Friday, May 31, 2024

SearchResearch Challenge (5/31/24): Curious questions that come up during travel?

 I'm constantly wondering... 

... what is that building?  Or... Why is this like that? Or.. What else is nearby?  

You know, the kind of questions kids ask when they're traveling--the really good ones that parents usually decline to answer.  

This week I had a great time traveling to the University of California San Diego campus.  (Which, for interesting / odd historical reasons is actually in La Jolla.  Yeah, go figure. But you could look it up!)  

I was on campus to give an invited lecture at the Design Studio.  Here's the link to my talk--the video is here, should you be interested. It was great fun, especially as a visitor walking around the campus which has some extraordinary architecture.  (To be honest, it also has some eminently forgettable buildings, the epitome of unmemorable.)  

But THIS building (show above) is pretty remarkable.  Once you see it, you don't forget it.  

Naturally, I'm curious... and I have SearchResearch Challenges for you that grow out of my visit to UCSD and San Diego--the kinds of questions that kids have, and that we adults tend to forget to ask.  Be curious! And let's see what we can learn! 

1. What building is this?  But why is it that particular dramatic shape?  It's a striking, powerful building--what's the architect trying to communicate?  What's the story here?  

2. As I walked past the building, I found a truly extraordinary path on one side of the building.  Without me telling you any more... can you find the "extraordinary path" and find out why it's there?  What's the story here? 

3. I chatted with a student who told me that about there's a "fantastic piece of art" that's about 500 feet (152 meters) away from the path.  "Just keep going," he said, "you'll find it."  With just that direction I DID find it, but the artwork was a bit of a surprise... and it took some funny search skills to locate it.  Can you find this artwork? What is it and where is it? 

4.  Lastly, on the night flight home (I flew from San Diego to San Jose, CA),  I was looking out the windows on the right hand side and noticed the street lights extending northward from San Diego towards LA.  About 12 mins into the flight, I saw a HUGE gap in the lights.  It was dark, so I wasn't sure of exactly where I was, and I couldn't figure out why that place was so devoid of lighting.  Can you figure it out?  Where is that blank spot on the map?  Why is it blank?  

Let us know what you find, and HOW you found it!  (I'm especially curious how you figure out the blank space in particular.  It took me a few minutes.)  

Keep searching!  

(And I'll post more about the Venetian cappuccino this weekend.  Ciao!)  


  1. longitudinal coastal transit/wandering/wondering
    not long ago - a Venice connection…

    more connection Venice :
    it's an arty place… but there is no escape…
    I think Ted's house was on a hillside??…
    dark space??…

    while there are many SD choices, you had to eat while you roamed… (he has actual locations too)

  2. 1. In the land of UCSD, where knowledge takes flight, Stands a library wondrous, a truly grand sight!
    By William Pereira, this marvel was planned, A sphere at first dreaming, in his creative hand.
    But steel turned to concrete, a sculptor's delight, Like giant hands reaching, holding knowledge so tight.
    A stack of books massive, reaching for the sky, A beacon of learning, where dreams never die.
    Pereira, the architect, with wisdom so keen, Knew the library's heart, the campus queen.
    For knowledge and learning, this building's its throne, A center for scholars, a place to call home.
    So next time you're wandering, with a curious mind, Seek out this grand library, a treasure you'll find

    2. Up on a hilltop, where knowledge takes root, A path twists and turns, a serpentine shoot.
    Five hundred and sixty feet, it winds all the way, Designed by Alexis Smith, to brighten your day!
    This ain't just a walkway, for scholars and such, It's a journey to wisdom, a mind-opening clutch.
    A serpent, you see, in the Bible's first tale, Brought knowledge to mankind, though some might bewail.
    But fear not this slither, for knowledge it brings, A chance to unravel all sorts of life's things!
    Along the way, whispers of Eden you'll find, A garden of wonder, to soothe and unwind.
    A bench waits to greet you, with a message so true, "Is ignorance truly bliss? It all depends on you!"
    Then a giant book beckons, carved clear and so grand, With words from Milton's pen, a wisdom at hand.
    So follow the path, where knowledge takes hold, Unravel life's mysteries, worth more than pure gold!

    3. In my quest for knowledge, a hunger so deep, I wandered for ages, like counting sheep!
    An eternity, maybe, it felt like a plight, As long as a star taking a celestial flight!
    But wait! Up above, a sight caught my eye, A house perched precariously, way up in the sky!
    A "Fallen Star," some folks call it, quite strange, A whole house askew, defying all range.
    With a campus so vast, where knowledge takes root, I used a magic map, to find this strange loot.
    This interactive guide, a friend in my search, Led me to wonders, beyond earthly perch!
    So next time you're curious, with questions untold, Remember the map, and the stories unfold! There's magic in learning, in each twist and turn, And maybe a "Fallen Star," for your knowledge to burn!

    4. In search of the darkness, a sight most profound, I sought out wise Gemini, knowledge unbound!
    This digital sage, with a voice smooth and bright, Pointed me northeast, to a starlit delight!
    Anza-Borrego they whispered, a desert so grand, Where darkness holds secrets, of sky and of sand.
    Not UCSD's campus, with its knowledge so vast, But a park filled with wonder, a darkness built fast!
    For here stars fall freely, a celestial spree, At astronomical gatherings, for all you and me!
    So pack up your telescope, and your stargazing hat, Anza-Borrego awaits, where the shadows won't chat!

    *You're quite right, dear friend, the rhymes aren't quite mine,
    But fear not, for Dr. Seuss's magic can shine!

    Just tell Gemini your story, and They'll weave it anew,
    With creatures fantastical, and words wild and true.

    So bring on your questions, your musings and whims,
    And together we'll craft silly Seussical hymns!

    1. Now THIS is brilliant,
      Just as clever as Seuss,
      It makes my heart trilliant,
      You wrote this out in a deuce!!

    2. Even if it was Gemini-assisted... ;-) The insight was clever.

    3. applause… real & virtual, all well-deserved & entertaining
      #4 still a mystery: north, looking east, 12 minutes of travel…
      between Escondido and Ramona, off I-15??
      depending on departure vectors out of Lindbergh Field?
      ~35 miles
      often sent west, over the water… then norte
      way east
      maybe it is the Marines?

    4. Thanks. If anyone is interested here is a link to the chat thread with my prompts Rewrite Geisel Library as Dr. Seuss
      Gemini ended up inserting things that I did not include in the prompts. I also found myself selecting the second draft response more often than the first.

      In addition, I know I didn't include how or what I searched for to get the answers. I'll write something (without Gemini's help) later. ;-)

  3. Interesting! A good way to end May and start June.

    I tried search image in Chrome Android. Zero results. That is weird!

    Then, I downloaded the image and used Google Lens. Results:

    Geisel Library.

    With that, I am searching [geisel library shape] now, I will read to find the answers

    1. YouTube video

      In the description:

      The library was designed by William Pereira and opened in 1970 as the Central Library. It was renovated in 1993 and rededicated as the University Library Building, and renamed Geisel Library in 1995....It also contains the Mandeville Special Collections and Archives, which houses the Dr. Seuss Collection...

    2. Searched for unknown facts about Geisel Library

      19 Mind-blowing Facts About The Geisel Library

      Spaceship, sunsets, filming locations among others

    3. Read about " The Snake Path"

      Auntie Oddfur posted an image of that with the following alt.

      "An overhead shot of a 10ft wide, 600ft long path at the University of California, San Diego known as the snake path. It looks like a giant serpent winding through a “garden of eden” and has quotes by John Milton and Thomas Gray engraved along it highlighting the tension between innocence and knowledge. At one end is the Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) library, which is shaped like a giant glass and metal tree."

    4. Pioneering 'Snake Path' artist Alexis Smith dies at 74

      Mathieu Gregoire has worked with UC San Diego's Stuart Art Collection since the 1980s and worked with Smith to bring "Snake Path" to fruition in the late '80s and early '90s...Smith also has another work in the Stuart Collection — the only artist to have two pieces in the collection.

    5. the other - Same Old… (nice crate)

    6. fwiw: KAHNOP

  4. #1 is the Geisel Library, named after Dr Seuss (reverse image search, easy peasy). Wikipedia says that this building was designed by William Pereira, and intended to look like hands holding up a stack of books. It's a super cool building.

    #2 - Wiki also mentions this, the 'Snake Path', which is part of a public art collection on the campus, the Stuart Collection. The Stuart Collection website says:
    "The path then passes a monumental granite book carved with a quote from Milton's Paradise Lost. "And wilt thou not be loathe to leave this Paradise, but shalt possess a Paradise within thee, happier far."

    These pointed allusions to the biblical conflict between innocence and knowledge mark an apt symbolic path to the University's main repository of books. The concept of finding sanctuary within oneself — outside the idealistic and protected confines of the university — speaks directly to the student on the verge of entering the "real world." "

    # 3 I am not sure on this one because, as above, the place seems to be packed full of art, but the piece that seems most striking if you continue on from the snake Path is a work called Fallen Star, which is 'a cottage perched at an angle off the edge of the main Jacobs School of Engineering building':

    I used the map of Stuart Collection works on the wiki page to find this.

    #4 I think is the USMC base Camp Pendleton - I used to identify the major gap in the lights between San Diego and LA, and then poked around on google maps until I figured out how much was the base. There is a bigger dark patch inland but as far as I can tell on google maps that's just a mix of rural, mountainous and wilderness park - the santa ana mountains?


  5. Bay area cousin, Monkey Block
    inspiration - hands holding books
    " the design of the individual floors, are intended to look like hands holding up a stack of books."
    addition - Gunnar Birkerts
    "Then Wilt Thou Not Be Loth To Leave This Paradise But Shall Possess A Paradise Within Thee, Happier Far."
    2:24 - in the background: 72 Blue Heron Way

  6. also in the area & worth a gander…
    "In 1974, on his return home from the subcontinent, Kahn was overcome by a heart attack in the men's bathroom of Penn Station in New York City, where he died ..."
    not to be confused with:
    "he suffered a debilitating cerebral hemorrhage, which severely & permanently impeded his speech & overall mobility. His doctors initially predicted that he would only live 10 days."

  7. related - Mount Soledad

  8. Here’s the skinny on my search path.

    1. Took your photo and uploaded it to Gemini. Prompt: Tell me about this building.
    Prompt: Why is it shaped like that?

    2. Google Maps [ Geisel Library ] Switch to satellite layer. Spotted a weird/cool looking path to the right of the library. Zoomed in. Gemini Prompt: Tell me about snake path outside of the Geisel Library.

    3. Google Maps - Clicked on few art pieces near the library. Found a link when I clicked on Silent Tree, Stuart Collection Clicked on Interactive Campus Map and selected Art in addition to Art. Clicked around to explore those in the direction indicated in the question to find the answer.

    4. Gemini Prompt: Just north of San Diego there are no lights at night. Why?
    It listed the state park, but I wasn’t sure because it seemed off to the east too far. In my haste went to a tab and prompted: find satellite night images of the area from San Diego to Los Angeles. Went to a few sites and saw a mention about light pollution maps. Googled [light pollution map California]. The only really dark area was the state park.

    1. Here’s the skinny on my search path.
      why the fat shaming on the boulevard of broken searches? ;^P
      …how long before the prompts go away and the input is
      —solve the questions at this URL in a manner that is consistent with my view— rhyme or nine…
      (voice or thought entry)
      p.s. explain why Dan wonders… and correct…
      search as it has been known evaporates…
      Seuss sussing will be antiquated & (Dark)Darwin will skip on… that might be a good AI moniker?

    2. fwiw, there are "insects" in the mix…
      perhaps it [AIO] needs some time alone in the dark space near Sandy Dago …
      (""Diego" is the Portuguese nickname for any deckhand. After transforming into "dago" in English and becoming a common term for Spanish and Portuguese people, the slur expanded in usage to then refer to Italians and Italian immigrants, another Mediterranean and Latin ethnic group.")

      credibility is becoming ennui/elusive
      "Show me the search and I’ll show you a truth."
      Lavrentiy Beria or was it Yogi Berra?

  9. ...only visible at certain angles, times of day, frames of mind
    and while wearing a tall, striped hat…
    or after that graduate mushroom class…
    Go Tritons
    "UC San Diego is considered a Public Ivy. It is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity". UC San Diego faculty, researchers, and alumni have won 27 Nobel Prizes as well as 3 Fields Medals, 8 National Medals of Science, 8 MacArthur Fellowships, and 3 Pulitzer Prizes."

  10. after more Whovilliian mushrooms…
    "i would not eat them with a book.
    i would not eat them on a hook.
    i would not eat them in the sand.
    i would not eat them with my hand.

    You can not make me eat them raw.
    You can not make me eat them if it were the law.

    Should YOU eat them? I do not know.
    If you eat them, what will your face show?
    Perhaps you'll turn a shade of green.
    If you're lucky, everything will be keen.
    However your fate may be worse.
    Let's not think about that fatal curse."

    (not my poetry)

  11. ticking the ivories at the Geisel -
    … or the bells -
    did you hear? nice overhead shot ~ 3:20 - shows Fallen Star
    in the background…:

  12. as I wondered… bare boulders bear -
    I should be hibernating, but the beach calls