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Current Topic: Recreation

View From The Crow's Nest
Topic: Recreation 7:28 pm EDT, Oct 28, 2010

Edward Brown:

As it is on the high seas, perched on a tower crane, wind is a constant. The entire crane actually sways to and fro. Winter or summer, the air is always chilled. Replacing the scent of salted sea air is the smell of the industrial lubricants used to maintain the crane's slewing unit.

At night, the crow's-nest view from the operator's cab is a treasure trove of glinting city lights. The daytime view is concrete, glass, sunlight, and blue horizons as far as the eye can see.

Considering the heights, the sky pirate carries as little as possible. Two cameras (one digital, the other a 35mm), a change of lens, a tripod, and not much else. Spending a maximum of thirty minutes atop a crane, he will periodically bring along a safety harness.


I wish they had higher res versions.

LMGTFY :) The photographer is HI-LITE. You'll find additional photos by HI-LITE here. For example, this photo appeared here approximately a month ago, a few days after it appeared in the Flickr stream of Squirrel Brand, as part of the Cranes set. All of these are available in high resolution -- many of them at 15MP.

See also, from Annalee Newitz:

This video contains no special effects, and no fancy stunts. But it will scare the crap out of you. That's because you're watching from a head-mounted camera as an engineer scales an antenna tower over 1,700 feet high.

Created for The Online Engineer site, what this video captures isn't just a thrill ride -- though frankly it is that -- you also get to see the different parts of the giant antenna. And learn a little bit about OSHA rules, which apparently say that it's OK for people to free climb a tiny pole hundreds of feet in the air with a thunderstorm brewing in the distance. Seriously, when I realized the guy wasn't attached to this pole with anything other than his hands and feet, I almost had a heart attack.

According to OSHA:

Fall protection equipment is not required to be used by a qualified employee climbing or changing location on poles, towers, or similar structures, unless conditions, such as, but not limited to, ice, high winds, the design of the structure (for example, no provision for holding on with hands), or the presence of contaminants on the structure, could cause the employee to lose his or her grip or footing.

View From The Crow's Nest

Discovering the Simple, Surprising Cause of the Dramatic Drop in Good, Clean Bars
Topic: Recreation 1:28 pm EDT, Jul  3, 2010


Surprises are things that you not only didn't know, but that contradict things you thought you knew.

And so they're the most valuable sort of fact you can get.


We have discovered the cause of this dramatic drop in bars, and it is both simple and surprising.


If you purchased the recalled bars, please destroy them.


All the good bars are south of Ponce.


I stole a few nibbles from one of the cleaner bars.

Others wiped away the gore and fuel and joined me.

Shipping Out: On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise | Harper's, January 1996
Topic: Recreation 4:39 pm EDT, Apr 13, 2008

Why not pamper yourself with a little bit (actually a lot) of David Foster Wallace?

I now know every conceivable rationale for somebody spending more than $ 3,000 to go on a Caribbean cruise. To be specific: voluntarily and for pay, I underwent a 7-Night Caribbean (7NC) Cruise on board the m.v. Zenith (which no wag could resist immediately rechristening the m.v. Nadir), a 47,255-ton ship owned by Celebrity Cruises, Inc., one of the twenty-odd cruise lines that operate out of south Florida and specialize in "Megaships," the floating wedding cakes with occupancies in four figures and engines the size of branch banks. The vessel and facilities were, from what I now understand of the industry's standards, absolutely top-hole. The food was beyond belief, the service unimpeachable, the shore excursions and shipboard activities organized for maximal stimulation down to the tiniest detail. The ship was so clean and white it looked boiled. The western Caribbean's blue varied between baby-blanket and fluorescent; likewise the sky. Temperatures were uterine. The very sun itself seemed preset for our comfort. The crew-to-passenger ratio was 1.2 to 2. It was a Luxury Cruise.

This is awesome. Long but awesome.

See also, from the archive:

My audit group’s Group Manager and his wife have an infant I can describe only as fierce. ... Its features seemed suggestions only. It had roughly as much face as a whale does. I did not like it at all.

If you’ve read David Foster Wallace’s essay “E Unibus Plurum” (collected in A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again), you’ll have one of the threads, namely a look at TV’s involution. In “E Unibus Plurum,” Wallace noted that television shows increasingly only referred to other television shows: you don’t need to know anything about the culture of the outside world to understand all of the jokes. Wallace, at some level, thought this was cute. He was singularly unwilling to say that television is crap; instead, he took television to be a great object for scholarly study.

Video from the 150th Anniversary celebration of Harper’s Magazine, including a reading by David Foster Wallace.

Shipping Out: On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise | Harper's, January 1996

Illicit Activity Regularly Eludes Police
Topic: Recreation 9:23 pm EST, Feb 18, 2008

They provide a thrill, bragging rights, and occasionally the chance to win thousands of dollars.

"What happened last night is what everyone was afraid could happen, but at a much larger scale."

"You can really get going for a while. It's pretty popular. It's pretty sophisticated."

Police are aware of the aficionados, but the information stays within a tight circle.

Illicit Activity Regularly Eludes Police

Mountain Wingsuit
Topic: Recreation 7:56 pm EST, Nov 28, 2007

Pretty neat video of mountain-wingsuit diving. They look like flying squirrels.

The linked video is also available at YouTube:

I also liked this video:

I was interested in higher quality footage; I found two items of interest:

Warren Miller's Higher Ground

Warren Miller’s newest film, Higher Ground will be the first touring action sports film to be presented in High Definition. An annual tradition, these films showcase world class skiers and snowboarders in incredible locations around the world. Featuring Heli-skiing, big air and terrain park tricks, BASE jumping, snowmobiling and more. Warren Miller shows are more than a movie. They are an event, party and an experience like no other. Show attendees can walk away with lift tickets, prizes and a chance to win a brand new Jeep. Higher Ground is the tailgate party celebrating the kickoff of the winter sports season.

Dave Barlia was featured base jumping in a wingsuit in a Suzuki commercial.

Mountain Wingsuit

Water, Water, Everywhere, and Plenty to Drink
Topic: Recreation 7:40 am EDT, Aug 12, 2006

They call them "boat raves" even though they're in the middle of the afternoon.

And it’s hard to imagine a more perfect confluence of money, skin and exhibitionism.

But not everyone is excited:

Some longtime regulars worry that the scene is becoming too big, too fast, and could be headed for calamity.

Water, Water, Everywhere, and Plenty to Drink

Cheney Accidentally Shoots a Fellow Hunter
Topic: Recreation 10:34 pm EST, Feb 12, 2006

Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a prominent Austin lawyer while the two men were on a quail hunting expedition in South Texas on Saturday, firing shotgun pellets at the man while trying to aim for a bird, his spokeswoman confirmed today.

Mr. Cheney, a practiced hunter, sprayed the lawyer, Harry Whittington, with shotgun pellets on an outing on the Armstrong ranch in South Texas. Mr. Whittington, 78, was flown by helicopter to Corpus Christi Memorial Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition today, according to Michele Trevino, a hospital spokeswoman.

UPDATE: Letters to the editor:

This may be the most famous vice-presidential shooting since Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel.

Cheney Accidentally Shoots a Fellow Hunter

Wheels and Deals in Silicon Valley
Topic: Recreation 10:47 am EST, Dec  7, 2005

"What has really happened with nerd culture these days is that the number of programmers who are serious bikers is much, much higher. It's part of the social network."

Wheels and Deals in Silicon Valley

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