Sunday, February 29, 2004

google: sometimes it's just mystifyingly good

As Eric has mentioned, Google has a good number of search parlor tricks built-in that can fast-track you to useful or interesting information. There are also some clever technologies out there for getting directly to flight status information without even going through a search application first.

Sometimes, however, a plain old text search brings back precisely what you want, in so exact a form that your head spins a bit -- two or three complete revolutions. This morning I wondered if someone had put a weight+balance calculator for general aviation aircraft online in javascript or applet form. Seems like a likely application to find on the web. So, a bit optimistically, I typed cessna 172n weight balance calculator. The first link that came back was dead-on perfect; check this thing out. Not only is it the sort of script application I'd hoped to find, but it's also been built for the exact aircraft type i entered in my original query. (Great CSS and JavaScript example, too.) I mean, what's not on the web anymore?


Saturday, February 14, 2004

too many dean remixes. time for one more!

You're probably up to your clavicle in Dean Goes Nuts remixes by now (thanks largely to GarageBand, I bet) but for some reason this mix
featuring the incomparable Stormtroopers of Death hits all the right "notes" for me, above all other contenders.


Saturday, February 7, 2004

Why is "-istan" an Asian standard suffix for country naming?

I don't know why no one's made a big deal about this (surely Anderson Cooper has riffed on it at some point -- speaking of whom, is that guy Elven?) in the last 3 years' news cycles, but I wanted to know why countries with so many clashing ethnicities, religious groups, and of course languages/dialects all end their state name with "-istan." To wit:

- Afghanistan
- Pakistan
- Uzbekistan
- Kazakhstan
- Kyrgyzstan
- (the once and future) Kurdistan
- Tajikistan
- Turkmenistan
- Waziristan (not even a country, this "tribal region" wants in on the action, too)

Of course, an answer that credits Persian was right under my nose all along -- in fact, it was even posted just weeks after 9/11, when this suffix suddenly meant much more than a few big, empty territories on the far side of the Risk gameboard.