Invasion of the Mysterious Blue Dots

With just under six weeks to go before the Republican National Convention takes over downtown Saint Paul, it’s to be expected that the city’s security efforts will soon start becoming implemented. Details of what those efforts include, nobody seems to know – or if they do, they aren’t saying. For all that it is the largest security event in Minnesota’s history, it’s probably not going to be much different than any past political convention (at least, those in the post-1999 Battle of Seattle era) or similarly high-profile event. As such, we can infer – that is to say, make educated guesses about – some of the things that are going to be happening.

One thing you can pretty well bet on is the widespread welding of manhole covers throughout downtown Saint Paul. This is de rigeur for any sort of event these days which overzealous raconteurs are anticipated to show up at en masse. It’s not that the Secret Service wants people kept out of the sewers – though I imagine they do – but, rather, a desire on the part of law enforcement to prevent those 75-pound steel discs from being upended and rolled down the street into, well, anyone or anything. That this doesn’t seem to happen very often doesn’t matter too much; this is cheap and easy security theatre at it’s finest. (Cheap and easy security street theatre, even.)

I have no idea when they’re going to start spot-welding manhole covers, but I suspect it might be fairly soon. Why? Well… because many of the manhole covers around downtown have recently broken out in Mysterious Blue Dots(tm):

Not all the manhole covers in any given area had dots on them – if I had to make an educated guess, I’d say that only storm-sewer and water-main manholes were so marked. (This, by the way, is not rocket science – I’m just going off the legends moulded into the lids themselves, and common sense.) Why this is, I don’t know; here are two lids, less than ten feet apart – one marked, one unmarked:

The marked one here – on the left, above – appears to have been opened fairly recently, and then replaced, badly (it’s not sitting flush in the collar, which means there’s dirt, gravel, or other crud in the lip that should have been brushed out before it was replaced, but wasn’t).

And, since I was – obviously – downtown, here’s a little something for those of you who don’t care about security measures, manhole covers, blue dots appearing randomly throughout downtown, or other similarly boring things: A fairly docile rabbit, hanging out in the bushes in front of the Xcel Energy Center…

See, a little something for everyone…

Published in: Geekiness, General, Security, Urban Exploration | on July 22nd, 2008| Comments Off on Invasion of the Mysterious Blue Dots

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