Posts Tagged ‘Amazon’

Google Massively Automates Tropical Deforestation Detection (HughStimson.org)

Friday, December 18th, 2009

[Editor's note: Perhaps Wired magazine's Google evil-meter just tipped a bit less negative? In all seriousness, this sounds like a great project!]

Republished from HughStimson.org. Dec. 11, 2009.

Land cover change analysis has been an active area of research in the remote sensing community for many years. The idea is to make computational protocols and algorithms that take a couple of digital images collected by satellites or airplanes, turn them into land­cover maps, layer them on top of each other, and pick out the places where the land cover type has changed. The best protocols are the most precise, the fastest, and which can chew on multiple images recorded under different conditions. One of the favorite applications of land cover change analysis has been deforestation detection. A particularly popular target for deforestation analysis is the tropical rain forests, which are being chain sawed down at rates which are almost as difficult to comprehend as it is to judge exactly how bad the effects of their removal will be on biological diversity, planetary ecosystem functioning and climate stability.

Google has now gotten itself into the environmental remote sensing game, but in a Google-esque way: massively, ubiquitously, computationally intensively, plausibly benignly, and with probable long-term financial benefits. They are now running a program to vacuum up satellite imagery and apply land cover change detection optomized for spotting deforestation, and for the time being targeted at the Amazon basin. The public doesn’t currently get access to the results, but presumably that access will be rolled out once Google et al are confident in the system. I have to hand it to Google: they are technically careful, but politically aggressive. Amazon deforestation is (or should still be) a very political topic.

Continue reading at HughStimson.org . . .

If You Click on the Google Ad More, I’ll Remove It Quicker

Monday, September 14th, 2009

If the last couple months of advertising via Google AdSense and Amazon Affiliates has taught me anything, it’s that I made $0 with Amazon and around $20 / month with Google (on around 25,000 page views each month). Not exactly stellar. Especially considering Google doesn’t pay out till your account reaches $100. Interesting to think that Google might actually be making it’s billions by an accounting trick or two where they get to earn interest on my account credit balance for months (potentially years for some). Multiple by a couple million websites and it’s no wonder they are making out like bandits. The real money in the ad-supported business model seems revolve around actual high-value ad placement which usually requires an ad account rep. Something I’m not about to spring for, nor do I have extra time to act as. So help me remove the stupid banner ads by clicking on them (just once per reader, please). When my Google account reads $100, I’ll cash it out and remove the top image ad. Or you could buy me a beer via the “Donate” button ;)

Great Information Design Book: The Back of the Napkin (Kelso)

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

I got a great xmas gift from my friend Curt this year, a little book called The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures by Dan Roam. If you like Edward Tufte, you’ll like Dan Roam. This book was rated #5 Business Book on Amazon.com last year, but really he talks about informational graphic storytelling, so don’t let that throw you.

As it advertises in the introduction, I was able to read thru the book on my DC to LA flight but I quickly discovered there are enough gems for many returns. Here are the basics:

Dan Roam has a great website with animations, movies, and other resources. He also puts on events and keeps current with a blog. The following images are from his website.

1. Visual Thinking Toolbox

2. The Codex

3. The SQVID

4. The <6><6> Rule

From Amazon.com (below). Buy it there.

From Publishers Weekly
The premise behind Roam’s book is simple: anybody with a pen and a scrap of paper can use visual thinking to work through complex business ideas. Management consultant and lecturer Roam begins with a watershed moment: asked, at the last minute, to give a talk to top government officials, he sketched a diagram on a napkin. The clarity and power of that image allowed him to communicate directly with his audience. From this starting point, Roam has developed a remarkably comprehensive system of ideas. Everything in the book is broken down into steps, providing the reader with tools and rules to facilitate picture making. There are the four steps of visual thinking, the six ways of seeing and the SQVID– a clumsy acronym for a full brain visual work out designed to focus ideas. Roam occasionally overcomplicates; an extended case study takes up a full third of the book and contains an overload of images that belie the book’s central message of simplicity. Nonetheless, for forward-thinking management types, there is enough content in these pages to drive many a brainstorming session. Illus. (Mar 13)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review
“The premise behind Roam’s book is simple: anybody with a pen and a scrap of paper can use visual thinking to work through complex business ideas. Management consultant and lecturer Roam begins with a “watershed moment”: asked, at the last minute, to give a talk to top government officials, he sketched a diagram on a napkin. The clarity and power of that image allowed him to communicate directly with his audience. From this starting point, Roam has developed a remarkably comprehensive system of ideas. Everything in the book is broken down into steps, providing the reader with “tools and rules” to facilitate picture making. There are the four steps of visual thinking, the six ways of seeing and the “SQVID”– a clumsy acronym for a “full brain visual work out” designed to focus ideas. Roam occasionally overcomplicates; an extended case study takes up a full third of the book and contains an overload of images that belie the book’s central message of simplicity. Nonetheless, for forward-thinking management types, there is enough content in these pages to drive many a brainstorming session. Illus.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“As painful as it is for any writer to admit, a picture *is* sometimes worth a thousand words. That’s why I learned so much from this book. With style and wit, Dan Roam has provided a smart, practical primer on the power of visual thinking.”
—Daniel H. Pink, author of A Whole New Mind

“Inspiring! It teaches you a new way of thinking in a few hours — what more could you ask from a book?”
—Dan Heath, author of Made to Stick

“This book is a must read for managers and business leaders. Visual thinking frees your mind to solve problems in unique and effective ways.”
—Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures

“If you observe the way people read or listen to things in the early 21st century, you realize that there aren’t many of us left with a linear attention span. Visual information is much more interesting than verbal information. So if you want to make a point, do it with images, pictures or graphics. . . . Dan Roam is the first visual consultant for businesses that I’ve worked with. His approach is faster for the customer. And the message sticks.”
—Roger Black, Media design leader, Author of Websites That Work

“Simplicity. This is Dan Roam’s message in The Back Of The Napkin. We all dread business meetings with their mountains of documents and the endless bulleted power points. Roam cuts through all that to demonstrate how the use of simple drawings — executed while the audience watches — communicate infinitely better than those complex presentations. Is a picture truly worth a thousand words? Having told us how to communicate with pictures, Roam rounds out his message by explaining that “We don’t show an insight-inspiring picture because it saves a thousand words; we show it because it elicits the thousand words that make the greatest difference.” And that is communication that works.”
—Bill Yenne, author of Guinness: The 250 Year Quest for the Perfect Pint