Random notes

Everything seems to be running fine to judge from the error logs: a few robots complaining that they find themselves hors texte, a place that structuralists believed could not exist; I have meanwhile been running around when not writing nonsense elsewhere, and so this will be something of a grab-bag of improbable observations.

  • Yahoo maps has much less detailed satellite pictures than Google of most of the places that interest me. But its coverage of the Göta Älv valley is extraordinarily high resolution. I can just about pick out the potato patch in Lilla Edet where Anita suggested we get married; I can certainly see the exact spot where my book ends, because the casting jetties are distinct against the ice in this photograph. Why should this be? It’s not as if anyone lives there and when I look at the more populated parts of the world, like Essex, or even Uddevalla, the pictures once more receded to blurry green clumps, grey and brown.

  • The OLPC project has turned into a complete fiasco. I have a piece about this on tomorrow’s Guardian site somwhere but it happened more quickly than I was expecting. I talked to one of the project’s more sensible and clever boosters this afternon, and his excuse was that while the technology was wonderful, Negroponte hadn’t realised that in order to get the Nigerian government and people like that to buy them, he would have to invest. “MIT doesn’t do bribes” said my friend, “And Negroponte was politically naïve”. Well, there’s one benefit of the OLPC: without this technology no one would ever have heard Negroponte described as naïve.

  • Who sent me this? I just found in my list of things to blog a story about a scam from Minnesota headlined Lino Lakes man’s humanitarian deal was a load of carp. Whoever it was, thank you profoundly.

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2 Responses to Random notes

  1. Rupert says:

    The Göta Älv area seems to have a lot of hydroelectric power generation, and a quick scan online seems to show that part of the environmental impact assessment includes aerial surveys. Could be that Yahoo has licensed that database?

    As for the OLPC – I met Negroponte about a year ago, just as the first pre-production units were appearing. It was at a conference, and he gave a very impressive demonstration on stage while talking about some of the technicalities. There was a moderated Q&A afterwards, and it is hard to describe the questions (from a reasonably international bunch of tech hacks) as anything other than universally sycophantic. I tried a different tack when I managed (entirely through luck and laziness) to nab him by himself afterwards, but I’m not sure he recognised the genre…


  2. acb says:

    I don’t think that can be the explanation, because exploration reveals that the high-res bit stops just north of Lilla Edet, and the biggest hydroelectric scheme is further up to the river towards Trollhättan.

    But for a truly spooky feeling, it’s hard to beat an aerial photo of the very clearing where once I lived, in a very much smaller shack than what’s visible here.

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