Google Earth
addictive program

've been playing around with Google Earth lately. You need a broadband connection which I just got a couple months ago. The free program is fine but has old pics some of which may be 10-12 years old? Also, some places don't have the resolution to be interesting. However, most tourist attractions and large cities have resolutions sufficient that I can make out cars but not the make or model of car. Here are some examples.

This is New York City by St. Patrick's Cathedral

New York City

Note how the buildings are stitched together from different pictures at different angles. This gives the impression of impossible geometric structures. I don't know why they do this but it's interesting. Maybe M.C. Escher worked on it ;o)

Notre Dame in Paris

Notre Dame

This is the best resolution on the free Google Earth. You can see people all over the place but you can't positively identify them as people except by the context, i.e. if you saw these "spots" out in the desert you couldn't distinguish them from bushes.

Correction: The best resolution is Las Vegas (so far that I've seen). You can see individual identified by their shadows.

This is the Paris Zoo


Here is the only animal that I can possitively identify from ... hmmmm ... maybe this isn't a satellite photo. The better picks may be just arial photographs taken from planes. The brown is the animal and the shadow is the means of identification.

Here's Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands

Port Stanley

I've been exploring the Falkland Islands because I just can't imagine why about 3000 people choose to live there. I circled what I believe to be a two-story building ... if it is, it's the only one on the island. The picture represents about 25% of all the structures on the Falkland Islands.

What's the attraction? It's cold and windy and there isn't even a single soccer field (they're British). What do they do for entertainment? Anyway the best way to find human habitations in the rest of the island is to find a road and follow it to the end. You can find a house or barn. Check out the few "homes" on the west island. Why are there people there? Do they have any electricity? To me, this proves that interplanetary travel is possible. These people live on another planet and don't seem to mind it at all ;o)

Kingston, New York

Kingston, New York

My wife and I were at Hudson Valley Mall about 20 years ago (late 80's). As we walked to the car (after nightfall), a woman said, "What's that?". I looked and said. "Those are those guys in ultra-lites who go around in formation trying to look like a UFO.". She was satisfied with this and left. I watched for a few minutes as the wide "V" formation wheeled slowly around ... too slow for an airplane but maybe not for an ultra-lite. There were about a dozen white lights and I estimated the formation to be about a half mile wide (since confirmed by looking at the Google Earth map here tilted to look like what I was seeing). They were perfectly aligned and didn't lose their lineup to any perceptable degree while moving which I found to be puzzling. I regret not watching them longer as I'm sure they would have given themselves away somehow. As it is ... maybe it was the real Hudson Valley Boomerang as it was then called.

Interestingly, if you saw this formation and said it was probably a formation of ultr-lites, the skeptics would accept your tale of a large "V" formation. But if you said that you saw that same "V" formation for awhile ... then ... it zoomed up into the stratosphere in less than a second ... those same skeptics would say, "You saw the planet Venus combined with unusual atmospheric conditions". They wouldn't accept that same "V" formation as "real" because you associated it with an "impossible" condition. "Human perception is flawed" (M.Schermer) ... it's fine when you're describing a bus or bridge or hot air balloon ... but if it's disc shaped and zooming all over the place, your judgement is no good. Therefore you're a nutcase ;o)

Update 2/17/07:
On Tahiti (in Papeete) there is a "UFO" at 17 32 11 28 S and 149 33 43 12 W. It's over a house and appears to have a "light trail" behind it. It's a glowing ball type?? and must have gone about 100 feet traveling north during the shutter opening on the camera. If the camera's shutter was open for 1/30 of a second, it would have been going around 3000 feet per second which is ... hmmmm ... approximately 2000 miles per hour. I see no shadow on the ground associated with it but this may be because it is too high in the air to cast a shadow. It looks to be about 10 feet in diameter. Looks like they didn't "airbrush" this one out, eh? Check it out. Anybody see any other possible UFOs anywhere on Google Earth??

He's got a smaller buddy about two blocks to the southwest (17 32 18 86 S and 149 33 51 66 W. But this one would be going slower ... so ... it may be a camera aberation. But I can't imagine what would cause it. It would have to be in the camera itself and not on the ground though. Or, they may be together and have just started accelerating ... ??
Others at:
17 32 66 21 S and 149 32 49 20 W
17 32 39 29 S and 149 32 45 12 W
17 31 53 23 S and 149 33 36 50 W
17 32 56 06 S and 149 32 49 22 W
What are they? Any ideas? They seem to be associated with the tops of houses so I am leaning to some kind of reflection off skylight thingy ... hmmmmmm. But why are they all pointed due north? The sun is more to the east judging by the shadows from trees. If it's off windows ... why all the same direction on the light tail?
Solved. They're lens flairs I guess. I see too many of them. Nuts.

I'm really enjoying Google Earth. As I've said in the past ... "The best programs are the free ones. When you pay lots of money, you end up not using the thing." I can see the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal and the Dumpster next to my apartment with equal ease.