Archive for May, 2007


Posted in Technology and Software on May 18, 2007 by Mike Procario

I saw a post on lifehacker yesterday about widefox. It is a configuration of Firefox usingĀ  the TabMixPlus extension and a custom userChrome.css file, that puts the tabs labels down the right or left side of the browser. If you have a wide screen. This is a much more efficient use of screen real estate. Very few web pages look good as wide as 1600 pixels and the default tabs use valuable vertical real estate. You can get many more tabs visible at once this way also.

The Map that Changed the World

Posted in Books on May 16, 2007 by Mike Procario

I have become fascinated by European intellectual history from the seventeenth and eighteen centuries. The sciences were flourishing. The modern economic system was just developing. My latest read falls into the end of this period and actually extends into the nineteenth century. It is The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester. It is a biography of William Smith, sometimes called the Father of Geology. Smith was the first to use fossils to date different strata of rock, and he made the first geological map of England.

I understood the basic ideas of geology that were presented, but I felt like I wanted more. It appears that while Smith didĀ  go into coal mines and see the strata change and he went down, most of his data for the map depended on observations of outcroppings and the shallow excavations of canal building. I have trouble understanding how his mostly surface observations can yield data that is described.

Since the book was a biography and not a textbook, much of the book discussed Smith battles with the geological establishment to get credit for his work. Much of the battle was due to class conflict. Smith was born of humble origins and the Geological Society was founded by “gentlemen”. Eventually, the leadership of the Geological Society passed to working scientists who honored Smith in his old age.