March 22nd, 2004
On this interactive version of Greenwood’s 1827 map of London you can zoom in on any section of the map and see the place names, street names and other details. The site includes a history of the map, which includes publication information for every edition from 1827 to 1856.
The map itself is lovely, with carefully hand-drawn flourishes and some surprising bits of calligraphy. If I were planning a trip to London any time soon, I think it would be great fun to try and find some of these old buildings and roads and compare the old city to the new.
March 18th, 2004
In Pinellas County, Florida school officials are installing devices in busses that will track kids by their fingerprints. The system will ensure that kids are on the right bus, that they get off at the right stop, and (in combination with GPS technology) will possibly allow school officials to make routes more efficient.
As a child, I had a storied experience with school busses. I often got on the wrong bus, always accidentally, but then I would be too embarassed to tell the driver, so I would sit in the back of the bus for its entire route until all the other kids were gone, when the driver would notice me and take me back to the school, where my parents would be called and someone (usually my Grandma) would come and get me.
I swear I never did it on purpose, but it did happen more than once.
So, from my own personal experience, I can see some benefits from a system like this. HOWEVER, I think this is a terrible idea. As the article suggests, it has normative implications for how children will view these kinds of security screenings. If they have to be fingerprinted just to get on their school busses, maybe as adults they will be less resistent to fingerprinting (and other invasive security checks) in other areas of life.
I don’t want to live in a world where kindergartners are learning the right way to place their tiny, adorable little thumbs on a fingerprint scanner. I really don’t.
March 17th, 2004
Mitch Seavey has won this year’s Iditarod, covering the 1,100 mile route in nine days, 12 hours, 20 minutes and 22 seconds. Seavey’s win is significant, not only for the physical accomplishment of the man and his dogs, but because his father Dan Seavey helped plan the first Iditarod in 1973.
The Iditarod commemorates the 1925 serum run which headed-off a diptheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska by delivering serum from Anchorage to Nome by sled dog. For more about his historic sled-dog relay, see The Cruelest Miles, by Gay and Laney Salisbury.
March 15th, 2004
I’m several days late in saying this, but I wanted to add my “shiny!” to the chorus of folks who are excited about the Serenity movie. If you haven’t seen Joss Whedon’s Firefly TV series, rent or buy the DVD’s fast and take a look. It’s smart, funny and creative — characteristics missing from most TV shows and movies today.
March 11th, 2004
Godhatesshrimp.com is a brilliant piece of preformance art — the bible admonishes us to not eat shellfish, so therefore, those people who are so insistent about strict interpretations of biblical law should protest Red Lobster as well as gay marriages. Let’s at least be consistent, folks.
March 9th, 2004
Seattle has joined the gay marriage fray although not with the same gusto as San Fransisco. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels has announced that the city will recognize the marriages of gay couples that have been married elsewhere.
While this isn’t as dramatic as the marriages taking place in San Fransisco and elsewhere, it is extremely significant, since it will allow same-sex spouses of city employees to get health insurance and other benefits through the city.
March 5th, 2004
This is not right: Martha Stewart convicted on all counts. I am most emphatically not a fan of Martha Stewart, but I do think she’s being unfairly targeted here, either because she’s a celebrity or because she’s a woman — or both.
It’s just not right.
March 3rd, 2004
Hieronymus Bosch is one of the weirdest artists to have ever lived. His vision ranges heaven to hell with an inventiveness that is almost palpable. You can sense the genius behind them — while at the same time, you feel like you might be looking at the punchline of a collossal joke, but one that you don’t understand.
To get a sense of his work, check out The Garden of Earthly Delights, which creates an amazing landscape of impossible details. The garden is the center part of triptych, and is flanked by both Paradise and Hell.
Bosh was a late Medieval painter, who was born around 1450 and who died in 1516. His work is moralistic and stern, yet wacky and wonderful.
March 1st, 2004
Reality TV in Lebanon. This all-too-brief article about a reality TV show filmed in Lebanon and shown throughout the Middle East via satellite TV, caught me by surprise. I had no idea reality TV would even be possible in the Middle East, where cultural norms of privacy and individuality are much different from the West.
The show is predictably controversial, but producers say they will continue to make reality shows.