NASA and Gowalla team up for a nationwide scavenger hunt

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!

Via GeekSugar

Multi-Touch Spherical Display DIY

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 Legend of Lillian Alling

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.

Google Funds Offsite Windfarms on East Coast

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.

Map of all the munitions dumped in Europe after WWI and WWII

OSPAR Commission has released a map showing the known locations where munitions where dumped following World War’s I and II.  The way of thinking at the time was the safest way to get rid of all of those unexploded bombs, grenades, land mines, and whatnot was to toss it in the sea.  The status report details the dangers present to current populations, especially fishermen.  It’s a problem we don’t think about that often because it’s something that happened nearly between 60 to 95 years ago, but it still presents a very real danger.