30 June 2007

Photography and rights

It has been reported that New York City is considering extreme limits on photographers in the City, requiring them to have insurance and/or a license from the City before they can take pictures of the City. The triggers that separate casual photographers from those affected are tripods and photosessions of 10 minutes or more.

Social Networking

I have been keeping an eye on the social networking research that the folks at Columbia have been conducting. I thoroughly enjoyed Duncan Watt's Small World project and his book, Six Degrees: The Science of an Connected Age.

But I was still a little surprised when I saw Peter Bearman's recent research project in Discover Magazine that explored the social network of a high school. As the diagram above shows, the hook-ups and break-ups created network that was less clichish than you might first expect. Well, if they'd known the result before they started, it wouldn't be research.

It makes me think about the social networks that are in play in our planning and design communities. Do the people at the public hearings really share common contacts? Do the seemingly disparate members of the public really have mutual points of reference? Or are they
from different worlds? If I had unlimited time, I would love to try out some social network research on our research realm. For now I'll have to hope that someone else picks up that ball.

29 June 2007


As my students know, I am a bit of a fan of the Supreme Court season. And today is the final day.
As the court issues its last bits of paperwork today, I thought I should mention some of the resources that students (or fans) might follow to read up on the recent decisions.

First, you can get generic news from Yahoo's Supreme Court aggregator:

But for straight reporting you should probably begin and end with Linda Greenhouse's coverage - I tend to think she is the best SCOTUS reporter out there.

For analysis I often find Dalia Lithwick's writing to be fairly compelling and explanatory:

And, while there are countless blogs covering the events unfolding in DC, the most relevant one I discovered recently is called SCOTUSblog: http://www.scotusblog.com/movabletype/

Hopeworks N'Camden

I see that Hopeworks is participating in the big plenary session at URISA this year. I can't say enough about how happy I am to see them continuing to get national attention. They stand out as
a great local group that integrates local youth work into a larger participatory GIS framework. Their sense of service to the community is remarkable, but so is their ability to deliver marketable services. And they do it all with local youth doing the bulk of the work, including the training and web presentations.

Check out their GIS services brochure (pdf) and their gallery of GIS maps.

28 June 2007

Spanish studio magic

While my photos from our summer studio in Spain are far from complete (the class isn't even over yet), I wanted to go ahead and share links to some of the preliminary photostreams. We'll be stepping things up with more photos and more specifics about the photos as the summer moves along.

In the meantime, you see that I posted a few of my photos taken during the class outings at:

I also have some photos of the studio project online at:

Finally, I have posted a few early photos of the Boys' adventures:

Wetlands for flood prevention

Today's Herald-Leader reports that the University of Kentucky's Arboretum has added a section that shows how individual homes can collect stormwater runoff and use it as a positive change in the residential landscape. The story stresses the use of these areas as a flood prevention technique (which is acheived locally for the University whose neighbors care about this) while demonstrating something that can work as a smaller local technique throughout the region.

Governor's Island, again

Following the early posting I made of Witold Ryb's slideshow review of the Governor's Island proposals, the NY Times has posted a further evaluation of the competition entries. As they are wont to do, the Times used both big words AND interactive graphics to explain the situation.

David Pogue's iPhone

Well, I enjoyed being away from the US while the new iPhones were released.
But I've made up for it (a little) by reviewing David Pogue's video commentary on the ups and downs of carrying the latest, hottest consumer item. A key component that he points out is the "fake GPS" that is included.

I feel so left out.

27 June 2007

Mobius Transformations

A couple guys at UMinn posted a short, beautiful video that looks at 3-dimensional mobius transformations which are strongly related to the ways we begin to think about spherical map projections.

Full-page Puzzles

Every so often, the New York Times turns over its op-ed page (that's different than the editorial page) to the folks who write puzzles. They create a giant op-art piece that weaves together a series of puzzles wrapped around a theme and that all combine to solve some final puzzle piece. Last year they published a really nice baseball puzzle during the World Series. It is nice to see that they are keeping an archive available online so that these puzzles continue to be enjoyed for years to come.

26 June 2007

Historic Tunnel in Elizabeth

The Elizabeth Historic Society has found a secret tunnel that they think carries important links to the past. Paul Mattingly reported recently that the tunnel was probably used for smuggling of both goods and people, from the Elizabeth River up to the Belger-Ogden Mansion. While the details are preliminary, it is a pretty exciting find. I can't wait to see it.

23 June 2007

Forests and Natural Lands

Today's NYTimes features a commentary by Timothy Egan who decries recent policies governing the nation's forests and natural lands. The commentary, called "This Land Was My Land," makes specific mention of the poor condition of areas around Mount Hood, Oregon. But it also ventures into some comparisons between the current administration and those who inititated the programs:

It looks like the forestry equivalent of a neighborhood crack house.

In the Pinchot woods, you see the George W. Bush public lands legacy. If you want to drill, or cut trees, or open a gas line — the place is yours. Most everything else has been trashed or left to bleed to death.

14 June 2007

State GDPs

So, you've probably heard someone say that California has the 7th largest economy in the world. Another way to look at it is to say that its GDP is the same as France.
Texas has a GDP as large as Canada. But what about the other
50 states? Strange Maps has a map where the states are renamed by countries with similar GDP. Very cool.

09 June 2007

Street View

By now you may have noticed Google Map's new Street View tool which lets you see things at the street level. But did you realize that it has already introduced a new level of sluething to Google Map? There is now an effort to look at the street view images and identify when they were taken.
UPDATE: There is also an active discussion about the privacy concerns of street level spying. And someone spotted E.T. in NJ.