Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pirate Wednesday - Google Earth


Unbelievably exciting pirate related news! A man claims to have discovered sunken treasure using Google Earth!

Mr. Smith was noodling around on Google Earth one day, randomly examining parts of the Aransas Pass in Texas. Suddenly, his eyes darted to a shoeprint-shaped outline near Barketine Creek.

His suspicions and, presumably, his vast knowledge of history, were sufficiently aroused for him to believe that what he had found was the wreckage of a Spanish barquentine (think large boat with three or more masts) that supposedly met its final resting place south of Refugio, Texas, in 1822.
The treasure, if this is indeed what he found, is estimated to be worth about $3 billion. There are also some legal complications regarding who has the rights to the wreck.

This comes on the heels of an awesome update to Google Earth that expands the service to the oceans. I happened to see the latest iteration of Google Earth last night, after kinda losing interest months ago, and it has really come a long way. It's spectacular. I suspect this is the first of many novel discoveries to be made from the comfort of someone's home, just surfing satellite images.

Living in the future rules.

Stephen Hawking

The first real, adult science book I ever read was A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, when I was eight or nine years old. I didn't understand much of it then, and now, having read it at least five more times, there are still parts that go over my head. That book was a pretty huge influence on me though.

Hawking's reverence and appreciation for the natural world, past scientists, and the process of science itself comes through so strongly in his writing, it's hard not to be inspired. Not to mention the personal struggles he has had to overcome to continue his career.

I'm not sure if I would be the same person I am today without A Brief History of Time. I would probably have encountered Feynman at some point, and that would have done the trick just as well, but Hawking was really the start of a process that would shape much of who I am as a person.

Stephen Hawking still does public lectures every once in a while, and I just read that he'll be going to Caltech next month. I'm way up in Vancouver, and I was just in Pasadena last fall, but I think I may try to go and see him. I know I'll never forgive myself if I don't get another chance.

Getting sick of this

If we don't stand up and fight for world wide free speech, we will lose it everywhere.

The editor and publisher of a newspaper in India have been arrested on charges of "hurting the religious feelings of Muslims."

Mr Kumar has said he has already issued a public apology for reproducing the article.
"I admit it was an editorial misjudgement but it was never intentional," Mr Kumar told the BBC in an interview.
Yet another person bends over forwards to apologize for stating their opinion. This has to stop. It was the same thing in that case where a British teacher in Sudan named a teddy bear Muhammad and was arrested, then went out of her way to apologize. Ridiculous. If we don't stand up and fight for world wide free speech, we will lose it everywhere.