Saturday, December 4, 2010

Submarine cables : how the net connected the world

In 1998, just a handful of countries had extensive internet usage.
Today, nearly two billion people have web access via
submarine communication cables
Click on :
Then move the slider below to see how the cable network has spread and internet use has expanded

From TheAtlantic

The Internet is where we live our digital lives. But it's also a physical network of cables that span the globe.

We've clearly come a long, long way since the
first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable, which was laid in 1858 between the United States and Great Britain.
Last week, we were lucky enough to have
Hal Wallace, the electricity curator at the National Museum of American History walk us through the story of that very first submarine line.

The line was the brainchild of the financier
Cyrus Field.
He had a stunningly simple plan. Take one British warship and one American frigate, load them up with cable, and navigate them towards each other.
There was nothing fancy about the cable laying process: they just paid out the cable over the back and let it sink into the depths.
When the British and American vessels met up, they spliced the cable together and were in business. You can see the apparatus
here, thanks to Atlantic-Cable's sleuthing.

Map of the 1858 trans-Atlantic cable route

Sadly, the first cable didn't last long.
After three weeks, it stopped working and was never reconnected.
"The operators didn't realize how to work a cable like this," Wallace said. "The signal was very weak, so the answer was, 'More Power Scotty' and they fried the cable."
By the time they laid the more permanent telegraph lines in the 1860s, operators had learned their lesson.

There's a fascinating coda to the story, too.
Contemporary interest in the submarine cable was huge.
In fact, there was a short-lived frenzy after the connection was initially made.
Field, ever the entrepreneur, entered into a deal with Tiffany's to sell chunks of the cable as souvenirs.
So, what you're looking at the top of this post is a Tiffany's branded chunk of submarine cable.
It even came with a certificate of authenticity from Field himself.
The moral of the story? Don't let anyone tell you that technological enthusiasm is something new.
Links :

Friday, December 3, 2010

Oceans failing the acid test, U.N. says

Rob Dunbar hunts for data on our climate from 12,000 years ago, finding clues inside ancient seabeds and corals.
His work is vital in setting baselines for fixing our current climate -- and, scarily, in tracking the rise of deadly ocean acidification.

From CNN

The chemistry of the world's oceans is changing at a rate not seen for 65 million years, with far-reaching implications for marine biodiversity and food security, according to a new United Nations study released Thursday.

Environmental Consequences of Ocean Acidification," published by the U.N. Environmental Program (UNEP)," warns that some sea organisms including coral and shellfish will find it increasingly difficult to survive, as acidification shrinks the minerals needed to form their skeletons.

Lead author of the report
Carol Turley, from the UK's Plymouth Marine Laboratory said in a statement: "We are seeing an overall negative impact from ocean acidification directly on organisms and on some key ecosystems that help provide food for billions. We need to start thinking about the risk to food security." (video)

Tropical reefs provide shelter and food for around a quarter of all known marine fish species, according to the U.N. report, while over one billion people rely on fish as a key source of protein.
Ocean acidification is yet another red flag being raised, carrying planetary health warnings about the uncontrolled growth in greenhouse gas emissions

Increasing acidification is likely to affect the growth and structural integrity of coral reef, the study says, and coupled with ocean warming could limit the habitats of crabs, mussels and other shellfish with knock-on effects up and down the food chain.

The report, unveiled during the latest round of U.N. climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, says that around a quarter of the world's CO2 emissions are currently being absorbed by the oceans, where they are turned into carbonic acid.

Overall, pH levels in seas and oceans worldwide have fallen by an average of 30 percent since the Industrial Revolution. The report predicts that by the end of this century ocean acidity will have increased 150 percent, if emissions continue to rise at the current rate.

But scientists say there may well be winners and losers as acidification doesn't affect all sea creatures in the same way.
Adult lobsters, for example, may increase their shell-building as pH levels fall, as might brittle stars -- a close relation of the starfish -- but at the cost of muscle formation.
"The ability, or inability, to build calcium-based skeletons may not be the only impact of acidification on the health and viability of an organism: brittle stars perhaps being a case in point," Turley said in a statement.

"It is clearly not enough to look at a species. Scientists will need to study all parts of the life-cycle to see whether certain forms are more or less vulnerable."

Scientists are more certain about the fate of photosynthetic organisms such as seagrasses, saying they are likely to benefit from rising acidification and that some creatures will simply adapt to the changing chemistry of the oceans.

The authors identify a range of measures which policymakers need to consider to stop pH levels falling further, including "rapid and substantial cuts" to CO2 emissions as well as assessing the vulnerability of communities which rely on marine resources.

"Ocean acidification is yet another red flag being raised, carrying planetary health warnings about the uncontrolled growth in greenhouse gas emissions. It is a new and emerging piece in the scientific jigsaw puzzle, but one that is triggering rising concern,"
Achim Steiner, UNEP executive director, said in a statement.

Links :
  • TheTelegraph : Cancun climate summit, Britain's salmon at risk from ocean acidification
  • Reuters : Ocean acidification may threaten food security
  • AFP : UN report highlights ocean acidification
  • Wired : Ocean acidification gives young fish a death wish
  • Blog GeoGarage : Ocean acidification, the other CO2 issue

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Watson ready on Antarctic whale defense campaign to confront the hunt

From TheJapanTimes

Sea Shepherd antiwhaling activist Paul Watson said Friday his group is prepared for this year's campaign against Japanese whaling near Antarctica and he rejects the conclusions of New Zealand's investigation into a collision at sea earlier this year.

Speaking in Sydney, Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, said this season's antiwhaling campaign, dubbed "
Operation No Compromise," is already on.

"We're better equipped now than ever before. Every year the Japanese whaling fleet gets weaker (and) we get stronger," he said, insisting his group's upcoming campaign will fare better than last year's.

'Gojira' Ocean Adventurer replacing former 'Ady Gil'

Watson said the new fast interceptor vessel Ocean Adventurer, currently in Fremantle, Western Australia, will join the former Norwegian harpoon vessel Bob Barker in Hobart, Tasmania, along with the flagship vessel Steve Irwin, which is currently en route to the southern city, the closest point to the Southern Ocean.

All three vessels, with about 80 crew members, will set sail on Dec. 2 to confront the Japanese whalers in Antarctic waters, he said, adding that he expects the Japanese fleet to leave Japan any day now and arrive in Antarctic waters around Dec. 18.

Watson said he believes the whalers will be more assertive this coming season.

"Australia and New Zealand have virtually given the green light to (Japan to) be more aggressive by doing nothing," he said in regard to an incident last January in which the whaling vessel
Shonan Maru No. 2 chopped off the bow of Sea Shepherd's New Zealand-registered speedboat the Ady Gil, which later sank.

Watson also said he disagrees with the findings contained in New Zealand maritime authorities' investigation report released Wednesday, in which both parties were blamed for the collision. "I think New Zealand is trying to sit on the fence here and keep everybody happy by saying both people are at fault," he said.

"The report admits the Ady Gil had the right of way, it admits the Shonan Maru was the overtaking vessel, it admits the Shonan Maru should have avoided the collision and it admits the Shonan Maru deliberately turned into the Ady Gil — and then it says they are only 50 percent responsible for the collision, which seems very strange for me," he said.

The report also found that the 16-ton Ady Gil failed to maintain an effective lookout and failed to respond appropriately once the collision risk was apparent, choosing instead to maintain course and speed.

Watson said that even though the incident was perhaps the most documented collision in maritime history, the investigation can hardly be called conclusive in the absence of the Japanese government's cooperation and that of the Shonan Maru No. 2 captain.

When asked whether special steps will be taken by Sea Shepherd to prevent a similar incident, he merely said, "We're prepared for them to be more aggressive, we're prepared to disrupt their operations as efficiently as we can."

Currently doing fundraising work in Australia before heading to Hobart to board the Steve Irwin, Watson believes his group is on the right track.

"Over the past five years, we've cut their profits, we're speaking the language they understand, they're $200 million in debt on subsidy loans to the Japanese government and we've saved over 2,000 whales from being killed, so I think we're having an impact."

Links :
  • BBC : whaling collision 'fault of both sides'
  • CSMonitor : Japan's 'scientific' whaling season delayed, Sea Shepherd claims responsibility

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A world redrawn : when America showed up on a map, it was the universe that got transformed

Universalis Cosmographia, the Waldseemüller wall map dated 1507,
depicts the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Ocean separating Asia from the Americas
(full resolution)

From BostonGlobe

NEARLY FIVE CENTURIES ago, the Polish astronomer Nicholas Copernicus went public with one of the most important arguments ever made in the history of ideas.
The earth did not sit immobile at the center of the universe, he wrote.
It revolved around the sun.

It was the mother of all paradigm shifts, dismantling a model of the universe that had been dogma since antiquity.
When he published his theory, in “On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres” (1543), Copernicus provided a wealth of data on the movements of celestial bodies in support of his case. But what’s often overlooked is that he began his argument from the ground up, by focusing not on the heavens but the earth.
In particular, he began with a geographical revelation, prompted by something he had recently come across on a new map.

Known today as the Waldseemüller map of 1507, it was the first to depict the lands discovered by Columbus and other early explorers as part of a vast and previously unknown continent.
Earlier maps had shown the new discoveries only vaguely, as a still-to-be-determined part of Asia, but this new map boldly located them far out in the western ocean, on the other side of the globe from the known world, extending deep into the southern hemisphere.
And it gave this place a memorable new name: America.

The story of how a map of the world helped Copernicus to rethink the universe is rarely told. But the connection tells us something important about how great ideas are born.
To understand it, we need to recall that medieval scholars didn’t consider geography and astronomy to be distinct disciplines.
Instead, they considered them parts of a single field called cosmography - the study of the known world and its place in the cosmos.
One of the field’s guiding principles went something like this: Looking down, we see up; looking up, we see down.
By carefully studying the earth, cosmographers believed they could learn about the heavens, and by carefully studying the heavens they believed they could learn about the earth.
Copernicus himself was a cosmographer, and shared this view.

We remember Copernicus as one of the first great thinkers of the modern scientific era, but he inhabited a profoundly medieval thought-world - a world in which astrology and alchemy commanded as much attention as geography and astronomy.
For all its obvious and sometimes laughable shortcomings, the medieval approach to learning was far more integrated than our own, and it allowed Copernicus to think on a truly grand scale.
From a cosmic vantage point he looked down, at a map, and what he saw made the skies open up.

WHEN CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS first sailed west from Spain in 1492 in search of the Indies, nobody worried that he would sail off the edge of the earth.
Medieval Europeans knew full well that the world was a sphere, and that if you sailed far enough to the west you would arrive in the east.

In that sense, they understood the shape of the world.
But when they set their sights beyond the earth, they still relied on a 2,500-year-old model of the universe, one that scholastics during the Middle Ages had made fundamental to Christian theology.
According to teachings that dated to Aristotle, the cosmos as a whole consisted of a set of concentric spheres.
At the center was the earth, a solid ball of land.
Surrounding the earth, successively, were spheres of water, air, and fire; then individual spheres for the moon, the sun, and the planets; and finally, at the outer limits, a single sphere studded with stars, beyond which lay a realm of pure abstraction, or God.
Each of these celestial spheres rotated around the earth at its own pace.

This model did a serviceable job of explaining the apparent motions of the heavens, but it had a fundamental problem.
If the cosmos did indeed consist of a set of spheres with the earth at its center, then why wasn’t the earth completely submerged in the sphere of water that surrounded it?
Why was there any exposed land at all?

European scholars in the late Middle Ages devised a way of explaining this problem away.
The earth, they suggested, bobbed slightly off-center in the sphere of water, “like an apple in a basin,” as one writer put it in 1484.
How had this happened? God had simply made it so. The Book of Genesis told the story: “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear.”
In practical terms, scholars explained, what God had done in working this miracle was to push the sphere of the earth to one side of the sphere of the water, exposing part of it to the air and creating the contiguous lands that would come to be known as Asia, Europe, and Africa.

Copernicus knew the theory of the off-center earth well from his student days.
But he didn’t buy it.
Mathematically, geometrically, logically - it just didn’t make sense to him.
Anybody could see that the earth’s landmass didn’t gradually and uniformly mount upward from the sea toward a high point somewhere in the middle of the known world, as this model suggested it should.
“Furthermore,” he wrote in the geographical section with which he opened On the Revolutions, “the depth of the abyss would never stop increasing from the shore of the ocean outward, so that no island or reef or any form of land would be encountered by sailors on the longer voyages.”

But Copernicus went on to add that he had recently come across even more compelling evidence against this theory.
And this evidence can only have come from the Waldseemüller map.

The map was the work of Martin Waldseemüller, a German humanist based in the town of Saint-Die, in the mountains of eastern France.
It was this obscure figure, now almost completely forgotten, who first mapped the world roughly as we know it today.

Waldseemüller’s map was huge, measuring 4½ feet by 8 feet.
Probably no printed map had ever been larger.
Waldseemüller would later claim that he printed 1,000 copies of the map, but only one survives today, discovered by accident in a German castle in 1901, and bought in 2003 by the Library of Congress for $10 million, the highest price ever paid publicly for a historical document.

Copies of the map seem to have circulated widely in the early 16th century.
In the years immediately after 1507, it reached a number of German university towns, where professors probably used it as a classroom prop.
By 1512, it had made it to Poland, where Jan de Stobnicza, a professor of philosophy at the University of Krakow, published his own partial copy.

Nobody who saw the map could miss what dominated its left side.
Rising majestically out of the western ocean, extending deep into the southern hemisphere, was a huge new continent.
And printed across the region we now know as Brazil was a strange new name: America.

Waldseemüller and his colleague Matthias Ringmann wrote a companion volume to the map, in which they explained the nature and location of this new continent, and why they had named it America.
Europeans, they wrote, had long divided the world into three parts: Asia, Europe, and Africa.
But recent developments, most notably voyages made by the Italian merchant Amerigo Vespucci, meant that this old picture of the world had to be updated.
“A fourth part [of the world],” they wrote, “has been discovered by Amerigo Vespucci … Since both Asia and Africa received their names from women, I do not see why anyone should rightly prevent this from being called…America, after its discoverer, Americus.”

Why Vespucci and not Columbus?
Columbus had restricted his explorations to the Caribbean, which, he insisted until his dying day, corresponded to a region already visible on maps of the Far East.
Vespucci, on the other hand, had done something much more dramatic.
He had sailed south, following the coastlines of the New World far below the equator into a part of the world never mapped before.

Waldseemüller decided to make his map after reading letters by Vespucci and seeing sailors’ charts containing sketches of the newly discovered coasts.
It was the southness, not the westness, of the New World that made him, like other Europeans, feel that something remarkable had been discovered across the Atlantic.

The logical thing for Waldseemüller to do would have been to depict these new coasts as a part of Asia, or at least as nothing more than terra incognita.
But instead he decided that what Vespucci had discovered had to be an entirely new continent.

At the time Copernicus came across the Waldseemüller map, he had already begun to look for evidence that would support his new theory of the cosmos.
And when he saw America on the map, he knew he had found what he was looking for.
The location of this new continent, he realized, disproved the theory of the off-center earth.

If the earth really did bulge out of one side of the sphere of water, he reasoned, then the ocean had to get deeper and deeper the farther one sailed away from the shores of the known world. Land, in other words, could not protrude from opposite sides of the sphere of water.
And yet that’s exactly what Copernicus saw happening on the Waldseemüller map.
Here was a giant southern continent far off in the western ocean, located diametrically opposite to the known world.

There was only one way to explain this oddity, Copernicus decided: The watery sphere must not exist at all. The earth and its oceans had to be one, and in that single globe there had to be much more earth than water.

Quite suddenly, at its very core, the old model of the cosmos was falling apart.
If the theory of an off-center earth was directly at odds with geographical reality, as the Waldseemüller map showed it to be, then the time had come, it seemed to Copernicus, to think about the cosmos from an entirely different perspective.

Perhaps it was not the heavens that were in motion, but the earth.

COPERNICUS DIDN’T MENTION the Waldseemüller map by name in On the Revolutions, but several different strands of evidence strongly suggest that he saw the map and used it to develop his theory of the cosmos.

In the preface to On the Revolutions, he mentioned having begun the book long before its 1543 publication, and having kept some version of it buried among his papers for “the fourth period of nine years.”
The phrase is convoluted, but the math is simple.
Four periods of nine years is 36 years, and 36 years before 1543 is 1507 - the year the Waldseemüller map appeared in print.
It’s easy to see how Copernicus could have had access to the map, too; he was in Poland during that period, visiting and corresponding with colleagues at the University of Krakow, where the map appeared no later than 1512.
Most convincing of all, however, is that in the opening section of On the Revolutions he describes the earth using language that corresponds directly to what appears on the Waldseemüller map.
His description of America, in particular, corresponds so precisely, in language and cartographical detail, that no other source appears possible.

As a cosmographer steeped in medieval ideas, Copernicus found his way easily to the idea that studying the makeup of the earth might help him discern the makeup of the universe.
Today scientific learning is vastly more specialized, and few thinkers dare leap so boldly between the tiny to the cosmic; there are just too many disciplinary borders to cross along the way.
But precisely that kind of leap is what gives rise to great discoveries, which almost never can be contained within any one discipline.
One only has to think of Einstein for an illustration of this lesson.
What helped him develop his grand theory of relativity - as the historian of science Peter Galison has explained in fascinating detail in “Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps” - was the time he spent early in his life as a patent clerk, studying the problem of how to synchronize clocks.

Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann both died decades before Copernicus published On the Revolutions, and never in their wildest dreams did they imagine that by putting America on the map they would help usher in an entirely new theory of the universe.
But nevertheless they recognized that they had created something revolutionary.
They even made a special plea on their map.
“This one request we have to make,” they wrote, “that those who are inexperienced and unacquainted with cosmography shall not condemn all this before they have learned what will surely be clearer to them later on.”

Links :

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New feature : FULL screen for the viewer

Classical screen with borders

Full screen

(clicking on the 'fullscreen' button in the content settings menu)

Except for the Safari navigator, the other browsers (Firefox, Chrome, IE8) are able to show a complete full screen without any menu :

Example of complete full screen with Chrome
(clicking on the tool icon and on the extend arrows icon in the zoom item)

Result : a complete full screen without any menu

Note : move your mouse at the top of the window to disable this feature and display the menus again

Note about advertisements : how to get a free ads viewer?
To avoid to see ads banners in the full screen mode, don't forget to register and subscribe to a 'Premium Charts' account (see FAQ)

New feature : share Marine GeoGarage places

Share feature at the bottom left corner of the screen

How 'geogaraging' areas ?

Marine GeoGarage proposes right now a social bookmarking service allowing you to share the place of your choice (including the nautical map overlay and the selected zoom level) via a variety of services :

URL link with URL shortener to copy and paste
to share a specific place on the Marine GeoGarage
sending it by Email or using it on personal blogs

Share it on Facebook

New feature : photos from Ocean in the Marine GeoGarage

View of geotagged photos
(button 'photos' in the 'content settings' menu)

Marine GeoGarage proposes right now to display the photos from Panoramio, the geolocation-oriented photo sharing website.

The site's goal is to allow Marine GeoGarage users to learn more about a given area by viewing the photos that other users have taken at that place.

Effectively, since october 26th, Panoramio adds
photos from the Ocean :

This is an excellent way for Marine GeoGarage users to showcase all the imagery captured onboard but also underwater, in order to share them with the other users.
Panoramio is accepting oceans photos, so
upload them and leave a comment below to share some of your most interesting pictures.

For more details go the
Panoramio forum.
If you’ve never
geo-tagged a photo, watch this video to learn how easy it is to add photos to the Panoramio layer in Google Earth.

By the way, Panoramio announced a monthly
Photo Contest.
To enter your photo,
sign up and click on “Submit to the contest” and choose a category.

Good luck and we can’t wait to see your photos!

Female fish turned on when boyfriends win a fight

In this composite image, two male cichlids face off while a female watches.
Credit: Todd Anderson, Stanford University News Service

From LiveScience

If you're a male African cichlid, it pays to be a brawler.
A new study finds that female fish get a reproduction-related charge when their preferred mate wins a fight against another male.
When her beau loses a slugfest, the female becomes more anxious.

"It is the same as if a woman were dating a boxer and saw her potential mate get the crap beat out of him really badly," study co-author Julie Desjardins said in a statement.
"She may not consciously say to herself, 'Oh, I'm not attracted to this guy anymore because he's a loser,' but her feelings might change anyhow."

Desjardins, a postdoctoral researcher in biology at Stanford University, and her fellow researchers reported their results online Nov. 24 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Fish fistfights

To find out how female fish react to male fights, the researchers studied 15 female fish, dissecting their brains immediately after each fight.

The researchers used a fish tank split into three compartments by transparent barriers.
In each case, two males of comparable size and weight were put into the sections at either end, and the female went into the middle section.

For two days, the fish were given 20 minutes to bond.
Typically, this involved the female interacting with whichever male she preferred.

"We know that she prefers a particular male, because she will display some mating behavior and he will try to do the same on his side," Desjardins said.

The female's preference didn't change on the second day, the researchers found.

On the third day, the female remained in the middle section of the tank, but both male fish were put into a section together.
Because African cichlids are territorial, it never took long for a fight to erupt.

Female reaction

The researchers separated the fish after 20 minutes of fighting.
They then dissected the female's brain, measuring levels of RNA (a molecule similar to DNA) to judge activation in various areas of the brain.
The scientists focused on RNA for two genes associated with reproduction.
They found that in the females who'd seen their preferred male lose, areas associated with anxiety were extra-active.
In females whose potential mates had emerged victorious, activity increased in areas of the brain associated with pleasure and reproduction.

"In this case, she is turning on her body to get ready to physically mate with this male that she previously chose," Desjardins said.

The researchers don't know whether females would still have chosen to mate with a loser male, because the females were dissected immediately after the fight.
Examining the effect of fish fights on actual mate choice is the next step, Desjardins said.

The researchers suspect the brawl effect will reach beyond fish, said study co-author Russ Fernald, a Stanford biology professor.

"Our intuition is that this response is likely to occur under similar conditions in humans," Fernald said in a statement, " because the brain areas involved are present in all vertebrates and perform comparable functions."

Links :
  • Wired : the enemy within, male fish dislike their refections more than competitors
  • Russell Fernald Lab at Stanford University : other articles

Monday, November 29, 2010

Zoom In on Top Ultra High-Resolution marine panaramas

Credit: GigaPan/Stephanie Jenouvier

Adélie Penguin Colony

Stephanie Jenouvier, a researcher at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, shot this 1.39-gigapixel panorama of an Antarctic Adélie penguin colony.
Tucked away in the image are surveying researchers, hungry birds and countless waddling penguins.
The colony spreads across Cape Crozier, one of the easternmost tips of Ross Island in Antarctica, a location many scientists call home for months at a time.
Jenouvier "has really gone in and captured how we do research in Antarctic with her images,” Nourbaksh said. “They’re always great portraits of science and culture.”

Credit: GigaPan/Jason Buccheim

Bait Ball
When this school of Salema fish, also called “dream fish” for their hallucinogenic toxins, swam toward photographer Jason Buccheim, he quickly snapped 10 photos to create this wrap-around panorama (in addition to one from
inside the school).
Such schools of fish are often called “bait balls,” because dolphins, tuna and other fast ocean predators will simultaneously attack the fish from many directions, keeping them from escaping.
“Underwater gigapanography is one direction we’re really interested in pursuing,” Nourbaksh said. “Just imagine doing them on a coral reef over and over. It would be a dream to be able to show a detailed time-lapse of reef bleaching.”

From Wired

The ability to capture extremely detailed panoramic views made up of hundreds of perfectly stitched individual photos is tremendously useful for scientists studying everything from rock outcrops to birds to microscopic organisms.

The creators of the GigaPan robot, which can automatically create zoomable gigapixel-scale images, announced eight winners of a science photography contest Nov. 11 at the
Fine International Conference on Gigapixel Imaging for Science.

“Having access to such high-resolution images changes scientists’ relationships to images and the information they contain,” said Carnegie Mellon University robotics scientist
Illah Nourbaksh, one of GigaPan’s inventors and an organizer of conference.

Created in 2006 by Carnegie Mellon and NASA, the
GigaPan robotic camera mount can shoot hundreds of perfectly aligned images using almost any digital camera. After the photographer uploads the photos to a computer, photo-stitching software seamlessly merges them into a single, highly zoomable image.

Since 2007, Nourbaksh and others have trained 120 scientists to use the system. “There are 8,000
GigaPans out there just by scientists, and that’s growing every day as more of them use it,” Nourbaksh said.
From microbes on a barnacle to a landscape coated with penguins, explore the winning scientist-photographer entries, plus a sneak preview of zoomable, gigapixel-size, time-lapse videos.

Links :
  • Stephane Scotto : Bassin d'Arcachon (aerial oblique photo hosted in the GeoGarage)
  • Gigapan : surgeon fish, Galapagos

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Settling on the Coast

Taken in 2007 by Expedition 16 astronauts aboard the International Space Station,
this digital image shows Cape Cod, where the Pilgrims first set foot

(position in the Marine GeoGarage)

From NASA Earth Observation

Cape Cod is a haven for waves of migrants who have washed up on American shores.
The most famous arrived in the early 1600s, and hundreds of thousands now visit every summer. But most of the migrants washed up between
18,000 and 23,000 years ago.

In September 1620, English Separatists, also called the
Pilgrims, left Europe to set up a colony near the mouth of the Hudson River.
On November 20, they sighted land and confirmed it to be Cape Cod.
This arm-shaped peninsula of Massachusetts is shown here in 2007 in a digital photograph from astronauts aboard the
International Space Station.

The Pilgrims initially decided to sail farther south, but quickly became wary of the shallow waters and shoals east and south of Cape Cod and Nantucket—waters full of the sandy, rocky outwash from ancient glaciers.
They sailed around the northeastern tip of the Cape and on November 21, 1620, dropped anchor just off the shores of modern-day Provincetown.
While resting in that harbor, they composed and signed the
Mayflower Compact, an agreement to establish self-government.

In the weeks that followed, the Pilgrims explored the Cape and made their first encounter with the
Wampanoag Indians, native people whose ancestors may have explored and inhabited Cape Cod as early as 11,000 years ago.
Eventually, the Pilgrims made their way to the western shores of Cape Cod Bay, landing near an abandoned Wampanoag settlement known as

Plymouth Rock—which is likely a creation of oral history and legend, since there is no mention of it in the writings of the original Mayflower voyagers—is a glacial erratic, a large boulder that dropped out of a glacier.

The Cape’s sandy peninsula and a fair bit of southeastern Massachusetts is, in a way, also a migrant.
The area was both built up and scoured by the
Laurentide Ice Sheet, which stretched down past Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket during Earth’s last major Ice Age.
In their advance and retreat, the glaciers composing the ice sheet scraped rock off of Earth’s surface, eventually depositing it on Cape Cod.
U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the deposits are 200 to 600 feet thick across the region.

Though this photo cannot show all the rocks left behind, it does show the dozens of kettle hole ponds.
As the ice sheet retreated, sediments washing out of the glaciers occasionally covered chunks of ice.
Those ice blocks would eventually melt and collapse the sediments, creating the space for the fresh groundwater-fed ponds we see today.

Editor’s Note: On the original Mayflower Compact, the date is listed as November 11.
When Western societies switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, 10 days were added, turning November 11 into November 21.

Links :