Daily Archives: 08/02/2005

TomTom, portable GPS car navigation systems

Techno-lust alert: Erwin, the fellow in the next cubicle, just showed me his new TomTom, portable GPS car navigation system. I was amazed. It actually has detailed road maps of Guam, and provides a super-cool flying 3D view of routes and directions. Amazing. Not so much what it could do, but the fact that it actually had such detailed road maps of Guam, and these maps came with the GPS unit. That’s just incredible to me. I want one…

The Sky Is Falling

Back in December 2004, the asteroid 99942 Apophis briefly made the news before the Asian Tsunami crested. At the time, is was speculated that the asteroid would pass exceedingly close to Earth in 2029, with a high probability of impact. Further orbital studies drastically reduced the chances of a strike and the story faded from view.

Well hold those horses. Turns out it 99942 Apophis is still a threat. The encounter in 2029 will “>alter the orbit of the asteroid, increasing the chances of a catastrophic encounter with our planet in 2036 to 1 in 10,000. NASA is looking at placing a radio beacon on the asteroid by 2013 to precisely track its orbit.

What’s Left for Nauru

The website about urban development, Sprol.com has a post up titledWhat’s Left for Nauru? I think a more appropriate title might be What’s Left of Nauru? A century of phosphate mining has left nothing but a blasted crater in place of an island, and the government of Nauru has squandered most of the fortune they received for mining concessions. I’ve flown into Nauru, it’s a pretty bleak place, utterly dependent on foreign imports and aid now. They used to own a hotel here on Guam, but sold it several years ago when the cash flow from mining dried up. Likewise for their national airline, Air Nauru, which used to fly to Guam and the Philippines twice a week. Looks like the airline refocused their efforts on Australia, historically the country’s primary trading partner.

Lonely Planet map of Nauru
However, Nauru is a regional powerhouse in weightlifting, taking 18 gold medals in the 2005 Palau Mini South Pacific Games going on right now.