Thursday, January 19, 2006

From way up here

Google Earth just became available for Macs a few days ago, and WOW! What an amazing trip. If you don't have it, get it.

But what I really want to note is another small incident of syncronicity that I'm always walking into. Earlier tonght, one of Lovely Wife's friends (who made his first forture manufacturing sex toys before going to work for the patent office. . .) who often sends interesting (?) and funny (?!?) e-mails sent this photo taken in 2d Month 2002 by the Columbia on her last mission.

It shows sunset falling over western Europe & Africa; the white dots on the right of the line are cities.

About an hour later, I found and downloaded Google Earth onto the iBook. Of course, I started looking for Home, and then Eldest Daughter's new place (1 Main Street, Brooklyn NY -- what a great address), then Baghdad, then . . . .

All the while I'm flying around the world, I'm listening to my music library on the iBook, on shuffle, which means the computer chooses the songs at random -- Prudence Johnson singing Gershwin followed by a Sousa march followed by Dave Brubeck followed by Anoaur Brahem on the Oud, etc.

And then comes Pete Seeger singing "From way up here the earth looks very small, It's just a little ball of rock and sea and sand, No bigger than my hand. . . ." a song he and Malvina Reynolds wrote in 1962. The perfect song for what I'm doing right now. (As always ahead of their time; the Earth hadn't been photographed from space yet, but they imagined it.)

"They shouldn't fight at all down there, upon that little sphere. . . ."

All as I'm looking at the Earth, from way up there. These little "coincidences" happen to me all the time, but I still get a little thrill from them.

UPDATE: It turns out that the photo wasn't taken by the Columbia astronauts after all. I did wonder about the lack of clouds. . . but it 's still a beautiful image. Here's the truth -- from some other guy on the internet who said it is being circulated as part of a chain letter (the letter to me was not a chain):

The image above is not a "photograph" in the literal sense. According to NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day web site, it is a computer construct drawn from a variety of sources.

No single spacecraft or astronaut took this picture. It is a digital composite of archived images taken by several Earth-orbiting satellites and ocean-faring ships... Specifically, the daytime land images were taken by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite, while the nighttime images were taken by the DMSP satellites. This image is different from what an astronaut would see for reasons including a complete lack of clouds and an unrealistic exaggeration of lights and contrasts.

1 comment:

Carlo Alberto said...

About google earth, I'm collecting italian beautiful places with kmz files: