What ARE Those Weirdo Midwestern Pond-Pools? And Other Aerial Arcana

By James Fallows
James Fallows

1) Oddball Pool-Ponds. Recently I mentioned one of the "America, land of surprises" aspects of a cross-country trip by air. These, above, were a sample of the pool-ponds we saw across Ohio, in this case just outside Toledo.

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It turns out that these are a known phenomenon. Here is a brochure from Purdue about the art and science of pond construction. Sample:

Should supplemental feed be provided to the fish? (Should I feed my fish?)
•     Feeding fish is generally unnecessary for farm ponds and regular feeding can even increase nutrient levels in the pond. Therefore, fish feeding should be done in moderation, if at all.
•     Ponds that are well designed and managed should provide a healthy balance of plant (phytoplankton) and animal (zooplankton) organisms that compose a productive food web for fish and vertebrate aquatic organisms that will support a healthy population of fish.

 Plus, info on the Pond Capital of Ohio. Now you (and we) know.

2) Better work by Flight Aware. I mentioned a few days ago the highly fanciful idea that Flight Aware had of one of our preceding flights. For today's journey it did quite a good job, as shown below:

Consistent with our "no difficult flying" motto for this project as a whole, the entire trip (except the first few minutes after takeoff from Holland, and occasional moments in central Illinois) was in "visual" conditions. We were being vectored around raincloud buildups, although the map makes the brush-with-danger look more immediate than it actually was. In all those ominous-looking areas around Gary and South Bend we were underneath the base of the clouds, with a clear view of the ground and the course ahead. Meanwhile we were hearing countless airliners inbound to O'Hare being piled up in holding patterns. (Look where the storms were.) Then a long sweep across Iowa toward Sioux Falls -- the switch from green line to dotted-blue is when we "cancelled IFR" and made a visual flight over scenes like the two below.

James Fallows

 

James Fallows

Before arriving in Sioux Falls in the midst of an air show and 1940s warbird celebration like this (complete with Glenn Miller music):

James Fallows

Videos to come soon.

3) The Marketplace connection. I enjoyed doing an interview today with Kai Ryssdal, about the collaborative project we are all cooking up. I am going to take him on a Cirrus flight on Wednesday, and I look forward to seeing whether the controllers notice anything if he does the radio work. 

More theory-of-Holland, plus geoblogs, tomorrow, when for the first time in a week I will be at a desk and computer most of the day.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/08/what-are-those-weirdo-midwestern-pond-pools-and-other-aerial-arcana/278615/