Yesterday morning, while putting on my shoes, my lower back slipped out of whack again. This, of course, has put a kink into day. So while I work up the gumption to move, here are some news articles from the week. All of these deal with different ways of seeing things.
- What If I Sailed West? Quite a few years ago, I posted a link to a site that asked the question: Where would you get if you dug a hole straight through the middle of the earth? The answer, for most places, is “in the middle of the water” somewhere (most of the US ends up in the Indian ocean). Here’s a map that answers a different question: Suppose you were at the beach and swum in a straight line across the ocean — where would you end up? Unlike digging, the answer for most place is someone interesting (only rarely do you end up on the same continent you left). Further, there are few spaces where it is a complete circle of water.
- And They’re Watching “I Love Lucy”. You’ve heard, of course, that our TV broadcasts have been going out into space? But how far? Here’s a map that shows what star systems are watching what. Aldebaran is about to watch the first Emmy awards, while Acrturus is up to “The Facts of Life” and Formalhaut is watching “The Arsenio Hall Show” (the first one, not the one just cancelled). But of course, they are always watching “I Love Lucy” somewhere.
- Hiding in Plain Sight. Army Times is reporting that the Army has chosen a new camouflage pattern. This replaces the unpopular Universal Camouflage Pattern; supposedly, the service has elected Scorpion W2 as its next Army combat uniform camo, a pattern born out of Army Natick labs. According to Army Times, the new pattern will serve as the service’s primary camo pattern, but Army uniform leaders have said they envision a “family” of patterns with a dark jungle-woodland variant and a lighter pattern for desert environs. The main camouflage pattern would be worn in garrison, and the others would go to deploying troops. Why a new pattern? The problem is that the services have seen an explosion in the number of camo patterns, and Congress is reining them in.
- Empty Freeways. This week the new HOV lane on the 405 has been open, and the change has been dramatic — what had been an 85 minute ride home on good days has been, on average, 15-20 minutes shorter. The freeway has been free-flowing at Wilshire, which is something I’ve never seen. Here are some pictures from even earlier times — when freeways were first opened and were empty. So where did the traffic go? Most likely to LAX — as they are doing a major construction project there over the summer. Want the skinny? Here’s the LAWA page with updates.
- Something for Nothing. Two hacks in the news: one bad, one good. For those of us with WordPress sites — either self-hosted (as this blog is) or on wordpress.com (where tasnorthridge-motas.org is): it appears WordPress leaves cookies that make it easier to hijack an account. Hopefully, a patch will fix this soon. For those using Windows XP: it appears you can tell the registry to lie that you are XP Embedded… and still get updates. Of course, you do this at your own risk.