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?

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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.


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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.

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