Archives » April 18th, 2008

April 18, 2008

A Freak Show By Any Other Name…

In honor of the “Tree Man” having surgery to remove some of his warts, ABC News has put up a photo gallery that they are generously calling “Medical Marvels”. What is really is is a “Believe It Or Not”-style cavalcade of birth defects and genetic disorders, provided more for spectacle than anything else. As such, I find it impossible to look away.

This slideshow has the whole gamut of human anomalies. Very tiny people. Very large people. People born with extra parts. People who are growing extra parts. And, most compellingly, the modern-day Elephant Man. You feel a little uneasy seeing these people paraded for the sake of “news”, but I suppose 100 years ago they’d be collected under a circus tent. Now they’re mostly shown getting medical treatment to relieve their discomfort, so I guess on the whole we’re seeing progress here.

Around Carson Navigation Update

It’s pretty rare anymore that I sit down to do any programming on the code behind Around Carson. Even though I don’t feel like the site is “finished”, it seems to have been working well enough lately that I could just let it sit.

But one thing that was starting to get out of hand was the navigation that can be found at the bottom of the main page, or on the tag pages. Now that I have so many entries on the site, the navigation is up to 86 pages to browse through the whole site. And under the old programming, at the bottom of every page (and the top of many) there was a complete countdown from 1 to 86 so you could navigate through all the pages. That was getting insane, so I incorporated some code from this site, and built a new look for the navigation. Now many of the page links are hidden, and only the ones adjacent to the page you’re looking at now are visible.

Much much better. I put the same code on the Western Nevada Historic Photo Collection, because at 14 pages it was on the road to getting unwieldy as well.

To Follow Blindly

It seems like we’re hearing more and more of these stories, where someone follows their in-dash GPS unit somewhere that they shouldn’t, like into a lake or over a cliff. This time it was a chartered bus in Seattle that drove under a bridge with low clearance and sheared off most of the roof. The driver’s excuse? The GPS told him to drive that way.

Now of course this is idiotic. The driver should have seen the bridge coming, and should have seen the height limits and the flashing lights. But more than that it’s indicative of a larger problem, where people so hate reading maps and doing any kind of trip planning that they’ll take any shortcuts available to them. Even if it means trusting completely in a computer that’s trying to read a map, and not doing a good job. Always remember: computers are stupid. And even the best GPS unit is going to send you driving around in circles sooner or later. Or right into a bridge. Better to just turn off the voice and use the GPS as a map, and figure out where you’re going on your own.