Saturday, February 23, 2008

#269 Playing in our sandbox

Words are always changing.

Do you remember when the cheap sandals we now call flip-flops were called thongs?

Do you remember when a sandbox was where kids went to play and cats went for business?
In our new wiki sandbox, we've been building and testing our first Wikipedia page.

Now we're out of the sandbox. Our work is published.

For the first time, Kent Curtis is part of Wikipedia.

Yours in changing words,

Thursday, February 21, 2008

#268 Shooting the moon

Line up the sun, earth, and moon in that order and if you're the moon, you're in a spot where the sun don't shine.

Last night it happened.
The moon took on an odd reddish glow for 51 minutes as it passed through the Earth's dark shadow. Eighty nine photos later in 20-degree weather, my fingers took on an odd reddish glow as I punched through every advanced camera-setting combination.

Oh, and don't bother looking for your camera's "Eclipse" button. It doesn't have one. Listen up camera manufacturers. Only 1034 days until the next total eclipse.

Go ahead. Shoot the moon.

Yours in anticipation,

Saturday, February 09, 2008

#267 Work Reading

Mary has put down the Jane Austen books and I have put down the Edwin Way Teale books. And we're now spending some time reading books that are somewhat related to work.
Mary is reading Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder by David Weinberger.
Even though the author dedicates Everything is Miscellaneous "to the librarians," this book is not just for librarians. Everyone can relate to how the new digital world is changing the way we organize our stuff and our lives.

It is not just Melvil Dewey (the man behind the Dewey Decimal System) and those librarians who like to organize things. All of us humans are interested in creating order in our world through organization. The digital world allows for a lot more freedom in organizing information.

And I am reading The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic -- and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson.
Like every GIS student, I learned of John Snow and his cholera maps of 19th-century London. We covered this story in a few minutes in that Intro to GIS class. Snow's name has popped up on occasion since, especially when non-GIS folks run across Snow in their reading and mention him.

When I got around to reading The Ghost Map, my eyes were opened to the personal side of Snow's incredible discovery.

"It is worth pausing for a second to reflect on Snow's willingness to pursue his investigation this far. Here we have a man who had reached the very pinnacle of Victorian medical practice--attending on the queen of England with a procedure that he himself had pioneered-- who was nonetheless willing to spend every spare moment away from his practice knocking on hundreds of doors in some of London's most dangerous neighborhoods, seeking out specifically those houses that had been attacked by the most dread disease of the age. But without that tenacity, without that fearlessness, without that readiness to leave behind the safety of professional success and royal patronage, and venture into the streets, his "grand experiment" as Snow came to call it --would have gone nowhere."

Yours in appreciation of grand experiments,

Friday, February 01, 2008

#266 More Cruises in the Sun

Are you looking for a sailing adventure story to read?

Did I whet your appetite with that last post about Cruises in the Sun?

Then be sure to check out Melinda's blog at

Melinda is the UVa librarian sailing this spring with Semester at Sea. She's a better writer than me (a better writer than I am?) and she has just started to tell her sailing adventure story. If you drop by her web site, be sure to leave her a comment and tell her I said hello!

This is Melinda and me working in the ship library just before they called ALL ASHORE and I was forced to walk the gangway back to shore.

Yours in trying to be satisfied with reading a sailing adventure story,