Have Science, Will Travel – The Google Map

Do you know what is very useful for mapping out the places you have visited? Maps. That’s why we have started plotting out the places we’ve visited and written about here on our handy Have Science, Will Travel Google Map.

Whither Water

8431325708_e9eb970bf2_bEva has been delighting us all recently with descriptions of her trips to spectacular water engineering trips to locations like Haarlemmermeer and Hoover Dam. At the end of January, I went on my own trip to see a water engineering project. I don’t know if it counts as spectacular, but it was fun and interesting. As a prelude to ScienceOnline 2013, Scott Huler showed a lucky few what he had learned about the Raleigh storm water sewer system while researching his book on the infrastructure of modern cities, On the Grid.

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You can see all my photos from the tour (well all the ones that turned out OKish) at my Flickr page. Continue reading “Whither Water”

Hoover Dam – Science Tourist: Water Engineering 2

Hoover Dam by Ansel Adams (1942)
Hoover Dam by Ansel Adams (1942)

Last week I wrote about a pump that used steam power to empty a large lake. This week, the opposite: Hoover Dam created a lake to generate power!

Hoover Dam is built in the Colorado river, on the border of Nevada and Arizona. It’s very much in the middle of nowhere, but Vegas isn’t far away and Hoover Dam tours are one of the main attractions for visitors who quickly tire of the bright lights, casinos, shows, and theme hotels. About 15 minutes into the bus trip you will also have tired of puns on the word “dam(n)”, though, but that’s a sacrifice you’re going to have to make on this dam tour for the rest of the dam day. To give you an accurate experience, I’m going to be making dam puns throughout the rest of this post. Continue reading “Hoover Dam – Science Tourist: Water Engineering 2”

Science Tourist: Water Engineering Part 1 – Cruquius Museum and Amsterdam Ordnance Datum

I spent most of my childhood on the bottom of a lake. If you’ve ever flown to The Netherlands’ Schiphol Airport, you’ve been there, too. Luckily for us, the Haarlemmermeer (Haarlem Lake) was drained in the 1850s.

Where there is now a large international airport, several towns, farms and business parks, was once a 170 square kilometre lake. And where there was once one lake, there used to be multiple smaller ones. in the sixteenth century, Haarlem lake was smaller than 30 square kilometres. Flooding, erosion, and the harvesting of peat caused the small lake to merge with three other lakes in the area. The lake kept growing and growing. This hungry habit of lakes to eat away at the surrounding land was called “waterwolf”. It started becoming a nuisance, as the lake encroached further toward the surrounding cities. When it edged closer and closer toward Amsterdam, plans were made to dry the lake. Continue reading “Science Tourist: Water Engineering Part 1 – Cruquius Museum and Amsterdam Ordnance Datum”

Science Tourist: Algonquin Park, Ontario

I’ve taken you to a lot of indoor locations on my previous Science Tourist trips. Granted, one of them had a rain forest, but it was still indoors. Time to put on your hiking boots, because we’re going outside today, to Algonquin Park in Ontario, Canada!

Algonquin Park is huge. Their FAQ says it’s 7,630 km² (2,946 square miles). A highway cuts through the southern part of the park, and that’s the only car route through the park. If you want to go further into the interior, you need a canoe to navigate the 1500 lakes. I’ve never gone that far. Both of my trips to the park have hovered close to the highway, but there’s still a lot to see there, and if you pick a quiet weekend to visit, you might not see anyone else on the hiking trails or on the lakes.


Toronto and Ottawa are each several hours away, so most people spend the night in the park. The first time I went camping in Algonquin Park, we had just started unloading the car at the campsite when the people from the neighbouring campsite told us to stop doing what we were doing and come over immediately with our cameras. There was a moose calf!

Continue reading “Science Tourist: Algonquin Park, Ontario”

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