I just read a weird article about “Some Ways to Make Children Think Santa Exists” that includes children follow Santa’s journey on Norad all the way up to a voice transmorgified phone call from Santa. Like “How to Lie With Maps“, it unitentionally raises some questions about how kids are influenced by technology. I would consider kids today to be more savvy than 1897 “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” or the kids (and adults) who believed in the Cottingly Fairies that were created using the new “photograph” technology. I think that GIS can enhance holiday experienes by tracking Santa, making family trees, showing hometowns, and generally intergrating it into everyday life. I am not so sure about voice changers.
The British Geological Survey, the world’s oldest national geological survey, is offering GEOSCIENCE, a free service for sharing geospatial information including maps, 3D maps, and photographs. The GEOSCENIC is really cool because it is geological photos from their archives that can be used free of charge for non-commercial purposes. They have a make-a-map function for students and teachers. I think that overall this site would make a great addition to history, geography, geology, or science lesson plans. I’m making a bunch of really awesome screen savers.
If you’re looking for map related gifts this year, one of the most extensive I’ve found is rare maps. You can search for maps by state or type. They even have a monthly contest to win a rare map . This December you can win a 1851 map of Russia in Europe. The only thing that I wonder about is if the maps are stand alone or come from old books. I love old books and may have to look at some of their old books too. I especially like the name of the book by reknowned map seller Tooley, “My Head is a Map”.
Not geospatial in any way, but the current story-line on Rose Is Rose is a fun little romp through the extremes of social networking.
Over on Engadget, I did spy with my little eyes the next great accessory for geospatial technologies…the Maplock. This amazing device allows you to chain your in-car navigation unit to your steering wheel to deter thieves from smashing your window and walking away with your GPS device. Admittedly some of the in-car systems are still pricey and anything that will deter folks from bothering to smash your window to move on to an easier target is all to the good, BUT the old joke about The Club that you actually have to take it out of the plastic remains. How many folks would install this deterrent system only to never actually attach it to the steering wheel each time they get out? ‘A’ for effort and they will probably sell quite a few, but I think I will pass, and not just because I don’t own an in-car navi
According to CNN, MIT has won Darpa’s Balloon Challenge. Darpa released the coordinates yesterday. They were the first to locate 10 weather balloon locations in the U.S. by promising to give away money in a chain format to all who send in locations. The DARPA Challenge site maps the locations of all the balloons in case you want to see if one was near you. Did anyone out there participate?
According to the BBC, Eric Gordon Douglas from Edinburgh left nearly £11,000 for 20 towns around the world that share his surname. The Herald Scotland states that no one knows anything about their benefactor other than his name and home city. On the Rampant Scotland site you can find out “Is Your Home Town Named After Somewhere in Scotland?” I tried to find a MacLennan town on Rootweb but all I found was Mc Lennan Co. Texas. When I googled my surname I found that there is a book series character called Brodie MacLennan. “The start of a thrilling Edinburgh-based series starring rebellious young lawyer Brodie McLennan.”
Something that I’ve wanted to post for a while is Reader’s Digests 50 jokes for 50 states competition. You can be entered in a chance to win $1,500 for a funny but family friendly joke about your state. According to their introductory paragragh, jokes show “the U.S.A. is one big, happy dysfunctional family” It might be great fun for family reunion to come up with jokes (or maybe not). According to a 2002 scientific study the funniest joke in the world was a hunting joke seen here. In case you were wondering there IS a geography joke site which includes funnys such as: Q:What do an astrologist and a cartographer have in common? A:They both specialise in projections.