Archive for October, 2003

Bird Avoidance Model

Bird Avoidance Model

Perhaps the most complete predictive model of bird migration in the US has been constructed, not by wildlife biologists, rather by the Air Force and FAA.

The Bird Avoidance Model is used as a key tool for analysis, predictability, and correlation of bird habitat, migration, and breeding characteristics, combined with key environmental, and man-made geographic data.

Fantastic for them, right! Well their motivation hits a different mark than environmental science.

Since 1985 there have been over 38,000 bird-aircraft strikes recorded by the United States Air Force (USAF) that killed 33 aviators, destroyed 30 aircraft, and caused more than $500 million dollars worth of equipment damage.

Here is a map of the Monterey Bay area in California. Colorings represent expected geotemporal “bird mass”. The small yellow bird on green circle icons represent historic Bird Strike events.
Europe has its own version, BIRDTAM, for US military aircraft flying to/from German air bases.

Reminiscent of Porton Downs, the secretive UK weapons testing facility, lately recognized for having extremely high biodiversity for southern England, since most human beings have avoided the area for nearly a century. Military organization of space in some cases has unexpected, positive ecological results.

Birds are hardly the only worry for aviators. The military produces an incredible amount of data and visualizations. The Temporary Flight Restrictions Viewer is a very useable and powerful java app, from the Defense Internet NOTAM Service (NOTAM is Notice to Airmen). Right now, you’ll see there are several restrictions in place in the Los Angeles region, due to the wildfires. Also, there is no flying below 3,000 feet, within 3 nautical miles of Disneyland. MOAs (Military Operating Areas) and SUAs (Special Usa Airspaces) are clearly visualized, and you can zoom in to very detailed aviation maps.

Frightening and amazing to see how many different information spaces inhabit our one physical geography.

UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, PURSUANT TO 14 CFR SECTION 99.7, SPECIAL SECURITY INSTRUCTIONS, PILOTS CONDUCTING FLIGHT OPERATIONS WITHIN THE TERRITORIAL AIRSPACE OF THE U.S. ARE ADVISED TO AVOID THE AIRSPACE ABOVE OR IN PROXIMITY TO ALL NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS

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Butterflies and Biomorphs

Butterflies and Biomorphs

Boing boing links to the Butterfly Alphabet. 24 years of probably very enjoyable obsession, with implications likely to send Kabbalalists spinning towards the nearest wailing wall. Kjell managed to find every letter of the alphabet, photographing the butterflies alive.

Very coincidently, we’ve been discussing Richard Dawkin’s early Alife paper, “The Evolution of Evolvability” (from his book the Blind Watchmaker, or the proceedings of the 1st Alife conference). In which, he describes his Biomorphs software, a sort of hybrid Genetic Algorithm and L-System, with human aesthetic choice guiding morphological evolution. As an aside to the implications for evolutionary theory, he mentions his experiments in trying to evolve Biomorphs that resemble the Roman alphabet.

Even though, as usual Biology beat him too it, both natural and artificial evolution encountered the same problem. No matter how much screen time Dawkins devoted, he was unable to evolve “K” in his biomorph alphabet. One of the most difficult letters for Kjell to find among the butterflies was “K”. Asymmetric physical improbability.

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Radio.root update, fixes myRadio bug

Radio.root update, fixes myRadio bug
If you decide to turn off myRadio.root, by deleting the tool file itself, and you get an error like this…

[Macro error: Can’t find a sub-table named “Macintosh HD:Applications:Radio UserLand:Tools:myRadio.root”. ]

…just update Radio.root to fix the problem. More info on this bug and fix at radio-dev

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localfeeds and worldkit

localfeeds and worldKit

While I was at it, I went ahead and implemented Matt Croydon’s ICBM module, so now each newsitem item in the feed includes the geographic coordiates the item came from. Someone should combine that with WorldKit and do something cool. [Ross Notes]

someone has

someone is me, and i’d be interested in implementing this more generally for localfeeds.

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Aggregator Domain Shift

Aggregator Domain Shift

After restarting school, my weblogging/aggregation behavior has widely shifted. Time and mind resources are in short supply. Re-situated, from the vast and fast electronic worldmindsphere of responsive and creative signals, to something slower (not so slow), more depth, and requiring more physical movement (to get to class). This Domain Shift has highlighted many shortcomings in the current usage scenarios.

Clearly, 200 subscriptions aren’t tractable, and a severe culling is called for. The desire has been to keep on track with many people, projects and places, with near instant incorporation of novel events and ideas into my mindstream. Filtering this deluge is just too humanly intensive.

I think, posting less, is more. High volume feeds are, with few exceptions, not tractable. More high quality.

The weblog+aggregator has been Overloaded. It’s become a tool to manage personal contacts and social networks. A special purpose tool is needed for that. It’s become a collaborative editing platform, via the blogdex-es. Need a way to promote important memes in the mindsphere, without spamming all your subscribers’ aggregators. There’s a need for specialization of tools. The actual weblog is the focus of new creativity. Reviews, Events, Meme Promotion, Conversation .. all can piggyback on the architecture, plus required new seperate functionality and presentation.

With the domain shift to “evolutionary and adaptive systems”, I don’t want to leave the past completely behind. Build in history to subscription lists. Definitely some space for systems analysis and modelling of the blogosphere.

The university presents vast new sources of new information — simply in the form of seminars in various departments and institutions, events, newsletters. Its far far from integrated in any useable way, and building a proper system presents a years work in itself, which I must decline. Doesn’t stop me from scraping scraping and scraping. Beyond that, integrating classes, schedules, lecture handouts, seminars, student notes, into one usable system.

In the mean time, I pour all my readings into a wiki, turned personal database. Continually evolving this software and presentation, it will probably be perfectly usable right after the course finishes.

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myRadio does myHierarchalSubscriptions.opml … since February

myRadio does myHierarchalSubscriptions.opml … since February

Dave floated a tweak to mySubscriptions.opml to support aggregators with subscription hierarchies.

If you’re using myRadio, you already have mySubscriptionsMyRadio.opml in your gems folder.

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worldKit software update and new weblog

worldKit software update and new weblog

This will be the second release of worldKit, and there’s been a few really nice new features since the initial release a couple weeks ago. You can grab the new worldkit.swf, or the whole package (with updated docs) here.

Before I list the new features, there’s a new weblog devoted just to worldkit releases, bug fixes, and uses. Please subscribe if you’re using worldKit!

The new features…

  • thumbnail images plotted in map
  • Dymaxion and Polar projections
  • Ability to specify target window of map links
  • Several more Look and Feel options: size of the “plot dot”; size of the text; interval text box is visible after mouse activation

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Looks like I made the right move, from California.
Oy, real oy.
The political process in the US is officially broken. And fiction is officially reality. Commence chaos.

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worldKit update

worldKit update

Apologies for all the self promotion. Ok I’m not really sorry. worldKit is cool stuff.

I’ve added a few features in the past couple days, which I roll into a release soon. As a preview, check out the GeoPhotoBlog for image posts, and Earthquakes for design per item. Marc will definitely appreciate the multimedia blogging dimension.

GeoPhotoBlog is using the Pheed RSS Extension (not perfect, but it works the demo), and Earthquakes is using Dublin Core to create groups of plot designs. And of course ICBM namespace for locations.

I think this contributes to the discussion on metadata and data syndication applications, that Philip Pearson summarizes well. Compelling applications will push things forward.

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Worldwide Earthquake Map and RSS

Worldwide Earthquake Map and RSS

worldKit can do some cool stuff

of course, it’s only as good as its data. which means there’s an rss feed.

no guarantee that’s going to keep working indefinitely, still you’re welcome to subscribe to it, if you like. you’ll receive notice of all new earthquakes in your aggregator.

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