Wednesday, September 27, 2023

World Heritage: Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks


UNESCO just finished inscribing new sites into the World Heritage List, bringing the total to 1199. Earlier this month, I visited the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, which was part of the Hopewell Culture Earthworks, which were just inducted.

The earthworks were constructed in what is now Ohio almost 2000 years ago. While not as visually impressive as some of the other sites, the earthworks offer an intriguing glimpse into a fascinating culture that influenced this continent long ago.

This is my 69th site, representing 5.75% of the total sites.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Geocaching Update: 183 Connected Counties

I last did a geocaching update on this site in December 2021. I stopped, frankly, because they became boring to write -- I can only imagine how boring they were to read.

But maps are cool to look at, right?

In that update, I had found geocaches in 75 counties that were connected on the map, as shown.

I've been really connecting things up since then, getting to 183!

That stretches to 13 states (IL, IN, MI, OH, PA, NJ, WV, VA, MD, NC, SC, DE, TN) and DC!

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Nebula Update: Babel

I am continuing my project to read all of the Nebula Award winners for Best Novel. The latest winner was Babel, by R.F. Kuang. The actual full title is "Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution".

Babel takes place in an alternate history, where the Industrial Revolution is powered by silver magic, which depends on the talents of translators to perform the magic. By "translators" I mean actual translators; the magic depends on the subtle differences in meaning between words in different languages.

The book is exceedingly well written and a blistering indictment of colonialism. I think it is a bit of a letdown as an alternate history, though. I believe the availability of magic would have led to greater differences than just "the Industrial Revolution is powered by magic". I also did not come away from the novel with conclusions about 19th century England or the present day. Why was violence a "necessity"? Is it now? If not, what does it say that we got from there to here without it as a primary driver of change.

4 out of 5 stars.

As in 2019, that leaves me with:

  1. 1966: Babel-17
  2. 1968: Rite of Passage
  3. 1978: Dreamsnake
  4. 1981: The Claw of the Conciliator
  5. 2018: The Stone Sky 
My current plan is to finish this off relatively soon by listening to these as audiobooks.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

World Heritage: Giant's Causeway

In April, I visited Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland, my 68th World Heritage site. That's out of 1157 total, with more due to be inscribed at next month's meeting in Saudi Arabia.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

2020-2022 Stay-At-Home Bowl Update

I have been behind in awarding the Stay-At-Home Bowl trophy, which is given to a team who defeats both Super Bowl participants.

2020: No winner.

2021: 49ers and Packers

2022: No winner.

The 2021 season was the first one since 2008 to feature two winners.

Monday, March 13, 2023

World Heritage: Historic District of Panamá


Catching up on my World Heritage posting, last November I went to Panamá. The one World Heritage site I visited there was the Historic District of Panama City, part of the "Archaeological Site of Panamá Viejo and Historic District of Panamá" site. I took a bike tour of it. (I also took a pub crawl of it, but that's a different story.)