Thursday, May 31, 2007

Human Layer On Google Maps

How's my hair?
Google Maps has a new layer called "Street View" that allows the view to go to the ground level and drive along the streets with a full view that you can tilt, zoom, and view 360-degrees. I call it the Human Layer because it takes you down to our level and captures our actions and daily life. They drive a van mounted with camera equipment through the city and capture the pictures. I even found a pic of the Google Van in San Francisco.

Google Van in S.F.

This doesn't mark the first time people were included in mapping. One of the more popular things on Google Earth is trying to catch people, vehicles, or odd happenings. However, the detail is nothing compared to reading license plates on Street View I even found Yahoo! ads in Google Maps which is cool because it means they are not censoring.

Yahoo Ad in Times Square

However, I'm wondering what legal rights they have for posting people, license plates, and personal information online. While I'm sure someone will raise a stink I don't know what can be done about it. The Street View maps were made by mounting camera equipment on top of a van and driving through the city.

Hey, baby!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Google Maps New Layer, Street View

Google Maps has taken a page from MSN's Virtual Earth and added a "Street View" layer. This time, however, they have added the Golden Google touch with a virtual view of the street. Amazon tried something like this about a year ago and I haven't heard about it since. MSN tried car views in select cities and has bird-eye views that allow for closer views. Neither has a virtual picture that allows the view to tilt and zoom.
Check out the Street View in the map of New York City. Zoom in while on the Street View layer and it will tell you to click or move the person-icon to a blue colored street where the view pops up. It allows you to move down the street, zoom, and look around left or right.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Flags of the World by Color Usage

The Flags of the World are seen in a different way with these color breakdowns of nation's flags. Here's an example of Canada's flag (left). For anyone that has ever had to do pie chart data on their maps then you'll definitely appreciate the effort that went into analyzing all the flags and charting their colors out. [ ...more ]

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

15 Worst iPhone Concepts

Every idea has a beginning and no doubt the designers at Apple Computer went through a design or two on their way to the finalized iPhone product. Here's a sampling of what was hopping around on the net by Apple fans who had a little too much time on their hands. [ ...more]

Pollution turning Taj Mahal yellow

Pollution is turning the Taj Mahal yellow, despite efforts by the Indian government to control air contamination around the poignant 17th century monument and keep it shimmering white, a parliamentary committee has said.

In a report to parliament this week, the standing committee on transport, tourism and culture said airborne particles were being deposited on the monument's white marble, giving it a yellow tinge.

But the committee said that while air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide gases were generally within permissible limits, "suspended particulate matter" had been recorded at high levels except during the rainy season. [ ...more ]

Oceans around Antarctica Absorbing Less CO2

Corinne Le Quéré, of the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Jena, Germany, and her team "examined atmospheric carbon dioxide measurements taken from points around the world during the past 24 years," and expected to find that the Southern oceans would absorb CO2 at a rate consistent with the growth in emissions.

They discovered, however, that climate change and the Antarctic ozone hole were actually hampering these waters natural ability to mop up rising carbon levels.

The problem appears to be an increase in winds over these oceans, and Le Quéré and her colleagues believe this is a result of "an increase in greenhouse gases and less ozone, which have both changed how heat is distributed in the atmosphere." [ ...more ]

Electric Motorcycle: Test Drive (with Video)

Loud pipes may save lives, but quiet, all-electric motorcycles may save the planet. Well, sort of. But, hey, at least they'll save some coin when you silently whiz past the gas station. Here's a chance to see a lithium-ion powered chopper with Hybrid Technologies (the same guys with the electric roadster and the electric mini cooper).

The Stealth motorcycle has a horsepower equivalent to a 500-cc bike, and it tops out at around 50 mph. That's not much on the highway, but it's plenty of speed to zoom around town. And at least your neighbors won't complain about the noise: This is one good looking, yet nearly silent hog. [ ... more ]

Largest offshore windfarm planned

Plans to build the world's largest offshore wind farm off the coast of North Devon are being unveiled.

If it goes ahead the £3bn Atlantic Array scheme will have 350 turbines and generate enough clean energy to power more than 1,000,000 homes. The power from the wind farm would be transmitted to shore via submarine cables and then via underground cables into the existing National Grid substation at Alverdiscott.

The Atlantic Array scheme could supply 53% of the South West's domestic energy, offsetting 2.3m tonnes of carbon emissions every year. There will be all kinds of environmental, and planning and engineering issues to consider before the windfarm can be built but it could be powering more than 1,000,000 homes by 2018. [ ...more ]

How Your HYBIRD Car Can Get You In The Carpool Lane

A new rule by the EPA could shift the use of HOV lanes or other Carpool lanes to allow Hybrid Cars with only passenger.
The only rule would that the Hybrid car must be on their list of approved cars and get at least 25% more fuel efficiency than similar modes (approx 45 MPG in California, for example). Not all Hybrids meet this MPG criteria. Trucks, SUV's, and luxury sedans most likely will be excluded for not meeting these rules.

Most states require at least 2 passengers to use the Car-pool lane but the new rule would try to encourage more people to look at Hybrids. Hybrids also could qualify as energy-efficient by achieving 50 percent or better in-city fuel economy. Dedicated alternative fuel vehicles could qualify, too, to use the lanes. 37 states have the hybrid HOV provisions or are studying the concept. [ ...more ]

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Engineering lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina

Scientists, sociologists and even politicians have done exhaustive studies of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, all looking for ways to mitigate the potential damage of natural disasters in the future.

But a group of researchers at Princeton University is taking yet another look at the damage done by Katrina--this time with an engineer's eye--and their findings could change the way some cities construct buildings, bridges and docks.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

World’s Top 10 Futuristic Luxury Hotels

Burj al-Arab
For fun here's a list of World’s Top 10 Futuristic Luxury Hotels you'll probably never be able to afford even if they all get made. One of them, the The hotel Burj al-Arab, is actually already made and setting the standard in the Middle East. The Burj al-Arab is so fancy they made their own rating system just to accommodate the luxuries.

The Diamond Ring Hotel

It doesn't take a millionaire to figure out that all these sites are either on water or in space. The two last frontiers, so to speak, for the hotel industry. Imagine a room on the moon with a great view of the Earth rise. Maybe an underwater view is for you.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Kansas Tornado Aftermath

The power of Mother Nature was evident this weekend when a tornado devastated Greensburg, Kansas. The aerial pictures of the aftermath of the tornado instantly reminded me of the villages wiped out by the 2004 Tsunami in South East Asia.
Entire blocks were wiped out with little left standing or remaining. It has officially been confirmed that the tornado was an EF-5, or simply put, the largest on the scale with wind speeds over 200 MPH. So far, I believe the death toll is 8.