Nice try Scorpions. Not good enough. The Foo Fighters ACTUALLY rocked us WITH earthquakes! Real, honest to goodness earthquakes! The band took the stage in New Zealand after Tenacious D for a 3 hour set that caused tremors a mile away. How do they know it was the band and not a freak occurrence? Science explains all – ‘There are lulls in the signal between the songs and peaks in signal intensity during the songs.’ Scientists believe the tremors came from the 50,000 fans dancing to songs. In fairness, Tenacious D actually started the tremors during their opening act (I like to think this kicked it off). But really, it was the Foo Fighters that took the tremors to the wall… possibly with this
Here’s some bad news for LightSquared – looks like their system will negatively impact the overwhelming majority of GPS receivers currently in operation, based upon a leak of a test report. A series of tests were conducted by the National Telecommunications & Information Administration between Oct. 31 to Nov. 4 confirming this concern. LightSquared fired back suggesting they plan on operating at a lower power point than the tests and that ‘interfered’ isn’t properly defined by the study. They estimate their new systems will only negatively interact with 10% of existing GPS units. LightSquared says in a letter, “The report presents a completely slanted and selective review of the test results. Clearly the leak was intended to prejudge the issue and prejudice public opinion against LightSquared.”
To be honest, in my opinion, even 10% seems a bit high. Regulators were withholding approval for the new system in anticipation of this study. Looks like to me LightSquared better commission a new study PDQ or risk loosing approval for their new systems.
I love lists like this – combining space and nerdy things is one of my favorite things in the world! So check out Wired’s 9 Nerdy Film Locations You Need to Visit in Your Lifetime. It covers everything from Star Wars, to Lord of the Rings, to 12 Monkeys. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll recognize the location right away. You’ll rack up a lot of frequent flyer miles getting to them because they’re all over the globe, from Latin America to New Zealand. One of them is located in New York (Number 8 Hook and Ladder, featured in Ghostbusters), so I’m going to use AAG to mark at least one of them off my list
Adobe announced today they are killing development of a mobile flash player. Is this the death call for flash? Maybe not, but it certainly is a serious blow. We all know the mobile platform is growing at a phenomenal rate and it’s hard for IT departments to contemplate new development that doesn’t include mobile platforms. However, for now at least, flash on the desktop is secure. Adobe has re-affirmed commitment to HTML 5 development and tools. It may take over the Flash platform even on the desktop in the not too distant future. I rather curious to see if API developers are looking to expand into the HTML 5 market anytime soon.
Prepare to watch today’s productivity sink like a log tied with rocks and encased in a block of cement. The Royal Society in the UK has thrown open its archives of papers that date back to the 17th century. There are some seriously amazing gems in that collection. Newton’s first paper? It’s in there. Ben Franklin’s kite experiment? It’s in there. Kinda curious what Darwin was publishing before his famous book? Guess what? In there. What to know what the first mention of ‘geography’ was in the collection? That would have been all the way back at the beginning in 1686.
Let’s be honest – I could spend weeks and weeks in this collection and still only scratch the outer coating of the packaging for the surface. All you have to do it begin your journey into the history of science is click this little link.
Sometimes I think we can forget how beautiful the human built environment can become. The All That Is Interesting Blog had an interesting piece last week on the Eixample district of Barcelona. This district was famously built in the early 20th century specifically with a grid layout and rounded street corners. The idea behind the corners is to allow for greater visibility and to ‘open up’ the design. As the site points out, the effect of the area is quite striking when taken as a whole, particularly in areal photo form. Perhaps more interesting is the human geography that has grown around this design. A simple wikipedia search shows this district to house a range of social and ethnic populations. The place was designed with the needs of the population located in each of it’s five neighborhoods. Markets, schools, and hospitals littered the neighborhoods and apparently many of the existing markets in the area have been there since the beginning. All in all, it’s an attractive built environment we can see and visit even today.
Just in time for my switch to the iOS platform. ESRI has finally released ArcGIS for Android! If you’re on the Android platform, head over to the Android Marketplace and you can download this free app. If you’re familiar with the iOS or the Windows 7 Phone version, you should know what to expect – mobile mapping, location based information, data collection ability, the ability to link to your own Arc Server installation, etc. All great stuff and it’s wonderful to see it finally here! Guess what I’ll be playing with this morning?
It’s amazing what you can find if you slow down when you’re flipping through the channels. The other day I happened to stop at PBS and caught this wonderful documentary, “How Long Is A Piece Of String?”, published by the BBC. It features comedian Alan Davies attempting to accurately measure the length of a piece of string. Ultimately the documentary becomes an exploration of quantum physics, but along the way they cover a great bit of geography in the form of scale. In fact there’s a whole bit in the middle there where Davies attempts to measure a bit of coast line, which neatly demonstrates the coastline paradox. If you want to jump to the paradox bit, it can be found at around 2:15 through just over 5:00 in this smaller video.
NASA has teamed with Japan’s Earth Remote Sensing Data Analysis Center to create a new topographic map covering 99% of the Earth’s landmass. The maps are created using two sets of data from Japan’s ASTER sensor which are slightly offset from one another. Merging the data creates a 3D look like Google Earth’s topographic display. The elevation measurements are 30 meters apart. The real benefit here is that it’s the first global elevation model and it’s freely available for anyone in the world to use. Furthermore, since it’s using the existing ASTER sensor, new models can be built often, which allows for significant change detection from year to year. That’s especially important in areas like West Virginia, where mining techniques can have a significant impact on the topography. Watch the video at the link for more information and some great visuals!