[ExI] what3words hipsters

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Wed Mar 27 13:35:38 UTC 2019

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat <extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org> On Behalf Of
Brian M. Delaney
Subject: Re: [ExI] what3words hipsters

>...P.S. I'm going to use this to get the clueless Lyft/Uber drivers to get
to my actual location.

Walking yesterday, wondered how many words it would take to identify any 3x3
on the planet with three words.  I realized one does not even need a piece
of paper to do that estimation.

The planet's radius is about 6367 km (and everyone carries that number
around in their heads, ja?) so square that to one digit of precision gives
about 40 million and 4 pi is close enough to 12 so about 500 million square
km or about 5E14 square meters and a 3x3 square contains close enough to 10
square meters, so about 5E13 squares or lets say 50E12 squares, and the cube
root of that is about well, less than 4E4, ja?  With 40 thousand words would
be more than enough, and if we disallow duplications, that's 120 thousand,
still have a quarter of the English words left over, even including those
you really don't want to use for this purpose.

Being no grammar hipster, I have no idea if we have enough verbs to make the
second word a verb always, and even if we do, if that would be a good idea.
Perhaps not: I could think of a number of ways that could go wrong, even
before we get to the risk of being interred in a place whose
grammatically-correct sentence would be a most unfortunate final resting

The whole exercise focuses attention on the special places on the globe,
such as latitude 0 longitude 0.  Where is it?  Out in the middle of the
South Atlantic Ocean, in that piece were South America was torn away a
billion years ago.  Doesn't that seem just wrong?  Couldn't they start the
numbering such that we could at least have a plaque there?  Failing that,
seems like we could name that square all.starts.here.

And what about the poles?  Shouldn't they get a special name?  Call them
so.cold.here. and shit.polar.bear. for instance.

OK then, so since we were on the topic of applications and games, it
occurred to me that a grid could be subdivided with two single digits.  Let
the southwest corner of a square be 00, then the first digit through 9
inclusive would be the number of, well, feet (what an ugly unit, but
annoyingly tangible) north and the second number feet west (in accordance
with latitude and longitude protocol) so the game might be to find the word
clues to get you to the treasure buried at spike.silly.idea.55, which is
right in the middle of an actual square near Northampton England.

While I was doing all this, I discovered that silly.idea.spike is easier for
me to get to: it's near Charlotte, NC.  I also discovered they allow
duplications.  spike.spike.spike is located near Annapolis MD, right near
the Naval Academy.  Cool!

I see they don't have the word "here" which is unfortunate but
understandable.  One might see how that would make the bidding wars for
cemetery locations even worse.  

As I play with this What3Words, I just keep getting a feeling of hope and
optimism, that the future of humanity is bright, that there are better ways
for our species to live and grow into an ever more marvelous, robust and
noble species, that there are cubic buttloads of money to be made here.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list