Snow Trench


If you lack the time, energy, know-how, or inclination to construct a cave or quinzhee you can maybe get by with a trench. You simply build a "foxhole" 2 or 3 feet deep and just big enough for your sleeping bag not to touch the walls (but also as small as possible, to conserve body heat). Pile the excavated snow into an encircling wall. Then lay skis or snowshoes or tree branches across the open trench and cover them with a tarp or space blanket or whatever you have available. Secure it with snow. The result, says my informant, can be an astonishingly effective shelter, especially as protection against wind -- though it's not really viable in stormy weather.

-- Colin Fletcher and Chip Rawlins, The Complete Walker IV (New York: Knopf, 2003), 442.

Collections and Exhibits

MoCA: Museum of Chinese in the Americas. Bad Beijing architecture. Drawings by second graders of the human body. A huge collection of Photoshop tutorials. The British Library’s Database of Bookbindings. Stephen Downes’s Index of Logical Fallacies. Kevin Sherry’s Sweater Project. Jason Patient’s cycling images. Edward Tufte’s argument against PowerPoint presented as a PowerPoint presentation.


WPA posters at the Library of Congress. An aging family. Scott Blake’s bar code art. An infrared pornographic movie. Tabloid photographs from The Los Angeles Herald Express, 1936-61. Stone Pages: “Stonehenge, stone circles, dolmens, ancient standing stones, cairns, barrows, hillforts and archaeology of megalithic Europe.” The Chairman Smiles: Posters from the Former Soviet Union, Cuba, and China at the International Institute of Social History. Stefan Landsberger’s Chinese propaganda poster pages. Nico van Hoorn’s Trashlog. Not Fooling Anybody: Poorly executed commercial real estate conversions. Sacramento hijacker weaponry for sale at Goodwill Industries. Nineteenth-Century images of albinism. Anatomical drawings: The dream anatomy gallery at the National Institutes of Health. James Smolka photographs. Michael Kenna photographs. Jon Haddock’s pages at, including senators voting for the Patriot Act and pornographic photographs without figures. Sublimate. The Beinecke Library’s photonegatives collection database.


Justin Kruger and David Dunning, “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments.” Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman’s Crusade for Free Software by Sam Williams. “The Social Life of Paper” by Malcolm Gladwell. Read Cory Doctorow’s Eastern Standard Tribe one word at a time. Herman Krieger’s Churches ad Hoc: A Divine Comedy. The world produced half a million Libraries of Congress of print, film, and magnetically or optically stored data in 2002 (double the output in 1999), according to “How Much Information? 2003,” a report by researchers at UC-Berkeley’s School of Information Management and Systems.