Sunday, December 14, 2008

Maps and Topology

1. "There are two long runs I have to do from Elmhurst next time I'm there, because even though they go through similar areas seeing all the places I want to would probably make it close to 20 miles." And then I realized that one of them, the new eastern end of the Prairie Path at the Forest Park L terminal, isn't that much farther from my apartment than from my parents' house. About 7.5 miles from their house (according to, and probably just short of 9 from mine according to the street grid. One of the things I love about running and biking is that it fills in the gaps in my mind between places I know. And a lot of parts of the near-west suburbs and the west side of Chicago have yet to be really filled in (I've only biked west out of the city by three different roads: Washington, Lake, and 26th). I think I should do a Forest Park run from both sides.

2. But as much as I like doing this, I never would without having good maps and satellite images of... pretty much everywhere. I did set out in search of Heart of Chicago without a great idea of where it was, but that's practically in my back yard. I'm too risk averse to just set out west and hope. I live on Google Maps. It feels like cheating.

3. Wikipedia's description of the proof that the Cantor Set is uncountable is ridiculously intuitive. I think I've lost pretty much forgotten all my math terminology since I finished up with math classes pretty early in college, and I never even studied numerical topology. That is, I shouldn't have any advantages in understanding this over any of you guys. And not only do I understand that, but I have a better understanding of what numerical topology is, and what countability is, just from reading that one section. Kudos to whomever wrote it!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

List of the Day

Systems of street-naming in Chicagoland that I know of.

    East-west streets
    1. Chicago grid-aligned numbered Streets and Places: Existing throughout the city and the suburbs south of Madison, the Streets align with grid addresses (i.e. 63rd St. is at 6300 S), and the Places are 50 address numbers, or about 110 yards, south (i.e. 21st Place, where I live, at 2150 S). Usually they're 8 to a mile, except, corresponding to the grid's distortion south of Madison, 12 in the first mile (Madison to Roosevelt), 10 in the second (Roosevelt to Cermak), and 9 in the third (Cermak to 31st).
    2. Presidential streets: Proceeding south in chronological order (though not including all presidents) between Washington Street and Roosevelt Road. Many of these extend quite far into the suburbs.
    3. Numbered streets in Elmhurst: First through third, proceeding north of the train tracks.
  • North-south streets
    1. Chicago grid-aligned numbered Avenues and Courts: These never to my knowledge appear within the city, but seem to appear closest to the city in Cicero and Berwyn (hence the 54th/Cermak L terminal). Avenues run on even-hundred blocks, Courts 50 numbers to the west. They come up also in Orland Park, and maybe other places in the south-west suburbs, up to at least 252nd. Always 8 to a mile.
    2. Alphabetized street names by mile west of the Indiana border: the idea was that streets in the first mile would start with 'A', the second mile with 'B' and so on. The idea came a little late to the game, though. Almost all north-south streets between Pulaski Rd. and Cicero Ave. in most places are 'K' streets, and many 'L' streets exist between Cicero and Central Ave. Up by Irving Park Road you see 'N's to Harlem, 'O's to Pacific, then 'P's until the grid comes to an abrupt halt. Plus the next bullet point, which is sort-of cheating. These are approximately by mile, because they're fixed to even miles on the grid, which doesn't hit the border on an even mile.
    3. Lettered Avenues east of the Indiana border: on the East Side, Avenue A along the border through Avenue O. Just over 16 to a mile.
    4. Numbered avenues in the west suburbs: extending west from 1st Ave. in Maywood, they seem to end at 25th if you're near the Ike or on Washington. But if you're farther north, on Lake or St. Charles, you see more, all the way up to 53rd just east of Wolf Road. There's even at least one Court just off of Lake.
    5. Numbered avenues in La Grange. These go from 6th to 10th extending east from La Grange Road. I don't know if there are 1st through 5th Aves. But, as there aren't, to my knowledge, 1st though 48th Avenues on the Chicago grid, this isn't really very troubling.

I'm sure there are more, but these are all the ones I know of, and including Elmhurst and La Grange ones is... kind of ridiculous anyway. Good night everyone!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's a blog, I don't have to be organized

1. My train home yesterday was the Holiday Train! Photo by Flickr user Yuan2003, available under this Creative Commons license.

2. Google maps no longer gives you directions from Boston to Paris telling you to swim across the Atlantic Ocean. For shame, Great Google, for shame.

3. I'm reading a book called Vas: an Opera in Flatland. It's unusual. I like it.