back to article Biker sues Google Fiber: I broke my leg, borked my ankle in trench dug to lay ad giant's pipe

Installing broadband fiber is a complex and expensive activity, though it may have got a little bit more so, for Google at least, following a lawsuit in America. Motorcyclist Hans Newsom is this week suing [PDF] Google Fiber and its local contractor in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri – after a trench, dug to install the …

  1. gurugeorge

    Pussy. Breaking a leg on a motorbike is expected. Google do no evil. This guy is a pussy just for breaking pretty leg. We have to tag Google for searching our every thought ... if Google was truly implemented, we would have no broken bones, would rather he would perceive the fault in the road ahead. It’s his fault for not using enough Google AI to see the fault in the road ahead.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Joke

      If it was Apple, they would have said he was riding it wrong...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >If it was Apple, they would have said he was riding it wrong...

        If he was using Apple maps he would have safely landed in water as it would have already misdirected his journey to somewhere in the middle of Lake Michigan.

        1. chivo243 Silver badge

          Kansas City, Mo to Chicago, just a small miscalculation. Could happen to anybody.

      2. FozzyBear Silver badge
        Happy

        Riding a Harley Side Saddle!!!!!!

      3. LucreLout Silver badge

        If it was Apple, they would have said he was riding it wrong...

        If he couldn't avoid, and I'm paraphrasing here, a big f*cking hole at 5mph, I'd say he was riding it wrong too! I walk almost that fast and have thus far managed to avoid falling into a trench no matter how inebriated I have become.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re:Breaking a leg on a motorbike is expected.

      I think one of the things a certain Mr Jeremy Clarkson got spot on is when he referred to motorcyclists as "organ donors". Not only in general, but the way you see them take un-necessary risks on high-traffic roads.

      Also, as I was once very bluntly told on an First Aid course, breaking ankles and other sort of foot injuries is kind of expected from motorcyclists. The instructor only half-joked that its not uncommon to find one of the injured motorcyclist's boots half way down the road, a process he referred to as "degloving". Basically its down to human instinct. Something bad about to happen, basic instinct for biker is to drop anchor (foot to ground). Trouble is biker is generally going too fast for foot ... hence "degloving". The "degloved" foot tends to be pretty badly messed up.

      1. Madf1ier

        Re: Re:Breaking a leg on a motorbike is expected.

        I'm afraid degloving doesn't refer to the article of clothing. "Degloving" injuries are where the skin is pulled off...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re:Breaking a leg on a motorbike is expected.

          > "Degloving" injuries are where the skin is pulled off...

          Ok, fair enough, but that still happens .... just after the boot has been pulled off first (or if they're not wearing boots, but just normal shoes, like you see many do, then skin degloving happens after the shoe sole has been ripped off).

          You're arguing over minutiae. The end result is the same, I suspect.

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: Re:Breaking a leg on a motorbike is expected.

            There is no order of operations there. The boot and skin come off at the same time. And the amount of force involved does a number on all the other parts of the arm or leg involved

      2. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Re:Breaking a leg on a motorbike is expected.

        "...referred to motorcyclists as "organ donors". Not only in general, but the way you see them take un-necessary risks on high-traffic roads"

        Unfortunately there are many (I wouldn't say a small minority but definitely a minority) bikers who behave that way. It tends to be those that ride sports / supersports bikes on the road as if they were on the track. Most of the bikers I know (myself included) ride touring / road bikes, taking it pretty easy and enjoying the views.

        Personally I am glad of the fact that I only started properly in my 30s as I think if I started in late teens or 20s I would have been in the "organ donors" category. However that category is also enhanced by a large number of car drivers who are unaware of bikes around them.

        In this particular instance, curious that the lawsuit occurred so far after the fact, but maybe he had 3 years of medical treatment to bill - not sure if it's possible to sue for damages that also includes future medical bills related to the incident.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Re:Breaking a leg on a motorbike is expected.

          There are old bikers, and bold bikers, but no old, bold bikers...

      3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Re:Breaking a leg on a motorbike is expected.

        This is why proper bike boots have armour in them that covers the ankle joint. Ankle injuries are common with bikers because of the idiots you see riding bikes (or more commonly scooters) in entirely inappropriate footware, such as trainers, or even sandals, combined with the fact that 200kg of bike has a fair chance of ending up on top of your leg if it goes over. Decent boots aren't even that expensive.

        The same goes for proper bike jacket and trousers. It turns out that a denim jacket doesn't stand up too well when you're going down a road on your back at 40 mph, and the bit that ends up scraping along the tarmac is your ribs, spine and shoulder blades.

        Don't even get me started on the lack of helmet laws in America. Drop a watermelon from 6 feet for an illustration of why...

    3. MJI Silver badge

      I did about 10 years on bikes.

      And never broke a leg

      1. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

        Re: I did about 10 years on bikes.

        "And never broke a leg"

        40+ years here, legs (and other parts) still intact.

        1. Valerion

          Re: I did about 10 years on bikes.

          40+ years here, legs (and other parts) still intact.

          My dad was the same. 40 years, no major problems (barring a black cab ignoring a give way and knocking him off resulting in a fractured shoulder).

          It was at about 43 years when a car came out of a side turning, straight into the side of him, crushing his ankle against the engine of the bike and breaking his leg in 2 places. After a month in hospital and a year or so with an agonising metal frame screwed around, and into, his leg and several operations to rebuild his ankle which had pretty much disintegrated, then another 6 months or so with a big boot thing, he could almost walk normally. Several years later he still can't walk for that long, or bend it properly.

          The surgeon said that had it happened 20 years earlier they just would have amputated it as it was only more modern techniques and equipment that allowed them to save it.

          My uncle was a police bike rider for 25 years with a faultless record, and then retired to Cornwall and bought a Harley. One day he woke up underneath a lorry with an air ambulance parked in the field next to him. He was ok, fortunately.

          Don't count your chickens...

  2. Ole Juul Silver badge

    5mph!

    What was he thinking?

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: 5mph!

      Harleys are notoriously very difficult to control at low speed. If you've ever studied motorcycle engineering, you will know that they are basically designed to roll along a major road at around 65mph and that's it. The only good thing about the design is the fairly low centre of gravity of the engine; everything else is almost textbook how not to design a general purpose bike. And they are so heavy that if they fall over on you, something major will break. A former US colleague, a very patriotic ex-Forces guy, became a bit less patriotic when his hog hit a small bump at low speed and fell over, it took three people to get it up again, and when he came out of hospital he bought a BMW.

      Having said which, leaving a hole in the road without cover or warnings should result in a lot more than $75000. It should result in criminal conviction for negligence.

      1. JassMan Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: 5mph!

        Yep. That's why most riders with a bike which can go round corners call them Hardly Drivables.

        1. Brush

          Re: 5mph!

          Hardly Worthitsons please!

      2. Velv Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: 5mph!

        It should result in criminal conviction for negligence.

        Which one assume will follow when the local DA files the case after the Sheriff and/or Police attended the incident and filed the relevant report. The Police did attend this road traffic incident, didn’t they?

      3. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

        Re: 5mph!

        "almost textbook how not to design a general purpose bike"

        Ok, you don't like Harleys. Can you recommend a general purpose bike which stays fully controllable when the front wheel drops into a ditch in the dark?

        1. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: 5mph!

          >a general purpose bike which stays fully controllable when the front wheel drops into a ditch..

          It all depends on the ditch but a typical dual sport will handle this without a problem. You'd have you ask yourself why you didn't see the obstruction if you were going that slowly. )As for it not being signed it may well have been in his friend's driveway.)

          One thing you have to remember on a motorcycle is that you don't want your feet on the ground -- ever -- until it stops. You're not going to be able to control the bike with your feet waving around and you stand an excellent chance of braking something down there if they get caught. Feet on the pegs at all times unless stopped!

          1. jmch Silver badge

            Re: 5mph!

            "stays fully controllable when the front wheel drops into a ditch.."

            I guess it depends how deep the ditch is. From the text it isn't clear at all.

            "dropped down into a deep rectangular hole that had been cut in the asphalt" – a trench dug to install Google's pipes – according to his Jackson County court filing, at least"

            At that really low speed, any bike should be able to go straight up/down a pavement / sidewalk, around 15cm. At an angle, maybe less, and depends on whether the bottom of the ditch was also asphalt-like surface or, more probably, just loose dirt which could make the front wheel slide irrespective of how deep the 'ditch' was

          2. jmch Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: 5mph!

            "Feet on the pegs at all times unless stopped!"

            Personally (and this might just be my unorthodox style), but if I am on a low-speed curve on an unsure surface I keep my foot either just resting very lightly on the very tip of the peg with no weight on, or off the peg, dangling about a foot or so above the road - ready to push the bike upright if there's a sudden loss of grip. It's saved me a fall a couple of times where a handlebar correction or throttle squeeze wouldn't have. A trick learnt from experience catching an unseen oil patch on a slow-speed turn that landed me on my arse.

            At such low speed (most times less than jogging / running speed), a quick push with the foot is not dangerous (or at least on the balance is less dangerous than potentially having a bike fall on it)

            But of course, that's very rare circumstance, "Feet on the pegs at all times unless stopped!" is sound advice

            1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              Re: 5mph!

              I am on a low-speed curve on an unsure surface I keep my foot either just resting very lightly on the very tip of the peg with no weight on, or off the peg, dangling about a foot or so above the road - ready to push the bike upright if there's a sudden loss of grip.

              I'm pretty sure you'd fail your test for that when doing the turn in the road. Having your feet dangling would be seen as not being in control of the vehicle. Somewhat counter-intuitively, sitting bolt upright with your feet on the pegs gives you much better control at low speed, because you use the muscles in your sides for fine balance adjustments.

        2. MJI Silver badge

          Re: 5mph!

          Any trials bike with a skilled rider.

          Search for Dougie Lampkin

          1. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

            Re: 5mph!

            "Any trials bike with a skilled rider."

            Upvote for mentioning Mr Lampkin, but I did say "general purpose bike" :-)

        3. southen bastard

          Re: 5mph!

          just about ANY japaneese or euro dirt bike!

          Knoby tyres are best for tar roads, especialy in the wet.

    2. John Lilburne Silver badge

      Re: 5mph!

      Says he had just turned, so 5mph is probably nearer than 60mph. He was on a hog so given that you'd normally report half your actual speed 10mph would most likely be correct. MC lights are set high so its unlikely that in the dark you'd see a trench just near to a turning as the lights will be focusing a distance down the road especially if on full beam.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: 5mph!

        He was on a hog, so if he turned at anything over 5 mph, he'd have left his exhaust in the road.

  3. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Holmes

    1. So, is google now a builder's outfit ? You need to go after the builders who forgot to signal the hole.

    2. Poorly lit ? What ? If you ride on a bike at night without headlights on you deserve all you get.

    Look no further, this Guy is blackening my name.

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Yeah.

      Unless it's for Google to just counter sue the building company? I could understand that.

      Seen a video where a Youtubers dash cam on their bicycle, shows the cycle just fell over when going over some hole covering metal sheets on road works. The metal was so slippery, the bike just loses it. They got really bad concussion too.

      So fault can be with the building company.

    2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Bike, no lights, I agree. But I did not see that was being claimed?

      1. quxinot

        Bike, no lights, in the US?

        By law, the headlamps are always on during operation of the motorcycle.

      2. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Who cares if the road is poorly lit when you have headlights ? Right.

    3. Snorlax

      @Hans 1

      The way it works is that you sue everybody involved, specially the one with the deepest pockets.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: @Hans 1

        In some states there are very broad rules that you can sue anyone tangentialy involved.

        There was one tragic case when I was in Houston of somebody who backed out of his drive over his own kid. Among others the driver sued Levi - the jeans the kid as wearing because they weren't noticeable enough

        If you are facing $10,000s in medical bills you need to go after everyone

        1. Fred Dibnah

          Re: @Yet Another AC

          What a perfect advert for a healthcare system paid for through general taxation.

        2. Hans 1 Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: @Hans 1

          If you are facing $10,000s in medical bills you need to go after everyone

          Hm, I dunno, the article mentioned the US, not some third world country without healthcare ... or are you saying that the US is still paying more per citizen for healthcare than us Europeans and yet STILL has to foot the bill ? Morons, no ifs buts, or maybes ! I thought Barack O'Bama sorted it out for you ...

          Over the past ten years I never gave the healthcare system where I live my bank details, on average, I lost, what, 15 euros a year (average, money I could have easily reclaimed had I provided the bank details) ... I knew I could provide the details should anything serious happen ... but, zero or one ordinary GP visits a year, yeah, who bloody cares - AND, mega bonus, I can take the piss out of the wealthy-posh-show-off-cheap bastards who did provide their details ...

    4. Goldmember

      Are you all reading a different article? Because the one I read states that the AREA was poorly lit; which you can infer means there was no, or inadequate, street lighting:

      "because the area was poorly lit and he was unfamiliar with the roads and traffic."

      Nowhere does it state the bike didn't have its headlights switched on.

      If there were indeed no street lights, an uncovered black hole, set into dark asphalt, would be very difficult to see at night time. Especially if you'd just come round a corner and weren't facing it head on:

      " as he turned right into North McGee St "suddenly and without warning his front wheel dropped down into a deep rectangular hole" "

      You should probably read the article carefully before angrily commenting next time.

      1. Jonathan Knight

        You can see the street here:

        https://www.google.com/maps/@39.2532521,-94.5773281,3a,75y,358.69h,67.57t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sjM80ZfPvlyNt8prYczle1w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

        There are street lights, but far apart and possible not working. There's also no sign of any repairs to the tarmac and the street view is dated October 2016 so I think the ditch was off the road somewhere.

        1. MudFever

          Yes, but no junction with N Nashua Dr. N McGee St is split over a number of streets. The junction referred to does have a rectangular repair as you turn right in to the N McGee -- https://www.google.com/maps/@39.2956908,-94.5766084,3a,75y,189.36h,75.21t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1seBa0y5ipTj2X40wKlpZDOw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

          Why wait 4 years? Was he in a coma, or is now unemployed and needs some cash?

    5. TeeCee Gold badge
      Facepalm

      All correct, but he wouldn't get any publicity by sueing O'Malley's tarmac 'n trenches. Threatening to sue teh internets gets him his 15 minutes of fame, which is what this is actually about.

  4. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Holmes

    And the judge given the case, the Honorable Gary A. Fenner, declined to accept it citing a conflict of interest.

    Enquiring minds would like to know why - shares/relations working for Google or has he poublished material denouncing them as scumbags?

    I would imagine, that details of the case notwithstanding, this is a case of 'been injured sue the party who has the money to pay damages' . It reminds me of an old Bloom County set of cartoons from the 80s where the sleezy lawyer is beaten up by Mark Penn (remember him anyone?) while taking intrusive photographs. Eventually a decision is made to sue..... Nikon - cos they have the moolah to settle, Penn's acting career gave them no cause to think he could afford to pay any compensation.

    1. Kimo

      They declined to sue Sean Penn in the comic because juries love famous people.

    2. tekHedd

      "conflict of interest"

      Quite possibly he rides a Harley.

  5. Phil Kingston Silver badge

    $75k? Surely some mistake? He's American, I didn't think they sued for under a mil.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      He's American, I didn't think they sued for under a mil.

      A big mistake. Americans are extremely litigious, true, but most cases are quite small. It's the other ones get the publicity.

      Also remember in some cases juries can award punitive damages.

    2. Kimo

      Sometimes you do the math and sue for less than the cost of hiring lawyers for the trial. Especially if you have a weak case. Google could easily decide that spending $100K to defend against a $75K suit is in losing deal, even if they win.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Waiting four years before filing the court case ?

    Something smells awfully fishy about this, no need to wait four years for any alcohol or substances to disappear from the bloodstream.

    1. aks Bronze badge

      What! He didn't even take photographs of the hole without signs!

      I wonder if Google's StreetView car was passing at the time and shows the hole with/without signs. ;)

  7. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    While out

    riding my bike (at any speed)....

    You have to contend with everything the construction industry throws at you..... from roads that have been planed and left with manholes sticking up 2 inches... to cable layers who think a "caution temporary road surface" sign is enough notice for a steel sheet covering the hole to unsigned roadworks where the warning sign is in the bottom of that locked filing cabinet in that disused toilet with the infamous sign.

    Maybe it took the guy 4 yrs to find out who actually dug the thing as companies in the UK have a habit of filing the hole in double quick when theres an accident and going "not us gov".....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: While out

      Not only the US.

      After I hit a rotted bollard while reversing (it was down to about 9 inches) I checked the relevant legislation and discovered bollards are required to be a minimum 18 inches. So I wrote to the Council saying I was going to take legal advice about my £650 bill.

      The next day the Council came round and replaced a whole lot of rotted bollards, and they contacted me disputing my account and saying the bollards had been replaced several days before the accident. So easy to falsify the dates in the records...

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: While out

        "So easy to falsify the dates in the records..."

        And THAT'S why we still need printed newspapers. That and fly swatting - can't do that with a 12" iPad. Well, you can, but that could be an expensive fly.

    2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Re: While out

      "as companies in the UK have a habit of filing the hole in double quick when there is an accident and going "not us gov"

      Really? Any evidence to back that up?

      Any roadworks that affect the public highways have to be planned, formally requested / registered and a permit issued to the contracting company by the local or relevant Highways authority. Generally, most are issued to the big construction, utilities or telecoms companies, and they themselves will subcontract out the work to smaller companies similar to what Google have done here.

      I'm currently gigging on a SAP programme at a major Gas transportation company in the UK and I can assure you, they take the overall roadworks, public safety and reinstatement works very VERY seriously as the fines and PR fallout can be huge.

      Goto www.roadworks.org and pick any job, at a minimum it will tell you (A) whom the owner of the roadworks is, (B) what they are doing, (C) the responsible HA and (D) the works permit/certificate number.

      1. EvilDrSmith

        Re: While out

        Yup: that would be the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991. You need a licence to dig holes in the road, and there is specific training / qualifications for NRSWA operatives (the guys that dig the holes and then make good after) and NRSWA supervisors (who make sure everything has been done correctly)

        1. jmch Silver badge

          Re: While out

          "You need a licence to dig holes in the road"

          but maybe not to fill a hole in?

      2. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

        Re: While out

        You are forgetting that there are *people* involved in all that, and people suck!

        If they are digging a hole in the road already, they have the relevant paperwork etc. If they already have the equipment/supplies there to fill a hole in (or can acquire then quickly), and a guys job may be on the line, he may very well just fill it in and say "Not us, we filled that this morning".

  8. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I remember years ago when trenches were being dug for NTL cable TV in my area and they made a right mess of the pavements and left a trench uncovered at night which my friend fell into. But in that situation my friend had a case against the contractor who was undertaking the actual work rather than NTL and the contractor had liability insurance for such events which were the ones who made the payout.

    So although the cables maybe being laid for Google services, I assume the contractors who actually undertook the work were independent and it is them that are liable for any damages from negligence not Google.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "So although the cables maybe being laid for Google services, I assume the contractors who actually undertook the work were independent and it is them that are liable for any damages from negligence not Google."

      That could depend on the contract between Google and the contractor. If Google just said "we need cabling from point A to point B, go ahead and plan it, get the permits and we'll pay the bills", then Google are off the hook. If Google have contracted them to be a "pairs of hands" and specified the job details top to bottom, then Google could be jointly liable to some degree or other.

    2. DuchessofDukeStreet

      UK legislation (which clearly doesn't apply here) allows for the claimant to raise their initial claim against any of the parties involved (telco or utility company wanting the work, main contractor, or any of the subcontractors in the chain) on the grounds that whilst there might be a sign up saying "we apologise on behalf of Cornwall Electric", there won't necessarily be anything public that declares it to be the work of Malley Engineering plc, Brown Brothers Groundworks Ltd or Fred Smith Diggers. Any of those can then rope the rest of the chain in as co-defendants under Section 20 (I think...it's been a while). Most commercial contracts pass the liability down the chain, but section 20 ensures that there should always be at least one solvent (aka insured) entity available to cough up if the claim is upheld.

      I have seen a claim where the judge (it went that far) ruled that the main contractor had been entirely blameless but as the only extant party to the claim where the claimant had unarguably suffered serious injuries, became fully liable for the seven figure settlement. This is why anyone working anywhere near members of the public needs to hold good liability insurance.

    3. Wilseus

      Back when I was a kid in the 1980s, I grew up in a small town of about 7000 people. There was some problem with the presumably victorian sewers, and they needed to dig up the main street and replace it with modern concrete pipes. This was disruptive enough, given that the road through the town was an A-road and didn't at that time have a bypass, but it turned out that contrary to the plans they had, a main power cable for the town ran through the same sewer. So we had major traffic issues AND no power for about half the town for a good while. I never did hear who got in trouble for that, but someone should have.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As luck would have it, a friend saw the accident

    so, he drove extremely carefully (5mph, lol), and then, after he fell in, a friend saw the incident, as friends do, roaming poorly lit backstreets at 11 p.m :)

    Unless it was one of those crossroad junctions, with the main streets and four backstreets ;)

    1. The Nazz Silver badge

      Re: As luck would have it, a friend saw the accident

      Had i been that "friend" who witnessed such accident i certainly would remember it four years later.

      Hell, i'd probably STILL be laughing four years later.

    2. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

      Re: As luck would have it, a friend saw the accident

      "a friend saw the incident, as friends do, roaming poorly lit backstreets at 11 p.m"

      The friend was probably following him. Bikers often ride in groups 'coz its more fun that way.

    3. Darth.0

      Re: As luck would have it, a friend saw the accident

      The defense team, if it gets that far, will have a field day with this fact.

  10. TRT Silver badge

    Poor specifications, wasn't it?

    There they was, a-digging this hole; a hole in the ground,

    so big and sort of round

    And there they was, digging it deep;

    flat at at the bottom, the sides were all steep.

    When along comes this bloke in a bowler hat which he lifted and scratched his head.

    Well we looked down the hole, poor demented soul, and he said

    "Do you mind if I make a suggestion? Don't dig there, dig it elsewhere!"

    "Your digging it round and it ought to be square"

    "The shape of it's wrong, it's much too long"

    "And you can't put hole where a hole don't belong"

    I ask, what a liberty eh? Nearly bashed him right in the bowler

    Well there they was, stood in the hole, shovelling earth

    for all that I was worth

    And there was him standing up there

    So grand and all official with his nose up in the air

    So I gave him a look sort of sideways

    and I leaned on my shovel and sighed. I lit me a fag

    and having took a drag

    I replied that I just couldn't bear,

    to dig it elsewhere

    I'm digging it round cos I don't want it to be square

    And if you disagree

    it doesn't bother me

    That's the place where the hole is gonna be

    Well there we were, discussing this hole

    A hole in the groud so big and sort of round it was

    Well it's not there now, and the ground is all flat

    And beneath it is the bloke in the bowler hat

    And that's that

    1. Bodge99

      Re: Poor specifications, wasn't it?

      Yay, I've just sung that one "in my head"...

  11. Duffy Moon

    Bork

    Out of curiosity, when did 'bork' transition from meaning obstruct to broke?

    Perhaps one for Michael Rosen.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Bork

      swedish chef?

      BORK! BORK! BORK!

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sY_Yf4zz-yo

    2. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Bork

      Balk, meaning to obstruct, (and spelt balk) is not the same word as bork meaning broke, which is an internet thing.

      1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

        Re: Bork

        I expect it started with a typo of "broken", being "borken". Geeks love to turn those into memes. Jeph Jaques claims that Marten's "TEH" t-shirt remains his best seller, for instance.

        So now "bork" is a present-tense verb. Eh. I've seen worse.

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Bork

        Balk, meaning to obstruct, (and spelt balk) is not the same word as bork meaning broke, which is an internet thing.

        To be fair, balk, meaning to obstruct is also not the same word as bork, meaning to obstruct.

        Again, a little research would inform you that the word has two meanings. Your familiarity with one or the other probably depends on who and where you are, and on context.

    3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Bork

      Interestingly, the original meaning of the word (in the mid 20th century) did mean to obstruct, after an American Judge by the name of Bork.

      With the advent of modern computing, it arose as a homonym, "borked", meaning "broken" (presumably from a mis-spelling of either "broken", or (comedically) "broked". The latter use has superseded the former, especially amongst those with a background in technology, rather than US politics.

      Personally, I've only ever known its use to mean broken.

      https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bork

      1. Duffy Moon

        Re: Bork

        "Interestingly, the original meaning of the word (in the mid 20th century) did mean to obstruct, after an American Judge by the name of Bork."

        Thank you. I'm glad that someone else actually bothered to look it up in a dictionary!

  12. RobThBay

    Micro trenches

    I wonder what kind of genius thought laying cables in trench only a few inches deep was a good idea?

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Micro trenches

      It's disruptive. Move fast, break, fix.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Micro trenches

      An accountant?

    3. cd

      Re: Micro trenches

      There is a diff between software people and hardware people.

      Similar with educated versus practically-experienced.

      That Google tried it is one of the funniest things I've read in a while. I need to find something to sell them.

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Micro trenches

        May I suggest a bridge? There's one going in Brooklyn, I hear

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Micro trenches

      Now I'm no expert b but I've dealt with this area a few times and in the UK utilities have their own levels (and colours of conduit) where they get laid - water at one level, electricity at another, telecoms at another also all separate and laid at certain distances from the edge of the road and property boundary.

      Nowadays, at last, they often shared trenches and even ducts but that has to be at a certain depth.

      And the Google thing is the reason why we have such 'burdensome' regulations in the UK.

      1. DuchessofDukeStreet

        Re: Micro trenches

        Certainly new constructon/repairs work that way, but the vast majority of the UK utility networks have been there for decades and they aren't exactly perfectly documented. Either in terms of depth, location or underground protection - sometimes ducts, sometimes a layer of tiles over the cables/pipes. So every digger of trenches in the UK knows to think carefully before they stick buckets or spades into the ground... this is what happens when they don't. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLTDVCeFFCo

        I've had to watch a video of what happened when an operative wasn't wearing full hi-viz. I'm very glad that nobody has developed a method for recording smell.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Micro trenches

          hmm, the Google fibre would've been a new installation not a decades old one? The comment was about current guidelines for new installations, like the Google fibre would've been.

  13. Juan Inamillion

    Hairdressers from Croydon

    Harley Davidsons or Hardly Abletoos are the preferred mode of transport for the title, at least according to a friend of mine. Just about OK for going in a straight line, which is most big roads in the US. Try one on typical roads in the UK and you'll think different ;-)

    Darwin's principle tends to take care of anyone not riding defensively or paying close attention to road surfaces. One can still get caught out though. The UK's Ministry of Potholes tries very hard to conceal their efforts, often by filling them with water and placing them on the line you'd take on a long bend. Long narrow scars in the road are particularly interesting as the front wheel tries to follow them.

    I've been riding for about 50 years, had a couple of accidents, luckily nothing more serious than gravel rash. Moped and food delivery riders are a particular source of worry these days, astonishing to see them ride like they're invincible...

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Hairdressers from Croydon

      Most people's image of American roads are great stretches of highway snaking through Big Scenery. There's a fair bit of that but you're more likely to come across roads that are badly laid out, erratically signed and poorly lit with a variety of surfaces varying from 'barely tolerable' to 'I don't know why they bother even trying'. The thing is, though, that if you live here you're used to it -- that's why the archetypal US car or bike is a huge, heavy thing with big, fat, wheels -- all the better to ride over the cattle tracks.

      1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

        Re: Hairdressers from Croydon

        I tend to agree, yes there are some very large, wide, long and straight roads in the US, and I think that this is what a lot of people think of when they imagine doing the Pacific highway, or the Coast to Coast, or Route 66 on a Harley - and they'd be right.

        However, I'd like to counter it by saying that there are some stunning twisty, impeccably laid stretches of tree lined and high altitude tarmac in Colorado, Utah, California, New Hampshire and New York State for your fast Beemer, Ducati, Kwakker or whatever is you ride.

        I'm lucky enough to have ridden quite a lot in the States on sports tourers and such like, and it can be fucking awesome, and although I've not been to Alaska yet - overall it's still not as good as Europe (same for the skiing) ;-)

  14. FlamingDeath Bronze badge
    Coat

    Froogle?

    I'll get my coat

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How long to wait until we can ..

    Curb misuse of the word curb? Or do we just wait, sat on the kerb at the side of the information superhighway?

    1. aks Bronze badge

      Re: How long to wait until we can ..

      I think you may have over-pedanted yourself.

      https://www.etymonline.com/word/kerb

      How do you like pedant as a verb? Wikipedia says it started life as a Latin verb. :D

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: How long to wait until we can ..

        "I think you may have over-pedanted yourself."

        Not sure. Your link suggests it's been preferred British spelling since 1800-odd, so I think 200 years is long enough...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        etymonline

        Thank site, with yank content. Doesn't count.

  16. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Is that the bottom of a barrel I see before me?

    "Builder left a trench uncovered, or someone nicked the trench cover, or someone "accidentally" moved the trench cover and someone fell into the trench and is claiming for injury caused!" ... err ... "Horror!"

    Standard claim.

    Will tomorrow be "BT sued!! Someone slipped on something a dog left behind and cracked his head on the pavement ... and it was on the very same road as a BT cable box which was not lit up!"

    Why is this story even here?

  17. Daniel Hall
    Unhappy

    No. Stop.

    As soon as I got to the part where it said it happened 4 years ago... I stopped reading.

    Reminds me of all these sexual allegations coming from people for incidents over 20 or 30 years ago.

    Report it at the time or STFU

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No. Stop.

      You may like to re-think that attitude the day you discover you have a friend or family member to whom that has happened. There are a number of reasons why victims won't report a sexual assault at the time, from fear they won't be believed, shame, being unable to face standing up in court and re-living the ordeal whilst being cross-examined by a defence lawyer, fear of retribution, etc. etc. If you can't recognise this, then it only demonstrates a remarkable lack of empathy on your part.

      So, in short, don't be a rape apologist, and STFU.

  18. Jon 88

    Laying fiber is a dangerous business

    A certain large internet provider in my area was laying fiber in my neighborhood. I was not their customer. But one day, they punched a hole in my sewer line. I called out the plumber who diagnosed the issue. Boy was that an interesting conversation with their help desk. Fortunately, I happened to chat with a foreman from the contractor actually doing the work, and he just took care of it, fixed my pipe, and payed my bill.

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