Joe McCarthy’s grandfather remembers when the Park “Hog” River used to run through downtown Hartford. But today, it’s gone. There are buildings where there used to be a river. Intrigued, Joe looked closer and found the river buried beneath the streets of Hartford.
Joe partnered with fellow artist Peter Albano to map the now underground river and to document their exploration of this underground ecosystem. To help fund their project I backed their Kickstarter project and took a ride with them on their exploration of the underground river.
Joe and Peter took me into this beast of a public works project. At its heart, it’s just a river. But it’s wrapped in thick concrete and studded with outlets and floodways.
I wrote more about the Hog River Revival and the trip on GeekDad: Paddling Underground: The Hog River Revival.
Artwork from their trips along the Hog River will be on exhibit at the Hartford Public Library’s ArtWalk: Peter Albano and Joe McCarthy: The Hog River Revival Collection. The free exhibition opens Friday, December 7 with a reception from 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. and runs through January 20, 2013.
The boy has taken up fencing. I wrote more about this in my latest post on GeekDad:
En Garde! – Fencing for Fun
In a winter marked by several crippling storms, the storm of February 1–2, 2011, stands out. Heavy snow, ice, freezing rain, and frigid wind battered about two thirds of the United States, making it “a winter storm of historic proportions,” said the National Weather Service. This animation—made with images from the NOAA-NASA GOES 13 satellite—shows the giant storm developing and moving across the country between January 31 and February 2.
This image, a still taken from the animation, shows the storm at 4:31 p.m. Eastern Time on February 1. In the image, the storm measures about 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) from west to east. The storm formed when cold Arctic air pushed south from Canada while moist air streamed north from the Gulf of the Mexico. The animation shows clouds building over New Mexico and Texas early in the day. As the system develops and moves northeast, the storm grows and becomes more organized. By the end of February 1, the storm was a sprawling comma that extended from the Midwest to New England.
By 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time on February 2, the National Weather Service reported that 21 states from New Mexico to New Hampshire had received at least 5 inches (13 centimeters) of snow. Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, and Oklahoma declared states of emergency. According to news reports, one in three Americans were affected by the storm.
The monster storm brought record snowfall to many areas, including Chicago, perhaps the hardest hit population center. The city received 20.2 inches of snow, a record for February and the third biggest snowstorm for any date in Chicago. The record was set at 23 inches (58.4 cm) on January 26–27, 1967.
The storm left a solid swath of snow from New Mexico to New England. Images of previous 2010-11 winter storms in December and January can be viewed in the severe storms section of the Earth Observatory.
- NASA Earth Observatory Historic Winter Storm Moves Across the U.S.
- Animated version of the historic winter storm moving Across the U.S.
- CNN. (2011, February 2). Powerful storm brings record snowfall across the country. Accessed February 2, 2011.
- Masters, J. (2011, January 31). Potentially historic winter storm poised to impact 100 million Americans. Weather Underground. Accessed February 2, 2011.
- National Weather Service. (2011, February 2). Historic winter storm. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Accessed February 2, 2011.
- National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office Chicago, IL. (2011, February 2). History of 10 inch or greater snow storms in Chicago. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Accessed February 2, 2011.
- The Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. (2011, February 2). Storm summary message. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Accessed February 2, 2011.
- Wisniewski, M. (2011, February 1). Winter storm engulfs huge swath of U.S. Washington Post. Accessed February 2, 2011.
Here are some of my recent stories published to GeekDad:
Today, the 97th edition of the Tour de France starts in Rotterdam, kicking off three weeks of bicycle racing. Twenty-one teams of nine riders each will have to endure 3,600 kilometers of racing and 25 mountain passes to reach the finish line on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
I spruced up my Top Ten Reasons That Geeks Should Love the Tour de France for GeekDad.
Here are some of my recent posts on GeekDad:
- Find an ER With findER for the iPhone
- Whales Tohor? Comes to Boston’s Museum of Science
- We’ve Got Worms in Our Basement: Composting With the Kids
- 100 Geeky Places to Take Your Kids This Summer (GeekDad Wayback Machine)
- Lego Bricks and Felt Tip Pen Become a Printer
When picking up The Daughter, I was horrified to see a montage of the solar system on the wall of an adjacent classroom with nine planets.
NINE PLANETS?!?! That’s so 2005.
It’s not that I have anything against Pluto. The problem is that it was mislabeled as a planet when it was discovered because of some bad observations of Neptune. I read Planets X and Pluto a few weeks ago so I had still had a bunch of history and science in my head.
By coincidence, March 13 is the day that the discovery of Pluto was announced. So I put together a post on GeekDad: Happy Pluto Discovery Day.
If still think there are nine planets, you definitely need to read Happy Pluto Discovery Day.
Some of my recent GeekDad posts:
Will the world of book publishing be subject to the same revolution as the music industry because of digital content? With the Kindle (or iPad or Nook) do to books what the iPod did to record albums?
It’s not my question to answer. But Jason Epstein from the The New York Review of Books has an excellent view on this in his article: Publishing: The Revolutionary Future
Digitization makes possible a world in which anyone can claim to be a publisher and anyone can call him- or herself an author. In this world the traditional filters will have melted into air and only the ultimate filter—the human inability to read what is unreadable—will remain to winnow what is worth keeping in a virtual marketplace where Keats’s nightingale shares electronic space with Aunt Mary’s haikus. That the contents of the world’s libraries will eventually be accessed practically anywhere at the click of a mouse is not an unmixed blessing. Another click might obliterate these same contents and bring civilization to an end: an overwhelming argument, if one is needed, for physical books in the digital age.
PAX East is a three-day game festival for tabletop, videogame, and PC gamers. We call it a festival because in addition to dedicated tournaments and freeplay areas we’ve got nerdcore concerts, panel discussions, and an exhibitor hall filled with booths displaying the latest from top game publishers and developers.
It’s happening March 26th to 28th at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.
I will be on a panel with several of the GeekDad writers on Friday night at 7:00. The panel, titled “Bringing Up the Next Generation of Geeks,” will include Dave Banks, Natania Barron, Matt Blum, John Booth, Doug Cornelius (that’s me), Michael Harrison, and Corrina Lawson. We described the session as:
How young is too young for The Hobbit? What should my kids’ first LEGO set be? How can I control my disgust if my child tells me he likes Jar Jar and the Ewoks? When should I buy my kids their first non-six-sided dice? These questions and many more will be discussed by writers for Wired.com’s GeekDad blog and other geek parents. Come share your stories and advice for how to make sure our kids grow up to be geeks like us! Don’t have kids? Show up and find out what may be in store for you if you ever do!
If you are coming to Pax East, please stop by the Wyvern Theatre on Friday night and say hello.
There is also a story in the latest edition of the Boston Business Journal: Geeks and gamers to descend on Hub. Rodney Brown notes that Pax East will be the third largest recurring event in the first quarter, after the Yankee Dental conference and the International Seafood Show.
Here are the past week’s posts from my Compliance Building blog on compliance and business ethics:
February 19, 2010
Here are some interesting compliance related stories from the past two weeks. (I reserved last week for my blogoversary.) Details Emerge on SEC Office of Market Intelligence by Bruce Carton in Compliance Week One of the first tools that the Securities Exchange Commission launched after it ushered itself into the Internet era in the mid-1990s…
Read more »
February 18, 2010
New York City Comptroller John C. Liu announced sweeping changes in the way New York City pension funds make investment decisions. Following the lead of New York state and several other states, New York City is changing how it deals with gifts, campaign contributions and placement agents. Ban on Campaign Contributions Comptroller Liu declines any campaign…Read more »
February 18, 2010
With the winter Olympics going full swing in Canada, I thought I would look to how that country is dealing with securities class actions. NERA Economic Consulting just released their 2009 Update on Trends in Canadian Securities Class Actions. Some tidbits: Eight securities class actions were filed in 2009, compared with the 10 filings in 2008. There…Read more »
February 17, 2010
Leaking information to the media about bad financial controls is not protected by SOX whistleblower retaliation clause. Nicholas P. Tides and Matthew C. Neumann were working as “Audit IT SOX auditors” at The Boeing Company. They made several complaints about auditing deficiencies to their supervisors. They claimed “that Boeing’s auditing culture was unethical and that…Read more »
February 16, 2010
This week’s The Economist has an excellent special report: The Gods Strike Back. The title comes from Peter Bernstein’s Against the Gods: “The revolutionary idea that defines the boundary between modern times and the past is the mastery of risk: the notion that the future is more than a whim of the gods and that men…Read more »
February 15, 2010
Washington’s Birthday, the federal holiday was originally implemented by the United States Congress in 1880 for government offices in the District of Columbia (20 Stat. 277) and expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices (23 Stat. 516). As the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen, the holiday was celebrated on Washington’s…Read more »
February 14, 2010
It is only fitting that I am writing this book review on a Sunday. In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke’s War on the Great Panic starts off by telling about the importance of a few Sundays in 2008. In March, there was the Sunday when the Federal Reserve announced an unprecedented action to lend…Read more »
Location-based games and location-based social networking sites have exploded along with the proliferation of GPS enabled phones.
You can read more on my latest GeekDad post: Own Your World With Location-Based Mobile Games.
Some of my other recent GeekDad posts:
- Catalog Your Books Online
- 10 Things Parents Should Know About The Princess and the Frog
- Data Privacy Day is January 28
- A Visit to the Patee House Museum
A few weeks ago I started comparing LibraryThing, GoodReads and Shelfari to see which one was the best for tracking books online: Tracking Your Books and Library Online. Since I want to read more books this year, I thought it would be good to check out these sites.
I’ve been using LibraryThing for two years and I thought I would take a look at the other two to see if they have caught up. I published my results over at GeekDad: Catalog Your Books Online.
LibraryThing is still on top, but GoodReads offers an interesting alternative.
Here are some of my other GeekDad posts:
- 10 Things Parents Should Know About The Princess and the Frog
- Data Privacy Day is January 28
- A Visit to the Patee House Museum
- Go-Go Kidz Travelmate Lets You Go Go Through the Airport
Here is a collection of posts from my professional blog: Compliance Building.
Here are some interesting stories from the past week: French Supreme Court Limits the Scope of the Whistleblowing Process by Cecile Martin in the Privacy law Blog For the first time the French Supreme Court addressed the issue of the validity of a Code of conducts that had been implemented by a listed company. Read more »
Dow Jones and Ethisphere Institute are teaming up to present the 2010 Global Ethics Summit on February 23-24, 2010 at the Grand Hyatt New York City. I will be attending, thanks to an offer from the event’s organizers. If you are interested in attending I can offer you a 15% discount on regular conference fees,… Read more »
In my hasty post on last week’s FCPA sting operation my focus was on the aggressive use of an undercover operation to catch violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. That was big news. It’s the first time that’s happened. The indictments did not disclose the companies involved. It’s now clear that this sting operation… Read more »
GoodReads versus LibraryThing versus Shelfari
Back in 2008, I started looking at ways to catalog my household’s book collection: Books and Knowledge Management. LibraryThing was the winner. That decision was largely driven by their ability to manually enter books. Back in 2008 GoodReads and Shelfari libraries were limited to books listed on Amazon.com.
Since then, I have happily been using Library Thing. I have entered over 1,200 books in my LibraryThing catalog. About 300 of those books are more than 50 years old, meaning they are not available on Amazon.com.
It’s been about two years so I decided to take another look at my options. LibraryThing has been good to me, so I am hesitant to move. I suspected that there would be a great deal of time trying to recreate my catalog on another site.
Import and Export
All three have the ability to import and export books. So I exported the lists to Shelfari and GoodReads. I ended up with 1082 in Shelfari after manually adding 100 or so books. Shelfari made me go through a painful process of adding books by matching covers, with only 20 books per page. I gave up a third of the way through. I did not manually enter any books in Goodreads and ended up with 967 books.
Back in 2008, Shelfari had the best visuals of the three. Unfortunately, it looks like time stopped for Shelfari. I did not notice any change in its visuals. The site shows the book covers sitting on a wood grain bookshelf.
LibraryThing is the least attractive of the three. But it seems to have forgone good visuals for a user interface full of information. I found it the easiest to use, but I had the most familiarity with it.
GoodReads has the best looking user interface of the three.
Tags, Shelves and Collections
One of the keys is how the sites allow you to organize the books. For me, I have two basic pieces of data. The first is the reading status: read it or planning to read it. The second is whether I own it or not. Essentially I want to track the books I’ve read and the books I own in one place.
LibraryThing uses “collections” that work well for my basic data. The collections are not exclusive, so books can be in multiple collections. My collections are currently reading, publisher provided, reviewed, read but unowned, and to read. The LibraryThing also allows for extensive use of tags.
Goodreads allows many “shelves.” I set up currently reading, to-read, borrowed, and publisher provided. For some reason, your ownership status for a book is separate from the shelves. There is no separate tagging.
Shelfari limits your “shelves” to reading status, own, favorite and wish list. Instead, they allow lots of tagging.
All three have a stripped down mobile view of their sites. Of the three, GoodReads has the most functionality squeezed onto the small iPhone screen, yet it still very readable.
All three sites about their active network of users sharing information about books. I had very few connections on the sites. Lots of connections on one of the sites would be a good reason to selection that site.
Integration with Other Applications
Goodreads has a nice tie into Twitter and Facebook allowing you update you books status to those sites. I really like this feature.
LibraryThing and Shelfari both have Facebook applications but they are far behind GoodReads.
All three sites allow you to use widgets to show part of your collection.
LibraryThing had the most widgets and an ability to customize those widgets.
All three sites are free.
LibraryThing requires you to buy a membership if you want to keep more than 25o books in your catalog. I bought the $25 lifetime membership.
GoodReads and Shelfari both display advertisements.
Going forward for the next months, I am going to use all three site and try to replicate the information. (although, I’m not going to spend much time going back to clean up my catalogs in GoodReads or Shelfari.) The stack of books next to my nightstand has gotten nearly as tall as my kids. So I have an itch to cram in a bunch of book reading this year to clear out my backlog.
I will publish a follow-up in a few months and let you know which site won the competition.
In the meantime, if you are using any of the sites let me know your thoughts and connect with me.
Last Saturday afternoon was GeekDad day at the Wired Holiday Store in New York City.
I played chicken with the weekend blizzard and traveled down to New York City for the day. It is not often that the GeekDad contributors, strewn across the U.S. (and the U.K.), are able to get together in person. So the stakes were high.
As of Friday night, the powerful winter storm was moving slow. It was hitting Washington hard. But it looked like it would hold off on covering Boston with the white stuff until late Saturday night. It looked like I could get down to New York and back, beating the snow.
The trip down was uneventful, but I could see the storm clouds just south of New York City.
Ken Denmead, the editor of GeekDad, had hosted the first GeekDad on December 2. See Ken’s post: GeekDad Day at the Wired Holiday Store FTW.
Ken came back from the west coast, along with Matt Blum, the assistant editor, and Dave Giancaspro. Matt escaped Washington just before the blizzard hit that area. Dave was just a subway ride away.
We ran some LEGO building contests to give away prizes to a group of enthusiastic kids and their parents. The winning builders walked away with LEGO Star Wars Hyena Droid kits Bomber, copies of LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary, MythBusters Weird World of Water kits, and Mythbusters DVDs.
You can see more images from the day in my photo album: GeekDad at the Wired Holiday Store.
By the afternoon, the snow was upon us. Ken’s airline called him to let him know that his flight on Sunday morning was canceled, but they would be happy to re-book his flight for Friday. (FRIDAY!)
For me, I went to Penn Station and saw carnage. The Northbound trains from NYC to Boston come out of Washington and they were not getting out. I re-booked from the 7:00 train to the 3:00 train since the 3:00 had not yet arrived. I though that was clever until I sat down across from a very tired gentleman who was still waiting for the 2:00 train. This looked bad.
Upstairs, Megabus was willing to get me to Boston for $20 and claimed that the buses were running on time. The weather forecast for Boston called for the storm to hold off until midnight, the Boston arrival time for that bus. I had visions of the bus getting stuck in a blizzard in Connecticut or sliding off the road. That’s the reason I booked the train trip. Of course, when I went back down into Penn Station I had visions of not getting home at all by train.
I crossed my fingers and jumped on the bus.
The roads in the city were snowy. I-95 was snowy. Those visions of being trapped on the highway in a blizzard came back.
But then we turned north onto I-91 and the snow disappeared. We had blacktop and highway speeds all the way to Boston. Sure enough the snowflakes started in Boston right at midnight just as I arrived home.
It’s like the song was written for them.
Here are links to my Compliance Building posts from the past week:
Here are some compliance related news stories from the past week that caught my eye.
We’re from the government. We’re here to help. The Federal Trade Commission has launched a new site designed to help kids learn to protect their privacy, spot frauds and scams, and avoid identity theft. You Are Here is set up as a virtual mall.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) amended the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 594 to define the term “financial, material, or technological support,” as used in sanction regulations.
Hollywood has done it. Now it’s your turn.
Reboot your compliance program.
Today is a the day. The FTC’s recent updates to its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising are now in affect. To comply with the Guides, individuals (bloggers, users of social media) must disclose every “material connection” or relationship they have with an advertiser.
How to comply with the changes?
At the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, Andrew McAfee handed out a few copies of this new book: Enterprise 2.0. I was one of the recipients of a shiny new copy with his autograph on the cover page.
If you have heard of Enterprise 2.0, they you have heard of McAfee.
The SEC is putting its new investor-focused website to good use: Investor.gov.
The first item that caught my eye was their article on how fraudsters use fake SEC registrations and bogus seals to make them look legitimate: Fake Seals and Phony Numbers: How Fraudsters Try to Look Legit.
Lately I have been experimenting with Four Square, a location-based social networking platform. For me, adding the geographic component of social networking adds another serendipity factor to the web 2.0 movement.
Serendipity of location.
“What’s Happening” + “Where are you”
It allows you to explore tools to create meeting chances. We have already seen Twitter add a location feature to its platform. [Location, Location, Location.]
Four Square does a similar thing, but adds a fun factor to disclosing your location. You get badges for going to many places. You also get the title of “Mayor” at a location if you have visited that place more than any other Four Square participant.
I have to admit that Four Square brings out my competitive streak. I have been stacking up mayor titles by mixing up my morning coffee stops. Four Square is still new so it does not take much to become mayor at many locations.
I tried out BrightKite in the past, but found its user interface to be a bit clunky. I also found its database of locations to be inaccurate, with no way to add it or change it. It’s been a while since I’ve use BrightKite so it may have improved since then.
I found Four Square to be much simpler and easy to use. It has a nice link to Twitter. Even better, it is easy to turn the Twitter notification off or on each time you check in at a location.
Scoble’s take on Four Square: