Akron resident Patty Palmer has dared to ask the question everyone has been dying to ask but didn't have the courage:

How come our fire hydrants aren't red anymore?

OK, maybe that topic hasn't been top-of-mind. But I've noticed the color changes, too.

“I wonder if you know what happened to our basic red fire hydrants,” she wrote. “My neighborhood (west) has yellow hydrant bodies with a variety of top/cap colors including white, orange, green and red.

“Is this a value-added feature included with our increased water bills or is it just a ploy to confuse dogs?”

Great line. And an interesting question. At least by my standards.

Launching into my high-powered investigative journalist mode, I emailed the city and asked. Within hours I received a detailed response from hardworking City Hall spokeshuman Ellen Lander Nischt.

“The hydrant dome color actually serves an important purpose,” she says. “It communicates to emergency responders what the water pressure is of the water main the hydrant is connected to.”

If you're scoring at home, here's the code:

Red: pressure is less than 500 gallons per minute.

Orange: 500 to 1,000 gpm.

Green: 1,000 to 1,500 gpm.

White: more than 1,500 gpm.

“If Akron Fire is responding to a structure fire, and they have the option to connect to a nearby high-pressure hydrant (e.g., a white dome), they will choose that hydrant over one with lower pressure,” she says.

“Also, to the reader’s point: Aren’t dogs colorblind, or at least only able to see a limited range of color? Unfortunately, our efforts may be wasted on them.”

Another good line. And another intriguing question. At least by my standards. So … can dogs see colors?

That must be a popular query, because there's actually a website called “dog vision.”

Lander Nischt is correct. Dogs do see colors, but the hues are sort of washed out and don't include the whole spectrum.

Ironically, the major color missing from a dog's visual palette is red.

According to the site, “Red, yellow and green are perceived as one hue. Blue and purple are perceived as a second hue. Cyan and magenta are perceived as a neutral hue (gray).”

If you want to see a color scale that shows how dog vision compares to human vision, or to upload a photo of something to see how a dog would see it, go to https://dog-vision.andraspeter.com.

Historic year

When the Cleveland Browns kick off their regular season next Sunday, their jerseys will carry a patch that reads "100NFL." All of the other teams will do the same, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Football League.

To celebrate the occasion, a local author has put together a fun book about the league's debut. Titled, “The First NFL Season: 1920,” it reproduces newspaper articles about every game played that year. Plenty of game photos are included as well.

Spoiler alert: The champions of the NFL's first season were … nope, not the Canton Bulldogs. You could win bar bets galore with this correct answer: the Akron Professionals. Seriously. Who knew?

Author Mark Bowles is an Akron native who earned a doctorate in history from Case Western Reserve and is a history prof at American Public University. His book also includes a riveting introduction about what local life was like in 1920.

The paperback contains 291 pages in large format (8½ x 11). For purchase information, check out Bowles' website, which is, appropriately enough, 100NFL.com

Good deal

Want to visit a museum but short on cash? Museum Day is coming.

The once-per-year event is a freebie into museums and cultural institutions nationwide, including the top attractions in Northeast Ohio. This year it will be Sept. 21. You can grab your tickets now at https://bit.ly/2L4ApVD

Separated at birth?

Is it just me, or does new Cleveland Indians slugger Franmil Reyes look a lot like LeBron James?

Dying keyboard

Here's a question that's even more off-the-wall than the one about fireplugs. It comes from Elias Vujovich of Southington.

“You are probably aware that in the English language, the letter 'E' is the most often used. And in code-breaking, the character most often used represents 'E'. So why is the 'E' on my keyboard in great shape but the letter 'L' is totally gone and the 'S' is 75% gone?”

My theory: Because the “L” and “S” are in the main row, and the “E” is a row above, you put more force on the “L” and “S” than you do the “E.”

Actually, I have no clue. But I do know that you wouldn't have to worry about the letters wearing off if your keys were made of engraved, hand-carved pink ivory imported from Zimbabwe, as mine are.

 

Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or bdyer@thebeaconjournal.com. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31