Category Archives: Travel

El Dorado

Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of El Dorado.
But he grew old —
This knight so bold —
And — o’er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like El Dorado.
And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow —
“Shadow,” said he,
“Where can it be —
This land of El Dorado?”
“Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,”
The shade replied —
“If you seek for El Dorado.”
Edgar Allan Poe, 1809-1849

More Random Links

Got a few more odds ‘n ends to mention.

  • Game making software – The software is free, but buy the book. And go forth and make a side-scrolling wonder my children.
  • The Book of Sand Hypertext/Puzzle – Yes, the Book of Sand.
  • The Interplanetary Bike Ride – It’s actually in Peoria, but it does promise to visit all the planets.
  • Searching for Sufis – Interesting essay on Sufism.
  • Watching Beirut Die – Chef, author and TV host Anthony Bourdain was in Beirut when the war started. He was filming a special on Beirut’s resurgence and the promise of peace. Oops.
  • Andrei Sakharov’s Prescience – Looks like Sakharov foresaw the internet and blogs by almost two decades.

    Far in the future, more than 50 years from now, I foresee a universal information system (UIS), which will give everyone access at any given moment to the contents of any book that has ever been published or any magazine or any fact. The UIS will have individual miniature-computer terminals, central control points for the flood of information, and communication channels incorporating thousands of artificial communications from satellites, cables, and laser lines. Even the partial realization of the UIS will profoundly affect every person, his leisure activities, and his intellectual and artistic development. Unlike television… the UIS will give each person maximum freedom of choice and will require individual activity. But the true historic role of the UIS will be to break down the barriers to the exchange of information among countries and people.

    This was written in 1974.

  • Imad Moustapha – Speaking of blogs, the Syrian ambassador to the US has a blog.
  • Why I Am Not A Christian – Classic essay by Bertrand Russell, his arguments against religion and God.

Clearing Some Links

Randomly interesting stuff, but it’s time to clear some tabs in my browser.

Investment Opportunity

For those looking to invest in a little real estate, here is a real deal; the US Government’s office of Property Disposal is taking sealed bids for Johnston Atoll, all 625 acres of it. Yes, just what every savvy investor looks for, a tiny mid Pacific island liberally sprinkled with plutonium and chemical weapon debris and with every habitable structure razed to the ground.

Johnston Atoll

Johnston Atoll has an interesting history for the last one hundred years; naval base, nuclear test site, chemical weapons dump, and wildlife refuge.

Asian Rail – High And Low Tech

China opened a 1140 km rail line through Tibet this week, one of the world’s most technically advanced trains. The train operates at altitudes of over 5,000 meters, as high as some jetliners fly. The cars offer UV protection and oxygen supplements for the thin air. The rail bed is also a marvel of high technology. Most of the route is over permafrost, a notoriously unstable foundation for construction. So the Chinese elevated long swaths of the track on bridges above the ground in the most troublesome areas, and installed cooling equipment in others to insure the ground stays frozen in the years ahead.

Of course this new train will bind the Tibetan plateau to the Chinese heartland, opening the region to development and possible assimilation. Tibetans around the world are concerned about the changes the railway will bring to their subjugated homeland, protesting and calling it a second invasion.

And before I forget, let me toss in a link about kayaking down the Yangtze, which sounds like a great adventure. They paddled in Yunnan, well upstream of the area that will be flooded by the recently completed Three Gorges Dam.

Meanwhile, sporadic rail service in the impoverished hinterlands of Cambodia has sparked a decidely low-tech solution; bamboo trains, little more than carts with small engines, are providing much needed transportation between towns in Cambodia’s second city of Battambang.

Autumn in Japan

While I am still monkeying around with this WordPress thing, here’s a photo from Halloween in Japan last year. I went driving up into the mountains west of Tokyo with David, taking in the fall colors and the occassional shower.

Forest Path in Japan

Golly, it sure was pretty up in those mountains that misty afternoon.