Archive for the ‘science’ Category

How to split up the US (Pete Search)

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

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[Editor's note: Topology analysis of the Facebook social network (how many people in one town are connected to another) overlayed on a curious map base in geographic and regrouped into regions like Greater Texas, Socalistan, and Mormonia. Not quite sure of how the author define's Pacfiica and the map suffers from poor red-green contrast but cool concept.]

Republished from Pete Search.

As I’ve been digging deeper into the data I’ve gathered on 210 million public Facebook profiles, I’ve been fascinated by some of the patterns that have emerged. My latest visualization shows the information by location, with connections drawn between places that share friends. For example, a lot of people in LA have friends in San Francisco, so there’s a line between them.

Looking at the network of US cities, it’s been remarkable to see how groups of them form clusters, with strong connections locally but few contacts outside the cluster. For example Columbus, OH and Charleston WV are nearby as the crow flies, but share few connections, with Columbus clearly part of the North, and Charleston tied to the South:

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Some of these clusters are intuitive, like the old south, but there’s some surprises too, like Missouri, Louisiana and Arkansas having closer ties  to Texas than Georgia. To make sense of the patterns I’m seeing, I’ve marked and labeled the clusters, and added some notes about the properties they have in common.

Continue reading at Pete Search . . .

If You Swat, Watch Out: Bees Remember Faces (NY Times)

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

[Editor's note: Besides the great headline, fascinating look at bee's spatial memory.]

Republished from the New York Times. Feb. 1, 2010.
By SINDYA N. BHANOO

A honeybee brain has a million neurons, compared with the 100 billion in a human brain. But, researchers report, bees can recognize faces, and they even do it the same way we do.

Bees and humans both use a technique called configural processing, piecing together the components of a face — eyes, ears, nose and mouth — to form a recognizable pattern, a team of researchers report in the Feb. 15 issue of The Journal of Experimental Biology.

“It’s a kind of gluing,” said Martin Giurfa, a professor of neural biology at the University de Toulouse, France, and one of the study’s authors.

It is the same ability, Dr. Giurfa said, that helps humans realize that a Chinese pagoda and a Swiss chalet are both abodes, based on their components.

“We know two vertical lines, with a hutlike top,” he said. “It’s a house.”

In their research, Dr. Giurfa and his colleagues created a display of hand-drawn images, some faces and some not.

Continue reading at the New York Times . . .

Map of big snow storm in DC (Kelso via Wash Post)

Monday, February 8th, 2010

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I’m still digging out from the big storm this weekend in Washington, DC. I received 24″ at my house, ranged from 14″ to over 30″ in the metro area with heaviest around Columbia, Maryland. I worked during the storm and Laris and I tallied the NWS weather spotter reports of snowfall and used the GIS to krig the a map of average depth from about 50 points (which had to be filtered to remove expired values). Then used Illustrator’s Live Trace functionality to vectorize. Preview above (for the local home page promo which didn’t have room for legend, so directly labeled the contours), full graphic below with explainer of how the storm happened (with Laura and Larry).

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Sweden’s Acme Advertising creates arresting green motorcoach marketing (Acne Advertising)

Monday, February 1st, 2010

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[Editor’s note: Video (below) showing creation of a 3d art installation showing how 50 cars = 1 bus for CO2 emissions in Sweden. Thanks @jnack!]

Republished from Acne Advertising and AutoBlog.

Sweden’s Flygbussarna Airport Coaches asked Acne Advertising to make the case for travelers to take a coach to the airport instead of a car. Instead of leading with price, comfort, or ease, Acne went for hot air and green – as in CO2 and the environment.

To vividly illustrate that one Flyggbussarna coach can hold about 50 people – as opposed to the typical Swedish passenger car, which averages 1.2 occupants – while emitting the pollution of just four passenger cars, Acne built a coach out of fifty crushed cars – primarily expired Volvos and Saabs.

The installation was placed next to the road to Sweden’s largest airport, and what ensued was lots of public awareness. And traffic jams. Which would have increased CO2, ironically. Follow the jump for a video on the campaign. Even if the resultant congestion made the earth a bit warmer, it’s still very cool.

50 cars or 1 coach? from acneadvertising on Vimeo.

Carto Tourism? St. Kitts and Nevis Marine Mapping Project

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

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[Editor’s note: A friend of mine who works for The Nature Conservancy down in the Caribbean put me onto this web log. With mapping ascending as a cultural meme, why not capitalize on the trend by creating meaningful survey expedition “vacations” that partner GIS and cartography professionals with local project coordinators in beautiful locales? Thanks Ruth!]

A team from TNC travels to St. Kitts and Nevis for ten days to collect field data that will be used to create the country’s first detailed map of marine habitats. This work is being funded by USAID to help protect and restore biodiversity in the Caribbean.

Ten Days to Map 260 Sq Kilometers

Most of the time when I tell someone I am traveling to St. Kitts and Nevis, they say Huh? Where? What did you say? I go on explaining that these two sister islands are located near Antigua and Barbuda and I get more intense blank looks. With only 104 sq kilometers of land area, St Kitts and Nevis is the smallest and youngest country in the western hemisphere, home to only 40,000 people. The land and the population may be small, but the people and the culture more than make up for it with their vibrant Caribbean spirit. However, like other small Caribbean countries, these fragile islands, located in one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world, are facing increasing pressures on limited resources, and are coming to an important crossroad in their short history since independence. One road goes down the path of continued unsustainable development, habitat destruction, and overfishing. The other path leads towards a sustainable future and smart growth – complete with well managed and healthy ecosystems, contributing to improvements in human well-being.

Continue reading at St. Kitts and Nevis Marine Mapping blog . . .

Global Warming / Tea Time (Patagonia)

Monday, January 25th, 2010

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T-shirt seems to be out of stock on the Patagonia.com site but was still available in their Georgetown, DC brick and mortar outlet.

Comparison of Touch Screen Sensor Accuracy (Apple Insider)

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

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[Editor's note: This graphic reminds me of lens distortion matrix analysis in my remote sensing class back in university. Not all sensors are made equal and pictures and sensors just capture a representation of reality, not the real thing.]

Republished from AppleInsider. January 11, 2010.

Touchscreen analysis shows iPhone accuracy lead over Droid

A test comparing the accuracy and sensitivity of smartphone touchscreens across various makers gave the iPhone top marks ahead of HTC’s Droid Eris and the Google-branded Nexus One, and much better results than the Motorola Droid.

The results, published by MOTO labs, noted that the company (which has no relation to Motorola) “has years of experience developing products that use capacitive touch, and we’ve had the opportunity to test many of the latest devices. Our conclusion: All touchscreens are not created not equal.”

Continue reading at AppleInsider . . .

As temperatures fall, the ground rises (Wash Post)

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

[Editor's note: My colleague Patterson Clark has a new science column in the redesigned print edition that features a weekly graphic. Last week it was on frost heaves using cross section profiles in 3 panels.]

Republished from The Washington Post.

Weather conditions have been favorable for the formation of frost heaves: Heavy rainfall and melting snow from the last week of December, followed by a long bout of freezing weather, created dynamic subsurface freezing that lifted some exposed soils up onto a bed of sharp ice crystals. (Looks spongy; feels crunchy underfoot.).

Frost heaves can damage soil structures, making soils more prone to erosion. Heaves can also lift overwintering plants out of the ground, breaking roots and exposing the roots to freezing temperatures. Heaves can also shift, and possibly damage, fence posts, sidewalks or other structures set into the top couple of feet of earth.

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Gravity Wells (xkcd)

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

[Editor’s note: Science comic geek alert. Thanks Martin and Jo!]

Republished from XKCD: A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.

View larger version . . .

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Space-Time Modeling and Analysis Workshop (ESRI)

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

[Editor's note: Two day workshop in Redlands next month.]

Republished from ArcNews (Winter 2009/2010)

logoScientists working on understanding the integration of space and time will gather in Redlands, California, February 22–23, 2010, to attend the Space-Time Modeling and Analysis Workshop. The workshop will be part of the first Redlands GIS Week—a gathering of thought leaders from academia, government, and industry to advance the science and application of geospatial technologies. The remainder of Redlands GIS Week 2010 will be dedicated to informal networking activities, demonstrations, and technical tours.

The Space-Time Modeling and Analysis Workshop will feature keynote presentations, lightning talks, and small group discussions, as well as opportunities for informal brainstorming with leading geospatial thinkers and implementers. Redlands GIS Week will be held at ESRI’s headquarters, as well as nearby sites in Redlands, California. The event is cosponsored by the Association of American Geographers (AAG), the University of Redlands, the University of Southern California, and ESRI. After the workshop, a publication will share the event’s results with a larger audience.

More Information

For more information and to view the call for participation, visit www.redlandsgisweek.org.