This and That Returns

There is no way to categorize this week’s selections of websites. Blame it on random surfing. The scope of mentions this week varies from lawnmower racing to international real estate listings. Let’s just jump right in.

U.S. Lawnmower Racing Association . You may be thinking that because our lawnmowers have not been getting much of a workout this summer, we might as well put them to use in a competitive sport. What’s amazing is that most states have a lawnmower racing association, and these people take their sport seriously. The national association’s motto says, “We turn a weekend chore into a competitive sport.” Just so you know, the cutting blades have to be removed before any race, and there are different levels. Modified mowers in competition can reach speeds up to 80 mph. And give the state of Indiana a gold star for another first: the lawnmower races in 12-mile, IN (wherever that is) have been going on for at least 30 years. If you are curious, you can watch this sport on July 30 at the Porter County Fair. Our state’s association is based in Indianapolis, and representative Greg Duncan can answer your questions. Contact him through the link on the website or phone him at 317.955.7941.

Passenger Ships of the Great Lakes . The Marine Historical Society of Detroit has a website with a nifty link that should satisfy maritime history buffs. This is the Beacher’s Bill Keefe’s territory, since Bill knows his maritime history inside and out. Two passenger ships mentioned on this site are worth mentioning here: the Eastland and the Tashmoo. While the Tashmoo plied the waters of Lake Huron, it is an interesting boat—a side-wheeler excursion boat built in 1899—that you might have expected to see along the Mississippi River. And the Eastland, who many know about from watching channel 11 or reading about it in the Tribune, sank in the Chicago River in 1915. Eight hundred and ten passengers drowned in that disaster. What I did not know is that the Eastland was raised and rebuilt by the U.S. Navy in 1917 and served as a training boat during both World Wars. Lots of fascinating information on this website for anyone interested in learning about the Great Lakes.

Long Bets Foundation . Now here is a website that intellectuals will fancy. Meaty matters are predicted, chewed upon, discussed, or bet upon. The bets are about things that matter, directly or indirectly, the website explains. These are not guesses, but theories that affect science and/or society. Free registration allows you to vote, but you have to register your true name. The minimum period for a prediction is 2 years and there is no maximum. All votes and discussion threads remain online in perpetuity, so one will be able to look back and see how “prophetic” or not participants have been. The neatest thing is that the winning bettor donates his 50% of winnings to a charity of his choice; the other half goes to the Long Bets Foundation to keep the website running. This website is not really intended for the casual gambler, but for someone who likes to think very deeply about subjects that matter. My description of this site may be found wanting, so I suggest you go there yourself and read the “about” page. Then jump in and think about adding your own prediction—if you think you can compete with the fine minds on this site.

International Property Listings . Speculation in the real estate market has reached an all-time high, so you might as well expand your horizons and look at what is offered in places such as Grenada, Greece, Mexico, Italy, Bulgaria, Turkey, Poland, El Salvador, and so many other countries. Some of us have to just resort to dreaming, rather than acting on most of these offerings, so the pictures alone will have to do.

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~ by IndianaDunesPoet on July 23, 2005.

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