Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Great Pittsburgh Protractor Mystery

Hundreds of protractors have been placed throughout the city. No one seems to know why.




PHOTOS BY ERIC LIDJI
 

In a bit of strange local news, hundreds of protractors have been hidden throughout the city, superglued to signposts, curbs, utility boxes and other public spaces. Yet nobody appears to know from where they came or why they’re there in the first place. The protractors come in a variety of colors; each is numbered, presumably starting at one and going up to 456 — though some protractors in between have yet to be found. There’s even still debate as to whether or not these unmarked tools are protractors or just pieces of plastic shaped like protractors resembling the arc of our iconic yellow bridges.

Nevertheless, this geometric mystery first was reported in 2011, when contributor Eric Lidji created a map for his blog after finding protractors around the city for months. Though some have been found in East Liberty, Friendship, Shadyside and Squirrel Hill, the heaviest concentration of them is in Polish Hill. You can find Lidji’s incomplete master list, last edited in 2011, here.  
 


The Great Pittsburgh Protractor Mystery, as we’re calling it, continues today, as roughly one-quarter of the “protractors” still have yet to be found; the reasons for their existence still are speculation. Is it the work of some renegade math-centric graffiti artist? Or maybe an elaborate art project meant to celebrate the intricacies of Pittsburgh? Perhaps it’s simply a scavenger hunt for a local geometry class that nobody bothered to clean up. We may never know, and that’s OK. If nothing else, this mystery has been a lesson in how well we perceive our surroundings, inviting us to look at our environment in a new way.

—Jordan Locke


 

#Flicks: Three Rivers Film Fest kicks off Nov. 7 with first-ever ‘Foxcatcher’ showing

The opening night selections of the Three Rivers Film Festival always are fine choices. The marquee movie of the 33rd annual fest’s first night, however, is of particular note. Nov. 7 will be the first chance for local audiences to see “Foxcatcher,” the locally shot drama with high Oscar hopes starring Steve Carell and Channing Tatum.

Based on a true story, “Foxcatcher” follows the bizarre case of multimillionaire John du Pont and his obsessive patronage of the U.S. men’s wrestling team — a fixation that left world-champion wrestler Dave Schultz dead. Carell, already considered a likely Best Actor nominee, plays du Pont; Mark Ruffalo co-stars as Dave Schultz, and Tatum plays Dave’s brother Mark, fellow Olympian and world champion.

The film will open nationwide the following week, so the 3RFF showing represents a sneak preview for the hometown crowd. Also playing on opening night: at the Harris Theater, “The Overnighters,” a documentary about an unlikely struggle in a small North Dakota town; at Waterworks Cinema, “Goodbye to Language — 3D,” a high-concept experimental film from iconic French new-wave auteur Jean-Luc Godard; and at the Melwood Screening Room, “Homemakers,” a locally made movie about a young ne’er-do-well’s unexpected inheritance of a Pittsburgh home.

Tickets for opening night films are $20 each and go on sale tomorrow at 10 a.m.; a ticket to an opening-night screening includes admission to a party the same night at Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Oakland home base. The rest of the festival lineup will appear on the 3RFF website on Wednesday, with tickets on sale a week from tomorrow.

—Sean Collier


 

#Rankings: Pittsburgh among the best cities for trick-or-treating

Attention Halloween trick-or-treat strategists: Pittsburgh was ranked 12th on a list of best cities in which to trick-or-treat. Real-estate website Zillow based rankings off of where kids could get the most candy in the least amount of time and with the fewest safety risks. Huge shoutout to the good people of Shadyside for topping the list of best local neighborhoods to trick-or-treat in. Looking for other areas to hit the candy jackpot? You also can check out Regent Square, Squirrel Hill, Point Breeze and Greenfield.

—Phoebe Ng

 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

The Homestead Artist with a Worldwide Reputation

Jesse Best maintains a presence in New York and Tokyo. But, he says, Pittsburgh has been 10 times better to him than any other place.

The 400-Word Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The fifth "Jurassic Park" film is fun. Empty, somewhat disappointing fun.

Local Brewery Resolves Trademark Dispute With Sass

After Pitt ordered Voodoo Brewery to stop production of its "H2P American IPA," the company relaunched the beer under a new name.

Sprout Fund Passes the Torch

50 Pittsburghers to receive $1,000 Legacy Award to carry on the nonprofit’s vision.

Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

A Broadway musical about the life and times of the Pittsburgh Pirates? The idea might not be as farfetched as you think.

Pirates Pitcher Steven Brault has Pretty Good Pipes Too

The Pirates reliever sang the national anthem Tuesday night before the Bucs hosted the Brewers at PNC Park. It's worth watching, especially for his teammates' reaction at the end.

Crime in the South Side Has Fallen Dramatically

Illegal activity plunged along East Carson Street following several new security measures.

Fired by City Paper — Charlie Deitch Won’t Be Silenced

The former editor of the Pittsburgh alt-weekly is creating his own "more inclusive" publication.

Czechoslovakia was Forged in Pittsburgh

Rick Sebak details how the establishment of the European nation began with a meeting Downtown.

Brick by Brick: Legos Go High Art

Made entirely out of Legos, the sculptures on the display at the Carnegie Science Center’s new Scaife Exhibit Gallery range from the whimsical to the otherworldly.

Mike Chen, Dean of the Chinese Kitchen

The owner of Everyday Noodles looks to encourage more regionally specific Chinese food in Pittsburgh restaurants.

MultiStories: Real Estate – The Machesney Building

Visitors can still ogle the lavish marble and bronze interior crafted to appeal to the original owner's banker and stockbroker tenants.

The Other Moving Documentary About a Curious Pittsburgher

In "Will Work For Views," the video artist and musician Weird Paul is a little bit Dr. Demento and a little bit Mister Rogers.

Pittsburgh Might Mow Your Lawn for Free

The city is launching a free grass cutting service for the elderly, disabled and veterans.

PPG Paints Unveils 2019 Color of the Year: Night Watch

Paying homage to the restorative power of nature, this deep green shade is one to watch in the coming year. Here’s how to use it on your walls.