Monday, January 01, 2024

Books read in 2023

 Not much blogging going on here still, but here's my annual list of books read for 2023.

  • Angel Au-Yeung and David Jeans, Wonder Boy: Tony Hsieh, Zappos, and the Myth of Happiness in Silicon Valley
  • Isaac Butler, The Method: How the Twentieth Century Learned to Act (2022)
  • Cory Doctorow, Red Team Blues (fiction)
  • David Edmonds, Parfit: A Philosopher and His Mission to Save Morality
  • Zeke Faux, Number Go Up: Inside Crypto's Wild Rise and Staggering Fall
  • Kevin Fedarko, The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon (2013)
  • Roger Friedland and Harold Zellman, The Fellowship: The Untold Story of Frank Lloyd Wright & The Taliesin Fellowship (2006)
  • James Gleick, The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood (2011)
  • Penn Jillette, Random (2022) (fiction)
  • Mark Holloway, Utopian Communities in America, 1680-1880 (1966, 2nd edition, 1st edition was titled Heavens on Earth)
  • Claire Hughes Johnson, Scaling People: Tactics for Management and Company Building (2022)
  • R.A. Lafferty, The Best of R.A. Lafferty (2019) (fiction)
  • Kevin M. Levin, Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War's Most Persistent Myth (2019)
  • Michael Lewis, Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon
  • Shane Murphy, John Hance: The Life, Lies, and Legend of Grand Canyon's Greatest Storyteller (2020)
  • Erik Reece, Utopia Drive: A Road Trip Through America's Most Radical Idea (2016)
  • Rudy Rucker and Bruce Sterling, Transreal Cyberpunk (2016) (fiction)
  • Chris A. Rutkowski, Canada's UFOs Declassified (2022)
  • Christa Sadler, editor, There's This River... Grand Canyon Boatman Stories (2nd ed., 2006)
  • Bruce Schneier, A Hacker's Mind: How the Powerful Bend Society's Rules, and How to Bend them Back
  • Will Sommer, Trust the Plan: The Rise of QAnon and the Conspiracy That Unhinged America
  • Katherine Stewart, The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism (2019)
  • Leonie Swann, Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story (2005) (fiction)
  • Stephen Vladeck, The Shadow Docket: How the Supreme Court Uses Stealth Rulings to Amass Power and Undermine the Republic
  • Simon Winchester, Knowing What We Know: The Transmission of Knowledge: From Ancient Wisdom to Modern Magic
  • Tom Zoellner, Rim to River: Looking into the Heart of Arizona
  • Final Report of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol
    Top for 2023 published in 2023: Edmonds, Zoellner, Sommer, Vladeck, Faux; other top reads for the year: Swann, Stewart, Friedland & Zellman, Edmonds, Lafferty, Holloway

    A few planned reads for 2024 (already in progress):

    G.A. Cohen, Self-Ownership, Freedom, and Equality (1995)
    John Ferris, Behind the Enigma: The Authorised History of GCHQ, Britain's Secret Cyber-Intelligence Agency (2020)
    Chris Rodda, Liars for Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate Version of American History, vol. 2 (2016)
    Peter H. Wilson, The Holy Roman Empire: A Thousand Years of Europe's History (2017)

    The Economist posted this chart of number of books read this year from a YouGov/Economist survey:

    (Previously: 202220212020201920182017201620152014201320122011201020092008200720062005.) 

    Thursday, July 06, 2023

    A short conversation with ChatGPT about the Grand Canyon

      ChatGPT does fairly well with this, though its selected points don't include any of the more obscure points of interest, it's skewed to the popular highlights. Its claim that there weren't any historic crossings is pretty odd.

    What are some of the most beautiful and interesting locations in the Grand Canyon along the Colorado River?

    The Grand Canyon offers numerous beautiful and interesting locations along the Colorado River. Here are some notable ones:

    1. Havasu Creek: Located on the western side of the Grand Canyon, Havasu Creek is famous for its turquoise-blue waterfalls and pools. The stunning Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, and Beaver Falls are among the main attractions.

    2. Phantom Ranch: Situated at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, Phantom Ranch is a historic oasis accessible only by hiking or rafting. It provides a unique lodging option and serves as a hub for various hiking trails and activities.

    3. Bright Angel Trail: This popular hiking trail descends from the South Rim down to the Colorado River. It offers breathtaking views of the canyon's layers, geological formations, and the river itself.

    4. Hermit Rapids: Known for their tumultuous whitewater, the Hermit Rapids offer a thrilling experience for river rafting enthusiasts. These rapids are located in a remote and scenic section of the canyon.

    5. Deer Creek Falls: Nestled in a picturesque alcove, Deer Creek Falls is a stunning waterfall that drops into a deep pool. The location also features the Deer Creek Narrows, a beautiful slot canyon to explore.

    6. Lava Falls: Considered one of the most challenging and exciting rapids in the entire Grand Canyon, Lava Falls is a thrilling spot for experienced river runners. It provides an adrenaline-pumping adventure as you navigate through the turbulent waters.

    7. Nankoweap Rapids: Located in a less visited area of the Grand Canyon, Nankoweap Rapids offer a mix of exciting rapids and serene camping spots. The views from Nankoweap Trail, which descends to the river, are awe-inspiring.

    8. Redwall Cavern: This enormous natural amphitheater-like feature is carved into the Redwall Limestone cliffs. It offers a unique camping and picnic spot along the river, where groups can gather and enjoy the stunning surroundings.

    Remember that exploring the Grand Canyon and its Colorado River region requires careful planning, permits, and appropriate equipment. Whether you choose to hike, raft, or simply admire the beauty from the rim, always prioritize safety and follow any guidelines or regulations set by the National Park Service.

    What are some interesting human artifacts that are left behind within the Grand Canyon, either by native Americans from hundreds of years ago, from the late 19th century, or even from the 20th or 21st century?

    The Grand Canyon has a rich cultural history, and various human artifacts have been left behind by different groups over the centuries. Here are some interesting examples:

    1. Native American Petroglyphs and Pictographs: The canyon is home to numerous petroglyphs and pictographs created by Native American tribes who inhabited the area for thousands of years. These rock art sites provide glimpses into their cultural and spiritual practices. Key locations include the Bright Angel and Hermit Trails, Palatki Heritage Site, and Nankoweap Canyon.

    2. Tusayan Ruins: Located on the South Rim, the Tusayan Ruins are the remnants of a Puebloan village that was inhabited around 800 years ago. The site includes a partially reconstructed dwelling and offers insights into the lives of the ancient inhabitants.

    3. Historic Mining Sites: In the late 19th century, prospectors and miners ventured into the Grand Canyon in search of minerals and ores. Remnants of their activities, such as old mine shafts, rusted equipment, and structures, can still be found in certain areas, like the Bright Angel and South Kaibab Trails.

    4. Grand Canyon Village: Established in the early 20th century, Grand Canyon Village is a historic district that features buildings constructed by the National Park Service and the Santa Fe Railroad. Many of these structures, including the El Tovar Hotel, Hopi House, and Bright Angel Lodge, reflect early 20th-century architecture and offer a glimpse into the region's tourism history.

    5. Glen Canyon Dam: Although not within the boundaries of the Grand Canyon National Park, the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam in the 20th century significantly impacted the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon ecosystem. The dam created Lake Powell and led to the formation of many archaeological sites that were excavated before being flooded.

    6. Modern Graffiti: Unfortunately, in recent years, some individuals have left behind graffiti or unauthorized markings on rock formations within the Grand Canyon. These acts of vandalism are strongly discouraged and are detrimental to the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage of the park.

    It's important to note that many artifacts and sites within the Grand Canyon are protected by law, and it is illegal to disturb or remove them. Visitors should always respect and preserve these cultural treasures for future generations to enjoy.

    What are some of the historic mining sites in the Grand Canyon?

    The Grand Canyon has several historic mining sites that reflect the mining activities that took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Here are a few notable mining sites within the Grand Canyon:

    1. Orphan Mine: Located near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, the Orphan Mine was an early copper mine that operated from the late 19th century until 1931. It produced copper ore, and remnants of mining structures and equipment can still be seen in the area.

    2. Grandview Mine: Situated on the South Rim, the Grandview Mine was one of the most productive copper mines in the region during its operation from 1890 to 1901. Today, hikers can explore the remnants of the mine, including the rusting headframe and a few structures.

    3. Hermit Mine: The Hermit Mine was established in the early 20th century and operated intermittently until the 1930s. It primarily targeted gold and copper deposits. The mine is located in the Hermit Creek drainage, and visitors can still see remnants of mining equipment and tunnels in the area.

    4. Copper Canyon Mining District: Located in the western portion of the Grand Canyon, the Copper Canyon Mining District was active from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. It included several mines, such as the Copper Canyon Mine, the Cave Mine, and the Hidden Treasure Mine. These mines produced copper, gold, and silver ores.

    5. Bass Lode Mine: Situated near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, the Bass Lode Mine was an early 20th-century mine that primarily targeted copper deposits. While the mine itself is closed and inaccessible, visitors can observe remnants of the mining operations, including the stone walls and tailings.

    When visiting these mining sites, it's important to remember that they are historic and protected areas. It is prohibited to remove artifacts or disturb the sites in any way. Respect the history and heritage of these mining sites by observing them from a distance and leaving everything as you find it.

    What ferry or bridge crossings are there across the Grand Canyon?

    As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, there are no ferry or bridge crossings available across the Grand Canyon itself. The Grand Canyon is a vast and rugged landscape, and the Colorado River cuts through it, making it challenging to establish direct crossings. The sheer size and depth of the canyon make traditional ferry or bridge crossings impractical.

    However, there are transportation options available to cross the Colorado River in certain areas near the Grand Canyon:

    1. Navajo Bridge: The Navajo Bridge is located northeast of the Grand Canyon National Park near the town of Marble Canyon. It provides a highway crossing over the Colorado River and connects Highway 89A. The original historic bridge, known as the Old Navajo Bridge, is now open to pedestrians and offers scenic views of the canyon.

    2. Glen Canyon Dam Bridge: Located downstream from the Grand Canyon, near Page, Arizona, the Glen Canyon Dam Bridge carries U.S. Route 89 across the Colorado River. It provides a vital transportation link between Arizona and Utah, offering scenic views of Glen Canyon and Lake Powell.

    3. Hualapai Tribe Helicopter Tours: The Hualapai Tribe, based on the western rim of the Grand Canyon, operates helicopter tours that provide aerial crossings of the canyon. These tours offer visitors a unique perspective and the opportunity to witness the breathtaking beauty of the Grand Canyon from above.

    It's important to note that ferry or bridge crossings directly across the Grand Canyon are not available due to the rugged and protected nature of the park. Visitors typically explore the canyon by hiking its trails, taking scenic drives along the rim, or participating in guided rafting trips along the Colorado River within the canyon itself.

    What historic bridge, ferry, or tram crossings have existed across the Grand Canyon which are no longer present, active, or usable?

    To the best of my knowledge, there have been no historic bridge, ferry, or tram crossings across the Grand Canyon that are no longer present, active, or usable. Due to the challenging terrain and the vastness of the canyon itself, constructing and maintaining permanent crossings has proven to be extremely difficult.

    Throughout history, there have been proposals and ideas for various types of crossings, but none of them have come to fruition. The natural obstacles posed by the deep and rugged canyon, as well as the commitment to preserving the natural beauty and integrity of the Grand Canyon, have prevented the establishment of permanent crossings.

    It's worth mentioning that some temporary or seasonal crossings, such as cable trams, may have been used by specific expeditions, research projects, or construction activities in the past. However, these were typically temporary solutions and not long-lasting or widely accessible crossings.

    As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, there are no documented historic bridge, ferry, or tram crossings that were once in place across the Grand Canyon.

    What about the Bass Camp crossing, Lee's Ferry, or the U.S. Guano tramway crossing?

    Apologies for the oversight in my previous response. You are correct, and I appreciate you pointing out these specific crossings. Here's some information about them:

    1. Bass Camp Crossing: Bass Camp Crossing was a historic crossing on the Colorado River, located downstream from the confluence of the Little Colorado River with the Colorado River. It was primarily used by miners and prospectors in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to access mining areas along the river. However, it was not a formal bridge or ferry crossing but rather a ford where travelers crossed the river on horseback or with wagons.

    2. Lee's Ferry: Lee's Ferry, located in northern Arizona, was an important historic river crossing on the Colorado River. It served as a transportation hub for early settlers, explorers, and miners traveling to and from the Colorado Plateau. John D. Lee operated a ferry service at this site from 1872 to 1910, providing a means of crossing the river for people, livestock, and goods. The area is now part of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and is known for its scenic beauty and historical significance.

    3. U.S. Guano Tramway Crossing: The U.S. Guano Tramway Crossing refers to a historic tramway system that was used to transport guano (bird droppings) from the caves located on the rim of the Grand Canyon. The tramway carried the guano across the canyon to the river, where it was loaded onto boats for further transport. The tramway operated in the early 20th century, but it is no longer in use.

    These crossings played significant roles in the exploration, settlement, and mining activities in the region during different periods of history. While they may not be active or in use today, they hold historical significance and contribute to the overall cultural heritage of the Grand Canyon area.