Posts filed under “General Knowledge”


A few days ago, the building database Emporis, a community-compiled Web site that was the source of much of the information about prominent buildings cited by journalists and researchers, disappeared. In its place was a note from a managing director at CoStar Group, the company that bought Emporis two years ago:

Dear Emporis Community Members,

I am writing to let you know that we have made the decision to retire the Emporis community platform. This change will take effect on Tuesday 13th September 2022. Following the retirement you will no longer be able to access Emporis.

It is worth pointing out that this note was posted on September 14.

The note continues:

This decision was not made lightly. For more than twenty years, Emporis (and its predecessor site) has served as a platform for community members to share data, information and of course, great imagery of some of the tallest buildings and skyscrapers across the globe. I would like to thank you for your contributions over the years.

CoStar Group acquired Emporis in November 2020, recognising the truly global nature of the data in Emporis, and since the acquisition we have integrated much of that data into the global CoStar information platform for the benefit of our client base of brokers, owners, and lenders.

This is delightful news for Emporis contributors. Although they will no longer be able to access their own work, they have the satisfaction of being informed that their research and photographs, which they provided free of charge, will now be sold to brokers, owners, and lenders at whatever price CoStar Group sets on them. We recognized the value of your contributions, says the managing director. They are so valuable that we can sell them, and we can do it without paying you a dime for them. We will even sell them back to you if you pay us enough.

To think like a business-school graduate, you must be able to imagine the warm glow of satisfaction Emporis contributors feel on reading this announcement. You must be able to picture them smiling as they consider that the countless hours of work they devoted to compiling that database—for many of them it was a consuming hobby—will now enrich you, the managing director, personally. You must feel the warmth that pervades their hearts as they think of you sitting there, being rich, thanks to the contributions they made as part of a community effort that lasted for twenty years.

Then you can go stick your head in a bucket of cold water.

And now the punch line:

This is currently the first thing you see if you visit the Web site of the CoStar Group:


Purchase product from licensed resellers only.

Keep these safety instructions with product at all times. Make sure they are posted where product can see them.

Do not inhale product except under the supervision of a licensed shaman.

Product may be hot if set on fire.

Product may be slippery if frozen.

Apply product in smooth, even strokes, without making any sudden movements.

Product distance from wall may impact product performance. Refer to logarithmic distance tables in Appendix H for more information.

Be aware that product has strong opinions on popular music.

Do not remain within 300m radius of product when product is ticking.

Keep out of reach of children. This has nothing to do with product, but it is never a good idea to be where children can reach you.

Store product in a cool dry place at least ⅝ furlong from the nearest mayonnaise.

If you let product read Sartre, you have no one but yourself to blame.

Do not remove thorns from product. They are there for a reason.

Do not speak product’s name. Ever.


We found this in a little hole-in-the-wall lunch counter in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. It is exactly what you need, and everyone you know needs it as well: a whole crate of Void Filler, to fill the howling emptiness at the core of your being. It will not surprise you to hear that it was a French lunch counter: the French have considered these existential questions more deeply than the rest of us.


Our heartfelt condolences on your loss, and our sincere wishes for a prosperous reign. We must candidly remind you, however, that the British monarchy is the second-most-dangerous job in the world. In the past five millennia, only two monarchs have come out of it alive, and one of those was chased out of the country. The only job with a higher fatality rate is the papacy.


Here are the answers to yesterday’s architectural guessing game, in which we asked you to guess what kind of building each of these details came from. Once again, we put the rest of the article below the metaphorical fold, so as to avoid sending a dozen unnecessary pictures every time someone loads the front page for the next week and a half.



Infallibility (Papal).—Roman Catholics believe that, in order to speak infallibly, the Bishop of Rome must be sitting in the Chair of Peter. It requires elaborate hoisting equipment and a small army of workmen to get him into the thing, and most years the Vatican simply does not have the budget for papal infallibility. This is why popes so seldom define dogma ex cathedra and usually just make slightly grumpy remarks about current affairs.


St. Kieran’s Church is holding its annual Irish Food Festival all this week. Father O’Riordan promises that potatoes will be prominently featured.

The Lawrenceville Street Art Collective will be etching happy faces in the pavement of 43rd½ street all afternoon Wednesday. Traffic will be diverted to 43rd Street and 44th Street.

Can you paint? The new Pittsburgh Regional Transit (Web site: invites the public to a Paint-In at the South Hills Village car barn Tuesday evening from 5 to 9:30. We’re never going to get all those trolleys repainted without your help. Bring the kids! Our new logo looks like a third-grader designed it anyway.

The North Hills Ragweed Club will be sponsoring Ragweed Days in the Park all next week at North Park. Last year’s attendance was disappointing, so we’re appealing to all native-plant lovers to spread the word and help us celebrate this underappreciated wildflower. This year’s events are generously underwritten by a $75 grant from the makers of Clairitin.

If you’re looking for something to do in your spare time that’s fun and exciting and could bring in some extra cash, your local mob needs part-time arsonists. Flexible hours. Apply in person at Krzrnski’s Café. Ask for “Junior.”