This afternoon I finished my traversal (on foot) of the short but interesting Four Mile Run Trail. The trail is one of two connections for cyclists looking to get from the Mount Vernon Trail along the Potomac to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail to Purcellville.
The path covers widely variable territory along its 7.5-mile length. The trailhead is in the neighborhood of the East Falls Church Metro station. In this stretch of Arlington, the trail serves to connect several county parks: ball fields and back yards. Although it’s very pleasant here, the trail can be hard to follow, because it intertwines with the W&OD as both trails cross and recross Four Mile Run, a rocky stream at this point—and the signage is inconsistent. Distance markers were once set every half mile, but a couple of them are missing. At points the trail is no wider nor any more level than a hiking trail, and this serves to divert bike traffic to the much busier W&OD.
At about mile 5, there is a complicated diversion onto city streets at Shirlington to take you to the overpass that spans an interchange of I-395 (the Shirley Highway), the multilane transitway that connects the heart of the city to all the suburbs to the south. Beyond that, the trail follows streets around the cozy brick community of Parkfairfax in Alexandria.
The last mile and a half of the trail follows the north shore of the channelized Run, which gradually widens out into an impressive floodplain. Before passing under U.S. Route 1 and Metro’s Blue/Yellow Lines and its connection to the Mount Vernon Trail at the airport, the trail passes a Dominion electrical substation and, perhaps most instructively, an Arlington County wastewater treatment plant. (Fortunately, the plant was nearly odorless on this hot summer day.) The Run, perhaps 50 m across now, entices a few shoreline fishermen, as it empties into the tidal Potomac River.
An archive of material on the 1924 Leopold and Loeb case, part of the compendious store of records at Northwestern University’s Chicago Historical Homicide Project. The project began with
…the discovery of the availability of a rich log of more than 11,000 homicides maintained consistently and without interruption by the Chicago Police Department over the course of 60 years, from 1870 to 1930.
Ben Brantley catches us up with what’s going on in London theater:
In a season rich with A-list actors giving bright external life to the shadows of the human mind, it is often—more than anything that is actually done or even said—the thought that counts.
Consider, for example, the supremely articulate silence of Michael Gambon, who never utters a word in Atom Egoyan’s production of Samuel Beckett’s Eh Joe at the Duke of York’s Theater, a half-hour production that seems to last both a lifetime and a nanosecond.
Darwin’s finches in the Galápagos continue to provide data to evolution researchers. Peter and Rosemary Grant, in a new paper in Science, observe an instance of character displacement occurring in real time. Competition between Geospiza fortis and G. magnirostris on the drought-stricken island of Daphne Major has led to smaller bills in G. fortis.
One of the last of the burlesque comics, Red Buttons, has passed. Born Aaron Chwatt on the Lower East Side, Buttons had a TV show up against Milton Berle in the 1950s. He went on to have an impact in action films and dramas like The Longest Day and They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
I’m still futzing with templates here, as my IE readers can attest.
Via kottke.org, Rob Bryanton suggests a way to visualize ten dimensions with a Flash animation/audio presentation.
From the Chaska (Minnesota) Herald, reprinted in The New Yorker, July 10 & 17, 2006, p. 105:
A man passed out on the banks of Courthouse Lake attracted the attention of local police in the early morning hours on Jan. 14.
According to Anderson, the man appeared to be extremely intoxicated and was using a trout as a pillow.
No post, the title just looks good up there.
Xeni Jardin points to an AP wire service story by Sonja Barisic about the exoneration of Grace Sherwood. Sherwood, a midwife, was convicted 300 years ago of being a witch, the only one found so in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
She was “tried by water:” bound hand to foot and dumped in the Lynnhaven River. She floated, and hence was found guilty.
The so-called “Witch of Pungo” was not executed, however, but she was jailed for perhaps eight years. Gov. Timothy Kaine offered the pardon.
“With 300 years of hindsight, we all certainly can agree that trial by water is an injustice,” Kaine wrote. “We also can celebrate the fact that a woman’s equality is constitutionally protected today, and women have the freedom to pursue their hopes and dreams.”
Laura Erickson assembles tips on birding Texas in the summer, from posts by Stevan Hawkins.
Via robot wisdom, composer Dmitri Tymoczko has written visualization software that makes sense of the harmonic movement of a piece of music.
“Tools like these have helped people understand music with both their ears and their eyes for generations,” Tymoczko said. “But music has expanded a great deal in the past hundred years. We are interested in a much broader range of harmonies and melodies than previous composers were. With all these new musical developments, I thought it would be useful to search for a framework that could help us understand music regardless of style.”
The homepage for ChordGeometries 1.1 includes a link to the published paper and three some short animations to accompany a fragment of a Chopin piano prelude. I’d love to see what a Billy Strayhorn piece like “Lush Life” looks like.
Via kottke.org, India Amos explains what it means to design the interior of a book. Don’t overlook the extensive comment thread.
I find a book handsome not because it necessarily differs from the standard template. You don’t want a book design that says, “Look at me! I’m designed!” You want a book design that says, “Dive into this text.” So it has to be inviting, but also capable of becoming transparent once you’re in it. Like a cool pool on a hot day. You splash in, you scream delightedly, and after a few seconds it feels normal and you can focus on hitting your friends with foam toys or whatever. I like a design to complement and enhance but not upstage or distract from the text.