The sun came out!  We walked all the way from the Mediterranean to the top of Park Guell, the view from the top of which, back to the sea, is straight off a postcard.  I suspect Barcelona is just too hot and crowded to be what I’d want in the summer — it’s crowded even now, midweek — but if you can come off-season as we have, it’s just one of the nicest cities in the world.

Jeff Schwarz:  “Chip wrote, ‘The GPS worked on my phone even though I had no international data or phone service. I had no data or phone charges.’   GPS works off of a bunch of satellites – GPS satellites – which have nothing to do with the cellular or wireless network or anything. They are different signals, entirely. The GPS signal comes free of charge from those satellites, whether or not you have a cell signal and even independently of whether your device has cellular capability.”

☞ Yet I feel sure AT&T is working to find a way to charge us for it anyway.  (Don’t get me started.)  (Okay, okay, they wanted $494 for four days during which I made no calls and almost always had the phone either in “airplane mode” or with data roaming OFF but, mainly, and most of the time, entirely OFF.  AT&T explained that my phone had nonetheless downloaded 24 megabytes of data for which they were charging $494.  This, they noted when I called, was even more than the $30 they would have charged had I signed up for their 120-megabyte data package.  Which — as I imagine this nice service rep is employed to do all day long — she cheerfully offered to grant me retroactively.  So instead of $494, it was discounted to $30.  But would not have been if I had not disputed the charge.  A strange way to run a railroad.)


On the plane over, I read every word of last Thursday’s New York Times Special Energy Section.  It was so fascinating — and, in the main, hopeful — I can’t even do my usual thing of picking out a few key paragraphs.  (Plus, well, I’m on vacation.)  Yes, there is the largely unaddressed question of how our becoming energy independent faster than anyone expected will work with our need to reduce climate-changing carbon emissions.  But at least some of the good news in that Special Section is carbon-free; and for more — amazing news, really, if it pans out — here is the TED Talk I wrote about in February shortly after 19-year-old Taylor Wilson first gave it.

[Schamlz ON] What a time to be alive.  How we must strive to spread the opportunities; and not screw up the planet as we do so.  [Schamlz OFF]

Have a great day as I hurtle back across the Atlantic Ocean.



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