From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
Subject:      Tourbus - 2 Oct 03 - Research / MIT OCW / Google Location

TODAY'S TOURBUS STOPS: Interesting Research / MIT OCW / Google Location Search

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from deep behind the orange curtain in beautiful Irvine, California, an hysterical parody in the tradition of Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman. :P

TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors. Please take a moment to visit today's sponsors and thank them for keeping our little bus of Internet happiness on the road week after week.

On with the show ...

Some Interesting Research Studies

I tend to shy away from including scholarly research in our little bus of Internet happiness, especially research whose findings can only be viewed using Macromedia’s free Flash player (which you already have -- it comes pre-installed with both Internet Explorer and Netscape.) However, I recently came across two studies so ground-breaking I think they clearly deserve mention in today’s post. Don’t let the titles of these studies scare you away, folks. Both are WELL worth your time.

The first study -- “The infinite interaction between nocturnal, burrowing plantigrade quadrupeds (Meles vulgaris), the macroscopic fruiting bodies of fungi, and a limbless vertebrate from the reptilian order Ophidia” -- can be found at

The second study – “The appropriate time (according to the fruit of a Musa sapientum) to consume a paste made with the ground fruit or seed of Arachis hypogaea combined with fruit juice thickened into a semitransparent, homogeneous consistence” -- can be found at

Enjoy! :P

MIT OCW: Phase 2

You may remember that back in April of 2001 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT] announced the ground-breaking and ambitious ten-year goal of posting online all course materials from every MIT undergraduate and graduate course. Syllabi. Course calendars. Lecture notes. Assignments. Exams. Everything.

Phase one of MIT's OpenCourseWare project debuted last October, giving the world access to MIT course materials from 32 courses in 17 different departments ranging from Aeronautics and Astronautics to Urban Studies and Planning. Phase two, which was completed on Monday, increases that number to 500 courses from 33 academic disciplines.

You can find MIT’s OpenCourseWare site online at

So, does this mean you can now get a free, online degree from MIT? Not on your life, Chester! While educators are encouraged to borrow MIT's course materials for their own curricula, and while everyone in the world is encouraged to use the OpenCourseWare site for self-study, MIT has absolutely no plans to offer credit for the online versions of their courses.

Besides, what makes MIT MIT isn't its course documents. Covalent bonding works the same in Cambridge as it does in Irvine, and the second derivative of 2 x squared is the same along the banks of the Charles River as it is at the confluence of the 5 and 405 freeways. What makes MIT MIT -- and what makes MIT worth $26K a year -- isn't it's course documents. It's its faculty. And THAT you can't put online.

Or, in the words of MIT spokesperson Jon Paul Potts in a CNET interview last year,

An MIT education happens in the classroom, by interacting with other students and with faculty, not by reading some Web pages or downloading some materials, or even watching a video lecture.

[Source: ]

Still, as I said when we first visited MIT's OpenCourseWare site last October, this is an AMAZING educational resource, one that will have an impact on educational institutions and learning organizations around the world.

Google’s New “Search by Location” Service

The mad scientists in Google’s labs are frantically working on a new tool called “Search by Location.” You can find a beta version of this new search tool at

The Search by Location tool works just like the Google search tool that we all know and love, but it adds the ability for you to limit your search to a particular geographic region. So instead of searching for something like

Transmission shop

and getting hits from all over the world, you can limit your search to transmission shops near Irvine, California.

Unfortunately, my luck with Google’s “Search by Location” feature has been less than spectacular. But, then again, it’s still in beta.

Transmission Update

You may remember that, the last time we talked, my squirrel-mobile wasn’t all that mobile. It had heaps of potential energy but precious little kinetic energy. And DaimlerChrysler wanted US$5,500 (or $27 trillion Canadian) to fix the transmission.

Well, shortly after we talked, DaimlerChrysler and the dealership both agreed to pay 15% (30% total) of the repair, leaving me owing $3,850 ... five times more than I paid for my first car.

So, long story short, instead of fixing the transmission I traded in my non-mobile vehicle for an identical, used ML-320 with 50,000 fewer miles and (best of all) a 100,000 mile factory warranty. The way I figured it, even if I repaired my transmission at one of the dozens of great places y’all recommended, the end result would still be a car with 101,000 miles. And, after my $5,500 near-death experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that driving a car without a warranty is not necessarily a smart thing to do.

I want to give a special thanks to EVERYONE who sent me suggestions on where I could find a good transmission shop in Orange County. Y’all are wonderful, and I cannot begin to tell you how much your help meant to me. I also want to thank Robert Lindstrom at Fletcher Jones Motor Cars [] who, after almost four hours of work, was able to broker a deal with DaimlerChrysler that let me drive off the lot in a newer ML-320 with 50,000 fewer miles ... and a monthly payment that’s almost identical to what I was paying for the old car.

The Next Best Thing?

Linda from Marlinton, West Virginia recently wrote and said "The next best thing to Tourbus is the Smart Computing magazine that you guys recommend. I've been getting it since last summer and it has solved numerous problems for me and my friends."

Thanks, Linda! We hope other Tourbus riders will discover the Plain English answers to their computing questions that Smart Computing delivers every month. Do you want to speed up your PC? Get rid of spyware and keep hackers out? Try Smart Computing today – get your FREE TRIAL issue NOW!

That’s it for today. Have a safe and happy week, and we’ll talk again soon.

.~~~. )) (\__/) .' ) )) Patrick Douglas Crispen /o o \/ .~ {o_, \ { / , , ) \ `~ -' \ } )) AOL Instant Messenger: Squirrel2K _( ( )_.' ---..{____} Warning: squirrels.

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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