rewind history with timelapse satellite images

Here’s a link to a PhotoMap (satellite image) by NearMaps that shows the development of the site for the new Western Heights Secondary College in Geelong as at 9th November 2009.

View Large Map

You can see the date of the displayed image and travel through time (at the top of the picture is a time line so you can scroll back, or use the drop down menu) and see the site change as construction starts and buildings start to appear. From the original site in November 2009 you can see the works staring in January 2010, slabs being poured later that month, frames appearing in July and roofs going on at the end of October 2010. You can zoom in and out of the image to see more of the site. Try clicking on the ‘Multiview’ and check out the ‘More…’ functions too.

While the timelines are only just over a year old, I can imagine that this tool would be useful in education. Think of a site in a built up area of Australia where some development has occurred and see what you can find. The reconstruction of Qld flood and cyclone devastation may be worth keeping an eye on as more images are added to NearMaps.

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virtual choir (a special type of collaboration)

Don’t know why I hadn’t come across this before, but Eric Whitacre’s virtual choir is an interesting concept. The composer invites people to participate, sends them out a score, and they video record their part independently and post to youtube. All the parts are then edited together and the result is a ‘virtual’ choir with 185 voices from 12 countries.

Eric explains how it works…

The first performance of ‘Lux Aurumque’ was posted in March 2010.

There is currently another project underway for 2011 to record his composition ‘Sleep’.

While I’m still getting to grips with how this was accomplished, I’m wondering how an idea like this can be used in education. I suppose students collaborating (with or without direction) to create music but they could also work on story or art using the affordances of a service like google sites. Amazing what can be accomplished using web 2.0 type of collaboration.

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do you mean what you said?

The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words.

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.

3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.

6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle (n.), olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

…and for some more fun check out this challenge where The Washington Post’s Style Invitational asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

1. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

2. Foreploy (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

3. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

4. Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

5. Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

6. Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

7. Hipatitis (n): Terminal coolness.

8. Osteopornosis (n): A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

9. Karmageddon (n): its like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.

10. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

11. Glibido (v): All talk and no action.

12. Dopeler effect (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

13. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

14. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

15. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you’re eating.

And the pick of the literature:

16. Ignoranus (n): A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.

(sourced from: The Annual Neologism Contest – It’s a Hoot!)

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how realistic is the projection?

Here’s a geography lesson and could come in handy as a party trick…

I’m still coming to understand that there are different ways to represent the earth on a map or in an atlas. There’s a number of different map projections, with the main ones we’re familair with being the Mercator and the Gall-Peters projections. Whereas the Mercator was useful for navigation, the Gall-Peters attempts to give a more realistic/accurate idea of the real size of countries. “The Mercator projection increasingly inflates the sizes of regions according to their distance from the equator. This inflation results, for example, in a representation of Greenland that is larger than Africa, whereas in reality Africa is 14 times as large.” (

Africa is the second largest continent after Asia and to give an indication of its size (and to give a better sense of what this means), Greg Ousuri has created a map which shows that the U.S., all of Europe, China and Japan still don’t fill up the entire surface area of the continent. Amazing! Is it true/accurate?


I wonder what other countries you could fit in if you started with Australia…?

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I’m watching you watching me…

Considering recent Facebook controversies, this week’s contribution gives a cheeky nod to issues of privacy. Niklas Roy’s, “My little piece of Privacy” is a robotic curtain that he recently installed in the window of his workshop. Niklas’ ‘curtain’ protects his privacy by moving rapidly to cover the position of passing-by pedestrians in order to block their view to the inside of his premises.

A great engineering/robotics project… I want one (but then I’d a need a workshop facing the footpath too). There’s plenty more interesting projects on the website…

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can you buy musical instruments from the grocer?

Just in case you were going to be sitting around on a (potentially cold & rainy) weekend – here’s some inspiration to go and raid the veggie crisper draws in your fridge. No, not to make some soup (although you could do that later…), but to make some musical instruments out of your vegetables and assemble a vegetable orchestra to make some music/noise.

Instead of guitars and drums, the vegetable orchestra plays cucumb-o-phones, radish-marimbas, carrot flutes, pumpkin basses, leek violins, and other freshly made instruments. Maybe lots of fun, but some how I’m not seeing any Stradivarius type vegetable instruments lasting the distance…

“Worldwide one of a kind, the Vegetable Orchestra performs on instruments made of fresh vegetables. The utilization of various ever refined vegetable instruments creates a musically and aesthetically unique sound universe.”

Check out the video below of the Vegetable Orchestra recording their third album ONIONOISE.

Then there’s the original six minute Vegetable Orchestra video from 2007

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when an innovation may not be an improvement

Seeing as the iPad is becoming fairly popular and in demand, we should be prepared for the uptake and support those users who might want to be able to use the device while driving the car.  Here’s an innovative solution that could, or could not be the answer. It would be great as a GPS device and could even be used as a review mirror?

Worst ipad car mount

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what might happen at home when you’re not there

‘Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers’ is something for all you musicians out there. A video/story by Sound of Noise who will surprise you with their imagination drum up some percussion & rhythm in an apartment while the owners are away…

There’s more where that came from on Youtube…

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visualising what google has become – knowledgable

I was going to do a post on Jack Rebney but decided against it (I’ll be writing something about the Winnebago Man elsewhere).

Instead here’s a link to a post entitled: Google This – 13 Years of World Domination Visualized. It contains some interesting graphic visualisations of what Google has been up to since 1997. See what they’ve done with regard to: Search Engines, Innovation, Statistics, Marketing etc.

How google works small

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animated news stories allow for parody

I know the Australian federal election is all over, but we need some cheering up after what was a rather strange process. From Next Media we have this animated news item called ‘Australia goes to the polls’.

Catch more of these fun (and going viral) news items at For a recent news item on, check this article from The Age.

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