Oceans of time

I’m a big fan of unrelated bits of knowledge that clog up your brain function and sidetrack you from basic daily tasks.  That’s why I was highly excited when I heard about some of the ocean-related new features in Google Earth 5.  I can follow the migrational paths of sharks?  Excellent.  I can examine coral reefs in the Red Sea?  Awesome.  I didn’t even know they HAD coral over there.

Very highly excited, I downloaded the new version and set about trying to figure out how to key into that whole shark-tracking thing.  Usually I am a somewhat tech-savvy person, a bit of a nerd but not so much so that I can’t talk other than in geek speak.  However, the search function on this program gave me no help finding the sharkies and made me feel consistently dumb.  I mean, how does shark migration get linked to data on shark attacks?  I mean, I know the shark has to be in the area ot bite, but still – one is delightful knowledge, the other is potentially painful.  As Seth Rosenblatt mentioned “For Google to fail so hard with its search algorithms is like Ford failing to stay on top of developing car tech.”  Eventually I just scrolled around coastlines looking for something good, and eventually came across a shark icon, which gave me this.  Hurrah!

gtopp

I especially enjoyed the little ocean floor ‘swim with me’ video that allows you to view at least some of what teh shark would’ve seen while swimming.

Finally, I have yet to explore the Mars maps, but they look interesting, as does all the good ol’ night sky stuff.  I look forward to spending future days pondering the available information, really delving in, and hopefully eventually being mroe able to instantly find what I want.

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Let’s just give people money…

Ok, Google is pretty cool.  And, they have a sense of humor (unlike Kia).  But the recently announced Project 10^100th is beyond awesome.  Have a good idea?  Lack the technical expertise to implement it?  We’ll give you money to get the job done and hook you up with the appropriate know-how (we are, after all, a search engine).

I, for one, have about a thousand ideas I need to dust off, spruce up, and submit.  I’m not going to list them all here, because then you’d steal them and win the prizes for yourself.  But, that being said, the spirit of this whole competition is about doing good stuff for the world.  So, if you have your own ideas, please submit them here.  The due date for project submission is October 20th, so get cracking.  And if you do end up working on a project of ultimate coolness as a result, remember the humble blogger who sent you on your way to funding.  Heck, I’d even volunteer for a project of ultimate coolness…

Just when you thought your neighborhood was safe…

So, in my last post I discussed some of the interactive stuff going on with cell phones, GPS navigation systems, and other forms of technological mapping.  And then, lo and behold, I was made aware of Google Maps updated/updating ‘street view’ feature.  I’ve been told that they’re driving frantically around the country in a video van, taking photos and film like crazy.  It’s awesome.  My apartment in a Boston suburb has already been mapped, though my family’s house in Indianapolis has not (hello, family!).   I am now going through all acquaintances I have an address for, stalker style, to see if they’ve been mapped yet.  Or if there are other ways I can invade their personal space.

Really, it’s not scary.  And it’s not just about curiosity either.   It’s about something new and exciting.  It’s about the viewing experience as well as being able to interact more fully with your environment.  it’s about landmarking in a new way.  And while it still leaves questions to be answered about flexibility (I can’t pan up or down or ‘drag’ my environment around like I want to, and it doesn’t allow any user innovation such as adding more recent photos), it’s a very good start.  And it’s free.  Actually the flaws that I see with it are the same things I’d like addressed by Microsoft’s little Photosynth, but that’s another story.