We remember reading in Robert Hughes‘ history of Modernism, “The Shock of the New,” that the completion of the Eiffel Tower in 1889 helped trigger the mass mind expansion that led to Picasso and de Kooning. That’s because the then-tallest structure on the planet allowed people to view reality from a never-before-seen expanse, and to take in more visual information in a single sweep than ever before. Now, we have access to a comparably perspective-altering experience right on our desktops–the beta version of Google Earth 6.
The online digital atlas now integrates satellite photos with ground-level images compiled by Google’s intrepid armada of digital photography vans. The result is that users can now start with an orbital view of the planet’s surface, type in an address, zoom down to the equivalent of a few feet off the ground, and then zip around the streets like Tinker Bell. (Or, if you prefer cutting-edge experimental technology, you could be one of those insect cyborgs that Pentagon-financed researchers are building.) One of the coolest things about Google Earth is the ability to fly from your doorstep to, say, a sidewalk cafe next to the entrance of the Louvre in Paris, in just a matter of seconds.
British scientists report biomass oil substitutes breakthrough. Not just for fuels, but for making plastic, too.