Category Archives: geography

Crackers in unfortunate places

By education, I am an engineer. In the professional of chemical engineering, specifically petrochemical or petroleum engineering, unit operations called “catalytic crackers” exist. These “crack” larger molecules into smaller ones. As an example, octane (nC8) can be crackt into propane (nC4) if desired.

All occupations have their own language, whether cryptolect or just technolect. In mine, these are termed “crackers” (definition 5), with sometimes unfortunate effects.

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There ought to be a word for this

On the way to work, I pass through some areas where the rocky hills or mountains have been cut to provide a roadway. At these cuts or passes, the rough rock is exposed in faces on one or both sides of the road.

During warm weather, springs may be seen where the rock face is damped (usually it is a darker color). During colder weather, these flow onto the road and form ice in a little bar maybe 30 to 50 cm wide across the road.

There should be a short word to refer to these things that combines the elements of (ice) (on the road) (from a spring) (caused by earth removal). There must be such a word in some language that could be adapted, or adopted.

Collecting countries on the blog!

When I first started the blog, I was quite entertained by getting a visit from the exotic to me country of Costa Rica. Since then I’ve seen a number of countries that I never thought I would receive interest from. I’ve seen Indonesia, Peru, Denmark and, I think I remember, Iran. Most of these were from interest in the oddly popular software KENPAVE.

At this rate, I might get a hit from every country on the list, possibly excepting the oceanic ones with too few roads to be interested in software like KENPAVE, and the really rare ones like Western Sahara.

Animal croquet from China in the maybe 70s

More consumer product archaeology. Found this in a display case at my grand mothers old house.

AnimalCroquet

Animal Croquet / Made in China. I cannot tell what is under the black mark. I do not know the four characters in the upper right. The white parallel lines are very old packing tape.

I’m guessing this is pre-1973 and the “China” refers to what we now call Taiwan. The characters above “Made in China” begin with 中國 and not 中国, so it is unlikely it came from larger China. Hong Kong, being British at this time, would have been marked “Made in Hong Kong” most likely. Similary with (Portugeze) Macau. Both Chinas were then under single party despotizms of different sorts, KMT or CPC.

All this aside, it is a little strange and somewhat freaky. It cost 1.50 USD according to the price tag on the back of the box. Note the strange, possibly custom, font for “Croquet”.

A beautiful island of Science

There is a term in physics and somewhat chemistry, the “island of stability”. Essentially as atoms get bigger, they tend to be less stable. That is, they are radioactive and tend to decay into smaller atoms.

Except there is a suspicion that when they are large enough, they might get to be stable again. Here’s a map of this island, with mistakes, from a Wikipedian user:

1000px-Island_of_Stability.svgWITH MISTAKES!

The mistakes in question are of the proton and neutron numbers, so don’t use this on an exam.

Having said that, it is a beautiful illustration of the concept and the naming conceit. Anyone can see why it is an “island” in speech. The current image is more scholarly, but less attractive.

ATS administrators: Don’t leave the default locations!

Almost all “applicant tracking” (hiring) software gives you options to search for job openings in specific places, usually (for the United States) by state. The smart ones let you select multiple states at once. Some don’t even let you select states, and I will embarrass later on.

Some companies are intelligent and remove the states from the list that they do not operate in so the list is cleaner and easier to use. Many leave all 50 states in the list. One, UTC, even leaves entries in the list that will never be used:

OddUTClocations

United Technologies careers page. Search option with locations in the United States shown. Highlighted by me are “Jarvis Island”, “Johnston Atoll”, “Kingman Reef”, “Midway Islands”, and “Navassa Island”.

 

Per WikipediA:

  • Jarvis Island is uninhabited and entirely part of a nature reserve.
  • Johnston Atoll was last used for anything at all in 2004 for destroying stocks of prohibited warfare.
  • Kingman Reef “has no natural resources and supports no economic activity” per the CIA.
  • The Midway Islands do have an airstrip, so that’s possible.
  • Navassa is a disputatious little island in the Caribbean that appears to be abandoned.

In general all of these places are extremely unlikely to have any sort of employment for anyone, let alone UTC, unless they have SECRET GOVERNMENT BASES there. If that’s true… I’m loving the idea of a military secret being blown by a defense contractor’s HR department.

[Edit in 2020: They updated their software and site, only the 50 states are listed, but Guam is considered a separate “County/Region” along with Hong Kong SAR and other actual countrys.]

Canada looks like a ship

Take a look @ the immage below. It is Canadia. No doubt very common for those of you who choose to try to make your living there.

CanadiaWhat I wish to declare is that it looks like a ship.

Specifically, the left part, or Western Canadia, appears to be a respectable stern, with the Vancouver Rudder, while the north part of islands could be sails or clouds whistled up for the benefit of the users of the Good Ship Canada. The peninsula is a little out of place in the amidships, maybe it’s a dragging anchor?

Towards the bow things completely come to pieces though. I have no idea what the Marine Provinces are doing. Is this a RO/RO ferry? Given the angle it’s shown at, maybe it’s sinking?