Posts Tagged ‘ places ’

All-Natural Selection

2011.03.11
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ONE REASON WHY CALIFORNIA HAS so many smart people is that, periodically, the lesser-reasoned go down to the seashore to see the tsunami come in.

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Ship Geeks Ahoy

2011.02.09
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IF YOU’RE CURIOUS ABOUT LIFE on the other side of the foghorns, waste no time in clicking on marinetraffic.com — a global, scalable, real-time map of the world’s shipping traffic, from cargo and passenger vessels to navaids and tankers to tugs and pilots. Each is labeled with specifications, course and speed (if applicable) and destination. (Think of it as a very stately air-traffic control diagram. Which makes me wonder if there’s one for air traffic … clicketyclickety … yep: flightradar24.com. Cool. Limited, but cool.) With this in one window and the Califonia Highway Patrol’s dispatch logs in another, I feel like a secret peeker at the world’s gears.
(Thanks to Friend-of-the-Show Steve Marler for sliding this my way.)

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Pithyism #4x

2011.02.03
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YOU REALLY HAVE TO KNOW what you’re doing in order to sleep on the floor, comfortably.

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Schrodinger’s Bat

2011.01.19
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IF THERE ARE UNIVERSES NEXT door to ours, I would swap the one with sentient reptiles for one that’s just different enough — one containing, say, all-new Star Trek episodes with just a wee bit o’ difference. How much would you pay for an original, still-in-the-wrapper Spock nose?

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Instant Everywhere

2010.12.22
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FOR MY NEXT TRICK, I shall unite the Universe.

Ready?

It is Now as I write this; it is Now as you read it.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. We’ll be here all week.

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More Than A Game, Less Than A War

2010.12.15
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THERE ARE SPORTS WHICH CALL forth the most primal emotions in order to exorcise them for the good of the community — sports which make lesser men wonder and cringe, and old women pick up a frying pan — sports which proclaim a national character unchanged by time and politing circumstance — sports which sort of make me wish I was the sort of man who plays them. Forged among the Orkney Islands where men wrest their very living from the hoary North Sea …. Ba’.

(If you’re reading this on Christmas or New Year’s Day, watch it live at http://www.thelongpartnership.co.uk/profile/orkney_webcam.php or http://www.visitorkney.com/webcams.asp.)

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Pithyism #38N122W

2010.12.14
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NOTHING HAPPENS IN THE WORLD without someone from Sonoma County being involved in some way. (Those who know, know.)

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Arm’s Reach To The Stars

2010.11.16
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PERHAPS “ARM’S REACH TO AN asteroid” would be more accurate, but: For the first time ever, humanity has reached out with metal fingers and grabbed a hunk of asteroid to hold before its face.

To put it less poetically, Japanese scientists announced today that the space probe Hayabusa, battered and crippled but still greatly game, did indeed scoop up a bit of asteroid Itokawa and return it to Earth. As John Matson writes on Scientific American‘s blog today:

Material scooped out … with a special spatula and examined with scanning electron microscopy revealed “about 1,500 grains…and most of them were judged to be of extraterrestrial origin, and definitely from Asteroid Itokawa,” according to a JAXA press release. Most of the rocky particles are less than 10 microns in length. (A micron is one millionth of a meter.)

For the rest of the story, click http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=hayabusa-probe-succeeded-in-returni-2010-11-16. Meanwhile, could we please have a standing ovation?

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Of Monkey Brains and Infinity

2010.10.11
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ALTHOUGH WE’RE NOT GENERALLY A “quotes ‘n’ links” blog, today Metaphorager.Net feels compelled to pass along two related items:

1) From Robert Anton Wilson‘s Prometheus Rising, p. 201:

“[...] Simply accept that the universe is so structured that it can see itself, and that this self-reflexive arc is built into our frontal lobes, so that consciousness contains an infinite regress, and all we can do is make models of ourselves making models …
“Well, at that point, the only thing to do is relax and enjoy the ride.”

2) Charles & Ray Eames’ 1968 film Powers of 10. (I assign this completely scientific piece as homework for my religious-school students to flex their awe-muscles. It’s a brief magnification journey within and without the hand of a man sleeping next to Lake Michigan. See it. See it now.)

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World Space Week! With Balloons!

2010.10.04
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THE THINGS YOU LEARN WITH a computer: This is World Space Week, shining a pre-dawn beacon on the modern launchpad set, and in observational honor thereof I offer the Brooklyn Space Project: a father-and-son team who sent a HD-camera-and-GPS-equipped weather balloon to touch the edge of space. (Evidently these things are all the rage on YouTube, but it’s the first one I’ve seen.) My favorite moments were the weird electronic chorus at 60,000 feet (?) and learning that a collapsing weather balloon does make a sound when there’s no one in space to hear it scream. (Pun courtesy of Ridley Scott.)

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Essentials of Domesticated-Primate Character: Food Chain Consciousness

2010.08.19
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AT LEAST ONCE IN ONE’S life, one should encounter a place where one is in the minority: it has the potential to sharpen the senses, humble the soul and question the assumptions. A different, but equally primal, experience, can be had by entering a place where one’s species is in the minority — or to be blunt, prey. Something essential there is through knowing the bottom of the food chain.

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Free Metaphor: “Lower North American”

2010.07.26
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0. CONCISION AND PRECISION ARE ESSENTIAL components of the modern metaphor. What your end-user metaphorager is looking for is light in the mouth and easy on the fingers, especially when describing social groups — you want something tight enough to express the point but loose enough to avoid looking like a stereotyping (and -typical) fool.

1. The challenge is greater when describing cultures within a geographical area. Specifically, what to conversationally call those of us residing between Mexico and Canada? “Americans” leaves out residents of those countries, as well as everyone south until the Patagonians (who, despite their patient excellence for crafting outdoor gear, are sticklers for self-affiliative accuracy). Likewise “USAtians,” which makes us sound like some exotic water dog; “USAers,” which is either a cheerleading squad or a reality-show; “Yankees,” which I object to as a diehard Red Sox fan; and “United States citizens,” whose formal appeal is outweighed by its clunkiness.

2. Therefore, I suggest “Lower North American.” It’s got a nice cadence (“LOWuh NORthuh MEruh Can”), easy informality and even compresses to a txtable “LNA” (which so far as I can see will only confuse us with amplifiers, shy nucleotides and members of the new Let’s Not Ask public-ignorance campaign).

So, friends, next time you’re stuck for a self-descriptive metaphor for hepcats, expats and diplomats, reach for smooth, satisfying Lower North America. Remember: Lower North America. It’s where we are now.

(Link here: http://metaphorager.net/lna)

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