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Photo: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

No, it’s not a new Eddie Izzard sketch, Manhattanhenge is semi-annual occurrence where sun sets exactly parallel to Manhattan’s east-west streets. The term was coined in 2002 by Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History.

29 degree tiltManhattanhenge sunsets usually occur on May 28 and July 12. Manhattanhenge sunrise falls approximately on December 5 and January 8. The reason there are two dates for each, is that the east-west streets of Manhattan’s grid layout are offset 28.9 degrees from true east-west; as such, the sun passes this point as it approaches and recedes from the true equinox points. The reason for the 28.9 degree tilt of the streets is that while the streets are perpendicular to the spine of Manhattan, the tall and narrow shape of Manhattan is tilted to the east by 28.9 degrees.

More here, here and here.

Flavor Tripping (Really!)

Albert Hofmann has recently passed away, but there’s a new type of trip ready for the taking–it’s a flavor trip!

As reported in today’s NY Times, there’s a new way to taste life a bit differently than you’ve ever done before. A cranberry-sized West African berry called the miracle fruit, numbs your sour and bitter taste buds for a few hours after eating it; the result is that everything that used to taste sour now tastes sweet!

A group called Flavor Tripping arranges small parties in NYC and San Francisco, where the miracle fruit is served, followed by an array of sour and bitter foods. According to their website: after eating one [miracle fruit bean], stout beers taste like chocolate milkshakes, grapefruits taste like pixie sticks, cheeses taste like frosting, it will make even the crappiest tequila taste like lemonade (and strangely enough, it will make all wine taste like Manischewitz).

Visit their website if you’d like to sign-up for the miracle fruit parties.

How To Make Google Searches 10x More Efficient


I do a lot of searching on the Internet. And many times what I’m looking for is NOT in the top ten search results on Google (or any other search engine for that matter).

Even if I do find an item on page one of the search results, I usually like to review several results, and I find that paging through the search results ten at a time is annoying. I don’t just want to see the tip-of-the-iceberg, I want to see the whole thing at once!

So here’s how to make your Google searches 10x more efficient:

Just go to the preferences link next to the search box on the Google homepage. Then set the Number of Results per page to 100, instead of the Google default of 10 per page. That’s it! Yahoo works the same way.

Now each search yields 100 results per page, and you just have to scroll down to see them all. No more clicking forwards and backwards through all those pages.

And if you use Firefox, and employ my recent tip, Firefox Browser Tip: Single-key Search, then you can just type your search term and Firefox will instantly jump-to and highlight your term if it’s anywhere on that page of 100 results.

Now that’s 10x more efficient or more!

Caps Lock Warning

Caps Warn

If you’re like me, and you type by hunting and pecking (looking at the keyboard, and not the screen), then you may occasionally find that you have ACCIDENTALLY HIT THE CAPS LOCK KEY, AND TYPED A WHOLE SENTENCE OR PARAGRAPH IN UPPER CASE. (DOH!)

My left hand’s position obscures the Caps Lock key, and its little indicator light, and I don’t see the (tiny) visual warning that the Caps Lock function has been activated.

But I worry about it no more, because it’s CAPS Warn – 3.1 to the rescue!

CAPS Warn is designed for anyone who presses the Caps Lock or Num Lock keys frequently by mistake.

CAPS Warn is a Preference Pane that provides: A) on-screen indications of when the Caps Lock, Shift, Function (fn), Control, Option, or Command keys are pressed (or stuck on by Sticky Keys) or B) warnings that: 1) you have turned on the CAPS Lock and/or 2) you have typed a specified number (default 5) of keys with the SHIFT key (or Sticky Keys SHIFT) or CAPS Lock and/or you have turned on the Num Lock. CAPS Warn warns you regardless of what application you are typing into.

I have mine set to emit a super-creepy low voice through my speakers that warns me; “Caps Lock On!”

This saves me several precious seconds of time each day formerly spent undoing all caps text; time which I now devote to my new distraction of choice: X-Plane 9.

CAPS Warn – 3.1 Warns you if caps lock, num lock, or modifier keys are on. (Mac only)

Google Maps Plugin for WordPress

My Neighborhood!

I happen to love maps. So of course, I love my new Google Maps Plugin for WordPress.

You like maps too?

Awesome US, World & State Wall Maps:
Raven Maps & Images

And you like on-line weather maps too?

Giant National Radar Composite (it’s huge!):
National Mosaic Enhanced Radar Image

Do you know of any other great map resources? Do tell; leave a comment!