Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Missing Island

November 26, 2012

Sorry about the delay in posting. I have been really busy this past weekend.

Anyway, I read this story about an island that isn’t there even though all of the maps and even Google Satellite say it is.

According to Google Maps and several other nautical charts, Sandy Island is about 25 kilometres long and sits between Australia to the west and New Caledonia and Vanuatu to the east. According to Dr. Maria Seton and her scientific research team, it does not now, nor ever has, existed at all.

“We were out in the Eastern Coral Sea, conducting a scientific research expedition, and when we were approaching the area of this supposed island,” Seton [external] told the BBC. “We saw that our scientific maps showed there was an island there and yet the navigation charts on board the vessel showed that we had a water depth of 1,400 metres. That’s when we started getting suspicious.”

Seton says that it would be basically impossible for the island to have been washed away. She says that there’s no way it could have ever existed.

“It definitely hasn’t disappeared. We believe that there just was never an island there. All the navigation charts on board — so all of the ships that have gone through the area in the past and taken depth readings — haven’t found that there’s an island there,” she said in the BBC interview. “It must have just been an error that has just been propagated through these world maps. I mean we’ve got water depths of 1,400 metres. It’s not something that’s within the human time-scale that things have shifted…. You are talking about processes that have gone on for tens or even hundreds of millions of years.”

It’s a fairly pervasive error. In addition to appearing on the “map” view of Google Maps, it also appears on the “Satellite” view as well, although instead of specific photo images of the island, there is simply a black splotch, something that usually appears over areas Google has been asked to censor by a particular government.

The island isn’t a small one either. If it existed, it would be about the same size as Manhattan, if not a little bit larger.

Steven Micklethwaite from the University of Western Australia [external] told the Sydney Morning Herald, “We all had a good giggle at Google as we sailed through the island, then we started compiling information about the seafloor, which we will send to the relevant authorities so that we can change the world map.”

When asked about the island by Agence France-Presse, Google didn’t know why the error was made on their maps.

“The world is a constantly changing place, the Google spokesman told AFP, “and keeping on top of these changes is a never-ending endeavour.”

Of course, the island isn’t just on Google Maps, it has appeared on a large number of charts since at least 2000. Though it is unclear why it’s non-existence wasn’t flagged from satellite photos.

Maybe they moved the island.

I wonder if any planes disappeared in the area or if the island was inhabited by mysterious natives with a god like leader. I really miss Lost.

 

Google Space

April 20, 2012

I just saw this on The Drudge Report. This is the most exciting story I have read in quite a while.

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and billionaire co-founder Larry Page have teamed up with “Avatar” director James Cameron and other investors to back an ambitious space exploration and natural resources venture, details of which will be unveiled next week.

The fledgling company, called Planetary Resources, will be unveiled at a Tuesday news conference at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, according to a press release issued this week.

Aside from naming some of the company’s high-profile backers, the press release disclosed tantalizingly few details, saying only that the company will combine the sectors of “space exploration and natural resources” in a venture that could add “trillions of dollars to the global GDP.” The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Planetary Resources will explore the feasibility of mining natural resources from asteroids, a decades-old concept.

“This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of ‘natural resources,'” according to the press release.

Planetary Resource was co-founded by Eric Anderson, a former NASA Mars mission manager, and Peter Diamandis, the commercial space entrepreneur behind the X-Prize, a competition that offered $10 million to a group that launched a reusable manned spacecraft. Other notable investors include Charles Simonyi, a former top executive at Microsoft, and K. Ram Shriram, a Google director.

The venture will be the latest foray into the far-flung for Cameron, who dived last month in a mini-submarine to the deepest spot in the Mariana Trench. The plot of his 2009 science fiction blockbuster film, “Avatar,” concerned resource mining on alien planets.

It is long past time that the exploration and exploitation of space was opened up to private enterprise. Maybe someday I’ll get to take that vacation on the Moon after all.

Blacking Out the Internet

January 3, 2012

I read in this story in Fox News that Amazon.com, Facebook, Google, and others are planning a blackout of their sites to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

In the growing battle for the future of the Web, some of the biggest sites online — Google, Facebook, and other tech stalwarts — are considering a coordinated blackout of their sites, some of the web’s most popular destinations.

No Google searches. No Facebook updates. No Tweets. No Amazon.com shopping. Nothing.

The action would be a dramatic response to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill backed by the motion picture and recording industries that is intended to eliminate theft online once and for all. HR 3261 would require ISPs to block access to sites that infringe on copyrights — but how exactly it does that has many up in arms. The creators of some of the web’s biggest sites argue it could instead dramatically restrict law-abiding U.S. companies — and reshape the web as we know it.

This is an extreme measure and normally these companies wouldn’t want to inconvenience their customers, but they feel that the dangers to freedom on the Internet is worth it. I agree. This is a bill that has to be killed.  While I agree that the entertainment industry has legitimate concerns about the theft of copyrighted materials, I feel that this bill is overkill. I’m sure that the real pirates will find ways around it while only the law abiding user will be inconvenienced.

For more information about SOPA go to Stop American Censorship.

Raise My Taxes

September 26, 2011

That’s what this clown wants Obama to do.

Would you please raise my taxes?” Edwards asked, a request that drew applause from the audience. “I would like very much to have the country to continue to invest in things like Pell Grants and infrastructure, and job training programs to make it possible for me to get to where I am. And it chills me to see Congress not supporting the expiration of tax cuts that have been benefiting so many of us for so long.”

Obama told Edwards, a major donor to Democrats over the past decade, that he wanted to take tax rates back to the rates in the 1990s.

Somehow the fact that he is a major donor to the Democrats does not surprise me.

You can see the video here. They won’t let me embed it.

But, of course, this isn’t about his taxes. It’s about raising taxes on the rest of us.

Flag Day

June 14, 2011

Today is Flag Day in the United States. So here’s my flag.

 

By the way, I noticed that Bing observed Flag Day but not Google. This is one o fthe reasons I tend not to use Google as my search engine.


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