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Google Earth broke new ground (new water?) when they took the world of virtual-earth-exploring into the oceans. Of course, the oceans are kind of big. They fill up nearly three-quarters of the earth’s surface area, and most of that area hasn’t been mapped out. But now you can tour roughly half of the known area without pulling on any SCUBA gear, thanks to Google’s new underwater terrain explorer.

Seeing the sea floor is just the beginning of the fun. Along the way, Google Earth points out eruptions, sea animals and other scientific points of interest from Hawaii to New York, all in nicely clear high resolution. (You can take a virtual tour through some highlights if the entire ocean world seems overwhelming.) This imagery represents nearly two decades of collected data from research ships that travelled about three million nautical miles and a partnership with scientists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Google Earth

The Other 71 Percent

While large parts of the undersea terrain remain a delightful mystery for scientists, armchair deep-sea divers can now use Google Earth to explore an area slightly larger than North America. Oceans cover more than 71 percent of the earth.

Watery Sky Above

The seafloor highlight tour plunges the viewer into the sea from the sky. Disappointingly, there’s no huge splash, but that doesn’t diminish from giving you the feeling that you’re swimming above ocean terrain.

Zooming In

Google Earth provides more than a fly-by look at the undersea mountains and trenches. Viewers can zoom in on the geographical features, visiting the well-known Marianas Trench or touring the Pacific Ocean’s rocky floor.

Deep Sea Vents

Skeptical about how much entertainment this could provide? A second highlight tour video, appropriately called Deep Sea Vents Google Earth Tour, contains videos of volcanic eruptions. The several magma-filled minutes might make you an avid (virtual) sea explorer yet!

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How Do Satellites “Take Pictures” Of The Earth?

Scanning method

Satellites can be divided into geostationary and polar-orbiting. This division is according to their orbits. We know that the angular velocity of the earth’s rotation is fixed. If a satellite is used to monitor the earth constantly, then the height of the satellite’s orbit is fixed. This is a fixed satellite. The height of the fixed satellite is 36,000 km, and the radius of the earth is about 6,371km. It is conceivable that the angle of view of the earth from the satellite is only 18°. How can the effect of direct imaging be good? We want to have very high-resolution images and need to use the “scan” method.

Specifically, “scanning” is to obtain data by adjusting the angle of the observation instrument. Then, there will be a need to aim it at different positions on the earth. For example, in the Fengyun 2 meteorological satellite, it rotates around its main axis. Thus, the sensor can scan the belt-shaped observation data on the earth. Then adjust the attitude of the satellite and tilt it up and down to scan the “parallel” data on the earth.

Of course, different satellites can use different attitude adjustment methods to improve the observation utilization rate. In Fengyun 2, there is a 360° rotation of the satellite itself. However, only a few tens of degrees are facing the earth. Also, its use rate is obviously not high. Nevertheless, for the Fengyun 4, a three-axis stabilization method is adopted. It actively controls the orientation of the satellite, so that the detector always faces the earth during the rotation process. With this design, the observation efficiency is obviously much better.

Why not the three-axis stabilization method?

So some people can’t help but ask, why didn’t the three-axis stabilization method control the satellite orientation earlier? Because the three-axis stabilization method is not so simple. The spin stabilization method can easily stabilize its own attitude when the satellite is moving around the earth. The key point is that the satellite itself is axisymmetric to its main axis. In contrast, the three-axis stabilization method wants to keep the probe always facing the earth. The attitude of the satellite and how to stabilize is a big problem.

Gizchina News of the week Polar-orbiting

Because the geostationary option is far away from the earth, the observation accuracy will sure be limited. If we want to obtain higher-precision observation data, we need polar-orbiting satellites. Polar-orbiting satellites (also called sun-synchronous satellites) have a lower orbit than geostationary satellites. They are about 840km and orbit the earth’s north and south poles. Its observation method can be imagined as scanning during CT. Wherever the instrument / satellite sweeps, it captures of the place it sweeps through. Therefore, the orbit of the satellite and the longitude and latitude of the observation data can be directly matched. Planetary scientists often call this “a track data”. As an example, the CloudSat satellite swept out of Earth in one day at a station shown below

We can see that the coverage is relatively small. Of course, there are also satellites in the process of travelling. This will add the detection instrument to the swing perpendicular to the orbital direction. This will help the equipment detect the data of one surface. For example, the picture on the left is the surface precipitation measured by the GPM satellite. If you draw a profile at the red line, you can get the precipitation rate profile at the red line (right picture).

Time-lapse issue

As simple as it sounds, the process is quite complex. Obviously, there is a time difference in the observed data of each orbit. The period of the satellite orbiting the earth is about 84 minutes. When we select one track for data analysis, it is actually difficult to say that these 84 minutes of data are at the same time. The time difference should also be taken into account when selecting a certain period of data analysis.

A global or regional data analysis will consider many days of data sets. These data will plot on a graph and this could represent the long-term average state. The “average state” data is not the average of long period of continuous observation. It is actually the point observed again after a long time interval. This is because the observation gets less than “simultaneous data”. The average of different points on the map is actually the average of different times. It’s a bit confusing. Anyway, In addition to spatial resolution, the improvement of time accuracy is also a very important thing.

Scott Kelly Is Back On Earth, Let The Science Continue!

Scott Kelly is back on earth, let the science continue! [UPDATE]

2024 and 2024 will probably be remembered as some of the best years for space science, exploration, and travel in a long time. We’ve witnessed the historic encounter between the New Horizons spacecraft and Pluto. We’ve witnessed the historic successful landings of orbital and sub-orbital rockets. And today we’re witnessing the return to Earth of astronauts Scott Kelly and Mikhail Korniyenko from the International Space Station, marking not just the longest mission for the ISS but also the acquisition of a potential treasure trove of scientific and medical data in the person of the astronauts.

Scott Kelly has somewhat become of a celebrity for those keeping tabs on NASA and space science in general, partly thanks to his regular posts on social media and partly because of the nature of his mission. Kelly and Korniyenko have been selected for what is called the ISS Long Year Mission, where the two astronauts will be spending nearly a year on the space station, with Kelly spending about 340 days there. While it is the longest in the history of the ISS, the longest non-station specific record is actually held by Russian Valeri Polyakov, who spent 437 days on the space station Mir.

Kelly’s mandate on ISS, however, wasn’t merely for setting records. As the phrase goes, it is all “for science!”. Scientists are particularly interested in the effects of prolonged stay in outer space on both the physiological and psychological constitutions of astronauts. In fact, right on landing back on Planet Earth, the astronauts will be immediately subjects to tests and checks. As NASA says, the science continues! Another interesting part of Kelly’s story is that he has an identical twin, a former astronaut, making them the only siblings who have traveled in space. This fact will also be used by scientists to compare the two’s physical and mental states.

The astronaut’s return to Earth has been, thankfully, uneventful. The Russian Soyuz spacecraft that they will be riding in undocked from the ISS at a bit past 8:05 p.m. ET and everything had gone as scheduled.

The deorbit burn started at past 10:30 p.m. ET and the crew was able to keep in contact with Russian ground control all throughout the process, and was able to establish a good communication line with the search and recovery team near the landing zone around 9 minutes before touchdown. Although the anticipated time for landing was 11:25 p.m. ET, confirmation that the capsule indeed made it to ground arrived at 11:30 p.m. ET, saying that it landed just a minute later than estimated. The capsule was reported to have landed vertically.

At the time of writing, NASA is still waiting for more information as well as a video of the landing itself. The landing zone was purposely set in an isolated and very remote area away from human settlement and even cell towers. Watch this space for more updates.

UPDATE: All three astronauts have been safely extracted from the capsule and happily enjoying the fuss over them. The three will be carried to tents to commence the initial field and medical tests.

Plagued By Predators In The Sea, These Fish Are Moving Onto Land

On the remote Pacific island of Rarotonga, some fish are fleeing to land.

Scientists have long suspected that blenny fish leapt out of water to escape the many sea creatures that seek to eat them, but the blennies’ true motivations remained a mystery. Now, in a study published this week in The American Naturalist, researchers show that these sausage-shaped fish were over three times more likely to be devoured in the sea than on land, giving credence to this theory.

“It turns out the aquatic environment is a nasty place for blennies, full of enemies wanting to eat these small fish. But life is less hostile on the rocks, with birds their main worry,” says Terry Ord, the study’s lead author and evolutionary ecologist from the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, Australia.

To find out, Ord and his team visited Raratongo Island, where several species of blenny are regularly found lying on the ground near the water. The team fashioned 250 fake plastic blennies, about 2.5 inches long, with lifelike colorings and patterns. Half of the mimics were put in the water, and the other half were fully exposed on dry land. Predatory attacks on the mimics were observed over eight days, and the results suggest that blennies are much safer on land. “There were at least three times more attacks on our model blennies placed in the water than there were on models positioned on land,” says Ord.

So although being hacked to death by predatory seabirds surely isn’t a great way to go, it seems the blennies prefer that alternative to whatever ravenous creatures lurk in the sea.

The team also observed the behaviors of real-life blennies. At low tide, most of the blennies migrated to the rocky shelves above the water. And as the tide rose, they moved with it, taking refuge at higher ground, “apparently to avoid being eaten by aquatic predators coming in with the rising water,” explains Ord.

Ord doesn’t think this is just a survival technique, like mountain lions and bears scrambling up trees when they sense danger. He thinks that blennies are in the process of moving out of the sea and colonizing land on a more permanent basis.

Although lacking legs, they do seem comfortable on the ground. They don’t just spend a considerable amount of time there (although Ord notes it’s difficult to measure how much time each blenny spends out of water), they also hop around to different rock crevices and socialize with each other, explains Ord. Perhaps most compelling, there’s a blenny species that hangs out on the same rocks as the truly amphibious fish, and “spends its entire adult life out on the rocks in the splash zone,” he says.

What’s more, the land-seeking habits of the blenny are seen in disparate places around the world. Ord cites Guam and Japan in the North Pacific, Tahiti and Rarotonga in the South Pacific, and Mauritius and Seychelles in the Indian Ocean as examples.

The blenny has a long way to go before it’s a full-fledged land-dweller, but it’s doing pretty well—for a legless fish. They breathe mostly through their gills, but can get some oxygen through their skin, says Orb. And they’re “reasonably agile out of water because of their general sausage-shaped body, and by use of their tails to shuffle and even hop across intertidal rocks,” he says.

In time, we’ll see if the blennies continue their march towards dry land, a place where they’re less likely to be chomped and munched on. For now, let’s keep mum about their ambitions, lest more predatory sea birds—or Guam’s two million snakes—catch on to the scheme.

How Websites Work: Learn What’s Under The Hood

Many technologies go into building websites. Content management systems, frameworks, different scripting and programming languages, payment systems…all sorts of things!

If you’re curious how your favorite website works, or want to see if a site is using something sketchy, this article will show you several ways to look under the hood and see how it’s built.

Table of Contents

View the Website’s Code

If you’re not a developer, or just starting out, you’re about to learn the secret to better programming. Look at other people’s code. We’ve shown you how to use Chrome’s Developer Tools to do just that. 

ChromeDevTools will help you view a site’s HTML, JavaScript, and CSS code, find out what sources they may be consuming, as well as how to check a site’s loading performance in the browser. All major web browsers have some version of the developer’s tools available.

Netcraft has been a resource for web developers since 1995. Their expertise over 25 years shows in Netcraft’s free Site Report tool. It combines a technology report with a “who owns the site” background report, so you get a thorough overview of the site. You’ll know where it’s hosted, and who owns it, plus some domain history.

The Netcraft Site Report appears to allow unlimited lookups. Still, use it only when you really need it. It’s a free resource and the developer community would like to see it stay that way.

W3Techs’ Sites Info tool works a bit differently from the others. They keep a database of information, but only on sites that have already been searched through the tool. If you’re checking on a site that hasn’t been checked before, it will crawl the site instantly. 

Wappalyzer offers a unique feature with the ability to create an alert for a website. They check the site daily and email you if they detect a change. The alert will require you to create a free account with Wappalyzer and cost 10 credits per month.

But you get 50 credits for free every month and an alert only costs 10 credits for every 30 days. So Wappalyzer Alerts are basically free if you’re monitoring 5 or fewer sites.

All but one service of Webspotter is a paid service, but that’s okay. Their free Webspotter Chrome extension makes up for that. The Webspotter extension is similar to Wappalyzer, yet it has a few different features. Next to each technology listed, there are links to statistics about the technology, a list of websites using that tech, and the official website for the tech. 

An even more intriguing feature is Webspotter’s ability to pull email contacts, social media links, SEO analytics, and other company information out of a website. Although that doesn’t tell you about how the site is made, it could be useful for online marketing purposes or even job hunting.

Maybe, you’re not so interested in web development but you’re putting together a WordPress site and would like to include features you’ve seen elsewhere. Download the WordPress Theme Detector Chrome browser plugin. 

Not only will the WordPress Theme Detector tell you what WordPress theme a site is using, but it’ll also tell you what WordPress plugins it’s using. It also shows you who created the theme or plugin and provides a link to where you can get them. That makes it so easy to incorporate elements into your WordPress site that you’ve admired on other sites.

Learn How Websites Work

Lessons Learnt When The Pm Throws You Under The Bus

Christine Holgate is set to open up on the Cartier watches scandal, suicidal thoughts and the kindness of strangers when she joins the Forbes Australia Women’s Summit on 22 March.

Team Global Express CEO Christine Holgate. Image: Supplied

Christine Holgate learned a lot in the wake of the Cartier watch incident that saw her shafted as CEO of Australia Post.

Holgate had given $5,000 Cartier watches to four executives to thank them for pulling off a deal with three banks worth $66 million a year to the postal giant. Upon learning of the gift, Morrison had got up in parliament and said she should step aside pending an inquiry, and if not, “She can go”.

She was not allowed to talk publicly. “And, to be honest, I was too ill to (talk),” she says.

And she learned that when she did eventually get to tell her story, it changed everything. Strangers helped her in unexpected ways -and others shared their own struggles.

“The more I spoke up,” she recalls, “the more other people started writing to me and telling me about their injustice at work. And the more I learned about that injustice at work, the more I learned a deeper side of domestic violence and homelessness in Australia.

“I’m now connected to a very diverse group of people who have been going through their own stories. They are strong people, but at that moment their confidence goes.

“And what I often say to them is, ‘You need to share your story, because at the moment you may feel alone, but the more that you share your story, the more that you’re going to feel connected, and people will help you through it.’”

Holgate will share her story and speak on resilience at the upcoming Forbes Women’s Summit 2023. Resilience is a quality she believes employers select when employing new staff.

“It’s not about if you get run over. It’s about how you get up again and how you conduct yourself through that process. That’s what people will remember.”

Christine Holgate

Indeed, after being rolled at Australia Post, Holgate has got up and turned around the bleeding logistics giant, Toll Global Express – rebranded under Holgate as Team Global Express.

Revenues were up 16% in her first year. She signed an 11-year partnership worth $1.8 billion to operate Aurizon’s containerised rail freight. And she announced what is possibly the largest trial of heavy electric trucks in the world.

Meanwhile, the postal service that she left in profit is anticipating major losses this financial year. It was reported this week to have paid eight executives more than $500,000 each in bonuses – 100 times more than those Cartier timepieces.

Help is always available from Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Christine Holgate will appear at the inaugural Forbes Australia Women’s Summit, on 22 March, in a “fireside chat” on resilience with editor in chief Sarah O’Carroll. She’ll be joined at the summit by other influential women including Miranda Kerr, Catriona Wallace and Natasha Oakley, discussing how to break barriers in business, build wealth and make industry connections.

You can get your tickets for Forbes Australia’s inaugural Women’s Summit here.

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