Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Parking underground

Mom Garrity sent me this link to a video describing an automated underground parking lot in Europe. It is an impressive system. The plans at the end give some hint of how they get cars out from the back row.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Denali National Park and Preserve

We spent a couple of nights at Denali. (The mountain is still known as Mount McKinley, but the park name was changed about 30 years ago.) We toured the large visitor's center, saw an excellent movie about Denali, saw the dog sled demo, walked some of the many trails, and saw lots of wildflowers, especially fireweed. It was rainy and cloudy on Sunday; on Monday we had a beautiful day for a drive and could actually see Mount McKinley from the Parks Highway.

As Mike Warner does when writing about national parks on his blog, I'll presume to rate the park.

Visitor's Rating (ratings out of 5)
Fun -- 4 -- scenic drives, hikes, movie, dog sled demonstration.
Beauty -- 4 -- forests (taiga), mountaintop views, wildlife, if you're lucky; views of the tallest mountain in North America on very nice days.
Significance -- 2 -- no important historical events or buildings, but the history of the park itself is interesting.
Facilities and Displays -- 5 -- outstanding visitor's center, bookstore, campgrounds, trails of all kinds, all in good condition.
Overall: 4 -- a national park as large as a state with the tallest peak on the continent; outstanding facilities and activities; stuff for everyone from families with kids to serious backpackers; quality of the views depends upon the weather; some parts of the park are hard to visit.

Time required: one could spend weeks camping and hiking through the place; at least a full day for the typical visitor.

Accessibility: it is in the middle of Alaska; the drive from Anchorage takes about five hours. Once you are there, most facilities are easy to reach, but private vehicles are not allowed past the 15-mile mark on the park road. Buses serve other sites farther down the road.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Scientists have opinions

Last Sunday's Outlook section included a piece by Chris Mooney about how scientists misunderstand the public.
(See also his full report.)

He failed to note that scientists have opinions too, which prompted me to write a letter to the editor, which appeared today in The Washington Post. In general, his piece and his report betray an attitude that scientists know best.