Ocean Beneath Asia

Have you ever heard of Atlantis being called the land beneath the ocean? Well how about an ocean beneath the land? Apparently researchers have found a sizable blob of water beneath Asia. It’s about the size of the Arctic Ocean and the yet another lovely byproduct of plate tectonics. Apparently it also serves a critical function in helping to dampen the effects of seismic activity.

New 3D virtual world Kaneva getting ready to launch

While catching up on virtual world and metaverse news, I found this interesting little article about a startup virtual world called Kaneva, which is in beta testing. Its creator, Christopher Klaus, notes in the article that he is expecting Kaneva to go live in the first half of this year. Klaus previously founded a company called Internet Security Systems, which was bought by IBM last year for $1.3 billion US.

According to Klaus, Kaneva is “a modern-day world, and it’s completely online. What we’ve done that’s innovative is brought social networking and media integration together. There’s both a browser-based interface and a 3D interface into the world. What that does is allow you to socialize and connect with others and get content purely with a browser. But if you want to get more engaged in an immersive experience, there is a 3D interface.”

Mark over at 3pointD also has a more in-depth post about Kaneva, and it seems that he actually had a chance to talk to Christopher Klaus and a couple of others from Kaneva and get some detailed info.

Via Digit Online

Digitized Russian Military Maps of the UK go on sale

A couple of news outlets in the UK are reporting on Landmark Information Group’s recently completed project to digitize Soviet military maps of the UK, which include 16,000 square kilometres and 103 UK town and cities, which have just gone on sale. The maps were mostly done between 1950 and 1990 and, in some cases are available at a 1:10,000 scale. Also included with the maps are a street index, descriptions, and lists of important buildings, such as military complexes.

The UK maps were part of a secretive effort by the Russian military and KGB to map countries around the world, and the maps only came to light really by accident. When the Soviet Union began to crumble in 1991, the Russian military was forced to withdraw quickly from many of the USSR’s satellite states. Following the withdrawal, thousands of paper maps covering the whole world were found in abandoned train carriages in Latvia and Estonia. Whether abandoned on purpose of by accident, the maps were seized by locals and sold to various private companies. The Register article has a link to another article by John Davies, which gives more information about the Soviet maps. Although the existence of these maps has been discussed before, this is the first time the UK collection has been offered for sale in digital form.

A US company, East View Carographics, bought the UK maps and in turn sold them to Landmark Information Group, which has just completed the task of digitizing the maps and is now offering them for sale online at Landmark’s Envirocheck website.

Via The Register and Swindon Advertiser

Top 11 Underground Systems in the World

Part two of our two part expose of the World’s Great Subways is this great article detailing the Top 11 Underground Systems in the World. If you’ve every had a hankern’ to travel the world to see it’s underground wonders, this is the site for you. Rather nice pictures of each of the Underground systems as well as a few movies give you a feel for what you can expect on your world tour. I have to say I was rather surprised at some of the amenities of these undergrounds – heated seats, ecologic cleaning systems, architectural wonders… most impressive.

O.K., I lied slightly… it wasn’t a two part expose, I just found a couple of interesting articles about Underground transportation systems I wanted to share…

Subway Maps From Around The World

Ever have an upcoming trip to (INSERT CITY NAME) and think, “Wow, I hate taking cabs. I wish I knew how to use the subway system in (INSERT CITY NAME FROM ABOVE HERE)!” Well here’s a great site for you! This site has gone through the trouble to scan in digital copies of all the subway maps of the major cities of the world. Unfortunately, they’re not very interactive right now, but here’s hoping for upgrades.

Virtual Worlds 2007

I was catching up on my metaverse news this morning, and realized I missed the announcements about Virtual Worlds 2007, a conference about the future of Virtual Worlds in a number of areas, including entertainment and marketing. Now, opinions may be divided about Virtual Worlds like Second Life, but if you look at the speakers lined up for this conference, it’s clear that a lot of people are taking it seriously. Keynotes include speakers from IBM Research, Nickelodeon, and MTV. In addition, there are featured speakers from the Centers for Disease Control, Harvard Business Review, Sundance Channel, CNET News, and Walt Disney Parks.

In addition, there will also be speakers from Linden Labs (Second Life), Entropia Universe, Whyville, and other virtual worlds.

The conference is scheduled for March 28-29, 2007 in New York City.

Common Sense and Scavenger Hunts

Some people don’t like scavenger hunts such as geocaching and the old fashioned clues and X marks the spot map because participants sometimes ignore common sense or courtesy. Some of the problems are caused by poor planning on the part of organizers. What was Cadbury Schweppes thinking when they organized a scavenger hunt that included one of the U.S.’s most historic cemeteries? Are people searching for a hidden coin that promises big money prizes going to stop mid-hunt to ponder the graves of John Hancock or Paul Revere? The Boston Parks commission closed the cemetery out of fear that graves would be desecrated. You would like to think that people would know that the coin wouldn’t be buried in a grave, which is probably what the company hired by Cadbury Schweppes was thinking.