Sunday, April 10, 2016

Those three little words mean home sweet home

In olden times, if you wanted to explain to someone where you lived, you just said something like, "Over the bridge, past the blighted convent, by the hangman's tree. If you get to the mule skeleton, you've gone too far."

But UPS deliveries often went to the wrong hut.

Then humanity came up with road names, numbered addresses, global positioning satellites. But now we have finally reached the pinnacle of precision—three words.

It's an app, and no, I don't own stock in it, but I love the concept—three words to define your location. It's the end of hard-to-remember numbered addresses! Every nine square meters on Earth is a new trio of words.

It's called What3Words, and it allows closer precision than GPS. Plus, it's just fun. For example, one nine square meter section of the White House is at "audit.much.client." Another section is at "cloak.deeper.pulled."

The three words are fixed. They don't change, but the order changes, so the words can be reused. "Deeper.pulled.cloak" is in Washington state. I have become addicted to putting locations into just to see if such a place exists.

I type in random combos. "Rabbit.faced.dude" is a spot in an obscure forested corner of Brazil. Granted, it's probably not getting a lot of deliveries. "Snappy.dresser.barely" is in the middle of a lake in Uganda. A small town in British Columbia hosts the location "backward.pickle.sorters." I tried the trio "unwed.donkey.jockeys" and found it in Colombia!

A spot in left field in Dodger Stadium is located at "media.became.kept." A corner of L.A. City Hall is "elite.engage.noses." A section of MacArthur Park is at "vase.awaits.puns." Now that's memorable.

Think about it. If I tell you my address is 4371 Michigan Avenue, and you don't write it down, will you be able to repeat it a day from now? But if I say I live at "," that will still be stuck in your brain pan 10 years from now.

(It's in Angola, by the way. Getting UPS to deliver there is another issue altogether.)

Unfortunately, the app guys have already set the words, so I can't choose my own address. I mean, yes, I could live at "stud.beyond.comparing," the address exists, but I'd have to move to Russia.

 . . .