Geocaching

There was just a short story about geocaching on the Discovery channel. Basically, geocaching is using a GPS to hunt for a location in the wilderness. The location of caches all over the world are listed on a number of web sites. Think of it as a cross between a treasure hunt and hide-and-seek. I’ve never been on an actual hunt, but it seems like a pretty cool idea. Check out geocaching.com for an FAQ and a search engine to find the sites near you. While I already knew the basics, it was still an interesting story.

The thing that rubbed me the wrong way about it was they kept calling geocaching a sport. It seems that calling something a hobby or a fun activity is a bad thing. A hobby is child’s play, but the same thing re-labelled a sport is somehow suddenly worthy.

The way I see it, a sport is a game or activity in which teams or people compete against each other and the results are obvious and quantifiable. That means a time, score, or distance. I find this a very useful guide although there are exceptions. Figure skating? Nope, it’s an art form, an artistic expression. I don’t feel that figure skating or ice dancing belongs in the Olympics at all. If they belong there, why isn’t ballet a summer sport? It isn’t and it shouldn’t be.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to lessen figure skating or geocaching in any way. I just think they’re completely mislabeled.

CSI: Science fail

I watched CSI: Crime Scene Investigation this evening. I’ve only seen it three or four times and it looked pretty cool. I mentioned at work that I’d seen it and Daren didn’t hide his dislike of the show. His main objection is that the circumstances are often somewhat far-fetched. While I don’t disagree with that, I guess I don’t have as much of a problem with it. Life is often pretty bizarre at times. What I do have a problem with is a show whose main characters are experts that make all kinds of technical mistakes. Only ten minutes into tonight’s episode, there were two big ones.

First, Gil Grissom states that terminal velocity is 9.8 metres per second squared. What he meant was that the acceleration due to gravity is 9.8 metres per second squared. Terminal velocity is the maximum speed that a falling object will reach given enough falling time. It’s a completely different thing and would not figure into the five-story fall he was investigating.

Second, Sara Sidle states that the safest place in a thunder-storm is in a car because the rubber tires act as an insulator. Although this is a commonly held belief, it’s not true. The reason you’re safe in a (non-convertible) car is that the lightning travels through the metal of the car … and if you’re sitting in a car, you’re not touching any metal despite being surrounded by it. The seat is plastic, fabric, or leather, and damn near everything else is plastic. The tires are a red herring. Although the insulating property of the rubber is obvious, it’s clear that a few inches of rubber isn’t going to stop a charge that went through five kilometres of air to get to the car!

Sure mistakes happen, but these things are not simple mistakes. This is high school level science. I’d suggest that the technical consultant (Elizabeth Devine in CSI’s case) get a boot in the ass, but I know that the corrections she (hopefully) made could be easily ignored or over-ridden by the director or a bunch of others working on the show.

Miscellaneous

Goodness gracious, I’m the busy Range Rover. I just hope I don’t have as much gas as those things use!

I’ve read that a runner burns about 2600 calories running a marathon. That itself is pretty amazing as that’s about what the average person burns in an entire day! But then take a regular hummingbird. Over the same length of time the marathon runner uses 2600 calories, the hummingbird will use 14,000 calories going about their normal activities!

There’s a Walmart commercial in current circulation that’s trying to bring in the younger crowd. It starts with a teen saying something like, “Being a teenager is one step closer to total freedom.” Little does he know that being a teen is the most free time we have. Sure you can do more as an adult, but the added responsibilities seem to make sure that doesn’t happen. The kicker is that I understand what the teen is saying as I thought exactly the same thing at that age.

This is part of the sign of a restaurant near where I work. I’ve left out the name of the place because they might not appreciate what I’m about to ask. Is it just me or does the stem of the peach look like a bent-up penis?

It makes me a little uncomfortable.


Test result Range Rover graphic from fallingashes.net

The lottery and a career in porn

I bought a lottery ticket the other day while I was with Daren and he wanted ‘in’ on the ticket. We later talked about what we might do if we’d come into the kind of money that only a lottery can bring. We both agreed that it would be extremely difficult to work full time unless the job was one that we loved to do. The conversation moved to what kind of work that might be.

I wondered aloud what I loved to do that would earn me a living and Daren suggested that it might not be that simple as everyone likes sex, but working in the sex-trade wouldn’t be such a good idea. I joked that porn was another option that might not be so objectionable. I then said, “Porn won’t work. I don’t think you could work five days a week as there aren’t enough openings.”

Needless to say, there was a lot of laughing at that point.

My restoration adventure

I plan to scan all of my parents’ photos and save them to CDs. This has the dual advantages of allowing me copies of my own at only the cost of my own time, and the preservation of the images both from colour shifts that the passage of time invariably brings, and preservation from complete loss in case of a flood or something. As most plans with no deadlines, the progress is slow. The last bit of work I’ve done was to scan, colour correct, and repair a roll of film that I know was taken in the summer of 1969. The date wasn’t written on the prints, but what the photos are of makes the date unmistakable.

The thirty-three year old print as it appeared right out of the scanner.

You see, for seven months in 1969, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers dammed up and shut off the American Falls at Niagara Falls. There was some repair work done as extensive erosion had occurred. Indeed, the falls are where they are today because of erosion. Also, there’s a large pile of rock at the base of the American Falls and one of the main reasons they dammed the falls was to examine this rubble close up and determine whether they should remove it or not. I’ve read the tourist industry in the area was very concerned that visitors would stay away if they knew that half of the falls wouldn’t be there to see. It turns out that the novelty of seeing the falls dry made it one of the busiest tourist years ever, up to that time.

Colour correction and a few adjustments make quite a difference!

I don’t know who actually took these pictures (I think it may’ve been my brother), but I offer for your approval a photo from the base of the falls. Normally, all of the rock you see in this photo would be covered with water, except perhaps at the very bottom right. At the top is the actual edge of the falls the water plunges over …and you can spot a trickle if you look closely. My only regret is that to fit the images onto this page, I had to reduce their size so much that you can’t see the dirt, spotting, and surface damage in the original. The results certainly are not up to professional restoration standards, but I bet I can at least equal the results from the small film developer places that offer restoration services.