Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Recap

Allright, so evidently my end-of-the-year goal didn't work out so well. I'm okay with it if you are. I did have some ideas for posts though:

Post 37 would have covered The Great Long Beach Taco Off (part 2).

Post 38 was going to talk about places I've been while Post 39 would have discussed the flip side of that coin (place I want to go).

And finally post 40 was going to be New Year's Resolutions. Summary: become happier with life and job (ideas: spend more time with family and friends, move, or get a new job), volunteer more, keep my room cleaner, throw out junk, ride my bike more, hit the gym, etc. Garden variety stuff.

And for me, 2009 was a solid year. Not the best, but by far not the worst. Definitely top ten. Here's looking forward to 2010!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Great Long Beach Taco Off Part 2 (2009)

Last year around holiday time I went with some fam (mom, sis, aunt, uncle, cousins, their kids) to the Aquarium of The Pacific in Long Beach. Before we went I had the BRILLIANT idea of having a taco off. Cousin Dave, from Ohio, loves him some Mexican food, especially tacos. So we went to King Taco and Tacos Don Chente in the LBC. It was awesome. His kids liked it, we LOVED it, and we all proceeded to have a wonderful day watching fish (and stuff).

For those interested in how the gringos differentiated: KT had better Asada (which was especially a hit with my little cousin), but we (I) liked Chente's Pastor and salsa bar. Also Chente had a little nicer decor and was less crowded (good for our group) plus we had REALLY REALLY COLD beers (mom's fave). KT is much more of a landmark so I'm suggesting we go there again. But we might to go El Gallo Giro and I'm really going to push for El Taco Loco No 3. More to follow.

And, of course, the obligatory map:

View The Great Long Beach Taco off Part 2 (2009) in a larger map

Oh, and don't think I haven't started thinking about next year: Taqueria La Mexicana and Hole Mole are both on 4th Street - maybe I can get someone interested?

40 posts to freedom

I just took a look at the number of posts I had this year and this is post 35... four less than last year. Even though I basically took a two month break I hereby vow to break my 2009 record utilizing a 5 day posting countdown, ending on New Year's Eve with (hopefully) 40 total posts. A small feat to be sure but it's a start, right? RIGHT?

Mexican Hot Dog?!?!?!?!?!?!

Email I just sent to my cousins:

Allright guys, I couldn't find a Mexican Hot Dog stand in Los Angeles. I am VERY familiar with the more traditional 'Heart Attack Dog' which is similar and sold, among other places, outside the Rose Bowl after UCLA football games - it's wrapped in bacon but has more 'American' condiments (mustard, mayo, ketchup, grilled onions and peppers). Basically we have 1 year to either A) find a Mexican Hot Dog stand B) start a Mexican Hot Dog stand.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Maps Show Data Good

As you may or may not know, I think maps area perhaps the great information communication medium the world has ever seen. Not that I'm given to hyperbole or anything. From Matthew Yglesias comes this series of color coded maps that explains on a state-by-state basis how different age groups and income levels feel about the public option in the current raging health care debate. (Quick aside - a public option is a good thing but I won't write anything more because I don't want to have to tag this post as a rant).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

As the year comes to an end I've been taking inventory of the old blog and noticed that during the Summer my posting fell from my typical inconsistency of ~1 every 7-10 days to 1 in July and none in August. Well it turns out that I was taking 2 classes (1 each at UCLA and USC) and working and not posting. The USC class was my last class in the GIST Certificate program (I'm certified!). A week in Catalina that include lots of hiking, playing with GPS units, and a night snorkel (yeah, it was a-freaking-mazing). The UCLA class was equally awesome - Geography of Los Angeles. We explored a ton of themes and did a bunch of field trips (a trip to the LA River led by nature writer Jenny Price, Westwood walkabout including this apartment building designed by Lautner, and taking a Metro bus up and down Sunset Blvd.).

My partner and I did a final project on the LA River. We had to create a tour, make a google map (below), and then do a short presentation in the Pecha Kucha style (Wikipedia). Pecha Kucha limits your presentation to 20 slides and 20 seconds for each slide. So you have to choose images with maximum impact, choose your words carefully, and practice. It's great, I wish that my work presentations had similar constraints.

View LA River Map in a larger map

Monday, December 7, 2009

US Interstate System as London Tube Map

Awhile back Matthew Yglesias linked to this picture (from the Good Blog) of the US Interstate system made to look like the London Tube map (Wikipedia).

For those who have never been to London, go. I was only there for a bit but had a great time. Getting around on the Tube is intuitive, in no small part because of the ground breaking Tube map. Additionally you can sit back and see all sorts of slices of life because EVERYONE takes it. Whatever ethnicity or occupation that can be imagined will be on the Tube. Including jet lagged pasty American tourists.

Thank you Spammers!

So I'm getting a bunch of spammers on Nacho Lovers. I don't really know why since this is not really a place with a lot of users debating nacho policy (subject for a future post). Anyway, the comments have been rejiggered so that I now moderate comments on posts that are > 5 days old and you have to do the jumbled word thingy. So yeah.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

2009-10 UCLA Basketball Update

Just a little post on UCLA basketball:

The season has started! 3 'official' games so far (2-1). We lost 4 starters from last year (and the remaining starter has already been suspended for 2 games for legal reasons) so a lot of new faces are getting playing time. The starting lineup last night against Pepperdine (Victory!) looked like this:

PG Jerime Anderson (So.)
SG Malcolm Lee (So.)
SF Michael Roll (Sr.)
PF James Keefe (Sr.)
C Drew Gordon (So.)

Coming off the bench senior walk-on Mustafa Abdul-Hamid got a lot of minutes (25ish) at guard. True freshman Reeves Nelson, Mike Moser, and Brendan Lane each got 8/9 minutes. Notable in their absence were Tyler Honeycutt (injury), Bobo Morgon (is not very good), and Anthony Stover (true freshman who might redshirt).

I have watched most of the games and my first impression is that we are VERY raw. Coach Ben Howland likes to ride his starters and usually rotates about 3 bench players, especially during Pac-10 play, so most of these guys played very little last year. Dragovic's suspension will actually help Nelson and Lane a lot as they will get a lot more playing time than they would have otherwise. If Dragovic comes back I expect their minutes to decrease significantly. Howland should really think about redshirting two or three of his bigs (Morgan/Stover/Lane).

We have very little depth in the back court, and Honeycutt's return from injury will be key. Moser has been getting a little playing time but our ball handlers need to get a lot better at facing pressure (Anderson and Hamid both looked pretty bad when they had defenders in their respective faces).

Overall we should actually be okay - middle of the road in the Pac-10 assuming our guys make improvements between now and January. No-one looks like they will make enough of a leap to jump ship early to the Pros but someone (like Lee or Honeycutt) could pull a Westbrook and make significant in-season improvement. We can only hope.

Anyway, you can read a lot more about this season at BruinsNation, Bruin Basketball Report Online, Jon Gold's blog , or Scout.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The New 'The Wire' Post

I have a secret. There is no best episode of The Wire. This flies in the face of my post on the Wire. Initially I wrote this post because I had just gotten into the show because of Bill Simmons (who is known primarily as a sportswriter for ESPN but also writes a lot about pop culture and media). He encouraged everyone to watch the show and like a good little Simmons lemming I did. I started during season 4, watched through to the finale, and then Netflixed seasons 1-3. It was brilliant. I'm sorry I didn't watch in order but I'm glad I watched. While most TV is simple entertainment and escape, this was TV with a purpose.

So why am I writing about this now? Well an interesting phenomenon about this blog is that for whatever SEO reason the Wire Post generates the most random hits from Google. When I first started the blog, I wanted to learn how this whole blogging process worked so I also installed some StatCounter html to track where people come to the blog from, what they're reading, etc. In fact, here's a map of my latest user activity (Hello Singapore!):

As I have thought about the phenomenon of the show in general, and the phenomenon of the stats for my blog post in particular it dawned on me: trying to decide a best episode is a monumental exercise in futility. It does the series a grave injustice. You can't just watch one episode and distill the entire essence - you really need to sit down with season 1, episode 1 and continue from there until the finale. And then think about what everything means. A lot. And then come to the realization that the concept of a 'best episode' for something so groundbreaking is really just a myth.

(And thanks to Matthew Yglesias for posting this and giving me a reason/excuse for this post).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

9 Big Ideas from Marci Alboher

In my constant quest for self discovery, I've been reading a lot lately. My first "Big Ideas" post was about Randy's Pausch's book 'The Last Lecture' (and mustaches). The latest book I finished was Marci Alboher's 'One Person/Multiple Careers: How the "Slash Effect" Can Work For You: A New Model For Work/Life Success' (Full disclosure: I actually started reading 'Your Money or Your Life' but felt like their ideas were too rigid for me and returned it to the library).

So unlike 'Your Money or Your Life', I finished 'One Person/Multiple Careers'. I'm glad I did because it was informative and inspiring to read about many different people who were able to find much more fulfillment in life by blending different types of jobs, volunteer activities, or interests. Which is basically where I (and many people I know) are at right now. At least the cool ones.

Part I: A Slash Career: Getting Started

Interesting side note: Marci spends no time defining the "slash effect" or addressing the idea that EVERYONE has multiple facets to their personality, including what the do for money, for joy, or for other people. For me, this book was about realizing that the different slashes of a person don't necessarily have to be compartmentalized. Or that everyone is beholden to the system of being defined by a job or needing to work a 40 hour/week job to have a career or be 'successful'. Or even having a stock answer to the question "So what do you do?"

Chapter 1: Begin, Improve, Reinvent. Repeat

Slashes are usually entrepreneurial, are required to constantly tinker and adapt to changes and new beginnings, and generally follow a different path.

Chapter 2: Slash Breeding Grounds: Starter Professions, Volunteering, Passions, and Detours

It isn't bad to have learned something and then decide that you want to do less of it, or none of it. Even unrelated slashes you try later can benefit from your starter profession

Chapter 3: Thinking Like a Modern Moonlighter

There are many different ways of incorporating slashes depending on how you want to structure your life. I'm working on the "job plus entrepreneur" model to work part-time and do something else part-time.

Chapter 4: Writing, Teaching, Thinking, and Consulting: Four Slashes That Go With Anything

I think teaching would be super fun.

Chapter 5: Anatomy of a Slash Combination: An Exercise

Thinking about anchors and orbiters is an interesting way of changing what you do so that different activities are balanced. For instance, my job is an anchor to me because I am paying back a 401k loan and get health insurance. But it could become an orbiter if I could get external insurance and pay back the loan.

Part II: Succeeding in a Slash Life

Chapter 6: Presenting Yourself: Introductions, Resumes, Business Cards, and More

A slash identity should be actively cultivated.

Chapter 7: Synergies, Leveraging, and the Power of Incongruous Combinations

"Always work to turn anything that could be a handicap into an advantage."

Chapter 8: Working the Twenty-First-Century Workplace

There are a plethora of flexible work options - both on the company books and customizations, but it is imperative that your supervisor is on board. Being a high performer doesn't hurt.

Chapter 9: Overcoming Overload, Naysayers, and Other Slash Stumbling Blocks

Developing systems to keep yourself focused and responsible is the key to creating a work/life balance such that work doesn't feel like work.

Chapter 10: Special Considerations of Parent Slashes

Why only 9 ideas? Because I didn't even read this section.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

International Day of the Nacho update

Turns out I got nachos for dinner too. My sister and I went to the Tavern on Main in El Segundo (yelp), which is a sports bar near our respective places of residence. The nachos were a lot better than what I had for lunch. The chips were crispier, there was more cheese. Black beans instead of pinto (and not nearly as many) and sour cream instead of crema. Plus olives, jalapenos, and guac. And giant beers.

And then a friend sent along this comic from XKCD which is tangentially related to nachos. And super funny.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

LA Delis

An Email I sent to my friends today (slightly edited for the internets). Yes I know it's International Day of the Nacho. Also, I looked to see if was taken. It is. By some guy promoting an album called Sexy Robotica. Yum.

I was reading the LA Times today and ran across this story.

Which got me thirsty for some pastrami. Which got me to thinking about club sandwich and the fact that it's been awhile. So I was just curious if anyone felt like doing a club sandwich outing this weekend or next? It doesn't necessarily have to be at any of the places listed in the article. But here they are:

Nate 'n Al in Beverly Hills
Factor's in Pico-Robertson
Junior's in West L.A.
Greenblatt's on the Sunset Strip
Art's in Studio City
Canter's in the Fairfax district
The various Hat locations
Langer's near MacArthur Park
Brent's in Northridge and Westlake Village

I've never been to Nate 'n Al, Factor's, Greenblatt's, or Art's. But I love everyplace and would be down to go anywhere. Except Jerry's. That place sucks.

Alas I only mapped one Hat and one Brent's location:

View LA Delis in a larger map

International Day of the Nacho is here!

Today's razón para celebrar is the Official Best Holiday of NachoLoversAnonymous: The International Day of the Nacho. As you might remember from last month's post, this is a holiday we can all get excited about. For lunch I went to Taqueria Guerrero Style in Westminster, CA.

View Larger Map

The pastor nachos are a brick of chips, beans, cheese, crema, tomatoes, guac, and pastor. Unfortunately the 'chos were just okay. It seemed like a slow day and the chips were a little stale, the meat a little under-seasoned (it's pastor for crying out loud!), and at the risk of eating a gift horse in the mouth (what?), there was just too much food.

My co-conspirator and I also shared a chicken quesadilla, which although greasier, was probably better than the nachos (heresy I know!). Fortunately the price was right. About $15 with two fountain drinks (alas we did not get any delicious jarritos).

Taqueria Guerrero Style
5966 Westminster Blvd
Westminster, CA 92683
(818) 800-9309

Monday, October 12, 2009

5 Big Ideas from Randy Pausch

So I'm at a bit of a crossroads. Don't know where life is going, dislike work, don't know what to do, don't want to waste my life, etc. So I'm reading a lot. A LOT. The latest I've read is The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch, a former Computer Science professor at Carnegie Mellon who died just over a year ago from pancreatic cancer. Also, the CMU homepage has a picture of an Indian professor (Pradeep K. Khosla) with a totally sweet mustache.

Anyway, here are the 5 salient quotes that I wrote down as I was reading them.

"When you see yourself doing something badly and nobody's bothering to tell you anymore, that's a bad place to be. You may not want to hear it, but your critics are often the ones telling you they still love you and care about you, and want to make you better." Page 37. This especially hits home because at my last performance review my manager told me that one piece of feedback about me from my 'raters' was that I need to do more analysis projects. I asked him if he could elaborate. He could not but said he would get back to me. 4 months ago. Now, if I was truly interested I would have pestered him, or asked some of the people who I suspect rated me. But that hasn't happened. Which is just as telling as the fact that I have never gotten that advice in person.

"Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something." Page 79. Right now I feel like I am surrounded by brick walls, and either don't know what I want or don't know how badly I want it or don't know how to A) scale the wall or B) knock it down.

"Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won't make us happier." Page 139. I complain too much.

"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." Page 148. And luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Kind of cheesy but that doesn't mean it's false. And a reminder that we rarely ever get what we 'want' (or that what we want is what we need).

"If I do something, what's the most terrible thing that could happen? Would I be eaten by wolves?" Page 160. Don't be scared to try something new unless it happens to be in Yellowstone.

Pausch also describes his life in terms of achieving childhood dreams. But I think that is a pretty simplistic way of looking at life. Which I guess is the point of the book but still doesn't really resonate too much with me (maybe because I don't remember any of my childhood dreams?). That being said, I lost my dad when I was in college so parts of the book were extremely moving to me and I really did feel like it was a very inspirational story about how he lived his life.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

McDonald's Map!

Via Felix Salmon comes this sweet picture by Stephen Von Worley that presents a visualization of McDonald's restaurant concentrations in the US. Crazy!

So South Dakota, you are the winner! (that doesn't explain how you are still the 16th fattest state)

Even more intriguing about Worley's site was his link to Strange Maps. Whoa. Let me say again: WHOA.

Monday, September 21, 2009

T-Minus One Month....

Until the BEST HOLIDAY OF THE YEAR is back. Last year you might remember that I went with several friends (including famous food blogger Tannazie who took pictures) to Loteria Grill in Hollywood. This year I'm thinking of going to Loteria at the 3rd Street Farmer's Market. Here are some other links from last year.

And because no post would be complete without a map, here is Piedras Negras, Mexico. Supposedly they have the International Nacho Fest there. Although there are few links and it doesn't take place on 10/21. And it seems ass hard to get to. But I digress

View Larger Map

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

25 Delectable Dining Deals

Two months off? No problem! Evidently the Best Summer Ever includes little to no blogging. Never fear because the LA Times just published a list of 25 Delectable Dining Deals. Includes personal favorite Golden State Cafe!

Map included!

View LA Times 25 delectable dining deals in a larger map

Unfortunately the map contains no placemarks for pork shoulder.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Who wants to buy a house?

View Untitled in a larger map

From the good people at Curbed comes an article about the last four luxury apartment towers to be built in Los Angeles (well, until residential real estate goes through its current bust and comes back to an inevitable boom).

Anybody have a few extra (million) dollars lying around?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Maybe You Should Move to El Paso

My sister, bless her little heart, knows that I really like maps. Especially Google Maps. So when she sent me a link today about an interesting Google Map mashup I was understandably excited. The link she sent, from a company named PSFK who's about section says this:

PSFK is a trends and innovation company that publishes a daily news site, provides trends research and innovation consultancy and hosts idea-generating events. We aim to inspire our readers, our clients and our guests to make things better - whether that’s better marketing, better lives or a better world.

This mission statement nonsense aside, what I thought was interesting was that PSFK titled the page "Google Map: When Will Recession End Locally?" The reason I find this interesting is that when you look at the map on it's original site from the Sacramento Bee, it's not really about when the recession will end per se, rather it is a visual representation of when a certain organization (IHS Global Insight, a "leading economic forecaster") thinks that different areas will return to pre-recession employment levels. Whew.

All this got me thinking about how different people have different ways of measuring what exactly constitutes a recession (or a depression for that matter), how to determine when a recession starts or ends, and how exactly does it affect day to day lives of people. I think we can all agree that employment is a part but is it the only part? I would say no. Then again, I'm 100% unqualified to make any kind of economic arguments. For a good place to read about the economy and finance I would definitely point you to the blog Calculated Risk. They even have a recent post detailing which states are currently in a recession. The answer? Basically everywhere except North Dakota. Maybe we should all move to Fargo instead of El Paso? I doubt we should move to Youngstown, OH or Elkhart, IN though.

Friday, June 12, 2009

NYC Metro Cuff

From Tiffany Burnett (ht notcot), a New York City Metro Map wrist cuff. Map Jewelry! Somewhat cooler than my London Tube T-shirt that my sister wouldn't let me wear until we left London.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Baseball Trip 2009

Hey kids it's been awhile since my last post. I finished a GIS class and worked on a pretty cool Google Map project (which is not quite ready for prime-time but I hope to get version 0.1 up running at some point in the next couple months). I also went on a 5-stadium, 1300 mile baseball roadtrip through America's Rust Belt and Ontario. Good times!

View Baseball Trip 2009 in a larger map

Thursday, April 23, 2009

ComputerLove - Google Maps Typography

Fortunately for me my sister is awesome. Not only is she a talented artist (one of the websites that she designed the artwork for was recently highlighted in the Huffington Post), but she also finds time in her busy day to forward me cool links like this collection of photographs gleaned from Google Maps.

The prior link is a collection of pictures were found on Google Maps that resemble the letters A-Z. Some are man made, some natural. Pretty cool.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nacho Pizza? Yes Please...

From MSN came an article with different pizza and beer pairings. Being a sucker for both beer and pizza (I might have had it for lunch and dinner yesterday) AND the combination fo the two, I obviously had to click on the link. And it doesn't even have to be good pizza (or good beer for that matter). Yesterday I had pizza from the cafeteria at work for lunch and a slice from Costco for dinner. And both definitely satisfied the craving.

Back to the issue at hand: the MSN article had pizza and beer pairings. That's all well and good but the article went one step further and the 3rd pizza featured was a Black Bean Nacho Pizza. The beer reccomendation was an India Pale Ale (Red Hook perhaps?) to match the spiciness or a brown ale (like Newcastle?) to bring out the sweetness. I'm sure those go great but I'm also sure that Bud Light would also help bring out some other flavors (like the watery-ness of the pizza maybe?). Maybe I need to go to Costco again today.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lat Long Answers!

Evidently I dominated Google's latest Where In The World Is... contest, although I should have paid more attention to the other Google LatLong blog posts because if I had spent more time reading about the Great Lakes in the post about the United States' Third Coast I would have found the answer to the bonus question. Oh well, next time Google, next time.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Best Beer Bars in LA

View Toddmartens's List of Best Beer Bars in a larger map

I was perusing the LA Times today and a nice little list caught my eye. Seems like Todd Martens, a staff member, compiled a list of 24 beer bars in the greater LA area. I've been to more than a few of these places, and some have multiple locations (Yardhouse, Father's office, etc.). Missing from the list and deserving mention, although not quite technically a bar, is The Golden State Cafe. They have a GREAT beer selection and food (and even better owners!).

Martens also has a list of LA's best microbreweries but it seems just a tad incomplete (no mention of Manhattan Beach Brewing Company or no shout-out to the no-longer-a-brewery-but-still-has-giant-vats-in-the-bar Westwood Brewco?). Although to Golden State's credit they do carry Craftsman beer on tap.

Google LatLong: Where in the world is ...

The Google LatLong blog sometimes has fun little exercises for finding interesting places in the world. In the latest version of Google LatLong: Where in the world is ... I think I was able to come up with the first ten but not the bonus question.

In order:
1) Los Angeles
2) Las Vegas
3) San Francisco (Coit Tower)
4) San Sebastian
5) Pittsburgh
6) Ottowa
7) Helsinki
8) Auckland
9) Cincinnati
10) Girona (Near barcelona)

Anybody have any idea on number 11?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring Cleaning!

Hey you crazy kids. I have a bunch of draft posts that I've been 'meaning to get around to' for awhile. Since it's now spring I'm going to clean up:

Friday, March 20, 2009

March Madness!

March means several things: my birthday, the coming of Spring, Persian New Year, and not insignificantly the NCAA Basketball Tournament. The great thing about the tournament is that 65 of the 300 some-odd teams are eligible to vie for the National Championship. The field of 65 consists of well known schools with rich basketball tradition (UCLA!) but also a host of schools which most people have never heard of.

Well, the good people at the Google LatLong Blog have done us the service of mapping out not only all the schools but also the sites where games are being played. Pretty cool.

View Larger Map

Oh yeah, Go Bruins!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Interesting Expo Line Phase II Article

View Larger Map

For anyone interested in transportation in LA (or Southern California), I highly recommend the Los Angeles Transportation Blog. It has daily links to all kinds of interesting stories. For instance, today I read a piece by Frank Gruber about the Exposition Light Rail Line phase II development. Phase I is currently under construction, slated to go between downtown LA and downtown Culver City. Phase II is still under review, with many potential routes being discussed. Basically it's supposed to go from downtown Culver City to the south side of Santa Monica (3rd Street/Santa Monica Place ish).

Frank's article deals with the question of whether the end line should go down Olympic or Colorado Blvd. The community is nearly unanimous for Colorado but there are practical implications to consider as well. Frank also spends a great deal of time talking about potential sites for a maintenance yard and some of the other players involved (cities of LA and Santa Monica, Santa Monica College, and Verizon to name a few). Of course, I also had to make a map to orient myself.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Los Angeles has a New Downtown!

Los Angeles has a bit of an identity crises. As development and demographics change neighborhood boundaries change too. There is not central authority, indeed this lack of authority helps keep LA vibrant. Not being a city resident per se, imagine my chagrin at this post in curbed LA about Google Maps recognizing a New Downtown!

I really liked Militant Angeleno's post (although discussions/arguments pop up on a LOT of other blogs which I don't have time to link to). What is also kind of interesting is that the LA Times is also trying to tackle the subject.

But even cooler, imo, is this map of LA from Ork Posters (which is also hanging, er, leaning, in AKOY's apartment).

Friday, February 20, 2009

Google Earth pollution maps

(Image from LA Times)

Has it really been two weeks since my latest post? Fortunately a couple of interesting tidbits today caught my eye. First, I subscribe to the Google Lat Long blog, and it had a post today about a new layer in Google Earth. The new map layer shows pollution levels courtesy of The Vulcan Project at Purdue University. The LA Times also had a tidbit about it. The data isn't super duper recent (circa 2002), and from my quick perusal it seems to be only carbon dioxide (with a super sarcastic emphasis on the word 'only' - I applaud them for having so much nationwide data available in the first place).

What I found especially interesting about this article, however, was another article I read today that Obama says he will NOT tax vehicle miles traveled, instead saying that he intends to keep taxing gasoline consumption. This is a quandry: VMT more accurately tracks individual riders, which is a good for incentivizing things like paying for roads and bridges, but not necessarily good for incentivizing paying for cleaning up the environment. Essentially, auto efficiency (i.e. miles per gallon) is ignored. Taxing gasoline consumption is almost the opposite effect: it does a good job of incentivizing payment for lowering air pollution, but a poor job of incentivizing paying for projects based on mileage. I think the ultimate solution is a combination of both, but that's probably a topic for the guys over at the Freakonomics Blog at the NY Times.

(Which, by the way, is totally effing sweet).

Friday, February 6, 2009

Fabric Maps

I think I saw this fabric map by Rand McNally on notcot about a billion years ago and forgot to post it. Fortunately they offer a fabric map of the Mall of America in Minneapolis. Additionally the "tear-proof, wrinkle-proof, microfiber waterproof map is virtually indestructible." I hope ShamWow! decides to offer maps on their highly unique product.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Red Line Food Hop

The good people over at LAist have created a great reason to hop on the Red Line. Similar to Thrillist's holiday barhop guide, which was created to take advantage of Metro's extended hours, LAist posted a guide to Eating on the Red Line. Of course I was bored and mapped the locations on Google Maps (just like I did for the Red Line Barhop). Places on the list I love are In-N-Out, Philipe's, and El Gran Burrito. Places on the list I need to try ASAP are Molly's and Philadelphia Sandos.

View Larger Map

Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King Jr in LA Map

View Larger Map

One of the blogs I subscribe to is the Militant Angeleno. If you're interested in a unique take on the experience that is Los Angeles, I encourage you to read. Today he posted about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lasting legacy in LA. Not only are there streets, schools, parks, and memorials, but Dr. King spoke at a couple churches shortly before his death. Since I had to work (instead of volunteering) my little way of saying thanks and giving service to both the Militant, MLK (not to mention the new era dawning in America) was to create a map (duh).

LAIst had some great links, including this speech of Dr. King that I found especially moving.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Public transit now on Google Maps

It's been a while since I put anything up here - combination of a busy holidays, finishing a class, and lack of interesting content. But fear not because the good people at Google Maps have come up with a sweet new feature: transit routes. Now you can see the location of rails and subways for a few select cities. Alas Los Angeles is not supported (hello MTA - get your data to Google already) but our neighbor to the north, San Francisco, is represented.

Initially I saw this on the daily links at the Los Angeles Transportation Blog which linked to story at The Transport Politic Blog which linked to a story at the Google Maps/Google Earth team's blog. Phew. I'm glad it made it to my little corner of the world. Go internet.