Friday, April 27, 2007

Knoxville Sunsphere on Google Earth

The 1982 World's Fair brought Knoxville one of its most known landmarks, the Sunsphere. Located off Clinch Ave in Knoxville, the Sunsphere and the remaining World's Fair Park have undergone renovations over the last few years.

1st model without textures

Most notable is the addition of the new Knoxville Convention Center, seen above to the right of the Sunsphere. Whether you remember the Sunsphere from the '82 World's Fair or the episode of the Simpson's where it was dubbed the "Wig-sphere," there's no doubting you know it when you see it. I always thought it looked a little like a big golf ball on a tee.
I have made a basic model for Google Earth of the Sunsphere. I have yet to add textures for the sphere. I'll get around to that later. I'm also working on the Convention Center and the little Amphitheater to the left. As I add the details and such I'll update both the Google layers and this site.

I have updated the Sunsphere with textures and changed the base from a square model to a hexagon model. Here's the new link for the Sunsphere Google Earth download.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

First Habitable Planet Outside Solar System Discovered

An international team of astronomers from Switzerland, France and Portugal have discovered the most Earth-like planet outside our Solar System to date.

The planet has a radius only 50 percent larger than Earth and is very likely to contain liquid water on its surface. There's lots of evidence that this is a planet of interest for scientists. The planet is larger than Earth and orbits its sun in less than 2 weeks. It's also closer to that sun than we are. However, their sun is a Red Dwarf and much less intense than ours. [ ...more... ]

Happy Birthday to GIS PILOT !!!

First of all, thanks to everyone for the feedback on such things as missing links, dead links, or just ideas. Anytime you come across a link or suggestion, feel free to shoot me a line at GIS PILOT.

Well, it's been one year now since good 'ole GIS Pilot took to the Internet and I never dreamed it would get this big. It started as this blog with the GIS links in the header. After getting about 1,500 links, Blogger couldn't really handle it too well and I was forced to search for more secure and bigger stomping grounds. So, last April I started up the Pilot and it's been a learning experience since.

There are some updates to mention. So far this week, I've added a Feedburner widget to the GIS PILOT main page and links page. It's that little black box with the orange RSS feed icon. Also, I've changed the main page index into direct links. Previously, I had a table with all the state names. I took out the table and just added the links directly for easier updating.

The Contact page has been updated with a new e-mail. Previously there was a form with comments that got into the hands of spammers. So, that went away. A new e-mail was set up through GMAIL which filters out that crap and saves me some time. Never understood that stuff. 75% of it's not in English anyways, so it's not like it readable.

Anyway, it's been a great year and I look forward to expanding all my sites. Thanks again for all of your support.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Animaniacs sing all the countries

One of my favorite bits it this one involving Yakko Warner singing the countries of the world from the TV cartoon Animaniacs.
animaniacs sing all the countries

Why Google Earth Isn't "Live!"

Maybe someday down the road there will be live imaging on satellite programs like Google Earth. For now, however, we have to deal with the possibility that because of people like Homer Simpson that day will not come soon.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Moment On Earth

On August 5th, 2004, the world came together in the form of photographs. The images were part of the Moment on Earth project put together to make a Mosaic that you can enjoy even further by zooming in on each of the individual pictures that taken. All the pictures were taken on August 5th and the variety of how people live around the world led to the diversity of the site.

Google Maps vs. MSN Virtual Earth

Similar to how British Airways censored rival Virgin Airlines boss, Richard Branson, out of a showing of "Casino Royal," Microsoft's Virtual Earth has taken some liberties with rival Apple Computers. Seems by looking for the Apple Inc.'s main campus on Virtual Earth, you would find a blank section of land. Try it with Google Maps and you get the whole picture.

Monday, April 16, 2007

China: Yangtze is irreversibly polluted

China's massive Yangtze river, a lifeline for tens of millions of people, is seriously polluted and the damage is almost irreversible, a state-run newspaper said Monday.

More than 370 miles of the river are in critical condition and almost 30 percent of its major tributaries are seriously polluted, the China Daily said, citing a report by the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The pollution, along with damming and heavy use of boats, has caused a sharp decline in aquatic life along the Yangtze.

The report said the annual harvest of aquatic products from the river has dropped from 427,000 tons in the 1950s to about 100,000 tons in the 1990s. [...continue article...]

Colorado Rockies Score with Solar Power

Another baseball team is set to add Solar Power to its stadium. Like the San Francisco Giants announced a few months back, the Colorado Rockies are going green with the addition of Solar Power to Coors Field. Colorado Rockies 1st baseman Todd Helton is from UT (Go Vols), also. Just thought I'd mention that.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

How Driving A Toyota Prius May Do More Harm Than Good...

Buying a Toyota Prius, with its high gas mileage, may seem like a good idea in your fight to help the environment. However, in the long run, the production of the vehicle may be doing more harm than good. The materials used for the batteries, in this case the nickel, are mine, refined, and transported across the world at great expense.

Similar to how the Fiji water cost about 26 gallons of water to produces one gallon of drinkable water, the expenses of making the vehicle may negate its final output.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Google Earth maps out Darfur atrocities

As of today, when the 200 million users of Google Earth log onto the site, they will be able to view the horrific details of what's happening in Darfur for themselves. The great thing about programs like Google Earth, and any other modern web-driven object, is that they hold to power of knowledge.

"At Google, we believe technology can be a catalyst for education and action," Elliot Schrage, Google's vice president of global communications and public affairs said. " 'Crisis in Darfur' will enable Google Earth users to visualize and learn about the destruction in Darfur as never before and join the museum's efforts in responding to this continuing international catastrophe." Google Earth maps out Darfur atrocities

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Scientists Predict Southwest Mega-drought & 10 Things You Can Do To Help The Earth

For the record, these scientists predicted a huge hurricane season last year. Let's just say they were off. But, for now, they are calling for a drought in the Southwest.

The odd thing is that with the El Nino starting up there should be more moisture coming that way. So, one of my teachers is wrong...


Also, here's a list of 10 things you can do to help the Earth. Simple things like conservation are now becoming practical if not necessary for some areas. But, it's a good reminder of how much damage you can be doing with a few bad habits.

Water Found in Extrasolar Planet's Atmosphere

Great find by some hard working scientists. Maybe soon I'll be doing flood mapping for other planets :)

Astronomers have detected water in the atmosphere of a planet outside our solar system for the first time.

The finding, to be detailed in an upcoming issue of Astrophysical Journal, confirms previous theories that say water vapor should be present in the atmospheres of nearly all the known extrasolar planets. Even hot Jupiters, gaseous planets that orbit closer to their stars than Mercury to our Sun, are thought to have water.

The discovery, announced today, means one of the most crucial elements for life as we know it can exist around planets orbiting other stars.

“We know that water vapor exists in the atmospheres of one extrasolar planet and there is good reason to believe that other extrasolar planets contain water vapor,” said Travis Barman, an astronomer at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona who made the discovery.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Global Warming Around the World

A Columbia professor believes that converting skyscrapers into crop farms could help reduce global warming and make New York cleaner. It’s a vision straight out of Futurama—but here’s how it might work. It would be tough and expensive to pull off, which might negate being able to do this. Just think of the cost of square footage in Manhattan and the cost of trucking in veggies. It's a great article on thinking outside the box.
Wind Power Is Spain's Top Energy Source This Week
Taking advantage of a particularly gusty period, Spain's wind energy generators this week reached an all-time high in electricity production, exceeding power generated by any other source, the nation's electricity network authority said in a statement.
10,000 kW Electrical Power Generation in Your Backyard
Want to get off the grid? the Electric grid that is. The QR5, from U.K.-based Quietrevolution, is a residential-scale wind turbine that generates enough electricity to power a standard U.S. home or a small office. It also looks like a piece of wind-powered sculpture. Unlike the shape of a conventional windmill propeller, it’s a Vertical-axis wind turbine.
The World's Most Polluted City

In the most polluted city on earth, the smog is so thick that it seems to consume its source. Iron foundries, smelting plants and cement factories loom out of the haze then disappear once more as you drive along Linfen's roads. The outlines of smoke stacks blur in the filthy mist. No sooner are the plumes of carbon and sulphur belched out than the chimneys are swallowed up again.


California being warmed by urbanization, not Global Warming

Average temperatures across California rose slightly from 1950 to 2000, with the greatest warming coming in the state's big cities and mostly caused by urbanization -- not greenhouse gases -- authors of a study said.
New, unknown climate zones seen by 2100
Global warming could re-make the world's climate zones by 2100, with some polar and mountain climates disappearing altogether and formerly unknown ones emerging in the tropics, scientists said on Monday. And when climate zones vanish, the animals and plants that live in them will be at greater risk of extinction.

How Fat Is Your Country?

A handy chart that graphs how fat the population for various countries are. No surprise to see the U.S. at the tops of the list. Glad to see we're taking down Mexico with us. Odd that Canada isn't higher, seeing how they use Mayo on everything.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter. Hope you all get some chocolate bunnies and peeps!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Google Maps Is Being A Smart Ass...

How do you get from Dallas, TX, to London, U.K.? Google Maps has a real smart ass answer to the question when you ask it for the directions.
It all goes easy enough until you reach Step 26 (above). I guess you'll need to hire Aqua Man to drive the rest of the way from there.
(thanks Dallas Observer Blog for the tip)

Also works for driving to Berlin but not to Tokyo. I guess you can't drive to Tokyo! Who knew?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Major League Baseball Blackout Map

New technology and television standards have made the "Blackout" rules outdated and with the popularity of Internet streamed games that advertise being able to watch games online, MLB needs to reconfigure its "blackout" standards. If you could get the Cubs or WGN online, then you could legitimately blackout the Cubs games online, which isn't the case. The blackout rules apply to television and how and which games your market is allowed to view. However, it doesn't always make sense.

Like any rule, Major League Baseball needs to address its relevancy in the modern world. While this blackout map may have worked pre-expansion and before the cable era, today it is obsolete and can be frustrating.