Lebanon Weather   Tuesday April 9, 2002

Comparing Medieval Maps from Around the Globe

Spring arrives over at the Bleat

At night, after the planes have stopped coming, you can hear the tulips growing. It's a faint sound, tiny and quiet, like a mouse flossing, but it's there. Spring is here. The sun had some heft today - it's not just a cold coin rolling overhead anymore.

More RFID stuff via Pedraum's log. This time it's the VeriChip from Applied Digital Solutions. Apart from the obvious detractors worried about privacy and human rights, These Last Days Ministries is claiming it's the Mark of the Beast. They should at least get the facts straight: RFID devices don't send signals out to cell phone towers and GPS satellites.

Too many action movies. Even the mainstream press seems to be under the impression that GPS works by sending signals up to satellites. It's the other way around folks.

One way to think of GPS is as fancy walkman that's listening to multiple radio stations all at once. When each radio announcer says the time the walkman compares it to it's own clock. Compare these small differences with the speed of light and you get the distance to each station. Once you have the distance to enough known radio stations you can figure out where you are by using triangulation. It's kind of like a math story problem: you are 323 miles from Chicago blues, 289 miles from Pittsburgh metal bands, and 303 miles from Atlanta harmonies...where are you? Lexington, KY

That's not to say your cellphone, home phone, or even the security scanner at the local Kmart isn't reading your V-chip, credit card, speedpass, or micro-underwear and uploading the data to someone, somewhere. I'm more concerned about smart dust infiltrating unsuspecting sinuses. Remember, "Devices that scavenge energy from ambient vibrations can gather nano-watts per cubic milli-metre."


Christian Jedinat sells juggling and magic items and, according to the site, ships worldwide. Groovy things like those frustrating metal puzzles, jokes and gags like the "fire ear" and telescoping cutlery.

My favorite:

Burning Juggling Balls. Available in 2 sizes. With kevlar encased, so you may handle the burning without wearing protective gloves.