A new web app that displays the trending topics by location in near real-time. When you select one of the tags, the Introduction box displays a little sparkline for the region and the world as well as recent tweets with the topic. It’s pretty basic—all of the map tools are related to zooming. My main issue is with the info box on the right. That thing doesn’t move (although it does resize if the rending topic doesn’t have much to it) and it obscures part of the map. Why not just make it a column in its own right and not interfere with the map?
Anyway, it gives you an idea of the inanity of twitter without having to actually go to twitter, so there’s that.
I live in a tornado-prone area, so this immediately caught my eye.
Software can easily filter out buildings, cell towers and mountain ridges on radar screens. Yet because weather radar seeks motion to warn of storms, there’s no way to filter out the spinning blades.
Microwave radio signals are beamed toward a particular point and meteorologists listen for the “reflection.” Experts can pick out the shape of a storm, or a tornado.
The splatter of green, yellow, orange and red on Doppler screens that are caused by wind farms can look very much like a tornado or a storm.
via The Daily Herald
Part of me found it quite amusing; another part a little terrifying.
It also speaks to the potential pitfalls of relying solely on software to make life and death decisions. As the article notes, it’s dangerous for a meteorologist to ignore a signal near a wind turbine (assuming it’s just the blades) when there actually is a tornado and it’s also dangerous for the meteorologist to report false information, that there is a tornado, (assuming it’s not the turbines) when there is no tornado. The latter situation reduces the efficacy of the warning system, the boy crying wolf scenario. You get Type I and Type II errors all for trying to be a good eco-citizen.
I’d think, though, that they could get the coordinates of the turbines and add some code to go ‘hey, there’s a tornado near wind turbine x and the tornado’s not moving really anywhere so maybe it isn’t a tornado.” I guess that’s harder than it sounds.
A second site dedicated to informing the world of its current state, destroyed or not, re the Large Hadron Collider.
The answer is: NO. Clearly. But the page source is a much better read than the last LHC site (http://hasthelargehadroncolliderdestroyedtheworldyet.com/). First, and most inexplicably, we have:
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the crab always wins; it makes the baby syntacticians cry.
Right up there with the earlier exchange over at io9 involving a particular sub-genre of scifi books that invoked Clarke’s Law (advanced technology == magic) and ended with “got your nose.” Um, what?
Pretty standard boiler-plate until you get to:
If shelter is not available, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
Uuurrghhh… pffft. My head just exploded from teh awesomeness of this advice. At the next bug report, I will duck and cover. With the kit that I made for cyber emergencies—two cans and some string, a tin of caffeinated mints, a megaphone (because I’ve always wanted to respond to “I am on the phone” with “But I am on the megaphone” like Beth from NewsRadio and because that is the closest analog twitter equivalent), and my two plush microbe brain cells. You never know when you’ll need two to rub together.
Hands down, without a doubt the best “is it” one page website in the history of mankind. Of course, you’ll want to go back and check frequently, especially later this year when it ramps back up. You might never notice that the world has ended with all of the texting and tweeting and general interweb shenanigans. Shenanigans!
Ahem, all better now. See for yourself if the world has ended: http://hasthelargehadroncolliderdestroyedtheworldyet.com/