Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Taking photography to new heights

In 1906, some panoramic pictures of San Francisco after the big earthquake were taken. These were not ordinary pictures. George Lawrence used kites to place a camera at the right place to record the extension of the damage caused by the earthquake. Besides the historic value of the pictures, they are the outcome of a quite interesting engineering project.

Two years ago, Lawrence's project was revisited. Although they did not use kites this time, the picture is still impressive. They also have some interactive version that allows you to zoom in and see more details of the landscape.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Scientific Data For All!

The Wired Blog is running a brief article about yet another Google's initiative. The idea is to provide storage, and as far as I understood, free access to scientific data sets.

One interesting point of the article is the following:

(Google people) are providing a 3TB drive array (Linux RAID5). The array is provided in "suitcase" and shipped to anyone who wants to send they data to Google. Anyone interested gives Google the file tree, and they SLURP the data off the drive. I believe they can extend this to a larger array (my memory says 20TB).

It sounds exciting that in the near feature, we might have access to a long list of data sets. Perhaps, under a standard API. If you like buzzwords, this might be named (if it is not the case already) -- Science in the Cloud. Despite the name they will give to this, this initiative can bring a long list of advantages for the the scientific community, I think.

Finally, I wonder when the RFC for the "suitcase-based transport protocol" will be available (similar to RFC 1149). :-)