Saturday - Google now has a map utility in beta test, Google maps.
Blazingly fast - much faster than Mapquest, though still not a finished
product. In particular the directions-to portion has issues. Still,
it's a hint of the future. Add in something like Geo-URL and Terra-Fly,
live satellite overviews, USGS geodetic surveys, local web cams, and so
on and it will be remarkable. It can already flag sites of interest -
hospitals, wifi host spots and so on.
Only the continental United States seems to be mapped right now. That's
sort of irritating - I mean, yeah, probably 90% of Googles visitors are
interested in that, but what about the rest? It would be fun to look at
the harbor at Recife, or to check out how far Stonehenge is from the
nearest town. It's a bit like watching the weather channel and having
no idea of what is happening in Canada and Mexico - I'm as parochial as
the next guy but pretending the neighbors have no streets or towns to live in is worse than pretending they have no weather!
I suppose, if they had no weather they wouldn't actually need homes with roofs and such. They'd still need roadways though.
Case in point: down at the border - Calexico, but no Mexicali!
I spent the afternoon driving around the desert east of here, out towards Garlock.
The weather was broken clouds after a couple days of rain and I was
watching for road washouts and such - but didn't see any. There were
some repairs that probably date to the torrential storms of a month
ago, however. Unfortunately Garlock, an old ghost town, is completely
fenced off. I didn't have a guide book with me, but there appears to be
a tunnel that one can walk through, which would have been cool.
Stopped for a coke in nearby Randsburg
and took some pictures - but the afternoon light under clouds wasn't
particularly conducive to photography. Next week being a three day
weekend the locals are expecting quite a crowd. It's sort of a dirt
biker place, plus a destination for road touring, and there are a
couple of saloons, and a lot of antique stores (mostly closed this time
I recall visiting with some friends, ten years or more ago, and we had
looked at some decrepit little cabin/shack perched on the side of a
hill, saw that was for sale, and laughed at the thought of buying it.
Well, someone obviously lives in it now. In general the houses there are
mostly shacks (and trailer homes), and it is remarkable to consider
that people live in them perfectly happily, protected from the elements
only by tin roofs and tar paper, when I have to pay for a permit and get multiple inspections just to have a damm patio cover put on my 1980's vintage house in Lancaster.
A cynic might suspect that the City of Lancaster's permitting process
was designed not so much to help homeowners as to enrich the city with
permitting fee's and increased taxes on the increased appraisal value.
Now, if Randsburg was in Mexico or Canada where they have no
weather, the indifference of local authorities to modern building
codes would be understandable.
My sister V gave my father a
nice gift - a drawing she made of my father's dog (she has always had a
bunch of talent in that direction, unlike myself), and nicely framed
it, and it's currently the photo in the upper right at the top of this
page. In case it goes away here is a permanent shot:
Yeah, I am hard up for ideas this week. How could you tell?
It rained last night and today. Huge puddles, no walk. I can't get to
my mailbox. My new program doesn't work. My old program doesn't work.
My cat threw up.
Thursday 10 February 2005
- Opentopia: webcams around the world.
Kind of interesting - lots of building security cams and such, not just
cams situated at photogenic spots. The Piazza in Gibraltar. Parking spots in Evansville. The
National Corvette Museum. A pool hall. Black screens. Many
are very very dull. [via presurfer]
Wednesday 9 February 2005
Wednesday - shoveled and wheelbarrowed the
manure from the truck in front to the new raised garden box in back. I
was loaned a book called Lasagna Gardening. It might be fun.
As I was hopping in the truck to pull it out into the street a young lady came running up to me. "Can you take me over to the college, quick? I'm late for my final!" I'd never even seen this person before today but she apparently knew me. (Can you say cranky guy on the corner?)
Nobody asks for a ride in a manure truck unless they are really really really desperate,
so I dropped her off. It's only a half mile and it was 3:02 when I let
her out. Good luck with your finals, mystery student-person...
Ok, more blog stuff on economy and social security stuff here. A sample:
As I see it, the key difference between Rawlsian contractarianism and
Buchanan/Gauthier rational choice contractarianism is not just that
Rawls posits a sense of justice, a capacity enabling agents to be
motivated by considerations that nicely allow for the choice of
non-Nash, Pareto-improving strategies
I have no idea
what that means. Do you suppose it is the Nash from 'A Beautiful Mind'?
That would make it game theory stuff of some sort. But there is an earlier post where references are made to calculators, that can model the effects of different social security plans. Which does appeal to the empirical in me.
Though I'm far too lazy to actually try them out.
Tuesday 8 February 2005
Tuesday - my brother sent me an article
about Ellen MacArthur, who now holds the single-handed sailing around
the world record of 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and
It's a remarkable feat, and there is a web site here.
If you missed this years superbowl ads, they are here.
If Fred writes an IOU for $10 to Jim, Jim has an asset. But if Fred writes an IOU to Fred for $10, he has not created an asset for himself – he’s created a reminder notice.
Monday 7 February 2005
Monday - working away, keeping busy. Not entirely happy with various test cases results...
Huge cuts at NASA Langley and NASA Glenn, aeronautics related. No word yet on my old NASA Dryden stomping grounds.
Sunday 6 February
Sunday - I talked to the groom, Michael,
from next store. Seems like a nice guy - he's in the service and
shipping out to New York tomorrow.
I told him that I had planned to shovel manure Saturday, but held off
in consideration of the guests next door. He seemed appreciative...
Instead my friend came over on Sunday afternoon, put her daughter to
work pruning the roses in the front, and helped me build a garden frame
in the back yard for the compost. She'd already built one and it went
quickly with help. My back gave out about halfway through, so it was
good someone was there to finish digging the post holes, though a bit
embarrassing. Tomorrow, if I unstiffen a bit I'll wheelbarrow the
compost into the back yard.
Oh yes, I planted a couple more fruit trees as well - an Asian Pear and an Apricot.
How about those Patriots. Terrible clock management on the Eagles side
in the second half. They were an underdog competitor and just couldn't
afford the kind of mistakes they made. So it goes.
A friend gave me an entire pile of c*** the other day. The quality of
Lancaster soil (sand and clay) makes it a nice gift. The wheelbarrows and truck
tire off to one side gives a nice sense of scale for the pile!