Reader's Exchange

Beware the Ides of March--and creepy geography

Today is March 15.  If Julius Caesar were around, he'd have a new concern of which to beware.  It's illustrated by Creepy, which, according to the interview I caught on KUT this past weekend, is a program that anyone could use to track your movements.  Creepy aggregates the GPS data encoded in all those Twitter, Flickr, and Foursquare transmissions you send.  The user can construct a map displaying your whereabouts during those communications.

Creepy's originator, Yiannis Kakavas, had a motive (other than being creepy): to alert smartphone users that they are unintentionally divulging more personal information than they probably intended to.  Consider photos of one's children playing in their back yard, for example; GPS coordinates pinpoint your home address.

Mr. Kakavis' cautionary project warns of potential threats of location specificity.  On the other hand, last night's drive home from work (the car in front of me displayed a glowing nighttime GPS screen identical to the one on my dashboard) reminded me of its obvious capability to empower.  night gps screen

Geographic knowledge is also wonderfully entertaining.  If you'd prefer to enhance your familiarity with other cultures and locales, I have just the thing--a short list of mystery series set in exotic places.  Usually, my suggestions are based on personal acquaintance, but in this case I've chosen travel-worthy selections recommended by other librarians and readers:

  • Tarquin Hall: Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator series (The Case of the Missing Servant, The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing) set in Delhi, India
  • John Burdett:  Sonchai Jitpleecheep series (Bangkok 8, Bangkok Tattoo, Bangkok Haunts, The Godfather of Kathmandu) set in Thailand
  • Donna Leon:  Commissario Guido Brunetti series (Death at la Fenice, Acqua Alta, Uniform Justice and several others) set in Venice
  • James Church:  Inspector O series(A Corpse in the Koryo, Hidden Moon, Bamboo and Blood, The Man with the Baltic Stare) set in North Korea
  • Barbara Nadel:  Inspector Ikmen series (Belshazzar's Daughter, The Ottoman Cage, Arabesk) set in Turkey
  • Colin Cotterill:  Dr. Siri Paiboun series (The Coroner's Lunch, Thirty-three Teeth, Disco for the Departed, Anarchy and Old Dogs and several others) set in Laos
  • Cara Black: Aimee Leduc series (Murder in the Marais, Murder in Belleville, Murder in the Sentier, Murder in the Bastille and several others) set in Paris
  • Zoe Ferraris: Katya Hijazi and Nayir Sharqi series (Finding Nouf, City of Veils) set in Saudi Arabia
  • I. J. Parker: Sugawara Akitada series (Rashomon Gate, Black Arrow, Island of Exiles, The Hell Screen and others) set in 11th-century Japan

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