Showing posts from 2013

The good, the bad, and the ugly: what we're Googling

Happy Thanksgiving from nyc!

Here's Snoopy and Woodstock in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, taken from our rooftop deck in nyc.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!

Great Geo Guessing Game

GeoGuessr is a cool geography game that uses Google Street View.  The game randomly places you all around the world, and you get points for clicking on the map as close as you can to the place you're viewing.  Sometimes you get lucky and know where you are based on some famous landmark, but very often you have to try to figure it out based on subtle clues in the scenery, roads, signs, people, flora and fauna.  So far, my personal best is just over 13,000 points in one round -- how high can you score?

Genealogy falling, Ancestry rising

About 7 months ago, genealogy blogger James Tanner wrote about Google search trends showing a possible decline in the popularity of genealogy.

Viewing the comments, some people speculated that perhaps people were getting better at doing Google searches by searching directly for people and places in their family history rather than just typing the word "genealogy" into Google. I speculate that is likely true; I also suspect people are using more specialized searches on sites such as rather than just using Google.*

However, another idea occurred to me today, and that is that perhaps the word genealogy itself is falling out of favor for another word: ancestry. I tested that theory on the Google Trends page, at it appears to be true in looking over the past four years:

In fact, sometime in late 2010, the two lines crossed and ancestry became the more popular search term.  This holds true whether looking worldwide or at particular countries. Granted, this isn't definitive proof of the change, nor what may be driving it, but it's encouraging to see that ancestry is alive and kicking.

* Some people are even using specialized Google search tools like my AncestorSearch :)

Into healthy eating that tastes good? Check this out:

1660 New Amsterdam atop 2013 New York

The excellent historical blog Ephemeral New York has a post today about the 1660 Costello Plan, referred to by the New York Public Library as the "earliest known plan of New Amsterdam and the only one dating from the Dutch period."

To put the original Costello Plan into a present-day context, I've overlaid it on Google Earth and made these screenshots of lower Manhattan (click the images to see larger versions):

North is up in this map.  Look how much of present day New York would have been underwater back in 1660!  Manhattan's west coast would have been present-day Greenwich Street, and the south and east cost is along present-day Pearl Street.

In this map, North is to the upper-right.  A couple of notable things:  Aptly named Wall Street was a wall; Broad Street was a canal.  Very cool that many streets of today still follow routes from this 1660's plan, including Broadway, Beaver Street, Exchange Place, William Street and Stone Street, just to name a few.

And really zooming in, look at the quaint little dock on the waterfront near the present-day intersection of Moore Street and Pearl Street.  Also, see the entrance to the canal that runs along present-day Broad Street.

The website Curbed ran a follow-up post on the Costello Plan containing additional interesting details, including why a Dutch plan has an Italian name.

Boston Marathon Bombing: Map showing the Location and Time-stamp of the Surveillance Video of the Suspects

See video here
The Boston Marathon Bombing was a cowardly act, and we all want to see justice served to those responsible.

Now that the FBI has released details of the bombing suspects, I decided to create a map that shows the likely location and timing of the of the surveillance video of the suspects, in hopes that somebody who was nearby at the time may have noticed them.

If you have any information at all regarding the men shown in the attached photos and video, you should immediately submit them on As the FBI website states, no piece of information or detail is too small. You can also call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324), prompt #3, with information.
Click above for a bigger view, or see the interactive map here.  Source for locations of explosions is this New York Times page.

Great 5 1/3 mile NYC UWS run!

For those in the great city of New York City, specifically the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and into running (ok, I just limited my global audience for this post!), I have an inspirational -- or at least not monotonous -- 5 1/3 mile run for you!

Half of the run is in Central Park and the other half along the Hudson River Greenway.  I'm showing 74th Street and 108th Sreet as the two places to cross back and forth between the park- and water-side legs, but you can adjust your numbered blocks up and down to suit your starting point and still keep the run about 5 miles

And the elevation profile of the route involves some decent hillwork (ok, by Manhattan standards anyway!). A 333 feet elevation gain all in little-ol' Manhattan!  Oh yeah!


I'll take my Cabernet in a sippy cup please ;)

New York City: the safest major city in America. Mystery Of New York's Falling Crime Rate Remains Unsolved

..."In 1990, there were 2,245 murders in the city. Last year the number was 414, the lowest since police began keeping reliable records."

"In one remarkable day, Nov. 26, 2012, there was not a single murder, stabbing or shooting reported in the nation's largest city, possibly the only time that happened since New York was a small Dutch colony."...
Mystery Of New York's Falling Crime Rate Remains Unsolved | LiveScience:

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