Local culture revisited

Several years ago I stumbled over the Netflix “local favorites” list and had a good time exploring it. Well, the New York Times has gone and made a really cool presentation of that data, for 2009, for a dozen U.S. cities. Check it out. Good stuff.

Weblogs for the weekend

I’ve come across a number of neat blogs in the last handful of days.

Invasive Species Weblog covers issues of exotic and invasive plants and animals. Having a spouse who spends a great deal of her time thinking about invasives (plants, in particular) in Arizona, I have lots of interest but very little actual knowledge in the sorts of subjects discussed there.

ISW is a good read, and pointed me along to
Respectful Insolence and its brilliant installment of Tangled Bank, a collaborative project assembling posts from science blogs. Respectful Insolence’s take on Tangled Bank comes in the form of an author’s letter to an unfriendly journal editor. The whole “letter” is great, but I can’t resist quoting from the conclusion:

Assuming you accept this paper, we would also like to add a footnote acknowledging your help with this manuscript and to point out that we liked the paper much better the way we originally wrote it, but you held the editorial shotgun to our heads and forced us chop, reshuffle, restate, hedge expand, shorten, and in general covert a meaty paper into stir-fried vegetables. We couldn’t or wouldn’t have done it without your input.

Both Patrick Nielsen hayden and ISW pointed this week to Chris Clark’s blog Creek Running North. Chris is editor of Earth Island Journal, and his blog is a wealth of thoughtful and moving writing. Chris mentions his desperate desire to hike the Ruby Crest Trail, to which I must say: Go and do it. it’s glorious. (But carry extra water; the Rubies are high, and it can be a long way between water stops.)

I spent a couple of hours poking around Google maps this week with my Dad. He explored via satellite the spot where he cross country skis back home, and I wandered my way from Glen Canyon Dam, Down the River to the S. Kaibab Trail and Phantom Ranch—where I made my way on foot a couple of years ago. Seriously, the satellite photos of the Grand Canyon are just spectacular. So it was a treat to come across a list of cool google-sat photos at Return of Design. Be sure to check out the Bonneville Salt Flats and the Tucson Boneyard.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago I came across some links to The Corpuscle (again via Patrick?). Pick anything from the “Corpy’s Select” list and start reading.

Google does maps

I was going to make this a simple link, but played around with Google Maps for a few minutes and found it too cool for a one-liner. As the top-level page of Google Maps suggests, you can search for directions, businesses, and locations. Try searching for “sushi in Tucson”—bingo! There’s a map with locations plotted on it. Another click gives you directions to or from any location. Mapquest isn’t nearly this slick.

Enter “tucson to flagstaff” in the directions search, and up comes the map straightaway; there’s no tabbing between all the address/city/state fields. If you know airport codes, enter them directly, to get directions from TUS to Ventana Canyon (for your golf weekend), for example. Want more detail about that freeway on-ramp? Click on any of the numbered waypoints for a close-up.

But it gets cooler. Find your location, and then click-drag on the map. It moves. Finer control? Use the arrow keys. See more in the tour.

Update: Hublog weighs in, saying that while Google Maps is pretty cool, “it still doesn’t beat the flying, zooming Java beast that is map24.” Java beast indeed, but the zoom is way cool.

About, the short version

I’m a sociologist-errant. This site is powered by Textpattern, Pair Networks and the sociological imagination. For more about me and this site, see the long version.

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