Don't let the housing stats fool you: There's a staggering number of buildings being constructed in Tucson.
Well, virtual Tucson, anyway.
The latest version of Google Earth lets the general public construct and upload 3-D renderings of buildings, to help enhance the interactive globe and map program. In case you're unfamiliar, Google Earth is Google Maps on steroids: Not only can you see nearly everything a satellite sees; you can zoom in, fly over, tilt, rotate and experience anything on the ground from a God's-eye perspective.
When Google Earth introduced 3-D building images a couple of years ago, I joked that Tucson's skyline would merely consist of three tiny rectangles. I was wrong; even with the free version of Google Earth, downtown Tucson is full of surprises. One user went to the trouble of making that crane that's being used to build a parking garage and low-income housing near Hotel Congress. In a clever bit of marketing, the billboard next to the Stone Avenue underpass gets the 3-D treatment.
If you'd like to add to the hundreds of tiny Old Pueblo buildings that have been made so far, Google has tools that anyone can download to get started. If you can click and drag, Google Building Maker can be used to construct pretty much any block-shaped structure.
Are you of the AutoCAD set? Many of the more architecturally complex University of Arizona buildings have already been designed with SketchUp, another free program offered by the search-engine giant.
We'll let you know when the 3-D Tucson Weekly makes its debut.
BEST OF WWW
There's a meme that's been making the rounds on YouTube for the past couple of months: A movie clip of Adolf Hitler becoming angry has been repurposed with new subtitles, so instead of Hitler complaining about the crumbling of the Third Reich, he's angry at something mundane, like losing his bicycle, Twitter crashing or the vuvuzelas at the World Cup. But this time, the German dictator is angry at the change in Rio Nuevo revitalization plans from downtown museums to a giant hotel. Go to TucsonWeeklyTV.com to see Hitler blow his top because he can't go to an aquarium in Tucson.
View Which Arizona State Parks are open? in a larger map
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
"Tom, I see you have not evolved one iota from your rant on soccer 15 or so years ago. You have created a new moniker for yourself: the Glenn Beck of soccer ... all incitement, all emotion, no knowledge, no rational thought. At any rate, you seldom see the soccer fan going out of their way to speak as you do. We are capable of doing so, but only as apologists in the interest of offsetting such jackass attitudes. ... The average length of a play in football is eight seconds; how athletic is that? Soccer players do not have to grunt to play. Soccer is like good sex in a marriage: We do not need to score instantly after having ball possession; it is all in the foreplay. Ergo, soccer is for lovers!"
—TucsonWeekly.com user Concupiscence, in response to Tom Danehy's remarks on soccer in his June 17 column.
THE WEEK ON THE RANGE
We told you that state Sen. Al Melvin won't debate Democratic opponent Cheryl Cage (see The Skinny for details); informed you that Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll endorsed former state lawmaker Jonathan Paton in the crowded Congressional District 8 Republican primary; and noted a National Public Radio poll that shows Democrats in swing districts like CD8 may face a tough year.
On the video front, we posted a video clip of CD8 candidate Jesse Kelly questioning Paton's conservative credentials at a Green Valley debate; and featured candidate Brian Miller's hysterical take on the "Build the Danged Fence" ad.
On the border beat: We shared a report from the Nogales International that drug cartels had warned Nogales police that they'd better not try any drug busts while they're off-duty; noted how Hillary Clinton spoiled the big surprise that the Obama administration was going to sue the state over SB 1070; and directed you to stories in The New York Times and The Arizona Republic that examined whether the border can ever be closed—and whether it's a smart idea to delay other elements of immigration reform until that nebulous goal is reached.
Finally: We let you know that there's an effort underway to salvage the De Anza Drive-In screens to be used at a new drive-in theater somewhere in Tucson. Get it done, guys!