December 16, 2007

Doonesbury Google Earth cartoon

Filed under: Google, Humor — ubikcan @ 12:50 pm

Today’s Doonesbury cartoon is the second one to use Google Earth (I noted an earlier one from the New Yorker). Click for full-size:

Interestingly enough there actually is a program to monitor refugees and victims of human rights abuses using Google Earth. It’s run by the AAAS:

AAAS Caption: This image reveals a settlement of internally displaced persons next to the town of Tawilla.

November 11, 2007

Getting your name into ESRI’s ArcGIS

Filed under: ESRI, Humor — ubikcan @ 2:21 pm

As far as I know there are only two people who have successfully got their name into ESRI’s ArcGIS software as a checkbox or drop-down menu.

George Jenks:


and James Flannery:

Just think of all the deserving cartographers who don’t have a button or checkbox!!

Waldo Tobler (pycnophylactic method!)
Mark Monmonier (atlas touring and linked scatterplots!)
George McCleary (dasymetric map!)
Schuyler Erle (map hacks!)

Of course all is not lost. Arthur Robinson “the father of cartography” is safely inside ArcGIS alongside his eponymous projection:


I’m sure there are others who deserve a GIS button!

September 28, 2007

First Google Earth cartoon?

Filed under: Humor — Tags: , — ubikcan @ 11:20 am


You know Google Earth has arrived when there’s a cartoon about it in the New Yorker. Remember “on the internet, no one knows you’re a dog”? That was 1993–just as the Internet was exploding.


September 16, 2007

Reason to love YouTube #3,128,947

Filed under: Humor — ubikcan @ 8:51 pm

I’ve no idea what this is. Just click it!

August 23, 2007

“Gaping hole found in universe”

Filed under: Humor — ubikcan @ 7:30 pm

Reuters is carrying the following story:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A giant hole in the Universe is devoid of galaxies, stars and even lacks dark matter, astronomers said on Thursday.

Google Sky had the story first however and can now reveal a picture of the hole:

August 5, 2007

The gemetron

Filed under: Humor — ubikcan @ 6:07 pm

The gemetron is an ancient Greek device for measuring the earth. Mentioned in ancient Greek texts, no one knows its precise function, but a clue is afforded by its etymology: “ge” (earth) and “metron” (measure). Thus the device could be said to take the measure of the earth.

Martin Heidegger, in his lectures, discusses this device and warns us that it was neither simple nor straightforward:

This measure-taking not only takes the measure of the earth, ge, and accordingly it is no mere geo-metry. Just as little does it ever take the measure of heaven, ourauos, for itself. Measure-taking is no science. Measure-taking gauges the between, which brings the two, heaven and earth, to one another. (In Poetry, Language, Thought, p. 219).

Here Heidegger clearly hints that the device could be used to measure the heavens and the “between” ie the way from earth to the heavens (stars). But he warns this is no mere star-map:

This measure-taking is in itself an authentic measure-taking, no mere gauging with ready-made measuring rods for the making of maps (p. 224).

We are left to conclude that if it was not a map or a tool for the making of maps, then it must have been the way itself. Was the gemetron a communication device? Heidegger clearly thinks so. He quotes the poet:

For the lightnings
Are the wrath of a god. The more something
Is invisible, the more it yields to what’s alien.

What remains alien to the god [explicates Heidegger], the sight of the sky–this is what is familiar to man…the poet calls, in the sights of the sky, that which in its very self-disclosure causes the appearance of that which conceals itself, and indeed as that which conceals itself. In the familiar appearances, the poet calls the alien… (p. 223).

The poet calls the alien in the “sights of the sky” from the familiar places (earth). When it is used, it causes lightnings like “the wrath of a god” (great energies must have been required). The gemetron was clearly a communication device!

It now looks as if this device has been found. Known as the “Antikythera mechanism” it was discovered near the island of Antikthera in 1900 by Greek divers and dated to about 150BC. Here is a scan of its interior:

This find throws out all we know about the ancients. We now know they had technology capable of calling the alien (obviously not literally aliens, but the other, the person on the other end) “in the sky” ie somebody elsewhere.

Who were the Greeks calling? We can’t say for sure. But wasn’t it around then that Atlantis disappeared?
Note for th0se who miss the humor tag: this is my weird sense of humor. However, the quotes from Holderlin/Heidegger are real, as is the Antikythera mechanism.

June 21, 2007


Filed under: Humor — ubikcan @ 4:13 pm


June 2, 2007

Teh funny

Filed under: Humor, Random — ubikcan @ 11:02 am

OK, I laughed at this, so sue me.

Update. Actually this website illustrates an interesting principle: no matter how well you know the internet, there is always something good to found that others have discovered before you.

Not unrelated to Hofstadter’s Law: things always take more time than you expect, even if you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.

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