Man vs. Machine

From Wikipedia: Leo Houlding, a British rock climber, appeared in the BBC television program Top Gear in which he raced presenter Jeremy Clarkson up a cliff face in Verdon Gorge. Leo, joined by Tim Emmett, climbed the canyon while Jeremy drove an Audi RS4 to the top using the surrounding roads.

To find out who got to the top first you’ll have to watch the video. I will tell you this, they raced back to the bottom and Leo won. He jumped off the cliff and parachuted to the bottom.


Gigapixel images in Google Earth

Zoomed out

Zoomed out

Zoomed in

Zoomed in

Gigapixel images contain about 1 billion pixels. That works out to about 32,768 by 32,768 pixels. The average computer screen is about 1,200 pixels wide so to view a gigapixel image requires you to do a lot of zooming in and out and panning about. A gigapixel image requires lots of memory so viewing an image this large using your average photo software will quickly bring your typical computer to a grinding halt. Special software has been developed to allow you view these high resolution images on a desktop PC. One such program is LizardTech Expressview. You can also view gigapixel images using Google Earth. This Youtube video demonstrates Google Earth’s gigapixel viewing capability.

Xrez is a company that is in the business of creating extremely high-resolution gigapixel photography.

7 mm thick e-book reader

Plastic Logic is working on an e-book reader that is thinner than an iPhone and is 8.5 in x 11 in. It utilizes E-ink® technology and has a touch screen. Even though it is very thin it is as large as a sheet of paper which makes it only slightly more portable than a laptop. The real question is what books and periodicals will be available for this device? The Amazon website says, “Over 200,000 books, newspapers, magazines and blogs” are available for the Kindle, a similar device that has been available since November 2007. Probably half of the titles available are books and half are blogs. Only a small number of magazines and papers are available. When it was first released there were 88,000 books available. The figure I’ve seen for the Sony Reader is 25,000. How can Plastic Logic compete, especially when each device uses a proprietary file format? So far I’ve read about 15 books on my Kindle and I love it. My only complaint is I can’t borrow or loan out Kindle books.

Smoking ban in apartments is ridiculous

I don’t want to live with someone who smokes, but I’ve never been bothered by a neighbhor who smokes.

Calabasas, California has banned smoking in any place people might gather, including outdoor businesses and parks. They have even banned smoking in your own apartment! They say the second hand smoke might seep out windows or doors and annoy neighbors. Check out the the official city website. Reason.TV has an interesting video about the subject.