brainwagon "There is much pleasure in useless knowledge." — Bertrand Russell


DigitalGlobe to make satellite photos available to Google Maps

DigitalGlobe, the supplier of imagery for Google Earth and Google Maps will make freshly updated satellite images of New Orleans in the next few days. Link

Update: Here is a Quickbird view of New Orleans, showing some of the flooding.


Testing Missiles

Retain Wall Destruction

Well, the destruction (and hopefully, eventual replacement) of my old rotting redwood retaining wall has begun. The guys really tore it up good today, hopefully, nice bricks will be soon replacing the crappy old wood.

Whew. That will be one bit off my mind.

I know nobody but me cares, but I'll put pictures here.


Bye Bye, Freeloaders

Don't Bogart My Bandwidth!

I received an email a couple of days ago from someone who thoughtfully noted that someone was stealing bandwidth from my by hotlinking to images in my /images directory. Effectively these people use your webserver to serve images for their websites. It's tacky: kind of like filling your pockets with napkins and packets of ketchup when you go to a fast food restaurant. Any individual act is admittedly pretty trivial, but as of noon today, 546 images had been served to these people. Sigh.

A bit of research yielded a recipe for preventing this. Since I installed it a half hour ago, 46 further accesses have been routed to a banner image that will hopefully be less attractive.

All of my images are just a click away, but if you are going to swipe them, at least use your own bandwidth to distribute them.

Update: Two people have noted this broke reading from bloglines. I'll fix it shortly.


NASA Views of New Orleans Flooding

NASA has released some of the Earth Observatory images of the flooding in New Orleans. Ouch.

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Governor: Everyone Must Leave New Orleans – Yahoo! News

Holy crap, they are evacuating the Big Easy because of uncontrolled flooding.

Not good, folks not good folks. To anyone in the affected areas, stay safe, and keep your loved ones close.

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Goofing around with Digital Infrared

Lake in Infra Red

I took one of the infrared photos that I took on my recent Sonoma trip and tried tweaking it a bit in gimp to make it appear more dramatic. Check out my photo gallery to see both my after and before pictures.

Basically, I took the original and stretched the contrast, then applied some color curve modification to make the darks darker and the lights lighter. I then cloned some of the existing texture to eliminate the vignetting that appears in the corner, and then did some local burn/dodge type modifications. I like the overall result quite a bit.

I didn't notice this before, but you can see a bird just to the left of the rock in this shot quite learly. I snapped a picture of him later, but didn't notice him when I took this picture.

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Impressive Satellite Pictures of Katrina


NASA has released a pretty amazing picture of Katrina as it approached landfall, with resolutions up to 6800x8000 pixels, and 250m per pixel. Click on the image to the right to be taken to the 2km per pixel version: the 250m version didn't work in my browser.


Dave Slusher Hacks a $25 Digital Camera

Dave went out and bought himself a couple of those single use, $25 camcorders that CVS is selling these days, and hacked them to allow download of video. What is even better, he snapped video of the project and made it available for download.

Caveat: it appears to be encoded in some kind of Quicktime 7 specific codec. I haven't bothered to get Quicktime 7 on my laptop, since it is beta still for Windows, but I did notice that it will play nice using VLC. Hooray for VLC!

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Can you tell when people lie to you?

Lisa WIlliams provided an interesting link to this Science article which suggests that most people are very poor at detecting liars. Catastrophically, most people actually think they are good at detecting lies.

Kind of like how more than half the drivers on the road think they are above average in skill.

Or, in the same vein:

"Thus, those who are skilled think that they are skilled because they are competent to judge. Those who are unskilled think that they are skilled because they are incompetent to judge. Therefore, whoever you are, you think that you are skilled, and there is no internal way of finding out if you are deluding yourself. The possibility that we are, in fact, all duffers goes a long way toward explaining the sorry state of so many things in the world, in spite of the fact that we each think we could do better if only we had some say in the matter."

Jef Raskin

Filed under: Link of the Day 1 Comment

2005 / 2006 Intel’s chip lineup cheatsheet

Those sharp guys over at Engadget have the skinny on Intel's upcoming processors. My brother and I were discussing how it seemed like a bad time to upgrade: next year will be chock-a-block full of dual core, low power goodness.

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SIGGRAPH 2005 Post Mortem

Leo has shamed us all by writing up a webpage detailing all the things he found interesting at SIGGRAPH 2005. Very nice.


Oakland A’s back on top of the AL West

Oakland AthleticsWell, after a couple of weeks where they seemed to be firmly in reverse, the A's have won five games in a row and are now back atop the AL West, courtesy in part to the Angel's complete collapse against the Devil Rays. After trying for the sweep today against Baltimore, the A's will go to Anaheim and then return for a home series against the Yankees. I'll be out there cheering this weekend.

Update: A's complete the sweep: 10-5 in 12 innings.

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Katrina comes ashore

As I awaken, news reports are coming in from Lousiana and Mississippi regarding hurricaine Katrina. It doesn't sound too good. They lowered the storm swell expectation in New Orleans from 28 feet to 15, but it still sounds dangerous. Winds have been clocked at 135 mph. I hope that everyone (including any Brainwagon readers) are sheltering in safe locations.

Update: Boing Boing has this link to the New Orleans metblog.

Filed under: News 1 Comment

My Day

Lake at Jack London State Park, Sonoma

Most of the time when I bother to blog about things that are going on in my life, I tend to do it in the form of an impromptu podcast. Today my wife woke me up and said that we should go out to Infineon Raceway and catch the qualifying for tomorrow's Indy Racing League event. We had these discount coupons, and it sounded like it might be fun. But it turns out that our coupons were only good if we bought a pass for the whole weekend, so we decided to avoid the huge crowds and expense, and instead just bummed around Sonoma (which I hadn't really done before). We ended up sampling cheese at the Sonoma Cheese Factory, hiked a bit in Jack London State Park, finished the day with a diet friendly meal at Fresh Choice in Novato, and just generally relaxed.

Oh, and I took pictures too. Sonoma is nice, and a little less... serious than Napa.


Video Game Sound Quiz

I got 14 out of 18, from PBS.