Google has hatched a plan to boost the visibility of its existing local news product, and in the process is testing a whole new way to get people to pay attention to the news that is geographically most relevant to them.
Google is testing a local news “card” in its Google Now service, which is built into all new Android smartphones and is available on the iPhone through Google’s Search app. Google Now is a logical vehicle for local news because one of its primary functions is knowing where you are and providing information that is “contextually relevant" to you, as specified by your interests, the time of day, and your location.
This beta test has not been previously disclosed, and is currently being carried out solely within Google itself, but its existence was revealed to me last week in an interview with Johanna Wright, vice president of search and assist at Google.
Read more. [Image: Darryl Dyck/AP]
This new global view of Earth’s city lights is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite.
The data was acquired over nine days in April 2012 and 13 days in October 2012. It took 312 orbits to get a clear shot of every parcel of Earth’s land surface and islands. This new data was then mapped over existing Blue Marble imagery of Earth to provide a realistic view of the planet.
The image was made possible by the satellite’s “day-night band” of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite, which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe dim signals such as city lights, gas flares, auroras, wildfires and reflected moonlight.
The day-night band observed Hurricane Sandy, illuminated by moonlight, making landfall over New Jersey on the evening of Oct. 29. Night images showed the widespread power outages that left millions in darkness in the wake of the storm.
Horses are dressed for the weather near Banchory, Aberdeenshire
Snow continued to fall in the region, with more freezing temperatures forecast.
Using authentic techniques and tools, a team in Norway has built a seaworthy replica of the 9th century Viking ship, the Oseberg. In 1904, the well-preserved, beautifully decorated ship was found in a burial mound in the Slagen Valley outside Tønsberg, Norway, along with the remains of two women, sleds, tapestries and wagons. The replica took $2 million to build today, so to have such a magnificent funeral in such an expensive ship, the women had to be important—the elder of the two is guessed to been a queen or a seeress. Two previous attempts at building a replica have failed, but this time, the project pre-planning was meticulous, involving laser and computer scannings of the increasingly-fragile original ship, which is on display in a museum in Bygdøy. The building took place in public view in Tønsberg’s harbour. The builders were volunteers from a variety of crafts—boat builders, carpenters, smiths, and textile workers were all involved, and they all used tradictional methods and tools from archaeological reconstruction. The ship is 21.5 m long, propelled by 15 pairs of oars and a square sail of about 80 metres square, and it was launched last week—and found seaworthy.
The life and times of Lonesome George
Lonesome George, the last of the Pinta island giant tortoises and a conservation icon, has died of unknown causes. He was believed to be about 100 years old. He was found in 1972 and become a symbol of the Galápagos Islands. His species helped Charles Darwin formulate his theory of evolution in the 19th century