Tag Archives: Writ

Reality Not So Real After All

Maps are our world writ small.

Take the world and everything upon it and then transfer that wealth of knowledge to paper or pixel and you’ve got a pretty accurate representation of what sort of reality you’d find if you looked outside your window.

Or you could be wrong. Completely wrong. As in, so wrong that an island located on world maps, Google Maps, marine charts and even Google Earth doesn’t actually exist.

So how did we find out that Sandy Island, supposedly located in the South Pacific, didn’t actually exist? Did computer dudes perform some feat of electronic legerdemain? Did the artificial intelligence birthing itself within our computers pop it’s proto-head out and let us in on the secret?

No, not really.

All it took was for a group of scientists to actually go to the spot where Sandy Island was to find out. . . it wasn’t.

Neither sandy, nor an island. Discuss.

So, yeah. That picture there to the right is supposed to show Sandy Island in all of its flyspecked glory. Those are the maps. They’re also very, very wrong.

And, even worse, they weren’t produced by asking Siri where Sandy Island is located.

The supposedly sizeable strip of land, named Sandy Island on Google maps, was positioned midway between Australia and French-governed New Caledonia.

But when scientists from the University of Sydney went to the area, they found only the blue ocean of the Coral Sea.

The phantom island has featured in publications for at least a decade.

Scientist Maria Seton, who was on the ship, said that the team was expecting land, not 1,400m (4,620ft) of deep ocean.

Interestingly, if the island had, in fact, existed, it would have been inside French territorial waters, but it’s not to be found on French maritime maps. According to Seton and other scientists, how the supposed island got onto maps in the first place is a bit of a mystery, but one they intend to solve.

One thing’s for sure, though. No matter the cause, it certainly wasn’t Google’s fault. A typically unnamed Google spokesman said his company wasn’t to blame, but that Mother Earth is looking mighty shifty right about now.

“The world is a constantly changing place and keeping on top of these changes is a never-ending endeavour.”

See? Totally not their fault. Totally.

Sadly, with the actual existence of the island now in doubt, I’m guessing my planned vacation there is right out. Ah well, I hear Atlantis is lovely this time of year.

 

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Dude Review: The Lost Hero

by Richard

The ancient gods of Western civilization have withdrawn from the world following the epic events detailed in the Camp Half-Blood books, starring Percy Jackson (son of Poseidon), by author Rick Riordan.

Of course, just because the gods say they’ve withdrawn from their interactions with mortals, well, that doesn’t make it true. Knowing those gods as we do, through myth, legend and a great series of books, we can be pretty sure there’s still some godly meddling going on.

And there is.

In The Lost Hero, the first book of a new series called The Heroes of Olympus, we’re introduced to a whole bunch of new main characters, most notably Jason, a half-blood demi-god with little to no memory of his past, a strange tattoo on his arm, and a metaphorical target plastered on his back.

For now, let’s all get down on our knees and thank those self-same gods that Rick Riordan is back with another book set in the same universe as the magnificently wonderful Percy Jackson and the Olympians books. This truly is a cause for celebration. To me, the Percy Jackson books are what Harry Potter would have liked to have been if he had any ambition at all. They’re full of fantastically complex characters, fast plotting, tight action scenes and genuine emotional heft. These are books that all young dudes would love to read or have read to them.

Both my oldest (Sarcasmo) and youngest (Hyper Lad) young dudes loved these books. Zippy the Monkey Boy, who’s of the opinion that a book without pictures is a waste of paper, preferred to read the graphic novel version and leave it at that. His loss.

Anyway. Back to the book.

Riordan takes a bit of a chance with this book, consigning as he does, Percy Jackson to, if not limbo, then at least the literary equivalent thereof. That is, Percy Jackson does NOT star in these books. He’s talked about and missed, but he’s not actually on stage. The main player here is Jason, who’s memory begins on the back of a school bus on his way to a class trip with two people who may or may not be his girlfriend and best friend.

The action here is fast and furious, starting early and pausing only to let the reader catch his breath before barreling headlong into another adventure.

Jason, you see, isn’t like the other children of the gods who inhabit Camp Half Blood. In fact, his appearance at the summer camp for the children of the gods causes quite a bit of consternation among the staff there, and not a little bit of fear. But what is it about Jason’s very existence and attendance at the camp that’s causing this level of panic?

That, dudes, is the question. And it’s got a great answer. (Of course I had it figured out, but, then again, this is written with the younger dudes in mind. The fact that I and most other older dudes can enjoy it is just a happy bit of synchronicity.)

The Lost Hero is a fantastic read. If you’ve got a young dude or dudette who is even the tiniest bit interested in Greek and Roman mythology, likes fantastic adventure and well-developed characters, then you must get this book. Without question, this rates five (5) dudes out of five.

Buy it. Read it. Enjoy it. Then suffer along with me until the next book in the series comes out.

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Tweet Your Face Off

by Richard

Just in case you’re stopping by here and you thought — to yourself — “Dude, I’d love to read more about this kind of stuff, but, really who has the time? What with all the secret trips to the moon and defending humanity from extradimensional incursions of thought beasts from beyond the stars? And stuff?”

Well, maybe not that. Maybe that’s just me.

I do, however, have a solution for you dudes.

You can check us out, not only here at your beloved repository of all things father-y and snarky, but you can also find us on the Twitter and the Facebook. You know, the stuff all the kids are talking about.

On the Twitter, you can find my feed by looking for rjones64 (Yes, I know, highly original and very descriptive. What can I say? I got on early and didn’t think I’d have to keep that moniker for all that long. I was convinced the Twitter was going down the tubes in a matter of months. So much for my fearless prognosticating.). You can tell it’s me by the picture. Yeah, that’s me doing my best impression of an Easter Island head. What? I’ve got issues.

On the Facebook, you can find our page for A Dude’s Guide just by searching us out by name. The name of the site — A Dude’s Guide — that is. Or just, you know, by clicking that link there. Go there and like us. Who knows? There might be something in it for you.*

And, as always, if you’re enjoying the writing here, but you’d like to read more from me where I’m just totally making things up, — as opposed to the strict truthiness here — you can always head over to my fiction-based website.

Finally, if you’re at all interested in giving me money (and, really, who wouldn’t want to do that? [Other than most people on the planet. But I’ve always said you were special]), you can find my business website for Web Words, an internet-based content-generation consulting service, just by clicking on the link there.

Who says we don’t offer far too many ways to waste time on the internet, just for your pleasure? No, really. Who says that?

*probably not


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