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Happy 2008 Everybody

Posted on Monday, December 31, 2007

A quick last post before the fireworks. While making dinner I was listening to this talk by Douglas Engelbart at the Accelerating Change Conference 2004. Great talk, especially the way he talks about tools and how they changed society over the centuries and will continue to change our societies in the future. Nice thought to start the new year ;-)

Where2.0 2008

Posted on Monday, December 31, 2007


Nice, I just went to check what was stated again about space (as in 'outer space') at the Where2.0 conference program website when I came across above frontpage image for the conference (there seem to be 2 images loading, the other one being a snowboarder). Diggin' deeper into the site, I find the original text I was looking for, where, amongst the Usual Geospatial Suspects, I saw this (all the way at the bottom):

Space: Space has come to the private sector. Microsoft and Google have both produced products that let us look at the stars. Are these just educational tools/publicity gambits or is this a new business venture that they are both exploring? What else is being done in this area?

Where are the Indies again?

Posted on Monday, December 31, 2007


Reading Professor Worner's comments on the 100 years anniversary of German Aerospace on SpaceDaily I suddenly recognise one argument which finally makes some sense to me when it comes to the often used comparison of Columbus' travels to todays space exploration. Columbus set out to find a new route to the Indies (mainly for commercial purposes!), but ended up in America:

Other boundaries are invisible. They are the boundaries of our knowledge. We do not know yet, which discoveries our research with Columbus will bring us. But we do know for certain that we will make new discoveries. Perhaps we may think that we are sailing to India, while we actually end up discovering America...
Perhaps this is an interesting entry point when it comes to comparing todays space exploration endeavours with that of Columbus. We have always projected our stories onto the heavens (for a good intro, see the first part of this movie) so I wonder what will be the unexpected outcome(s) of space exploration in the decades to come? Any thoughts? (btw, the image above comes from the AURORA website of the European Space Agency)

Setting Sun on Mars

Posted on Sunday, December 30, 2007


Its the winning photo of a contest over at JPL. Look at the full res image and let it sink in. Quite profound.

Welcome aboard

Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2007

Very nice, this video of a remote controlled aircraft, using a headmounted display for piloting. I wonder how much it would cost to put one of these on the Space Station? (via

Tugunska Asteroid Simulation

Posted on Saturday, December 22, 2007


Where 50 years of atomic bomb simulations pays off. Beautiful! Check out these videos at Sandia Labs.

Our First (Mediated) View of the Earth

Posted on Friday, December 21, 2007


Jurryt sends me this post on the LongNow blog, including above image: the first known image ever taken from space:

It was shot from a captured German V2 rocket launched after WWII from White Sands missile range. You can find more about the effort in this excellent article in Air & Space magazine (also a link to this really amazing panorama). While it feels like space imagery is something fairly new because of new tools like Google Earth, this hauntingly grainy black and white image taken over 60 years ago reminds me that the intelligence community has been seeing and using this data for a long time. Also worth noting is that while we have this first image, it is my understanding that NASA is missing a large amounts of the early satellite data due to digital data loss. This is a good case where a real film camera has helped preserve the data.
The article referred to is here. Check out the other posts at the LongNow blog, its a great blog, by a great initiative (thanx Jurryt).

Reality Mining

Posted on Thursday, December 20, 2007

Nicolas Carr diggs up another good story: Reality Mining. Some quotes from the TR article:

All this sort-of Web 2.0 stuff is nice, but you have to type stuff in.

You can really see things in a way that you never could before--a God's-eye view. One of the examples I've been stuck on recently relates to how transformative Google Earth has been. Imagine having something where you can see all the people moving around on a map. Think about SARS in Hong Kong. What if in a particular apartment building, nobody left for work that day? You could identify a major health problem in 12 hours instead of two weeks. Another example is the social health of communities. It's known that social integration, or how well people mix, correlates with whether or not a community is thriving. With reality mining, you can actually see social integration, as it happens or doesn't happen. Once everyone can see it, then you can start to have transparent political discussions. Why isn't the mayor putting more sidewalks and crosswalks in this area? Could more community events make the area more livable?

The Bible According to Google Earth

Posted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Via OgleEarth comes the following:

Sydney art collective The Glue Society produced a work that consists of retouched satellite imagery to depict biblical mythology. Says Glue Society’s James Dive: “We like to disorientate audiences a little with all our work. And with this piece we felt technology now allows events which may or may not have happened to be visualized and made to appear dramatically real. As a method of representation satellite photography is so trusted, it has been interesting to mess with that trust.”

More at Creative Review. Reminds me of an exhibition on Solar Science Debra Solomon, me and Ricky Seabra developed a couple of years ago for ESA as ArtRaceInSpace Ltd. Nice to see Google Earth is entering the domain of contemporary art. Its gonna be a smiley day today. Anybody up for geo-referencing these scenes in Google Earth? ;-)

The Crucifixion


Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden


Noah's ark


Moses parting the Red Sea



DinnerTV: Vint Cerf @ Google Zurich 22nd Nov 2007

Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007

Its quite similar to his earlier talk at the Geoweb conference last July but he goes into some new domains from around 50min. into the video. (via Vint/Sogeti)

Spirit looking at itself

Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007


(via Spaceports)

Augmenting Reality

Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007


A couple of non-related items I came across today:

  • Following a link on Google LatLong I came across this animation in Google Earth of a cosmic ray shower which was done by Leiden (NL) based Cosine Research (one of several companies surrounding the European Space Research Centre ESTEC here in Noordwijk). To view the animation in Google Earth, click the clock icon next to the time slider, set 'Restrict time to currently selected folder' and press the play button on the right of the time slider.
  • This is where NASA's Mars research pays off.
  • Nicolas Carr links to an article in The Economist about Augmented Reality. Recently I saw this video which tries to capture the idea of AR in video.
  • TomTom and Vodafone are working together (in Dutch). Every car becomes a data point in the "realtime traffic jam sensor web". More at TomTom.

DinnerTV: Galileo

Posted on Monday, December 10, 2007

Belgeoblog links to an informative Belgian documentary about the Galileo project and its political and technological challenges. In a mix of Dutch, French, English and US English spoken languages and brought to you in 24 style. Well worth to watch!

Shuttle launch in GE

Posted on Saturday, December 8, 2007

STK's AGI released a visualisation of the imminent shuttle launch to the ISS (via GEB)



ESA director vacancies

Posted on Thursday, December 6, 2007

Via Fabio comes the news of 5(!) new job vacancies for the post of Director (that's just below the Director General) at the European Space Agency. Take your pick ;-)


Posted on Monday, December 3, 2007

NASA launched its re-designed portal over the weekend (more at NYT and Wired). First thought: Wow! Great to see a space agency portal evolve into an open platform for space. Second thought: Leopard's Time Machine. Haven't installed the recent OSX update myself yet but at first glance the background of the new NASA portal seems to have a lot in common with that of Time Machine ;-) (earlier post). I'm currently reading Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media - The Extensions of Man which, thinking of the Extensions of Man out there (aka technology, aka satellites), applies nicely to my Macbook. I guess in the not too distant future we'll be able to pick our favorite live satellite stream as the background to the NASA portal (like this one from SOHO). Too bad exposé doesn't work on the NASA portal because I find myself hitting the top right corner of my screen every time I want to have a look at the background. Some NASAwatch reader comments on the redesign are here.
Another inspiring release came out this week from NASA: the proceedings of the Participatory Exploration Summit held earlier this year @ Ames.



The future is process, not a destination
Bruce Sterling

Everything is ultimately becoming information technology
Ray Kurzweil

Data is the Intel inside
Tim O'Reilly

There is only one machine and the web is its OS
Kevin Kelly

The medium is the message
Marshall McLuhan