July 2008 Archives
Another night when we don't know where they are. Judging by this pic from the Mongol rally a year or so ago the camping space is vast but facilities minimal. Looking at GE its amazing the way that the desert suddenly gives way to rich greenery as they plunge down into the Khiva valley and the bed of the old Aral Sea. I wonder if they'll make a diversion to see the stranded ships?
I'm off to Wales tomorrow, so no virtual ROTW til Thursday, by which time they should be in Bukhara.
Like my old Newsglobe but on steriods. Done by CASA who did the 3D London, and who like our Google Maps in SL.
The landscape is suddenly desert - although the camel is probably a bit of a give away! Looking on Google Earth Beyneu (about the size of Moseley, we checked) has a whole bunch of buildings with bright red roofs - metal anti-rust paint I suppose - perhaps Deb's can enlighten us. It also looks to be at a major rail junction, one back to Astrakhan, one further S into Kazakhstan and one on to Uzbekhistan which it looks like the road follows pretty closely.
Interesting as they cross into Kazakhstan there are lots of things to note:
- They are now very much in Asia, not Europe
- It's harder to find the red dots of Flickr photos, this one is probably 50 - 100 miles from their real location
- We don't know their real location - this is the first time since they set out that they are "somewhere", in this case between Astrakhan and Beyneu, probably camping
- They have been gone 2 weeks, a fifth of the time
- They have visited 10 countries out of a total of 15
- They have traversed 52 degrees of longitude, out of a maximum of 79 degrees
- The mad dash across Europe is at an end, now they can enjoy exploring asia
Forget the two below, judging by Steve's post this is the one they mean, far more like it! (but still find the one below possibly more interesting and moving)
Volgograd War Memorial
They did get to Volgograd last night after all. Deb talks about "There is the most incredible memorial to the Russian dead of the Battle of Stalingrad" - I guess its probably the first picture above having looked on Google Earth, although I must admit I'd expected something more like the second (also at the memorial), although it may have even been the more grecian looking thing.
The girls and I had a nice afternoon climbing on Froggat - the first time I've taken them out climbing on my own outdoors. We couldn't find the climbing guide in the cottage so we've no idea which route we were on, but they both did two climbs each, and not easy by the look of things. It didn't even rain, although it was a bit blowy belaying up on the top.
Given Deb's text (see www.converj.com/rotw) is sounds like they only made the Russian border today, not yesterday. So here's a nice pick of the north coast of the Sea of Azov which they'll have been following all day (and yesterday probably).
James Wagner Au (aka Hamlet Au) bumped into our Abi chatbot when visiting our sim recently and wrote a lovely piece about her in New World Notes.
A very industrial looking place down by the Black Sea.
Great stuff. The whole 5 seasons of Babylon 5 in one song and vid. Annotated description at:
Good list of 3D technologies out there. What's interesting with OpenSim is the way that its beginning to divorce 3D graphics from the actual protocols, so you can use your 3D engine of choice - as RealXtend have done. Would it be possible to do the same thing with one of these web/flash based systems and put it in an OpenSim/SL wrapper? One feels the metaverse getting closer.
Deborah and the team left for Mumbai about 1130 this morning. We drove down in the rain and helped load the vehicles and then waved goodbye in the rain. All being well they'll be in Dunkerque now.
It's going to be strange not having Deborah around for 10 whole weeks. I still can't decide whether its better or worse that I've got the kids through the holidays rather than during term time. With term it would be easier just to settle into a routine, but at least with holiday they've got the opportunity to go off and do things and take their minds off the fact that Deb's not around - and give me a break. We'll see how it pans out. Ruth finishes term on Friday anyway.
You can keep track of Deborah's journey on her blog and team web site.
Jo helping to load the Landcruisers.
Ruth, Deb and Jo
The four of us.
"The Calais Web Service automatically creates rich semantic metadata for the content you submit - in well under a second. Using natural language processing, machine learning and other methods, Calais analyzes your document and finds the entities within it. But, Calais goes well beyond classic entity identification and returns the facts and events hidden within your text as well."
And it's from Thomson Reuters!
Now couldn't a bot have fun with that!
Open Learn - the Open University's CC licenced content
which ends up at....
The start of a quick surf trail. Similar concept to BBC Backstage and what we've also been suggesting to Digital Birmingham.
Which leads to....
Just finished off the Data Viz panel for Second Life's 5th Birthday. Linden Lab asked us to organise it and we were fortunate to get Xanthe Oe who runs the data viz wiki and plot on Sci Lands to actually to the hard graft and pull the speakers together and chair it (thanks Melanie). It was a great panel with a full auditorium and speakers from IBM, Gren Phosphor, UoPlymouth and UoMichigan. After the session we took people on a tour, first to our Briefing Hub and then DataViz on Scilands. Even Pathfinder Linden and prolific twitter Mal Burns found time to join the tour.