had the looniest time getting on and off NYC busses three days after snowstorm Jonah. On Third Avenue between 43rd and 42nd Streets, ice several feet high lined the curb. Passengers jumped off the bus into deep slush and sloshed from 43rd  to 42nd in the street while oncoming traffic splashed them with icy mire. We couldn’t mount the sidewalk until we reached 42nd and turned the corner. It was as messy as it was dangerous.

Snow January 2016 004I was horrified on my walk home that night to see people with two choices to reach the steps of a bus. They could drench their feet to above their ankles in an icy soup or walk away from the bus, up the sidewalk to the corner and wobble through foot-high ice with a few footprints made by previous pedestrians and then quickly negotiate a tricky walk down the slippery street, in the dark, to the bus’s door. I realized what was happening when I approached the stop and saw an elderly woman, with a cane, who was attempting the latter option. Thankfully she’d made it by the time I got there.

Six days after the storm I came upon a dozen workers with shovels and a giant snowplow on a little used street. Most of the workers were hanging out [see photo below]. Clearly the city isn’t up to the task.

My question is: Why doesn’t the Metropolitan Transit Authority, with the city’s cooperation,** enroll the help of businesses or landlords to get them to clear/maintain three foot slits in snow/ice at bus stops that are in front of their property and keep it free of slush? **The city would compensate cooperating businesses through tax rebates.

Unintended Consequences

Santa gave my husband a Uniglo Heattech tee-shirt for Christmas to keep him warm. According to the Uniglo website, “The moisture-wicking fabric retains heat and also features anti-odor properties to keep you feeling fresh even when you sweat.”

But for him, Heattech, launched in Japan some 13 years ago, does something else that the company cannot promote on Google.

My husband suffers from a rash on his shoulders which itches all the time. A cream called Sarna works for about an hour but then the itching returns. However, when he wears his Heattech shirt, he doesn’t itch all day.

I read that the fabric also contains Camellia oil which according to an article on, stays in the fabric up to 30 washes. This oil is said to help retain moisture. His dermatologist, who had not encountered Uniglo Heattech before, has suggested that if the textile retains moisture, that’s what alleviates the dry skin condition which causes the itch.

According to the magazine, “Due to Japan’s pharmaceutical laws, Unglo can’t officially claim that the presence of Camellia oil helps to retain moisture.” Uniglo probably can’t promote this wonderful health benefit here for the same reason: it would have to put the fabric through excruciating tests to prove and therefore promote such a claim.

Do you have questions that even Google hasn’t answered or surprise benefits of products you like?

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8 Responses to “Service of Questions”

  1. Homer Byington Said:

    I’m the beneficiary of how unexpectedly the Uniglo Heattech undershirt you gave me got rid of the itch caused by the rash which had been bothering me for some time. Your question has lead me to think about why I was consulting a dermatologist in the first place.

    Thirty years ago I began to suffer from severe, chronic Psoriasis, a condition which, despite the care of an able, conscious and caring dermatologist, deteriorated to the point that I had to be hospitalized for twelve days. Apparently, the disease is caused by having an overactive immune system. To fight it, my doctor’s mentor, Dr. Jerome Shupack, now retired, successfully dosed me heavily with drugs to suppress my immune system, a dangerous business if you don’t know what you are doing.

    After getting out of the hospital, I suffered the inevitable relapse and eventually became his long-term patient. Ever since, he and my current doctor have successfully treated me with Cell Cept, a drug designed for use when organ transplants are performed to reduce their rejection by the immune system. The drug was never intended for use in treating Psoriasis and has never been approved by the FDA for such use.

    The story of how Dr. Shupack discovered that severe cases of the disease could by controlled by Cell Cept is long and complicated. Like Don Quixote battling the windmills, he had to take on the medical establishment, the government, drug manufacturers and the insurance industry, all of which he did successfully over time.

    Thank goodness.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I don’t think that Uniglo could afford to charge what it does for its Heattech products if the company did what the wonderful Dr. Shupack did for you, other patients and Cell Cept by promoting the anti-itch characteristic of its fabric. No doubt it would have to research the laws/regulations in every country in which is has branches which would distract the retailer from its mission.

    It’s good that countries are careful about product claims. As it is, too many people fall for false ones. Intellectually I know that face cream is face cream regardless of price but I often wonder if this or that new tweak on a cream’s formula might be the answer to the wrinkle war! Hope can be very expensive.

    In any case, I’m glad the shirt is warm and that it comes with a silent if effective bonus!

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    1) This was a huge storm and the City has no magic formula for clearing up large puddles. There’s bound to be inconvenience in varying degrees. If really frustrated, call 311!

    2) Duluth Trading Co. may have some fabrics which fit and/or resemble your description. Try

    3) Since when does Google have all the answers? Hopefully scientists along with others involved in serious research can do better than that!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I looked at the shirts on Looks as though you don’t get wet if you are caught in a storm or your canoe topples. Amazing. The description doesn’t say that the shirts are warm–which is the point of Heattech–and they are not underwear which may be why the price is more than double the standard price of a Heattech shirt. When on sale, [they usually cost around $22 I think] the long sleeve Heattech shirts can cost as little as $10 vs. $44 plus I saw them for $8 in a promotion today.

    People are paid $hundreds of $thousands to plan and run cities. They should think of ways to avoid accidents days after a snow event in a city that usually gets a few snowfalls a year. These were not puddles. These were deep slush pits of danger to children, disabled and elderly citizens all of whom rely on busses to get to work, school or doctor’s appointments. And six days after the event to see a dozen people with shovels hanging about a sidewalk was disheartening. They and the others hired by the city should have been standing at the worst bus stops after the storm if only to help citizens on and off busses safely.

    Google has many answers and saves me hours a week as I look up unfamiliar acronyms, slang, jargon and definitions in industries I’m unfamiliar with although I used the Google reference as a concept as much as anything.

  5. DManzaluni Said:

    Google has an algorithm which it uses to identify whether it can simply push at you the products of whoever has paid it most to push their products. It is becoming a bit useless at returning any results where it isnt obviously being paid to push those results.

    Overcoming this algorithm is becoming a bit of a chore. Lots of people are now turning to other search engines which Google hasn’t yet put out of business.

    Some months ago we were looking for a French restaurant under a mile from a certain location. But google only had a mexican one miles away. So whatever we searched, all searches on google, maps or android insisted on returning this totally inappropriate result! It was obviously trying to tell us “We haven’t been paid enough by any French restaurants in your area, how about this Mexican one across town?”

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Facebook does a similar thing. Irritating after looking up something–I just looked at the shirts Lucrezia mentioned in her comment–to then see the shirts dancing at me from all directions when I open up the site.

    On the other hand, about six months ago I asked Google for brunch near _____zip code and we discovered a now favorite place upstate that I’d passed in the car a million times and would never have entered as it looked so blah. Every review was terrific and it was good!

    When I’m trying to familiarize myself with an industry about which I know zip for new business purposes, Google is tremendously helpful to spell out acronyms and define words or concepts. I get emails from folks using slang I don’t know. It’s as quick to check out a word on Google as to ask them and that way I don’t look so dumb!

  7. Deirdre Wyeth Said:

    Deirdre Wyeth wrote on Facebook: Ooooh. That Qlock is great!

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    It stopped attendees in their tracks. I LOVE it when I see a new interpretation of something familiar.

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