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My first corporate commission
|| 5/16/2005 || 11:42 am || Comments Off on My first corporate commission || ||

I sold my first rendering to a local corporate entity…. I’ve already used the proceeds to get some of my older posters printed out. This is also the first time I’ve given the digital rights away as well, so now they own the full size (10,000 X 7,500) file instead of just a print. At first I was very hesitant about giving the digital rights away, but since this rendering is based off the “Lenz Project,” which essentially was the project that defined my style, I don’t mind as much because its clearly has my touch to it- even if its manipulated extensively. Also, the image doesn’t have the same abstractions I perfer to add, so while being my style, its also completely different compared to what I am making now……. its about time I made another rendering….



Cessna Analysis – revisited
|| 5/15/2005 || 10:40 am || Comments Off on Cessna Analysis – revisited || ||

When I scan the flight path of the plane from the Washington Post’s graphic, I’ll update my previous post….



Cessna Analysis
|| 5/13/2005 || 11:18 am || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Via Seattle Times

The aircraft flew over the vice president’s residence, a senior federal security official said, came within moments of reaching the White House and was close to being shot down.

Let’s use World Wind to visually see how close this plane got, and more importantly assess what a lack of security this really shows…..

Using a screen shot from World Wind and a picture of a Cessna, I came up with this rudimentary analysis of where the plane was and the possible debris area if the plane was to have been shot down by the armaments on top of the White House (click on the image to view the full size image).

Of course this is a very rough spatial analysis of the potential debris area, but the proximity to the White House the plane made it to is dumbfounding. The article in reference above stated:

Two lost aviators flying with outdated maps from a rural Pennsylvania airstrip yesterday triggered a red alert and the frantic evacuation of the White House, the Capitol and the Supreme Court before they were intercepted by Air Force jets firing warning flares.

All I can says is: OUTDATED MAPS MY ASS! You can see the Washington Monument from the air all the way out in Rockville, MD (I’ve seen it from the 10th floor of a high-rise at the Metro stop) and it is well known in the aviation community that there is a restricted fly space over DC. The pilots didn’t need maps to know that they were in restricted fly-space, they could see the Washington Monument quite easily and continued to fly toward DC.

The graphic above, nor most of the media accounts fully explains the direction the pilots were going- were they heading due south or were they heading southeast. If they were heading due south, they would have also crossed into the no-so-restricted airspace of DCA and might have gotten very close to some very large planes taking off or landing (I do not know the direction of the winds on that day). If they were heading southeast, then the analysis above would most likely be somewhat correct. (Do you work in that area?)

On top of the lame excuse for outdated maps, why didn’t they respond to any calls from the FAA? Once they entered restricted airspace, I imagine there would have been some attempts at notification. So why didn’t they respond? This is standard protocol for any pilot.

If you ask me, if this is all very very fishy. They could have dumped a canister of aerosolized anthrax over the DC area and then chucked the canister out the window to get rid of any evidence. I could easily make another map showing the theoretical diffusion of such a situation. What if that plane was holding a few pounds of radiological material onboard? If that plane was shot down, downtown Washington, DC would be a radioactive mess, a mess that could have been prevented.

I bet this was simply a test on the emergency response system in the DC area. The scare during Reagan’s funeral seems wholly legitimate compared to this event. This one seems too perfect. Have a small, harmless plane cross over into the restricted airspace of DC, gauge how fast the emergency response apparatus acts, and then see how it can be tinkered to not allow such an event to take place again. The whole “we were lost” line is such utter bullshit, and I think this “test” seems like a much better explanation.

update via WJLA:

Jill Martin says from her home in Akron, Pennsylvania, that she believes the Washington incident was a simple mistake. She says her husband was discussing the flight with her last night after he and Sheaffer made their flight plans and was talking “all about the no-fly zones and how they were going to avoid them.”

If my theory is incorrect, he must be one hell of a stupid pilot that shouldn’t hold the yoke of a plane again. His teacher too.

===/=== 3:30pm===\===
After looking at the Washington Post map of the flight path, I’ve found my analysis to be completely incorrect. The plane came from the northeast and flew over the U.S. Naval Observatory on its flight out of DC, thus my graphic above is severely inaccurate. Oh well, it was fun to make!



World Wind of change
|| || 9:15 am || Comments Off on World Wind of change || ||

Screen shots from World Wind

You can alter the elevation of the earth via an embedded digital elevation map, and you can get some rather interesting results.
If you look closely, the Washington Monument is looking a bit limp!

The winds of change are blowing and they have blown a new piece of software my way that I absolutely love. The intelligent folks over at NASA have brought geovisualization to a new level with their release of World Wind. It’s free, open source, and for a geography nerd, the most fun I’ve had in a long time playing with a globe. I only wish it was available for Mac OS X.

Currently on the geovisualization market is Keyhole and ESRI’s Arc Globe. I already have Arc Globe, which works nicely, but I haven’t spent very much time getting geospatial data to line up properly on the globe. On the other hand, Keyhole gives you very high resolution imagery for the entire planet from Digital Globe’s Quickbird satellite, but it costs you $30. I am not about to pay for something like this when I can get roughly the same imagery for free.

What I like most about World Wind is how the imagery is downloaded on the fly and the way that all the data is geocached for later use. After spending a few hours with World Wind, I obtained the entire DC area in .3m resolution; the same 2002 USGS imagery I have been using for most of my renderings (I nearly have the entire DC area in high resolution tiffs, it takes a long time to acquire the imagery!). I also like how World Wind has a great user community, which has quite a few user created add-ons that give World Wind more customization.

I have a date at a grade school next week to talk about careers in geography, and I am really hoping I get to show some of the students the fun that can be had learning about the area they live in through aerial & satellite imagery! I think they’ll jaws will drop, or maybe mine still hasn’t been picked up from the floor. Maybe the World Wind blow will you over ;-)



DC Colonists video clip
|| 5/11/2005 || 6:38 pm || Comments Off on DC Colonists video clip || ||

Image Links to Flash Player:

I finally got this clip on-line from the DC Fox Five 10pm newscast on April 3rd, 2005. The same clip was rebroadcast on the morning of the 4th. If you look closely you can see me dressed as a colonist. We are going to have another outing at RFK stadium next month. I can’t wait!



geographic dimensions of spam
|| || 11:00 am || Comments Off on geographic dimensions of spam || ||

The Postini Resource Center monitors spam and virus statistics around the world wide web. On their website they have some maps that show the geographic origins of viruses, spam, and directory harvest attacks. I found the location of where the highest concentrations of viral activity the most intriguing as well as where spam is being generated (above). I’m such a map nerd…



Why Go to Georgia?
|| || 8:57 am || Comments Off on Why Go to Georgia? || ||

Here are what two people from the Institute for Public Accuracy think about Bush’s visit via Common Dreams

RONALD GRIGOR SUNY, rgsuny@uchicago.edu
Suny, a professor of political science and history at the University of Chicago, is author of “The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States” and “The Making of the Georgian Nation.” He said today: “Bush’s trip to Georgia is more about U.S. policy toward Russia than about American interest in the South Caucasus. The timing, the choice of countries to be visited, and the president’s public statements are all directed at lessening the impact of the 60th anniversary of the Allied defeat of Nazi Germany, a dampening of the Russian celebration of a victory that was largely the result of Soviet efforts and losses. Georgia makes sense as a place to visit because of the way it is seen in the West as a beacon of democracy, though in the region the Saakashvili government is not so universally praised. The alternative sites in the area — Armenia and Azerbaijan — are more facade democracies than real ones, and going to one or the other country would be seen as an affront to the other. America’s interest in Georgia is primarily in keeping Russia out and limiting Russian influence south of the Caucasus, though the pipeline from Baku that runs through Georgia is also a real interest of Washington.”

WILLIAM HARTUNG, hartung@newschool.edu
Hartung, a senior research fellow at the World Policy Institute in New York City, said today: “President Bush’s stop in Georgia is about more than just democracy. From Special Forces in Georgia to growing military aid to the undemocratic regime in Uzbekistan, the Bush administration is seeking an expanded military presence in the Caucasus. The motivation driving that presence goes beyond terrorism to a strong interest in the region’s oil and gas resources.”

I didn’t know about the pipeline through Baku. Now it all makes sense. Except that whole Carbon Monoxide thing.



Downing Street Memo
|| 5/10/2005 || 2:03 am || Comments Off on Downing Street Memo || ||

Via Greg Palast:

The secret Downing Street memo

SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL – UK EYES ONLY
DAVID MANNING
From: Matthew Rycroft
Date: 23 July 2002
S 195 /02

cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell

IRAQ: PRIME MINISTER’S MEETING, 23 JULY

Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.

John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam’s regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based.

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime’s record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August.

The two broad US options were:

(a) Generated Start. A slow build-up of 250,000 US troops, a short (72 hour) air campaign, then a move up to Baghdad from the south. Lead time of 90 days (30 days preparation plus 60 days deployment to Kuwait).

(b) Running Start. Use forces already in theatre (3 x 6,000), continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli. Total lead time of 60 days with the air campaign beginning even earlier. A hazardous option.

The US saw the UK (and Kuwait) as essential, with basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus critical for either option. Turkey and other Gulf states were also important, but less vital. The three main options for UK involvement were:

(i) Basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus, plus three SF squadrons.

(ii) As above, with maritime and air assets in addition.

(iii) As above, plus a land contribution of up to 40,000, perhaps with a discrete role in Northern Iraq entering from Turkey, tying down two Iraqi divisions.

The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun “spikes of activity” to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change.

The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD. There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change. The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work.

On the first, CDS said that we did not know yet if the US battleplan was workable. The military were continuing to ask lots of questions.

For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.

The Foreign Secretary thought the US would not go ahead with a military plan unless convinced that it was a winning strategy. On this, US and UK interests converged. But on the political strategy, there could be US/UK differences. Despite US resistance, we should explore discreetly the ultimatum. Saddam would continue to play hard-ball with the UN.

John Scarlett assessed that Saddam would allow the inspectors back in only when he thought the threat of military action was real.

The Defence Secretary said that if the Prime Minister wanted UK military involvement, he would need to decide this early. He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route. It would be important for the Prime Minister to set out the political context to Bush.

Conclusions:

(a) We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action. But we needed a fuller picture of US planning before we could take any firm decisions. CDS should tell the US military that we were considering a range of options.

(b) The Prime Minister would revert on the question of whether funds could be spent in preparation for this operation.

(c) CDS would send the Prime Minister full details of the proposed military campaign and possible UK contributions by the end of the week.
(d) The Foreign Secretary would send the Prime Minister the background on the UN inspectors, and discreetly work up the ultimatum to Saddam.

He would also send the Prime Minister advice on the positions of countries in the region especially Turkey, and of the key EU member states.

(e) John Scarlett would send the Prime Minister a full intelligence update.

(f) We must not ignore the legal issues: the Attorney-General would consider legal advice with FCO/MOD legal advisers.

(I have written separately to commission this follow-up work.)

MATTHEW RYCROFT

(Rycroft was a Downing Street foreign policy aide)



Happy Orgasm Day
|| 5/9/2005 || 2:54 pm || Comments Off on Happy Orgasm Day || ||

for real….

Brazilian Town Celebrates Orgasm Day

Sex rarely makes the news in Brazil’s conservative Northeast – until a small town declared an official Orgasm Day today.

Espertantina Mayor Felipe Santolia endorsed the May 9 holiday, which he said was intended to improve relationships between married couples.

“We’re celebrating orgasm in all its senses. There’s even a panel discussion on premature ejaculation. But from what I’ve seen, women have more trouble achieving orgasm than men, especially in marriage,” Santolia said.

Santolia said the remote town of 38,000 people has been unofficially celebrating orgasm day for years, but that the town’s former mayor had vetoed a bill making it an official municipal holiday.

The city council passed a law on Saturday creating the holiday. Santolia, who took office earlier this year, said he would sign the bill later today.

“I’m 32, single and I have an open mind. Beside the theme is very much of the moment,” he said.

Orgasm Day celebrations include a series of panel discussions by sexologists from across Brazil and a presentation of Eve Ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues.

Santolia said the idea of celebrating Orgasm Day at first created a scandal in the poor region, known for its religious fervour. But he said residents gradually residents warmed to the idea.

“I’ve seen scientific studies that show when a woman is unloved, when her husband can bring her to orgasm, it affects all aspects of her life, her relationships with her children, at home, with the city and at work,” Santolia said.

If I am lucky, I will be celebrating in style tonight :-D



GPS nabs another one…
|| 5/6/2005 || 10:39 am || Comments Off on GPS nabs another one… || ||

Those nifty 24 satellites rotating around the earth got another person

GPS Device Finds Robbery Suspect
POSTED: 8:55 am EDT May 6, 2005
CINCINNATI — Police say modern technology foiled an old-fashioned bank robbery.

A teller placed an electronic Global Positioning System device in a bag of stolen money, allowing police to track down a suspect in just 42 minutes Thursday.

“Around here (GPS) is still relatively rare,” Hamilton County sheriff’s office spokesman Steve Barnett said. “But with the advancement in technology and the continued success of catching bank robbers, soon I would hope that other financial institutions would jump on board.”

Authorities said that after William Ingram, 46, left a U.S. Bank in suburban Colerain Township, the GPS device tracked him to a car dealership in Hartwell, where he was returning a Honda that he had borrowed for a test drive but actually used as a getaway car.

When Ingram was confronted, money began spilling from his pockets, officials said.

One year ago, I remember reading this news item:

Nowhere to hide for Dutch bike thieves

By Wendel Broere in Amsterdam
March 13, 2004

Police plan to bait thieves with bicycles equipped with hidden global positioning transmitters in the latest effort to stamp out Amsterdam’s rampant bicycle theft.

The Netherlands has more bicycles than its 16 million inhabitants, but in the capital alone an estimated 80,000-150,000 bicycles – more than one tenth of the total – are stolen every year.

“It would be great to get hold of the organised bicycle thieves, to track the whereabouts of stolen bikes and see if any end up in an official bicycle shops,” a police spokesman said.

“We just want to do everything we can to combat bicycle theft and are going to use new GPS technology.”

Police plan to chain up bicycles with the GPS emitters in parts of the city notorious for bicycle theft. GPS, the worldwide radio-navigation system used for shipping and military purposes, enables users to pinpoint the position, speed and time to locate themselves or an object.

Bicycle theft is so widespread in Amsterdam that rental shops will not let customers leave without giving them a crash course on bike locking – attaching both wheels to the frame, and chaining the bicycle to a fixed object, such as a bicycle stand.

Police said they were targeting professional bicycle thieves. This group makes a substantial profit from rebirthing and is known for scouring the city at night and lifting several bicycles at a time, putting them in vans or trailers.

Campaigners against bicycle theft say the majority of bicycle thieves, 40 per cent, are professionals while 30 per cent are drug addicts looking for a quick and easy way to get cash for their next fix. The remainder are usually impulsive thieves, sometimes students or youths – and very often drunk – who steal a bike to get home after their own was stolen.

Something most people don’t realize is that the new cars that come with OnStar allow you & your car to be tracked 24/7. Granted some people do not mind this safety aspect of OnStar, but if you were really interested in “getting away from it all,” and decided to cruise somewhere to not be found, those 24 nifty satellites will be on your ass no matter what. I wonder if there is some way to switch OnStar off & on when you want some geospatial privacy. I sincerely doubt it though. Otherwise those car thieves would turn it off once they commandeer the car. Regardless, I have issues with notion that my movements can be traced at all times. I already think about this every time I use my debit card and even when I use my cell phone.





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  • thank you,
    come again!