…More Things That Make Me Go Hmmm.
- Google Maps Guides
I’ve probably mentioned a few times I rely on Google Maps to find new places to tootle to.
Very often interesting places don’t appear on the maps until you zoom right in on an area. Even then, information can be sketchy. So, I often make a decision on whether to tootle or not to tootle, based on the photographs that are usually available by clicking on the name of the place, building, beach, whatever, to which I think I might want to tootle.
One day I wondered, how did the photos get there? And then I discovered Google had “borrowed” some of mine, some which had appeared right here in Twitterings. Well, that’s okay, I thought. Maybe they will help someone else. Perhaps I should add more.
That’s when I discovered it’s possible to become something called a “Google Guide.” “There are rewards” Google said. The only reward I wanted was to drive more traffic to Twitterings, so I started adding “paulsr.net” to a corner of the photos, and uploaded as many as I could find.
I must have uploaded a lot. I am now a level seven guide. I thought there were only five levels, but apparently there are ten. I’m not sure what this really means, except I am allowed to use this seven pointed star. I’m so proud of myself I’ve decided I deserve one extra beer per day. 🙂 And I’ve no idea where I’m supposed to stick the star. Suggestions on a postcard to…
But one thing that Google has told me, which I find totally mind boggling, is that this one photo…
…has been viewed 1,069,326 times. Okay, it’s a nice photo, but it’s not earth-shatteringly brilliant. I didn’t snap it just as lightning hit the roof, nor as it started to crumble in an earthquake. Nor is there a naked lady running across the grass. I arrived at the entrance gate of the National Museum in Songkla – not exactly top of everyone’s bucket list – and took a photo. One that’s now been viewed a million times.
Hmmm: that’s just wacky.
- Digging Straight Down…
Have you ever wondered where you would end up if you dug a hole straight down through the earth and out the other side? Me either. Until I stumbled across this website…
…and curiosity got the better of me, so now I know…
…off the coast of Peru. Looks like I’ll need my swims and a rubber ring.
Hmmm: why don’t you give it a try? You know you want to. Just click here
- Flying On Concorde…
No. I never did. And having listened to Captain Joe, I’m not too unhappy about the fact.
Who is Captain Joe? He’s an Airbus pilot with his own Youtube Channel. He answers lots of viewers’ questions, like “What’s that noise in the belly of Airbus that sounds like someone sawing a log?” (Fuel pumps) and “Why are there tiny holes in the windows?” (To equalize the pressure.)
But recently he’s visited, and has been talking about Concorde. That interested me more than his Airbus talks, because several generations ago I worked for BOAC when the first Concordes were delivered. Here’s a couple of photos – which were surprisingly difficult to find…
The first of these is an artist’s impression of the BOAC livery, and the second is a scale model. But I can’t find an actual aircraft in BOAC colors. I think the reason for that is, whereas the first few aircraft were delivered in BOAC colors, British Airways was created before the Concordes ever went into service.
Did I ever fly in one? Nope. But here’s a photo of me sitting in one. Note the attempt at upper-class nonchalance. Yes, I’m the one nearer the window. I guess that would have been 1976. And why – you are wondering – am I sitting in one, if I never flew in one?
Well, the cabin was so small and cramped – to be honest, a bit claustrophobic – that passengers were not allowed to bring top coats, rain coats, fur coats, parachutes, whatever, onto the aircraft. And that was a bit of a logistical nightmare.
It was like going into a restaurant or ballroom. Coats were collected at the entrance, and returned as you deplaned. I never saw where they were stored, but you can be sure it was somewhere secure.
Anyhoo, to make sure this all went smoothly, a group of us was rounded-up as guinea pigs, and told to turn-up with coats, so that the whole procedure could be practiced. It was a bit like a school outing really.
But back to Captain Joe…
What I never knew, is the cruising speed of Concorde – when it was above Mach2 and FL500 – was not determined by the power of the engines, but the temperature of the wings and fuselage. The plane was always flown within about 10°C of the wings melting, and the autopilot adjusted the speed accordingly. It’s why they were all painted in a basic white, to reflect the heat. No permission was needed from Air Traffic Control to change height or speed, because there was no one else flying that high anyways.
Apparently, during flight, the plane expanded so much the fuselage was 23cms longer than when it was on the ground, and expansion joints were built in to make sure nothing snapped. Even the seats were on rollers so that the fuselage could expand. I’m not sure I wanted to know that… or wouldn’t have wanted to know if I’d ever flown on one.
Hmmm: Did that tray table just move or have I had one glass of champagne too many?
- Motorsport On TV…
Do you watch motorsport on TV? If you do, have you noticed how all the commentators, over all types of the sport, have suddenly started adding “as well” into just about every sentence? I can’t figure it. It makes no sense. It’s like they’ve all caught a virus. I think it started with F1 and worked its way downwards.
I’m used to commentators beginning every answer with the words “Errm, well, yes, no, I mean, obviously…” before saying anything vaguely sensible. That’s been happening for years. But why did “as well” suddenly pop up out of the blue?
They say stupid things like “Alonso’s in seventh as well.” And you wonder… as well as eighth and ninth, or as well as a couple of other drivers being in seventh? One commentator recently stuck “as well” into the middle of a sentence, and then finished it with “as well as well.” That must be a bit like the Irish “at all at all.”
I’ve tried counting them. It gets boring. But there’s at least two per minute on average. Now, of course, if you do watch motorsport, you’ll be driven crazy listening for every utterance. Say “Thank you.”
Hmmm: Could someone kindly find an antibiotic for this virus? As well.