Remember the 80 story building proposed for the Nicollet Mall site? It was refused, of course, because its hubristic height would anger the gods, and they would bring down pestilence upon us. Or some such reason. The request for proposals had included the word "iconic" - an overused and practically meaningless term these days, but you know what the city meant. Important, distinctive, significant. Something that would command the area, provide a visual terminus for the Mall and tie together the loose elements scattered in the old Gateway district.

What we got was a short and ordinary building. And now it's shorter.

Members of the Minneapolis City Council on Tuesday questioned United Properties’ new plan for the Nicollet Hotel Block, citing frustration that the design for a new tower is straying from what the developer originally presented.The firm and its partners encountered mild pushback over design changes they made since winning a contest last February for development rights. “When we selected United Properties, the vision that was portrayed was impressive,” said Council Member Jacob Frey, who represents the area. “At this point in time, we have a building, as well as a public realm component, that is quite simply not there yet.”

Oh it's there. There's just not enough of it.

Some say the site is too far from the core, and while it's true it's not cheek-to-jowl with the major buildings downtown, it's not as if it's a mile away on the other side of a deep trench. Others note that interest rate hikes and other new projects have changed the market - which means, once again,we'll go through a building-boom cycle without getting something taller than the IDS.

We will never get anything taller than the IDS.

SALVE, CITIZEN That's hello, not a healing ointment. If you suspected that was the usual, then you're an enthusiast of Roman History, and will enjoy this enormous map of the Empire at its height. It was featured by Brilliant Maps, a website about - well, you know. If your interest in Rome peters out towards its inglorious end, have you read the sequel? You know, the other Roman empire. The one that lasted until fifty years before Columbus sailed to America? Once you realize that the Byzantine Empire has been given the shortest of shrift in our culture, you'll start wondering why. You can start with this interview.

WOW  Ready to start pawing through 187,000 public domain images from the New York Public Library? Prepare to encounter the very definition of "A daunting interface." Go!