Posted by: norstarnewengland | January 4, 2009

My Excitement about this Blog

I am excited at opening this blog to relate my activities and my thoughts about the changes that I observe around me, mostly around the Boston area.  Everything changes, though at different paces.  I will be looking for these signs of change, mostly through many of my other interests, including:

  • Geocaching/Benchmarking/Waymarking
  • Geometry
  • Geography
  • History
  • Natural Sciences

 Geocaching/benchmarking/waymarking (gc/bm/wm) – I have been involved in a gps (global positioning system) based set of games run by Groundspeak.  Geocaching (http://www.geocaching.com)  is a scavenger hunt where hidden containers are searched for and logged.  Benchmarking (http://www.geocaching.com/mark) is also a scavenger hunter where survey items (many kinds, including survey disks) are found and logged based on the Geodetic National Survey database.  Waymarking (http://www.waymarking.com) is another type of scavenger hunt where items are logged according to categories that they fit in.  On all three sites, I have recorded a “find” or “visit” to entries and left some comments.  Over time, the logs should show changes at the location marked.  With Waymarking, I have logged almost 400 ‘waymarks,’ and I look forward to see how these and additional ones entered will change in the coming years.

Geography –  I have spent many hours of time looking at maps of all kinds.  I have even learned a software application that is a GIS, Geographic Information system, that is a database system that can do analysis based on geographically tagged (zip code, address, latitude-longitude) information.  Through maps, I not only know where the streets are, but have also learned how communities grew and changed over time.

Geometry – I have a background in engineering, which includes, of course, knowing mathematics.  Lately, I have wanted to know more about map projections and means of navigation, including methods used before technology like GPS and LORAN.  Map projections, too, use geometry, and I been fascinated by how the round world can be projected onto flat surfaces, noting where the distortions have been placed.  Reference points (such as magnetic north) can change over time, too.

History – In the last few years, I have been very interested in history, especially in the areas of industry.  I have had some history of science classes in college in addition to high school.  However, most of my knowledge has been through reading material and seeing exhibits about the local area.  I love finding ruins, or even better, whole factory complexes and finding out what was made there.

Natural Sciences – I have been interested in the natural sciences since a small child.  My parents fostered it, while scouts developed it.  I am now involved with two watershed advocacy groups in the Boston area, where I have volunteered in many activities and learned about the human impact on watersheds.  I also volunteer at the Blue Hill Observatory, a location that has the longest continuous weather record in the country.  I also enjoy looking at the stars and planets.  I will be reporting some of my observations here.

Boston is a dynamic place to live whether it’s the weather, the topography, or society.  I am excited to discover the changes taking place, here, and I hope that you will find interesting as well!

This essay was inspired by a regular feature on Sparks on CBC Radio. (http://www.cbc.ca/spark/blog/2008/12/full_merlin_mann_series_how_to_blog.html)

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