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Current Topic: Local Information

USA National Gas Temperature Map
Topic: Local Information 4:59 pm EDT, May 19, 2008

Now you can see what gas prices are around the country at a glance. Areas are color coded according to their price for the average price for regular unleaded gasoline.

USA National Gas Temperature Map

ZIPskinny - Get the Skinny on that ZIP
Topic: Local Information 11:09 pm EDT, Oct 17, 2007

This site uses census data to report on demographics of zipcodes.

ZIPskinny - Get the Skinny on that ZIP

Photos from Oahu, 2007
Topic: Local Information 4:49 pm EDT, May 13, 2007

As a follow-up (idea-wise) and contrast (weather-wise) to the great pictures from Banff, [2] posted recently, here's a slide show of selected photos from my just-completed trip to Oahu.

Don't expect to see big game here, but you will see some birds, including albatross, and a wild cockatoo.

Photos from Oahu, 2007

Big Sur Without the Crowds
Topic: Local Information 4:51 pm EST, Jan 21, 2007

Running from Carmel, 150 miles south of San Francisco, to San Simeon, Big Sur's mass of tight mountains pushes brazenly against the Pacific swell. Kelp forests sway at the feet of rugged sea cliffs. Deep valleys shelter some of the southernmost redwoods. The only way through this fastness is along winding, breathtaking California Route 1.

Other helpful data:

On Foot in Big Sur Country
Big Sur Hiking Trails
Ventana Wilderness - Santa Lucia Mountains
Sierra Club - Santa Lucia Chapter
Ventana Wilderness Alliance

Also worth a stop, despite its touristy qualities, is nearby Point Lobos State Reserve.

Big Sur Without the Crowds

The Rise and Fall of the Blockbuster | LIVE from the NYPL
Topic: Local Information 1:19 pm EDT, Sep 17, 2006

NYC-area readers might be interested.

CHRIS ANDERSON in conversation with Lawrence Lessig
Thursday, September 28, 2006, at 7:00 PM, Celeste Bartos Forum

The twentieth century was the heyday of the hit, when the extraordinary power of broadcast technologies unified countries and even the globe. Mass markets ruled and bestsellers dominated the shelves, snapping societies into cultural lockstep. But then came the Web and the power of digital distribution, with infinite shelf space, near-zero costs and an appetite for a million niches. What will happen to our culture and economy as we shift from blockbusters to "nichebusters" and everything finds an audience, no matter how small?

Join Chris Anderson, author of the new book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More, and Lawrence Lessig, Stanford law professor and author of Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity, as they debate the cultural consequences of our shift into the "Long Tail" of demand and what still stands in the way of truly unlimited choice.

This one also looks interesting:

The Atlantic Monthly's 150TH ANNIVERSARY: Celebration of Ideas Gala

One Saturday afternoon in 1857, at a luncheon held at Boston’s Parker House Hotel, an elite assemblage of America’s brightest literary lights hatched the idea for a new publication—a magazine that would serve as a forum for the best thinking and writing in the United States. The group included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes and they named their new venture The Atlantic Monthly. The inaugural issue of The Atlantic debuted in November 1857 at a cost of 25 cents. Within two years, circulation had risen above 30,000; a remarkable feat against a population of 30 million. Over the years, The Atlantic has published many leaders and literary figures such as Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, Booker T. Washington, Helen Keller, Vladimir Nabokov, Virginia Woolf, to name a few and was the first to publish seminal pieces by our most recognized thinkers such as Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" (1963).

“The American Idea,” a visual exhibition and celebration of landmark ideas and their resulting impact on society, will be depicted through memorabilia, writings, and renderings illustrating The Atlantic’s contribution to “The American Conversation” and to long-form journalism. This gala celebration will include a commemorative presentation and recitation of some of the most significant American letters published in The Atlantic over 150 years.

The Rise and Fall of the Blockbuster | LIVE from the NYPL

Gentrification Changing Face of New Atlanta
Topic: Local Information 11:03 pm EST, Mar 10, 2006

New York loves Atlanta ... not.

In Atlanta, the buzzwords of soft-core urbanism are everywhere these days.

The city itself, a small splotch of fewer than half a million residents in a galaxy of sprawl, is now attracting the affluent ... with their bloated new houses ... landlords sell out ...

It's all those Georgia Tech grads who won't leave town ... you soft-core urbanites, you!

Gentrification Changing Face of New Atlanta

Yelp - Restaurant Reviews, Doctors, Bars, Salons, Dentists and More
Topic: Local Information 10:31 pm EST, Feb 16, 2006

Yelp is the fun and easy way to find, review and talk about what's great - and not so great - in your neighborhood and beyond. You already know that asking friends is the best way to find restaurants, dentists, hairstylists, and anything local. Now, Yelp makes it fast and easy to make and receive real reviews from real people.

You'll know if this site is for you when I tell you that the top-rated restaurant in Atlanta is R. Thomas.

Apparently, the database is strongest in SF, NYC, Boston, and other major cities.

I enjoyed the writeup for Ambient Airlines in SF:

"You walk down a hall lined with East Asian posters and then up a rickety staircase. There you enter what looks to be a guy's living room (perhaps it is?).

The friendly fellow offers you some wine. You oblige and browse his selection of 30 or so CDs in a shoebox. You tell him what you like (ambient, chill, electronic only please) and he puts some stuff on for you. You then purchase a CD by an artist you've never heard of for $16 and leave.

You chuckle to yourself on the way out about how much you love SF. Another Yelp classic is born."

The other review for this place mentions Dave Eggers' pirate shop.

In LA, you'll find the Magic Castle in the top five for nightlife -- highly recommended. And you'll find Amoeba Music and the Farmers Market on the shopping list -- ditto.

Enjoy the site, but always remember:

A recommendation from a friend, a neighbor or a hairdresser is not more important than a state license."

Yelp - Restaurant Reviews, Doctors, Bars, Salons, Dentists and More

Bajool-Port Alma Salt Mines
Topic: Local Information 4:45 pm EDT, Jun 26, 2005

Acidus wrote:
Google just added satellite view for most of the world. This link is something I found in the north east part of Austrailia. Its an insanely huge structure, and Google doesn't have any more zoomed in data.

-Giant solar panel field?
-Eschalon [sic] listening post?

These are Evaporative salt pans at Port Alma. (They are also sometimes called solar salt pans.) This aerial view (which is not of Port Alma, but of a different site) offers a different angle and more natural color than the Google overhead shots of the fields at Port Alma.

Two companies working in this area are Cheetham Salt Limited and Olsson's Pacific Salt. Cheetham seems to own the mines. Apparently Olsson's is more involved in the production end of things. This map shows where Cheetham's facilities are located.

Olsson’s Pacific Salt is a salt producer from seawater near Rockhampton (Port Alma) in Queensland. Cheetham Salt currently operates 10 solar salt fields throughout Australia (Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia) with total production over 600,000 tonnes annually. Five refineries produce a variety of salt grades ranging in grade from kitchen salt to industrial salt.

The Cheetham web site has an excellent description of "the pond system." Navigate their menu: "about salt" and then "salt from the sea."

Olsson's Pacific Salt is a salt producer from seawater near Rockhampton (Port Alma) in Queensland. Pacific Salt produces a range of processed salt which includes water softener salt, pool salt, table salt, cooking salt, flossy salt, dairy salt, iodised salt (fine, coarse and medium size), refined salt, rock salt, and sea salt.

Here's an interesting tidbit:

A salt company from central Queensland that employs former drug addicts, alcoholics, convicts and the long-termed unemployed has received a Salvation Army employer of the year award.

Robert Logan from Olsson's Pacific Salt at Port Alma, south of Rockhampton, accepted the award in Melbourne.

He says at least 75 percent of the company's current workforce has some sort of disadvantage.

Andrew Brown once worked there:

Andrew commenced with Cheetham Salt in January 1998 and is current... [ Read More (0.8k in body) ]

Bajool-Port Alma Salt Mines

Malcom Gladwell's 'Blink' Book Tour
Topic: Local Information 10:41 am EST, Dec 30, 2004

Malcom Gladwell is going to be in Atlanta for the Ides of March, giving a talk and signing copies of his new book.

Malcom Gladwell's 'Blink' Book Tour

What is happening to Silicon Valley's talent pool?
Topic: Local Information 12:06 am EST, Dec 20, 2004

If you are a current or former tech worker in the SF bay area, then this data may be of particular interest to you. For the more casually interested reader, two items in particular are notable.

Slide 15 shows where workers who left high-tech industry went, as a function of what they were doing at the height of the boom.

Slide 16 shows that workers who bailed out of high tech have fared poorly, whereas those who stayed in tech jobs have done well.

(I found it amusing that the surveyors refer to parts of the Golden State outside the bay area as "ROC".)

What is happening to Silicon Valley's talent pool?

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