Saturday, 23 November 2013

Google Earth

Google Earth is a great resource providing satellite images and maps of the entire Earth, all accessible from a virtual globe. It also provides views of the Moon, Mars and the Night Sky. Google Earth also features Google Street View which shows panoramic views along many roads throughout the globe.

It can be downloaded as a stand-alone application for PC, Mac and Linux or as a browser plug-in. Mobile version are available for iOS and Android. The maps and satellite imagery can be viewed from the web-based Google Maps.

Google Earth can be use to find your house, to return lost boys to their mothers, to find stolen cars, find illegal pot gardens and rediscover Atlantis.

Google Street View gives rise to concerns over privacy with its roaming camera cars uncovering many strange sights. It exposes the wrong side of the tracks, many bizarre images and even religious apparitions.

Other web resources for interesting Google Earth finds:

Friday, 15 November 2013

J.K. Rowling Harvard Speech

J.K Rowling by Daniel Ogren
J.K Rowling by Daniel Ogren

J.K. Rowling, I hardly need mention the author of the Harry Potter novels, gave an amazing and inspirational Harvard Commencement speech. In the 2008 speech, called "The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination", she spoke openly and frankly about her life. Some great quotes from the speech follow.

"I was convinced that the only thing I wanted to do, ever, was to write novels. However, my parents, both of whom came from impoverished backgrounds and neither of whom had been to college, took the view that my overactive imagination was an amusing personal quirk that would never pay a mortgage, or secure a pension."

"The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned".

"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not lived at all..."

Full text of the speech

For all those that came here looking for Harry Potter, hope you're not too disappointed. Anyway, to make up for it:

Saturday, 9 November 2013

10 Interesting History Websites

Some interesting history websites from around the internet:

Free history books for Amazon Kindle.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Technology Failures

Technology is a wonderful thing. With modern technology we can fail faster and automatically.

Officials asked for the Welsh language translation of a road sign, to provide a bilingual English/Welsh version. Alas, they emailed Swansea Council to request the translation. Instead of the Welsh version of "No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only", they got the Welsh version of "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated".

The out of office message failure message sign was erected, but has now been removed after the error was spotted. The BBC carries the full story.

Amazon has a number of books on learning Welsh for those interested in the language.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Rev. Watts

Wade Watts (1919-1998) was an African American preacher from Oklahoma. He was active in the US Civil Rights Movement and was friends with Martin Luther King.

In the late 1950s Watts entered a restaurant only to be told by the waitress "They did not serve Negroes". He famously replied "I don't eat Negroes. I just came to get some ham and eggs."

The Rev. Watts challenged the Ku Klux Klan using Christian love. The KKK targeted Watts' house and church as a civil rights leader. He was surrounded by the KKK in a diner where he was informed that “whatever you do to the chicken on your plate, the Klan will do to you." He picked up the chicken and kissed it. This even reduced the KKK present to laughter.

Watts preached forgiveness and met with Johnny Lee Clary, an Imperial Wizard in the Oklahoma KKK. Clary, a former wrestler, subsequently renounced the KKK and became a minister preaching against hate. Clary and Watts became friends and Clary was Godfather to Wade's daughter.

Books on the Civil Rights Movement at Amazon.

Top 10 Sudoku Sites

Sudoku puzzles can be great fun. They can also be frustrating, but very rewarding when you finally solve them.

Sudoku became popoular in Japan in 1986 and became an international success in 2005. Sudoku, meaning single number in Japanese, was originally called Sūji wa dokushin ni kagiru.

Here is a list of ten sudoku web sites and resources, from getting started through easy, medium and very difficult puzzles.

Sudoku books at Amazon.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Quote: Bertrand Russell

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”

Bertrand Russell