The USA Science and Engineering Festival expo is less than a week away, and here’s a commercial highlighting some of the great exhibits that will be featured:
I am putting the finishing touches on a paper session that will highlight outreach efforts in Geography and/or geospatial technologies. I need another paper or two to round out the session. If you are doing any outreach work, formal or informal, and you are interested in sharing your successes and lessons learned please contact me at “jesse dot rouse at uncp dot edu” by Tuesday (19 Oct). Deadline for abstracts is this Wednesday, 20 October and you have to register to submit your abstract.
For all of you out there who use Gowalla as your mobile location-based social sharing app, you’ll want to check out the new partnership between NASA and Gowalla that includes a fun virtual scavenger hunt called “Search for Moon Rocks.” Any time you visit a museum, science center, or planetarium that has a real moon rock on display, you can check in and get a virtual moon rock for your Gowalla account. Since NASA astronauts successfully brought lunar samples back to Earth during the Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17 missions, there are plenty of places where you can find them. To help you out, NASA has posted a fun map visualization of the places where you can find lunar samples on display.
The NASA-Gowalla partnership also allows users to collect 3 other virtual items – a NASA patch, a spacesuit, and a space shuttle – when they check in at NASA visitor centers and other museums and facilities that are part of the NASA Museum Alliance. And, as if that weren’t exciting enough, the 100 Gowalla users to collect 3 out of the 4 NASA patches will receive a copy of the Search for the Moon Rocks map in the mail!
I want one! It’s a multi-touch spherical display that you can make for around $1,000. Oddly enough for such a high tech device, it’s got a bit of a steampunk vibe to it. The first example they use is the obvious Google Earth example, but they do show using it in other contexts. I’m not convinced the photo viewer or music making device really needs a globe surface. If you’re interested in making your own, the directions for building one can be found here. WARNING: The directions aren’t exactly the simplest to follow and I’d imagine there’s a lot of winging it involved.
The Globe and Mail has a story about Lillian Alling, an adventuress who mapped out a route across North America to Siberia by foot and became a legend. According to Tom Hawthorn, “Her story – a mystery with a beginning but no certain end – has inspired novels, films and an opera, which is to debut in Vancouver later this week.” The Vancouver Opera’s Lillian Alling is about Lillian Alling who came to New York City to find a man called Jozéf and walks across North America to find him. The Vancouver Opera has a http://vancouveropera.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-lillian-alling-book-club.html which reviews books on the Canadian immigrant experience, women travelers, and her legend itself. Several blogs and books are dedicated to Lillian Alling including one called “Walking Home” by Susan Smith, The Woman Who Walked to Russia: A Writer’s Search for a Lost Legend
by Cassandra Pybus which was the first historical book which follows Lillian Alling’s journey.
Any of our long-time readers/listeners can tell you I’m a HUGE fan of offshore windfarms. I think they flat out just make the most sense for sustainable energy production. Apparently Google agrees with me. Google is funding a windfarm that is supposed to stretch from New Jersey to Virginia and generate enough power to light two million homes. They put up a bit over 1/3 the costs, but the article doesn’t say where the other 2/3rds of the money is coming. The power will be transmitted onshore via underwater cables. No word as of yet when it will go live.
In this week’s podcast I tossed out a term, spatial media, to try to clarify our conversation. The discussion was partially prompted by the V1 article titled “Have Social Media and Mapping Linked with GIS-CAD and Geospatial Technologies?” My take on the article’s title was completely different from the article itself, which brought about, for me at least, the question of what is social media and is it a one size fits all term? I hear social media and I think blogs, podcasts, facebook, twitter…basically a medium for discourse or at least discussion. The article, Frank, and Sue (to some extent) saw it more as a spatial data perspective where we are creating location based content (check-ins, location descriptions, location capture whether active or passive). For me this moves into a different area.
For those who are not aware Earth Science Week is just around the corner, October 10-16. A good portion of Geography looks at the physical environment and its components…aka is Earth Science. Basically it gives us another week to push Geography awareness. But instead of the focus on human-environment interaction that we trend towards in November, Earth Science Week gives us a chance to talk about some of the physical geography basics. While we have talked about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) as being connected to Geography broadly, this is where some of the most notable connections exist. Earth Science Week gives us a chance to highlight weather, climate, geomorphology, biogeography and all of the goodness in between. Not only does it cover a breadth of topics, but also numerous methods and techniques. Whether you want to model the environment using computers, do some hands on lab work, or pull your hiking boots out of the closet and head to the field, don’t forget to take advantage of Earth Science Week to highlight the fact that Geography is all about the Earth, science and all.