Dear National Guard, D.C. thanks you ❤️

A geolocation challenge in our nation's capitol — with a twist!

A couple of weeks ago, I asked my followers to tell me where I was standing:

As usual, I was precisely geolocated very quickly. Unless Twitter filtered out some replies (which it annoyingly does sometimes), the first person to do so correctly was Leon, and he did that in 15 minutes:

He also helpfully provided a link to the location on Google Maps:

While Leon didn’t provide his methodology, plenty of other people did, and I especially liked this response:

This shows you how even when you’re feeling stumped, you can easily begin to zoom in on particular clues — even when you’re dealing with a photo in a low light setting, taken on a phone — and begin the process of elimination.

As I always tell people, geolocation seems like it’s a very technical process, thus very daunting to some of us — but it is, in fact, organic. It can start with a hunch or a feeling. And the more you do it, the more you are able to refine the process.

I also really liked the fact that the above reply generated some much-needed discussion about military uniforms in photographs:

Gustav asked a very good question:

And Nick provided a very good answer:

We did a lot of takes that evening, but we managed to get it just right:

This detail of the picture is vague enough that people who aren’t used to looking at uniforms may need to do some work and some thinking. And that’s important! Work is how you grow — and it’s how you begin to recognize details that may not immediately stand out at.

I want to take the time to say this here: We took this picture in this location for a reason. A lot of people are upset that the National Guard remains in downtown D.C. There are good arguments both for keeping them longer and for stopping this. But as we discuss this situation, please remember that the actual guys on the ground are not making the decisions.

Whatever your opinions as to their presence, they are here because they’ve been called up. We’ve been privileged to make friends with some Natty Guard members since January 6th, and we know how much pressure they’re under. So please keep that in mind, if you can.

Now, for the last part, a lot of people participating in the challenge noticed my Pikachu hat:

I wear it for fun, but, because this newsletter is also focused on safety, I wore it to make a point.

As I always say — our clothes and accessories can give out a LOT of information about us, whether we realize it or not.

What can my Pikachu hat potentially say about me?

— I may be into Pokémon (I’m not, actually, but what if I was? What if I was on forums, or somehow otherwise active in the fan community? There could be a lot of info you could glean from that)

— I may have a child (I do, in fact! Let’s face it, I regularly steal this hat from him)

— If you follow my digital footprint, you may have noticed the appearance of other Pikachu gear. So, are we ordering it from somewhere? Maybe on a site where I’ve used a recycled password (as a lot of people tend to do while shopping)? Could someone check for past data breaches, find a password, and access my data? It’s possible!

I hope I’ve given you something to think about here. Just remember, the point of this newsletter is not to make you paranoid. It’s to keep you informed.

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