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Calling Edward Tufte

The fires in California are generating big demand for geodata - people want to know what's burning, what's at risk, and where the fire is heading next. Ten years ago, that information would only have been available by radio or television. Those of you who consider government inherently wasteful might note that the same public agencies that are actually fighting the fires are also providing …


Non-Parisians, Please Ignore

Frank Black is playing a show at the Bataclan in Paris on the 29th of November. If you're a lover of fine music living near Paris (or if you're devastated that the previous night's Alain Bashung concert is sold out) get yourself a 10.27.2003

Even Aerospace Engineers Get The Blues

Anil has a great thread on fear of flying today. I particularly like some of the comments:

I don't know, Anil. I'm an aerospace engineer by education, and every time I board an aircraft, I'm reminded of two things:

1. I know how many things could cause us to take that terrifying, fiery plun…


Shake Me, Don't Break Me

After my latest zero-courage encounter with turbulence (Embraer jet, final approach to Manchester, clutched head of passenger in front of me), I thought I would read up a little bit on turbulence, and either find out something useful, or at the very least get some of that old-time condescending air safety reassurance. "There's no need to worry about the wings snapping off, ignorant fool", or "No …


The Mystery of Vertical Food

I spent much of my last day in Halifax doing a training run, a big lap around the city. I made a special point of going over the lovely MacDonald bridge, a 1/2 mile span connecting Halifax to Dartmouth, not realizing that it was cursed. Those pesky Micmac. Running may be dorky


Idle Words 2003 European Tour

Visa and MasterCard are proud to announce the official 2003 Idle Words tour of Western Europe, coming this November to a city near you:

  • 19 - Reykjavik
  • 20 - Amsterdam
  • 22 - Utrecht
  • 23 - The Hague
  • 24 - Haarlem
  • 25 - Brussels
  • 27 - Nice
  • 29 - Paris
  • 30 - Antwerp
If you live along this itine…


The Bay Of Fundy

Yesterday I drove north to the Bay of Fundy, the triangle of water that separates the western half of Nova Scotia from the mainland. As the sign proudly informs you when you get within fifty miles of the coast, this is the home of the highest tides on earth.

Tides turn out to be one of those things that 10.20.2003

The Bay of Fundy

Yesterday I drove north to the Bay of Fundy, the triangle of water that separates the western half of Nova Scotia from the mainland. As the sign proudly informs you when you get within fifty miles of the coast, this is the home of the highest tides on earth. Tides turn out to be one of those things that grow more complicated the mor…


The Moon Wears A Sombrero

I flew in to Charlottesville last Thursday night in astonishingly bright moonlight. I didn't realize it, but the harvest hunter's full moon was on duty, and it had lit up the cloud tops right out to the horizon. You could count the rivets on the wing. There was a thick layer of stratus cloud just below us, with only an occasional gap giving away our true altitude, revealing a spide…


Halifaxus Remotus

Now that the IEEE conference has ended, I have a chance to explore the beautiful city of Halifax.

Right, so maybe the IEEE conference was never a huge obstacle to begin with. But at least now I don't have to feel guilty about wandering the city. And thanks to fluke of airline pricing that made it cost less to stay two extra nights, I get to play the tourist.

Halifax is a small and…


Off to Nova Scotia

I will be in Halifax, Nova Scotia for all of next week, attending the IEEE Conference on Web Intelligence. I am supposed to give a ten-minute talk; the remaining minutes are mostly unscheduled. If you live in Halifax or are headed there for the same conference, send me an email and we can paint the town red. Not knowing Halifax well, I would also …


The Great Antonio

Blork has written a nice farewell to the Great Antonio, an old-time Quebec strongman who died on Monday. His description of seeing the faded Antonio sitting on a park bench reminds me of the terrible day in high school when I realized that one of our Polish janitors was Wojciech Fortuna, winner of the Olympic gold…


I Will Smoke P. Diddy Like A Cheap Cigar

(flashback to last Friday)

Here in deceptively peaceful Brandon, months of intensive training are building to a crescendo. The better half is carbo-loading for tomorrow's LSAT, the law school qualifying exam she has been preparing for since before time began. And I am entering the most intensive part of marathon traini…


Reptilian Kitten-Eaters, Canadian Beefcake

Last Wednesday, I fired up the old Saturn and drove to Montreal to meet the YULbloggers, a loose confederation of people who meet once a month for dinner at the kind of pub I would chew an arm off to have in my own town. I got to meet some people whose sites I had long read, like Martine Page and


When Physicists Attack

A couple of days ago, I wrote about the saga of John Titor, self-proclaimed time traveler. Now Robert Brown, a professor of physics at Duke University, has taken a look at the details of Titor's story. And by 'taken a look', I mean 'utter…


"French Rockets In Iraq" Story Discredited

Yesterday Glenn Reynolds and others linked to a Reuters story about brand-new French anti-aircraft rockets found in Iraq. The rockets were supposedly manufactured in 2003, making them hyper-illegal and implying that France was actively arming Iraq during the buildup to Gul…

Idle Words

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Greatest Hits

The Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel
The story of America's most awesome infrastructure project.

Argentina on Two Steaks A Day
Eating the happiest cows in the world

Scott and Scurvy
Why did 19th century explorers forget the simple cure for scurvy?

No Evidence of Disease
A cancer story with an unfortunate complication.

Controlled Tango Into Terrain
Trying to learn how to dance in Argentina

Dabblers and Blowhards
Calling out Paul Graham for a silly essay about painting

Attacked By Thugs
Warsaw police hijinks

Dating Without Kundera
Practical alternatives to the Slavic Dave Matthews

A Rocket To Nowhere
A Space Shuttle rant

Best Practices For Time Travelers
The story of John Titor, visitor from the future

100 Years Of Turbulence
The Wright Brothers and the harmful effects of patent law

Every Damn Thing

Every Damn Thing

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