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Map Mania #N: The Alexandria Digital Library's Map Browser has an awesome interface that lets you find a spot on the world and search for maps and photos of that region, then indicates which parts of the selected region are actually covered by the maps. It's a shame that all the satellite photos are hard-to-decipher black-and-white things that look like the moon after a bit of terraforming.

Incidentally, they built a new Library of Alexandria. Unfortunately, their website requires Flash.

PS: Check out this cool, FreeCiv-esque map from medieval China.

Regarding the foreign countries of the barbarians southeast of the South Sea, and northwest of Mongolia, there is no means of investigating them because of their great distance, although they are continually sending tribute to the court. Those who speak of them are unable to say anything definite, while those who say something definite cannot be trusted; hence I am compelled to omit them.


Unfortunately, both of the authors were the ones who got stuck with fixing this problem. Also, because one of them is a big whiner, he kept complaining that `we knew this all along ­-- something really stank for iterations and now I'm stuck with fixing it.'

--Recognizing and Responding to 'Bad Smells' in Extreme Programming (from Jeremy Hylton)

Elevator Pitch For Slow Elevator: You might remember that a while ago the CollabNet engineers went on a retreat. As inevitably happens at corporate retreats, we engaged in team-building activities. One of the activities was this one; we were divided into teams and our group had to come up with a pitch for a television show destined to become a cult classic. I've been holding on to my page of notes, meaning to mention my idea in a NYCB entry, and since I'm cleaning my room now's as good a time as any.

We audition for people with skills associated with how-to shows: cooking, home improvement, gardening, etc. Our ideal candidate is someone who thinks he or she is very good, but who by any objective measure is awful. We film a "pilot" with each candidate, which is broadcast as an episode of the actual show. For instance, we'd have a cooking show set where people would do their cooking show pilots. We'd have everything they might need, but they'd be done in by their lack of skills and/or imagination.

The show is awful, both in a cruel way and in a campy way. The audience watches both to vicariously enjoy the victim's incompetence and to secretly hope that they'll actually do well and put one over on us. However, we use deceptive editing to eliminate any aspect of that.

The other idea from our group I liked was Jason Brittain's "The Great Weiner Dog In The Sky Show", in which a troupe of trained dachshunds perform death-defying high-wire and trampoline acts.

Reverse Want Ad: I'm going to Bakersfield tomorrow, and I'm going to take my trusty yet battered 5-string electric guitar to the Goodwill and get a fancy new one at Front Porch. If you live near me (or in Bakersfield) and you want to exchange for an electric guitar your right to be picky about the quality of the electric guitar, let me know by tomorrow.

: How are you on the Wonders of the Ancient World?


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