Monthly Archives: July 2009

Edgar Martins is back at The NYT (briefly)

Readers may remember when the NYT Magazine ran an article on failed housing developments and used the services of one Edgar Martins to illustrate it. Well, once he admitted digitally altering the photos, including one of Patriot Bank’s 14 Baldwin Farms South, the entire article was yanked and there went my own exposure in the Times’ online edition. Drat.

But we have no hard feelings here at FWIW, and a man with Martins skills at fabrication are exactly what we needed so we hired him as our staff photographer and reporter. Together with our gossip reporter Scusie, we’re now able to bring you the latest, most accurate reporting in town because we don’t limit ourselves to reporting what a person says, we tell you what that person’s really thinking. So much better, and so much fun.

Anyway, the Times has brought Martins back to explain himself which he does, endlessly. We asked Edgar for his opinion of Martin’s “explanation” and he said, “what a hunk of horse turd. The guy was caught doctoring photos and now he wants to explain it away as committing art. It’s a good thing I’m now with guys like you who value that kind of thing ’cause this guy is toast in the real world of journalism.”

Well said and welcome aboard, Edgar.

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Correlation is not causation

I’m extremely skeptical of any theory that events of the past foretell the future, and I don’t give a fig for astrology but nonetheless, this chart reprinted in BusinessInsider is kind of cool, in a “gee, what if…” sense.

dow chart 1930

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But the debate is over!

From Archaeology daily news

Carbon dioxide (CO2) gets a bad rep for contributing to global warming, and deservedly so. But scientists say they can’t entirely blame the greenhouse gas for a curious spike in Earth’s temperature 55 million years ago. New research reveals that something else also seems to have warmed the planet during that time, though no one’s quite sure what it was.
Over the past couple of decades, researchers have been gathering data about a mysterious event known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). The data, derived from drill cores brought up from the deep seabed in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, show that the surface temperature of the planet rose by as much as 9°C within 10,000 years during the PETM, which itself started out warmer than our current world. Temperatures stayed at this elevated level for nearly 100,000 years.
On the surface, the culprit appeared to be CO2. For reasons unknown, atmospheric concentrations of the gas rose by about 700 parts per million, from 1000 ppm to 1700 ppm–more than four times higher than today’s level of 385 ppm–during the PETM. That much of an infusion of the well-established greenhouse gas should have been plenty to spike temperatures.
But a new analysis doesn’t fully support this scenario. Oceanographer Richard Zeebe of the University of Hawaii, Manoa, and colleagues ran carbon-cycle simulations of the oceans and atmosphere based on the data yielded by the sediment cores. They even simulated what would happen to global temperatures when they increased the atmosphere’s sensitivity to doubling CO2 levels–to 2000 ppm–during the PETM. The most they could achieve was a warming of 3.5°C, they report online this week in Nature Geoscience. That means some other phenomenon must have pushed up temperatures by as much as 5.5°C, the team says. So at present, the unexplained warming represents a gap in understanding about what causes significant and rapid climate change.
“It’s possible that other greenhouse gases such as methane could have contributed to the [PETM] warming,” Zeebe says. It’s also possible that the models are underestimating the climate response to CO2 increases. If that’s the case, it “would mean our understanding of the climate system is incomplete,” he says.
Zeebe’s team is now looking at smaller warming events that occurred within several million years after the PETM. “We’re currently trying to find out whether or not [they] were caused by the same mechanism,” he says. The idea is to determine whether the PETM warming was unique “or a universal feature.”
Geochemist Gabriel Bowen of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, applauds the work. “We’ve long had a hunch that something was fishy about the climate response during the PETM,” he says. “This study puts the nails in the coffin of the idea that climate during the PETM responded to CO2 alone.” Says Bowen, “The urgent challenge now facing us is to find out what was amplifying [temperatures] during this event and understand what it means for Earth’s future.”

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This will help the price average

25 Sherwood Avenue sold today for $19,000,000. It was never listed for sale so I wasn’t aware of its presence, but it looks like 15 acres with a couple of buildings all renovated in 2004. In fact, from the areal, it looks like a heck of a place.

To balance that, 11 Green Lane, a bank-owned property, sold for $495,000. The sad thing about this is the seller might have avoided losing everything because, although he paid $699,000 for it in 2004, he listed it for $895,000 in 2007 when its assessed value was $483,000. In 2007, there was still time to get out for more than the assessed value. Too bad.

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Andres Piedrahita: We’re so sorry, we’ll give it all back!

So he says now. Walt Noel, however, has already emailed us to say that his dumb son-in-law is high on horse flatulence and no money is going to be returned, ever. I’ll bet Walt is right on this, and that Andres was put up to this egregious lie by Fairfield Greenwich Group’s PR guy, Seth Faison.

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Has Riverside waterfront really gone up this much?

15 Willomere Circle

15 Willomere Circle

This nice old (1888) house sits on over 1.6 acres and was beautifully renovated in 2000 – it’s come a long way since the Crossman boys were antiquing it in their own special way back in the 60s. It sold exactly two years ago for $12,000,000 and, nice as it is, I found that astonishing. It’s nice, but I didn’t think it was that nice. It’s back on today, with no improvements worth mentioning by the listing broker, for $14.5 million. Maybe – I stand ready to be surprised again.

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Old chestnuts back on the open fire

1 Butternut

1 Butternut

Like Winston Churchill, some builders never give up, never surrender. Case in point is this aging spec house at 1 Butternut Hollow Road (ML#74012). Built on land purchased for $2 million in 2004, it has been for sale since April, 2005, starting at $5.895 and dropping to $4.350 in June, 2008, when it was yanked from the market and presumably converted to a used house by renting it out for a year. Now it’s back, for the same $4.350 it couldn’t sell at a year ago. Okay by me – good luck.

Interesting side note is that this land sold for $2.4 million in 2003 but when it was put back on the market in 2004 it could only get $2.0050. That might have served as a warning, had the builder been listening.

And then there’s a four-lot subdivision in Havemeyer on Halsey Drive, back again today at a new, lower price of $2.7 million. That’s $675,000 per lot, so you’d have to get what, maybe $1.7 million for each house you built there? I don’t think so – not right now, anyway. Top price ever paid for a house on Halsey was $975,000. Then again, nothing has been built on the street (at least nothing that’s been listed on the MLS) since 1950, so presumably new construction would fetch a higher price. The question is, how much higher?

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