Ars Technica has a nice discussion about nuclear power discussions that took place at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago. The short of it is that several prominate scientists are arguing that nuclear power has a place in our future power needs. Coming from a coal state, I’ve often wondered about which is the lesser of two evils – nuclear power or coal energy. I’m certain strong and informed opinions can be made both in the pro and con column for each technology. What I believe this strongly underscores is the notion that we will most likely use a mix of technologies to power ourselves in the future.
BBC Radio 4’s Today program recently asked “Where’s left to explore?”. The answer is an interesting discussion of the impact of geospatial technologies and the meaning of exploration that is definitely worth a read.
For my part, I think that while the grand concept of exploration is important it is our small adventures that allow us to explore beyond location into what Anthro or Cultural Geog (me included) will think is most important…our social and cultural interactions. Geocaching, tweetups, and any other small exploration of locations and people are explorations that we can all take and result in grand adventures as well as new understandings, no matter how small, of the world we live in.
The Sydney Morning Herald has an interesting article heavily quoting Google Earth’s project head John Hanke, “We’re not the bad guys.” The article goes on to heavily quote Hanke concerning the issue, but the gist of it is that technology is morally neutral. You can use it for good and bad things and it’s up to the end user to dictate the use. We talked about that point quite a bit in this week’s podcast. However, it think it’s pretty clear that nearly any technology can be used for both good and bad purposes. If you deny the good based upon the bad, is the net benefit to the public better or worse? It’s a tricky situation and has to be largely decided on a case by case basis, I think. In the case of geospatial technology, sometimes even on a layer by layer basis. Certainly the debate is interesting and I believe that geospatial professionals should keep it in the forefront in our thinking.
I have recently been looking at Open Journals for various types of content. Open Journals are freely accessible online journals, some are digital versions of traditional journals while others are electronic only published in new ways and under Creative Commons license. Below is a list of some of the Open Journals that are available in Geography and geospatial technologies. If you know of others, please mention them in the comments.
There have been several companies moving to the webinar route over the last year. These are great ways for users to get to know the nooks and crannies of products, geospatial or not, and it allows for some level of interaction with the person leading the webinar. The downside is that they aren’t always convenient to fit in your schedule, no matter how many times a given webinar is offered. Perhaps the most useful thing about a webinar is that it can be tossed online afterward for any and all who missed the original or just missed a point. ERDAS has gotten around to archiving their webinars for the general public. What is more, they seem to be rolling them out quickly so you don’t have to wait a month or more if you missed the live webinar. And…AND…you can take it with you when you download the webinar and run it on your laptop though you will need the WebEx ARF player to view the file, so no viewing on your personal media player of choice.
We recorded this week’s episode before seeing the press release Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO) Urges Congress to Establish Geospatial Subcommittee in House and Senate. The letter is available from the URISA/COGO site (pdf). It points out existing government led spatial organizations, talks about the use of geospatial technologies by various government offices and suggests existing subcommittees in the House and Senate that might best oversee geospatial activities. Duane Marble commented on the announcement over on All Points Blog stating “both Federal and non-Federal geospatial activities have been significantly hampered by the lack of any central voice at the Federal level.” It will likely be some time before any meaningful response comes from COGOs letter, but it offers significant opportunity for the geospatial industry as a whole.
We recently got an email from Kelly at Learn-gasm about the recent article from Alisa Miller on their choices for 100 Best Blogs for Earth Science Scholars, and we made the list! The 100 blogs on the list cover a wide range of content, from Geology, Meteorology, and Climate Science to Geography. My favorites are Magma Cum Laude, about volcanoes of course, and Geologic Froth, which is about geology AND geospatial technologies.
Learn-gasm is a new blog on the site BachelorsDegreeOnline, which is a resource site for online higher education and includes listings of schools that offer online programs, articles about financing, accreditation, and other topics.
In early December Matt Artz of ESRI began the new GIS and Science blog, which has been a fairly good source of information so far. Most recently Matt posted his conversation with David Maguire about his plans for the future and thoughts on his time at ESRI. The post, titled “A Farewell Chat with David Maguire, ESRI’s Chief Scientist « GIS and Science” is definitely worth a read. We wish Dr. Maguire the best as moves into a university atmosphere.
Thanks to GeoDawg and VectorOne for pointing this out.
Paul Krugman, Nobel prize winning economist, has predicted the end of the US auto industry. Although this has been widely reported elsewhere, I think it’s interesting to note the reason Krugman quotes: “It will do so because of the geographical forces that me and my colleagues have discussed…” So if anyone gives you flak for geography, tell’em geography matters. Nobel prize winners say so!
UPDATE – Apparently there was a misquote at Huffington Post, but the geography parts are still important
As you are ALL very interested in finding new spatially relevant podcast I wanted to point out one that I recently came across the The Landscape Studies Podcast. This is a video podcast that looks at Landscape Studies from a position that sits outside of most of our discussion of space and place and instead looks at the landscape as a container of sorts. Now that of course is the way that we also use in our spatial perspective of the world, but this podcast (so far) has taken a more interdisciplinary perspective. All for the good I say, and I am interested to see how their self proclaimed social experiment to engage those inside and outside of the arena of landscape studies in a dialectic goes.