Monday, March 31, 2008

Octopus escaping through a 1 inch hole

Octopus escaping through a 1 inch hole

Saturday, March 29, 2008

On board view of a Space Shuttle launch sequence

On board view of a Space Shuttle launch sequence

Friday, March 28, 2008

Google Maps adds street view for 13 cities + 1 national park

Google Maps has added 13 cities and 1 National Park to the already crowded layer of Street Views.  Yosemite National Park in California gets the nod as the first 'non-city' element to be added to Street View.  Nearby Nashville, Tennessee, was added but as you all know I'm still waiting on my Knoxville addition since I've seen them here twice in the last 3 months.  

I'm hoping with the addition of National Parks to the mix we'll see the nearby Smoky Mountains added since it's the most visited park.
Google Maps Street View new cities:
  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Anchorage, AK
  • Austin, TX
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Fairbanks, AK
  • Little Rock, AR
  • Madison, WI
  • Nashville, TN
  • Rockford, IL
  • Richmond, VA
  • Spokane, WA
  • St. Petersburg, FL
  • Tampa, FL
  • and Yosemite National Park

Billionaire will dig tunnel linking Russia & US

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has fuelled talk of a massive tunnel between Europe and America by forking out $160 MLN on the world’s largest drill. The 19-metre giant will be the first drill capable of boring a four-lane tunnel.

The project would link Russia’s far eastern Chutoka region, which Abramovich governs, with America’s Alaska.

The tunnel was first mooted by the Tsars and then in the 1990s, but both times it was dumped because of high costs.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wilkins Ice Shelf

Wilkins Ice Shelf The Wilkins ice shelf is about the size of Connecticut and breaking up. The ice is "hanging by a thread" from the Antarctic Peninsula because of global warming, the British Antarctic Survey said Tuesday.

Scientists say the size of the threatened shelf is about 5,571 square miles.

"We are in for a lot more events like this," said professor Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Scambos alerted the British Antarctic Survey after he noticed part of the Wilkins ice shelf disintegrating on February 28, when he was looking at NASA satellite images.

Late February marks the end of summer at the South Pole and is the time when such events are most likely, he said.

"The amazing thing was, we saw it within hours of it beginning, in between the morning and the afternoon pictures of that day," Scambos said of the large chunk that broke away on February 28.

The Wilkins ice shelf lost about 6 percent of its surface a decade ago, the British Antarctic Survey said in a statement on its Web site. (...more)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Abu Dhabi Begins Construction On "Green City"

Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi has started to build what it says is the world's first zero-carbon, zero-waste car-free city.

Masdar City will cost $22bn (£11.3bn), take eight years to build and be home to 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses.

The city will be mostly powered by solar energy and residents will move in travel pods running on magnetic tracks.

Abu Dhabi has one of the world's biggest per capita carbon footprints and sceptics fear Masdar may be just a fig leaf for the oil-rich Gulf emirate.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A53A Iceberg Splits Off

iceberg Envisat captures the break up of the massive A53A iceberg located just east of the South Georgia Island (visible at image bottom) in the southern Atlantic Ocean.

A huge fissure was spotted running south to north through the berg on 1 March by C-CORE, the Canadian ice-tracking service, while studying satellite images collected from Envisat’s Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) instrument using the Polar View monitoring programme.

The radar image indicated the berg was unstable and likely to split. Just days afterwards on 4 March, Envisat's Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) sensor captured the break. Both bergs are estimated to measure around 30 km in length. As a reference, South Georgia Island is approximately 180-km long.

The break up of A53A, which calved off the Larsen Ice Shelf in late April 2005, occurred in relatively warm waters, making it highly likely that numerous smaller icebergs and ice islands will calve off the two icebergs. (...continue)

Google Maps

Google Maps

Monday, March 10, 2008

Cotinine and Other Drugs Found in U.S. Drinking Water

AP probe shows drugs coming through drinking water

(via) Traveling throughout the US? Forget worrying about where you'll find hormone and antibiotic-free milk. You've got a bigger problem if you drink water. Antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers, sex hormones - are now all available free in your drinking water. According to 5-month AP study, though the concentrations of these drugs seem to be miniscule, more than 41 million Americans are drinking questionable water.

The study uncovered pharmaceuticals in 24 major metropolitan areas from SoCal to Detroit, from New Jersey to Louisville. And the presence of so many prescription and over-the-counter medications have scientists wondering what the long term consequences to human health will be.

So, how is all this medication getting into the water supply?

You take a drug and it goes through your system like everything else you put in your mouth. Wastewater is treated before it's released into reservoirs and treated again at the drinking water treatment plants. Treatments may do a good job of cleaning the water, but they don't do so well at removing drug residue.

The AP national investigative team reviewed scientific reports, federal drinking water databases, visited study sites and treatment plants and interviewed officials, academics and scientists. Here are some areas where drugs were found in treated water:

Milwaukee, cotinine Philadelphia, 56 pharmaceuticals or byproducts Southern California, anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety drugs in water that reaches 18.5 million people San Francisco, a sex hormone New Jersey, angina and mood-stabilizing drugs in the water supply of 850,000 people. Arizona, 3 medications (including an antibiotic)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Avalanche on Mars

mars avalancheAvalanche on Mars!

Cameras orbiting Mars have taken thousands of images that have enabled scientists to put together pieces of Mars’ geologic history. However, most of them reveal landscapes that haven’t changed much in millions of years. Some images taken at different times of year do show seasonal changes from one image to the next; however, it is extremely rare to catch such a dramatic event like an avalanche in action.

Google Earth Showed Protesters Way To Conquer Parliament

Demonstrators revealed yesterday that they had used Google Earth to plot their protest on the roof of the Houses of Parliament last week against the expansion of Heathrow.

The website, which allows users to zoom in on satellite photographs of Earth, “showed us all the walkways, steps and other details we needed to make our way across the roof from the door to the far side where the public could see us”, said Leo Murray, one of the five protesters.

The planning for the stunt began last autumn after the government published documents for a public consultation on a possible third runway at Heathrow.“What really enraged us was the government saying it supported the idea [of a third runway] even before the consultation began,” said Murray, 31, a postgraduate student in animation. “The consultation was also rigged to exclude almost any mention of climate change.”

Tamsin Omond, a 23-year-old with a first-class degree in English literature from Cambridge, described how they were able to map out the interior of the Palace of Westminster without raising suspicions. “We sent in a reconnaissance group who simply wandered around till they found the route to the roof ending in an open door. The fag butts around it showed it was being used by smokers,” she said.They managed to recruit a young Commons insider who, thanks to having a security pass, was able to carry the banners, handcuffs (bought from a Soho sex shop) and other equipment past the body scanners and X-ray machines that are supposed to protect the buildings. (...more)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

A Modern “Where’s Waldo” on a Google Maps

Were you one of those kids that could sit in a corner with a giant “Where’s Waldo” book and pour over it for hours? Eventually you realized that Waldo was likely to appear in different areas on each page, and was always smiling (usually walking), and always wore that goofy outfit. And eventually the Waldo creators attempted to make the act of finding Waldo increasingly difficult by surrounding him with similarly clad geeks, and other tactics.

Nevertheless, the novelty wore off, and our kids are left with increasingly difficult video games that require years of logic and acts of deduction in order to achieve a winning status. But if you don’t mind still staring at a digital screen instead of paper, there’s a new geography game that’s a bit reminiscent of the Waldo books of yore. The new game is called placeSpotting, and it’s a Google Maps mashup.