Google's 2012 US Wildfires Crisis Map

Google Crisis US Wildfire

Google has a map showing the various fires in the western US. The Google US Wildfire Crisis Map gets it’s data from various sources including InciWeb.

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Missing Person Looking For The Lost Dutchman Mine

Superstitions

People are still looking for the Lost Dutchman Mine in the Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction, Arizona. Including Jesse Capen who disappeared looking for it in January of 2010.

He had planned to return to Denver in time for Christmas, but he either walked away or was taken from his campsite, and his whereabouts remain a mystery. He could have been bitten by a rattlesnake, shot by another prospector or fallen and broken his leg and been devoured by a bear, Burnett said.
“Deputies suspect foul play may be involved because there is no sign of him,” she said. “Even if he would have been eaten by wild animals, there would be shoes and clothes left behind.”

Capen, who had never married, worked a graveyard shift as a bellhop at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel the past 11 years. For 10 years, he spent his free time studying the legend of the Lost Dutchman mine.
“This is beyond obsessed,” Burnett said. “He has more than 100 books and maps on the legend. This was like research for a Ph.D. This is a classic case of a man’s search for treasure.”

I’ve been camping a few times in the Superstition Mountains when I lived in Arizona as a kid. It’s hard to believe that a area relatively close to a major city, with today’s technology of Google Maps and GPS locators that someone could disappear so easily.

As far as I know, Jesse Capen has not been found.

Raffle For A House In Rio Rancho, New Mexico

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If the HGTV Dream Home Sweepstake doesn’t work out, there’s a raffle for a $190,000 house in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. I looked for it in Google Maps and found that part of the Cabezon development that the house is supposed to be in is photographed properly but not mapped properly. I had to use a few different mapping programs to find the house, which doesn’t seem to actually built yet It will probably be a fine house if you don’t mind living next to dirt lots for a while.

2483 Corvara Drive in Astante Villas Gated Community at Cabezon in Rio Rancho, NM. GRAND PRIZE: Win a beautiful brand new home valued at $189,900 or $100,000 CASH. Additional 100 CASH Prizes to be given away. Tickets are $75.00 each. Drawing will be February 27, 2010 at the home to be given away. This raffle benefits El Ranchito de los Ninos Children’s Home — a home for children who do not have a home of their own and are unable to live with their biological families.

Ahwatukee Arizona's House Of The Future

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When I was a kid growing up in Arizona one of the few memories I can recall is visiting the Ahwatukee Arizona “House of the Future” with my Cub Scout group. The house was built in 1979 at a cost $1,200,000 dollars. It was a demonstration for a planned community. It appears to have lost money every year it was sold.

Surprisingly there is no Wikipedia entry on the subject but I did find a June 23rd, 1980 article from InfoWorld on Google Book Search.

The house was designed by Charles R. Schiffner of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Built over 30 years ago it featured an advanced home automation system with five Motorola 6800 processors linked together. The system was designed by Motorola who was the major employer in Arizona at the time.

It’s important to note that the Ahwatukee home is not a computer controlled home, rather the home permits the tenant to to be in complete control of his environment, making the important decisions which will then be carried out by the microcomputer system.

That’s a quote from Charles E. Thompson, some marketing genius who seems to want to keep people from being scared of the computer controlled house. It’s also worth mentioning that 30 years later, I have been able to reproduce everything that house was capable of for a few thousand dollars and that such home automation capabilities have not yet caught on although the energy saving technologies have.

The house still exists today at 3713 Equestrian Trail, Phoenix, Az and can be seen on Google Maps. Although they gave tours back in the day for $3, I can’t seem to find any information on who the current owner is or even pictures of the interior on the internet.

Update 2016-01-14 More pictures of the house can be found at PrairieMod’s “More House Of The Future“.

Update 2012-12-27: I have found 10 photos from my trip from the early 1980’s.

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 1

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 2

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 3

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 4

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 5

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 6

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 7

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 8

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 9

Ahwatukee House Of The Future 10

Mcdonalds Sign Crushes Car In Window Rock Arizona

A couple driving from Tucson, Arizona to Chicago had their Chevy Trailblazer crushed when a Mcdonalds Golden Arches fell on it in Window Rock Arizona. 60MPH winds were apparently responsible for causing the sign to fall down. They were pretty seriously injured. This is probably part of the same storm that is in New Mexico now and I’ve had winds this fast at my house before. Imagine driving down the freeway with this kind of weather.

Window Rock is located on the Arizona and New Mexico border, north of Gallup New Mexico and north of Interstate 40. There’s a picture of Mcdonalds on Google Maps that could be the sign that crushed the car.

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Via Jalopnik