Archives » December, 2006

December 8, 2006

Old Carson City Slides

I found some really cool aerial pictures of Carson City and the Carson Valley when I was rummaging around at work, so I’m putting them up over at Around Carson.

Lompa Ranch Aerial

So far I’ve posted aerial pictures of the Lompa Ranch, and there’s more to come! I also found some marketing pictures for the Ormsby House from the early 1980s. You’ve got to check those out. Apparently there was a copy of Omni Magazine in every room.

December 6, 2006

Scary Mary

Via BWE:

The Pregnant Man

From ABC News:

Mehta said that he can usually spot a tumor just after he begins an operation. But while operating on Bhagat, Mehta saw something he had never encountered. As he cut deeper into Bhagat’s stomach, gallons of fluid spilled out – and then something extraordinary happened.

“He just put his hand inside and he said there are a lot of bones inside,” she said. “First, one limb came out, then another limb came out. Then some part of genitalia, then some part of hair, some limbs, jaws, limbs, hair.”

Inside Bhagat’s stomach was a strange, half-formed creature that had feet and hands that were very developed. Its fingernails were quite long.

“We were horrified. We were confused and amazed,” Mehta said.

December 5, 2006

The Amazing Race 10×12: Dude, I’m Such A Hot Giant Chick Right Now

My recap of the latest Amazing Race episode is now up at The site recently went through a redesign, so all of my older articles are offline for now. I’m hoping they get that fixed soon.

The other Detour choice is to search through a pile of tomatoes looking for a clue. It’s a classic needle in a haystack task, which means it’s almost certainly a bad choice. But here they keep piling on the difficulties. First, the clue is actually buried inside the tomato, so you’ve got to squeeze each one and check out its innards. And second, while you’re doing this a local mob of ruffians is standing around in a semicircle, throwing tomatoes at your head, and you have to “defend yourself” by throwing them back. So it’s a double-hard needle in a haystack task, with an extra scoop of chaotic violence on the top. Why, if only there was a contestant with anger management issues that would could send to do this task, it would be perfect!

Go read it all.

Episode links:
Miss Alli’s recaplet
TV Squad review
TV Guide review
Download the episode with BitTorrent

December 4, 2006

Filling In the Gaps

One thing that good placeblogs can do is fill in the gaps that other reporting media leave behind. On Thanksgiving night, a 70+ year old mansion in the heart of Reno burned down. It was a compelling story, a former women’s shelter that had been sold just this year, the house was being remodeled and renovated room by room. The new owners had just celebrated their first Thanksgiving there, and after they left for the night a fire broke out and engulfed everything. A year’s worth of work, plus 30 years as a shelter and 40 years of history before that, were erased in a couple of hours. It was enough to warrant two stories in the Reno Gazette Journal, but then they moved on to fresher stories, leaving the mansion behind and forgotten.

Until Mr. Jerz came along with his video camera, and created an online eulogy for the building.

This is probably more lasting than anything the paper did.

December 1, 2006

Crowdsourcing Helps Investigators

The concept of “crowdsourcing” is getting a lot of press for being used by news organizations, but it can also be a help to accident investigators, they’re finding out in Washington State. The idea behind crowdsoucing is that a whole group of people out in a community can do a much better job at collecting data than just one or two reporters or researchers. Gannett not too long ago announced that they’d be using the community to help them gather news.

Now accident investigators in Washington State are using the public to help in their investigations. This is related to the crane collapse that happened in Bellevue a couple of weeks ago. All the investigators had to work with was the aftermath of the collapse, a wrecked crane on the ground. But then someone came forward with a photo they had taken of the crane a week or two before, that showed it leaning slightly to one side. That got investigators thinking that there must be other photos out there, so they put out a public call for pictures of the crane when it was still standing. To date about 10 people have sent in photos, from just about every angle, and they’re being collected into a book that’s becoming a crucial part of the investigation. This is something the investigators couldn’t have done by themselves; they can’t go back in time. And it’s not going to work in every situation. There’s something about a skyline full of cranes that attracts more photographers than a more mundane subject. But people had noticed the tilt before the tower fell, so they took pictures.

The next step, the article says, is to gather this kind of information before an accident happens. It’s great that there are all these pictures collected after the collapse, but what if they had somehow been gathered before? Might someone had taken notice that there was a problem, and taken steps to make sure the crane didn’t collapse? It’s hard for any one person to spot trends like that, but people as a group usually have a lot more power than individuals.

So crowdsourcing is something that will grow in prominence over time, especially if we start getting people to walk around with their eyes open and think of themselves as information gatherers. That’s what I’m shooting for with Around Carson, and just yesterday someone reported a “Coming Soon” sign in a part of town I rarely go to. So if sites like this can act to funnel the wisdom of the crowds, all of us end up smarter and better informed for it.

And if you see a leaning crane, stop for a couple of seconds and take a picture.