On the 16th of May 2006 a man named Ze Frank who ran a popular daily video blog challenged his viewers to do something global. His challenge was to turn the Earth into a sandwich by placing two slices of bread on the ground at precisely opposite sides of the Earth.
At the time I was amused by the idea and excited by the challenge of uniting people from opposite sides of the planet by something really rather pointless and fun. It didn’t take very long for the challenge to be completed, using fancy internet tools like Google Earth and neat GPS thingies a couple of British guys took a detour on the way to Portugal to hit up Spain and complete the sandwich. The scary thing is that the managed to do it by April 12th, it took less than a month to turn the whole earth into a tasty sandwich!
Anyway, the reason I mention this is because of todays XKCD comic which contains a neat algorithm based on the DOW opening value for determining a specific location. The way it works is that the world is split into 1 degree square blocks (known as graticules), and within this block the algorithm uses the DOW opening value to determine the precise latitude and longitude of the location. The result is that every location is precisely 1 degree away from the next location, the result is that at the location within your graticule is always going to be within 100 miles or so (usually much closer).
Why is this interesting in any way? Well that I suppose is up to you. If for some reason you feel like going on an adventure, but don’t know where to go, then something like this makes the decision easy for you. Assuming todays location is reachable then why not go there and have a picnic or something. Even more exciting is the fact that Randall (xkcd author) has determined that 4pm on Saturday should be the standard meet up time, and so in theory if the location is reachable and there are enough xkcd readers in your location, heading there on a Saturday afternoon will result in meeting other random people who read xkcd.
As an aside, this comic also lead me to discover the game GeoDashing, which is a similar idea except that it’s implementation is that at the beginning on the month a few thousand random points are created globally, and then “players” are challenged to visit as many of those points as possible in the month to earn points.
I’m pretty sure internet based real world entertainment (usually in the form of random adventures) is on the increase. At some point in the future I will probably embark on one of these adventures myself.