Thursday, April 21, 2005

21 April 2005: Wonder

It struck me there's no shortage material to talk about at the moment. The smoke rising from the chimney, coloured by chemicals to show that the conclave of editorial staff at The Sun will be going with Labour? The pledge by the new Pope to unite Christians all over the world? (He should try just doing it in Hoxton.) The blood-stained hand-written letter we received yesterday from our local Liberal Democrat candidate, which it is hard not to see as a physical threat?

Actually, any of these would be good. But yesterday afternoon I was introduced to the wonder that is Google Maps, and more importantly their recently-introduced feature of being able to see a satellite photograph of the area you're looking at. No, not like a weather map from a long way out: this is a close-up view where in many cases you can even make out individual cars on the roads. And just drag it to move it around, zoom in and out as much as you like, flick between map and photograph views to make sure you're in the right place: amazing. It's restricted to the US, Canada and the UK right now (and the UK satellite images aren't close-up), but for someone like me who still expresses wonder at contact lenses and home-made loaves of bread that actually look like loaves of bread, it's astounding. You'll need a decent broadband connection to get the full effect, but if you can, then consider these, especially picked for those of you familiar with The Trip or who have read the book:

OK, I know it's boring and you'd rather see the smoke emanating from the chimney signaling the Sun's decision.

*sigh* There you are. You know, this world could handle a lot more wonder, couldn't it?
Postscript: talking of wonder, Blogger's spell-checker just suggested I change the word 'frisbees' to 'periscopes'. I blink in astonishment.

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