Friday, May 25, 2007

Creating Maps

This is a cool new tool that lets you place a saved Google map in a blog, or other web page. You could do the same thing by learning how to program the Gooogle Maps API, but it's nice to have it automated. This is a map of the road from the Mont Alto to the Waynesboro Reservoir, where we go for many labs.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Best and the Brightest

With the passing of journalist and author David Halberstam two weeks ago, I decided to go to the library to see if they had his big work on Vietnam, The Best and the Brightest. I had heard about it years ago, but had never gotten around to reading it.

So far I have only made it through the first few chapters. I am still in the Kennedy administration before the big commitment was made. Still, the overwhelming arrogance and ignorance of the policy-making apparatus is amazing. Those who were making decisions were reacting to short term political decisions. They never understood what was really going on in Vietnam. I will never think of the Kennedy administration as Camelot again.

The parallels to Iraq and all the decisions to go to war are amazing. Not in the details, but in the mindset. I wish the people in charge had read this before voting yes or making a decision for war. Maybe that would have kept us out of it.

Historical Marker Database

I have just found a very interesting site called the Historical Marker Database. Simply put, volunteers add information on historical markers they come across in their travels. After editing, each entry can be searched and viewed. Some of the information that can be entered includes: the inscription, location by street and lat/long, pictures, and commentary. There are already quite a few entries in the database. But when you think of all the markers out there, this could grow to be something very interesting for the armchair traveler.

It could also be a fun tool for history teachers to get their students interested in local events or class trips. This is definitely worth a look!