Here's a webcam with a specific purpose: the view of Quidi Vidi Lake, but more importantly, of the flag that indicates wind conditions. Yellow is good; red is bad. The snap above was from earlier this morning. The webcam site is a standby for crews training for the Regatta in August (including my wife, who signed up with a crew), and is one way to get a sense of the day's weather.
On June 29, 1937, a milestone of winter life was made. Joseph-Armand Bombardier patented the snowmobile, and proceeded with building an enterprise that would stretch far beyond recreational equipment. The Ski-Doo didn't appear for more than two decades.
I've been subscribing to a feed of Matt's Today in History for more than a month now; most days, Matt Datillo files a brief essay on some element of history. Recent podcasts have included Napoleon's failed assault on Moscow, the Molly Maguires and the execution of Joan of Arc.
The texts are posted to Matt's blog, and you can stream the audio. Look for information on subscribing to the feed. (I like listening to each entry - they range from about five to 10 minutes in length - while I'm getting myself organized in the morning.)
On June 27, 1949, eligible voters in Newfoundland cast their votes for the first time in a Canadian election. The province of Newfoundland was, at that time, in Confederation for less than three months. As for the results, the Liberals won five of the province's seven seats; the Tories won two. The winning Liberals were Thomas Ashbourne, Gordon Bradley, Chesley Carter, William Kent and Leonard Stick. The Tories were William J. Browne and Gordon Higgins.
Federally, Louis St. Laurent led the Liberals to victory with 190 of the 262 seats that then comprised the House of Commons.
By all rights, we all ought to know it as Craig's List. Instead, the site - one of the most popular (and powerful) in the world - is known as Craigslist, even though it looks like it might have been typed up overnight by a hurried office worker.
Appearances aside, Craigslist has become a staple for millions of internet users around the world, serving as a hybrid job board, flea market and social organizer. And, now, it's heading here.
Craigslist goes local Bare-bones, punctuation-challenged yet stunningly popular, Craiglist has done nothing less than redefine how the internet itself works. Craig is Craig Newmark, and the site started as, well, his list of stuff. Eventually, it turned into a monster bulletin board, where people could swap information on apartments, sell old books, find new DVDs, even get a date. Along the way, the classifieds industry has been turned inside out.
Craiglist has now opened a page dedicated just to Newfoundland matters. As I write this, there's very, very little there, but I imagine - if experience elsewhere is any indication - that will change quickly enough. (Thanks to reader Colin for the head's up.)
Elsewhere this week
We All Speak Football My friend Jonathan was explaining his love of the World Cup the other day over lunch. In one place and at one time, he said, you can find people from every corner of the planet, all races and backgrounds, and the only thing everyone in the stadium cares about is soccer. Hence, We All Speak Football, a group blog with contributors from all over. If you're just not getting enough soccer in your media diet, here's one site to add.
Cabspotting Car 54, where are you? Umm, never mind … we know pretty much where you are. Cabspotting is a project that tracks the movement of cabs in San Francisco. Thanks to some GPS installations, Cabspotting follows the movements of a group of taxis as they handle their fares. Data are not precise, in large part because of privacy concerns (after all, would you want anonymous web readers to know where your pickups and dropoffs were, or when you left home in the morning?) Nonetheless, there are lots of applications for a site like this, which could be replicated in plenty of other locations. For starters, planners could get real-time demonstrations of traffic patterns, peak demand spots and favoured routes. For run, check out the time-lapse options to see how the traffic moves with the city.
Bateman 365 If you were willing to make the commitment, would you agree to do one thing a day, every day, for an entire year? I'd think you'd want to choose what particular assignment you agreed to do. Scott Bateman went for something ambitious: a new animated short, every single day for a whole year, and he's almost there. Bateman's animations use simple Flash-based drawings, and for audio tracks, he helps himself to the inadvertently funny world of genuine audio to be found online, like podcasts. Some are really hilarious. Check out the archive for a full menu. One note: These cartoons are not for the kiddies.
Spy Academy The British sure know how to put on a visually splashy TV show. One I've been following - when I can - is Spooks, a sporadic series about spies who are clever and happen to look and dress like magazine models. (The show also aired on A&E under the title MI5, in name of the agency where they work.) Spy Academy is a fairly engaging game you can play online. It's rich with content, and it demands more of you than just a few moments of your time. Having watched the show will likely help, but it doesn't seem to be necessary.
The New York Times' blog menu offers a selection called Screens. Virginia Heffernan's blog launched just last Thursday, so it's early days yet, but I've bookmarked it and intend to follow it. As I've noted, online video seems to be steamrolling over everything this year, and it's a challenge to keep up with what is clearly no mere fad.
On June 26, 2000, researchers announced a milestone of science: the mapping of the human genome. "Mapping the human genome has been compared with putting a man on the moon but I believe it is more than that," said Dr. Michael Dexter ... "This is the outstanding achievement not only of our lifetime, perhaps in the history of mankind."
I've always known Michael Winter (we were in some classes together in university) as someone to come up a great line, often from left-field. Here's one from his blog a few days ago: "It's terrible when a sushi restaurant burns down -- the fish had no idea it was coming." More, but as usual, not much more, here.
On June 25, 1970, royal assent was given to a Canadian bill that changed the Elections Act to lower the voting age from 21 to 18. Since then, there has been a debate that has waxed and waned about whether younger citizens should be able to vote. See more here.
This video clip on the CBC Archives page is about the visit of Prince Charles and Princess Diana to St. John's in 1983. I got a media accreditation for the visit - probably the first time I ever signed up to cover anything. I was at the Muse at Memorial University at the time, and two of my friends (including my future wife) and I thought it would be fun to cover the whole shebang. It was - and watching the media was an eye-opener and a half. That's a story for another day.
On June 24, 1842, Ambrose Bierce was born in a place called Horse Cave Creek, Ohio. Bierce earned his living as a journalist, but is best known for his wit. (He's also known for his mysterious death, of which very little indeed is confirmed.) You can download The Devil's Dictionary from Project Gutenburg here.
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.