Gringo Manaba

Adventuras y Fantasias or Fantastical Adventures

  • TEMAS – THEMES

  • October 2005
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Archive for October 29th, 2005

Mapping Sex Maniacs

Posted by glasscastle on 29th October 2005

Like everyone else we know, we were blown
away by the innovations in mapping featured on maps.google.com,
principally the satellite photo and hybrid views, featuring street names
and labeled
landmarks superimposed on the satellite photos, and the unlimited click
and drag scrollability: if you had the time and patience you could scroll
from Cambridge to Cupertino.

People we know who understand these things are equally
impressed with the programming involved in making the maps work.  They
say that the back end functionality, which has nothing to do with java
or xml or shockwave or any of the other now conventional ways to jazz
up web sites, has opened whole new vistas for what is possible
in a browser delivered application.

When we heard that Google had released the source code
for this marvelous innovation and invited developers to build new applications
utilizing it, it seemed a promising and atypical move, although we understood
about as much about the underlying technology as a Great Dane does about
Shakespeare, unless his name is Hamlet. We figured the type of implementation
we could expect was a Google map on the Taco Bell web site showing the
location of all 17,000 locations.

Well, we just saw our first two Google Maps applications
and they are both pretty cool and marginally useful. The first, currently
being promoted as a Halloween prophylactic, is called mapsexoffenders.com
and is currently available in Beta format.  It is a nationwide database
of level 3 (the most dangerous) sex offenders integrated into the Google
maps. Type in your address and see a map with pretty purple pins for
each local sex offender. Click on a purple pin, and you get a name and
photo.

Sounded great in theory, but when we typed in our own
address and told the site to add the sex offenders to the map, nothing
happened. We scrolled around our neighborhood. Nothing. Offenderless.
Well, we thought, lets take a scroll on over to Cambridge. Hell, we know
a couple of perverts personally who live in Cambridge! Still
nothing! Not a single hit.

We were on the point of concluding that the applications
still wasn’t working correctly, or that they hadn’t gotten around to
adding the Massachusetts info, when we thought to scroll on over to
Brighton-Alston, the gritty student/industrial zone west of the BU campus.
Six purple pins popped into our map! Real sex offenders at last!

There were even two at the same address, a Father and
Son team. Best stay away from that house on Halloween, kids! Check it
out at Mapsexoffenders.com

The second application, also in Beta, is the Map Gas
Price, which seems to have mapped all, or most anyway, of the gas stations
in the US.  However, it is the users who actually report and enter
the prices on the web site, buy clicking on gray pins, thereby turning
them into blue pins. Letting users supply the data makes it kind of like
a Wiki. We can see how it would allow you to look at all the
stations
on
a regular
route,
say
your
route
to work, and find which one had the lowest gas price.  Of course,
you could do the same thing by keeping your eyes open on the drive to
work: it’s
not like the stations try to hide their prices.  On the other hand,
there may be a station a block off your  normal route with a great
price that you could only discover via this site.  Check it out
at mapgasprices.com.

Posted in Technology | 3 Comments »

Mapping Sex Fiends

Posted by glasscastle on 29th October 2005

Like everyone else we know, we were blown
away by the innovations in mapping featured on maps.google.com,
principally the satellite photo and hybrid views, featuring street names
and labeled
landmarks superimposed on the satellite photos, and the unlimited click
and drag scrollability: if you had the time and patience you could scroll
from Cambridge to Cupertino.

People we know who understand these things are equally
impressed with the programming involved in making the maps work.  They
say that the back end functionality, which has nothing to do with java
or xml or shockwave or any of the other now conventional ways to jazz
up web sites, has opened whole new vistas for what is possible
in a browser delivered application.

When we heard that Google had released the source code
for this marvelous innovation and invited developers to build new applications
utilizing it, it seemed a promising and atypical move, although we understood
about as much about the underlying technology as a Great Dane does about
Shakespeare, unless his name is Hamlet. We figured the type of implementation
we could expect was a Google map on the Taco Bell web site showing the
location of all 17,000 locations.

Well, we just saw our first two Google Maps applications
and they are both pretty cool and marginally useful. The first, currently
being promoted as a Halloween prophylactic, is called mapsexoffenders.com
and is currently available in Beta format.  It is a nationwide database
of level 3 (the most dangerous) sex offenders integrated into the Google
maps. Type in your address and see a map with pretty purple pins for
each local sex offender. Click on a purple pin, and you get a name and
photo.

Sounded great in theory, but when we typed in our own
address and told the site to add the sex offenders to the map, nothing
happened. We scrolled around our neighborhood. Nothing. Offenderless.
Well, we thought, lets take a scroll on over to Cambridge. Hell, we know
a couple of perverts personally who live in Cambridge! Still
nothing! Not a single hit.

We were on the point of concluding that the applications
still wasn’t working correctly, or that they hadn’t gotten around to
adding the Massachusetts info, when we thought to scroll on over to
Brighton-Alston, the gritty student/industrial zone west of the BU campus.
Six purple pins popped into our map! Real sex offenders at last!

There were even two at the same address, a Father and
Son team. Best stay away from that house on Halloween, kids! Check it
out at Mapsexoffenders.com

The second application, also in Beta, is the Map Gas
Price, which seems to have mapped all, or most anyway, of the gas stations
in the US.  However, it is the users who actually report and enter
the prices on the web site, buy clicking on gray pins, thereby turning
them into blue pins. Letting users supply the data makes it kind of like
a Wiki. We can see how it would allow you to look at all the
stations
on
a regular
route,
say
your
route
to work, and find which one had the lowest gas price.  Of course,
you could do the same thing by keeping your eyes open on the drive to
work: it’s
not like the stations try to hide their prices.  On the other hand,
there may be a station a block off your  normal route with a great
price that you could only discover via this site.  Check it out
at mapgasprices.com.

Posted in Technology | 1 Comment »

Finding Sex Fiends

Posted by glasscastle on 29th October 2005

Like everyone else we know, we were blown
away by the innovations in mapping featured on maps.google.com,
principally the satellite photo and hybrid views, featuring street names
and labeled
landmarks superimposed on the satellite photos, and the unlimited click
and drag scrollability: if you had the time and patience you could scroll
from Cambridge to Cupertino.

People we know who understand these things are equally
impressed with the programming involved in making the maps work.  They
say that the back end functionality, which has nothing to do with java
or xml or shockwave or any of the other now conventional ways to jazz
up web sites, has opened whole new vistas for what is possible
in a browser delivered application.

When we heard that Google had released the source code
for this marvelous innovation and invited developers to build new applications
utilizing it, it seemed a promising and atypical move, although we understood
about as much about the underlying technology as a Great Dane does about
Shakespeare, unless his name is Hamlet. We figured the type of implementation
we could expect was a Google map on the Taco Bell web site showing the
location of all 17,000 locations.

Well, we just saw our first two Google Maps applications
and they are both pretty cool and marginally useful. The first, currently
being promoted as a Halloween prophylactic, is called mapsexoffenders.com
and is currently available in Beta format.  It is a nationwide database
of level 3 (the most dangerous) sex offenders integrated into the Google
maps. Type in your address and see a map with pretty purple pins for
each local sex offender. Click on a purple pin, and you get a name and
photo.

Sounded great in theory, but when we typed in our own
address and told the site to add the sex offenders to the map, nothing
happened. We scrolled around our neighborhood. Nothing. Offenderless.
Well, we thought, lets take a scroll on over to Cambridge. Hell, we know
a couple of perverts personally who live in Cambridge! Still
nothing! Not a single hit.

We were on the point of concluding that the applications
still wasn’t working correctly, or that they hadn’t gotten around to
adding the Massachusetts info, when we thought to scroll on over to
Brighton-Alston, the gritty student/industrial zone west of the BU campus.
Six purple pins popped into our map! Real sex offenders at last!

There were even two at the same address, a Father and
Son team. Best stay away from that house on Halloween, kids! Check it
out at Mapsexoffenders.com

The second application, also in Beta, is the Map Gas
Price, which seems to have mapped all, or most anyway, of the gas stations
in the US.  However, it is the users who actually report and enter
the prices on the web site, buy clicking on gray pins, thereby turning
them into blue pins. Letting users supply the data makes it kind of like
a Wiki. We can see how it would allow you to look at all the
stations
on
a regular
route,
say
your
route
to work, and find which one had the lowest gas price.  Of course,
you could do the same thing by keeping your eyes open on the drive to
work: it’s
not like the stations try to hide their prices.  On the other hand,
there may be a station a block off your  normal route with a great
price that you could only discover via this site.  Check it out
at mapgasprices.com.

Posted in Technology | 1 Comment »

After the Fall

Posted by glasscastle on 29th October 2005

The
sharks are circling. They smell blood in the hurricane-roiled political
waters of the pool of public opinion. Scooter
has been thrown under the bus, and Kapitain Karl is hanging by a thread.
The mainstream media is awash in stories counting the leaks
in the storm tossed Bush ship of state
.

However, as usual, nobody is talking
about the real issue, which goes to the core of the course on which
the country
has been set by the current administration.

The bottom line is that the evidence that led the United
States into the war in Iraq was trumped up. Some of it was disproven
but not discarded, some was intentionally misinterpreted, some contrary
reports were ignored or discounted and some was manufactured whole.  And
evidence of this exists.

There were witnesses. The Republicans in Congress, who
promised an investigation into the "intelligence failures" leading up
to the war, are dragging their feet, because they know, or suspect, where
the trail leads. Cheney, Rove, Rice, Tenet and Wolfowitz, clearly. We
are even afraid that before this is over we will have to revise our prediction
of a New
Republicant ticket
of John McCain and Colin Powell in 2006.
We now believe the ex-Sec of State is doomed to be sucked into the vortex
of blame for this tragic and historic misdirection of American foreign
policy.
When
he realized the enormity of what was going down, he bailed, but it was
too late, we fear. Another good man taken down by a nasty scandal not
of his making. There will be many good men falling on their swords before
this is over.

Because we are talking high crimes here and not misdemeanors.  The
pugnacious self-righteousness of special prosecutors has been historically
established and the present iteration is no exception. If there is a
single memo, notebook, email, or recording, kept by some paranoid official
trying to cover his (or her) ass, which proves that any of the aforementioned
officials knew or had reason to believe that a single piece of the evidence
presented to the US Congress, the United Nations and the American people
was untrue, unreliable, unrealistic in light of other known facts or in
any way less than what they presented it to be, they are screwed. Considering
what that evidence was used for, it may constitute treason. And we believe
that there are many, many such instances that will come out
now that the investigation is being broadened.

Make no mistake, it is broadening. This is why the Grand
Jury was extended.  The African Uranium report, and the efforts
to discredit its debunkers, were one instance in an extensive and coordinated
strategy to hoodwink the public, the Congress and the UN. As we all know,
one lie leads to another, in commission, and any experienced investigator
knows that it works that way in reverse as well.

The only reason Dubya didn’t make the list of fabricators
and prevaricators is our gut instinct that the rest of the guys don’t
don’t let him in on the heavier stuff, both for purposes of plausible
and convincing denial, and because they don’t trust him to keep his
mouth shut. George gets wacky once in a while, and is liable to say
just about anything.

But even if Dubya can convincingly plead ignorance and
isn’t impeached, imagining him in charge without the grownups around
borders on the macabre.

Will he panic and try to dismiss the investigators,
a la Nixon, as a seemingly minor infraction (the break-in or teh leak) starts unraveling
a web of deceit and malfeasance? Will a secondary figure trying to save
his career (or his life) reveal a smoking gun, a la John Dean? If this
case did not involve the gravest betrayal of public trust, the deaths
of thousands of precious young people and innocent civilians, and a mortal threat to the country
we all love (as opposed to the country we currently live in), it would
be an entertaining unraveling.  As it is, we can only pray that
the country can somehow avoid the abyss that yawns ahead.  Stay
tuned……

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment »