Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Google Maps indoor

More info and video on Google Blog.

It only works in a few places in America right now, but I see a lot of potential in this. I wonder how accurate your position can be placed inside a building without GPS, new phones do have barometers now, so it should be able to tell which floor you are on. But even without seeing where you are on the map it's still pretty handy to have a floor plan of the building.

I wonder when we will get indoor roomview. This does already work in Google Art Project which lets you walk through museums and I blogged about a while ago.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What could possibly go wrong?

The Mars Science Laboratory has been launched towards Mars. Only the first few steps in a long series of single point of failures that can all waste 2 billion dollars.

Pretty Timelapses

The talk is a bit too new-agey for me, but the timelapses are very nice. I also posted this because I think it's bizarre that TEDxTalks can be in full HD whereas TED global talks are still in stupid 480p.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Real prospects for life extension

Good TED video.

She is 56 years, I wonder if she is secretly testing her findings on herself, or if it's just her genes or diet that makes her look younger.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Kitty City

Cyriak has made another video, this time with kitties. Also I included a little older one, because weird shit must come in pairs.

Monday, November 14, 2011

XKCD: Map projections

What a coincidence, I just posted about map projections a few days ago.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Google Earth item collector

This guy got some collection mania, but it are some nice collages:

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Hello Terminator

Article. This robot was made by Boston Dynamics who also made BigDog and AlphaDog which we blogged previously. It seems like robots are finally catching up to human mobility.
It seems as if the goal of the RoboCup challenge might be completed earlier than expected:
By mid-21st century, a team of fully autonomous humanoid robot soccer players shall win the soccer game, complying with the official rule of the FIFA, against the winner of the most recent World Cup.
The movement of the robots used in RoboCup 2011 look pathetic compared to this.

I can imagine them using similar software similar to Google's autonomous car (RBB link) to navigate and patrol the streets. Watson-like technology (RBB link) to interpret and answer questions. I wouldn't be surprised if US army black projects already have more advanced robots than these.

So will they become our servants or destroy us all? It looks scary enough.

Fairly projecting the world

I always knew that Africa was much bigger than it looked on many maps, but I didn't know so many other countries would fit in it as you see in the image below.
The reason why people usually don't realize how big Africa truly is, is because of the map projections commonly used to show the Earth. Projecting a sphere in 2D is a difficult task and will always have some some compromises. Often the Mercator projection was used. 
The Mercator projection distorts the size and shape of large objects, as the scale increases from the Equator to the poles, where it becomes infinite.
Greenland takes as much area on the map as Africa, when in fact Africa's area is approximately 14 times greater than Greenland.
The Gall-Peterson projection is the other extreme. In this projection the landmasses have their actual size compared to each other, but there is a lot of distortion. Here the huge size of Africa is immediately clear.
The Robinson projection is a map projection of a world map, which shows the entire world at once. It was specifically created in an attempt to find a good compromise to the problem of readily showing the whole globe as a flat image.

More about map projections.