Under the sea (submarine cables)

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 11.55.36 PMIf you’ve ever wondered how data gets from one continent to another on a terrestrial level, the Submarine Cable Maps site is a pretty good roadmap. They gather data from TeleGeography and compile it into a very useful format, using Google Maps to display loads of information about the line, who owns it, the bandwidth, etc.

Wondering how those communication lines are dropped down to the bottom of ocean? The Discovery Channel did a pretty decent documentary on it here:

TE SubCom also has a pretty interesting video on how they tackle undersea lines (a bit of PR in this video, but the explanation of the methodology makes up for it).

So the next time you visit a site hosted in another country, think of the folks that helped to make that happen, and the amount of work it took.

National Park Week

National-Park-Service-logoLooking for something to do this weekend? Tomorrow marks the opening weekend of National Park Week and to celebrate, the Park Service is offering free admission April 18th and 19th to 128 Parks that usually require an admission fee or annual pass. There should be something in your area, so be sure to take advantage of it!

The Mediterranean Fenceline

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Image Source: voanews.com

On a rocky beach in North Africa, a chain-link fence juts out into the Mediterranean Sea.

This is one of Africa’s two land borders with Europe, at two Spanish cities on the African continent. Ceuta and Melilla are Spanish soil — and thus part of the European Union — separated from the rest of Europe by the Mediterranean, and separated from the rest of Africa by huge fences.

A look into the lives of the tens of thousands that try to flee to Europe through Africa each year. In the US, when someone says Immigration, we automatically think of our neighbors to the south. But the picture is much larger, and not without good reason. Take a moment out of your day, kick up your feet and have a quick read (or listen).

http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2015/04/16/393577925/the-fences-where-spain-and-africa-meet

Also, if you’d like to explore Melilla (the focal point of this article), check out the city along with its massive fenceline here in Google Maps.

Facebook the bike courier

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In a strange turn of events, a Brooklyn Judge is allowing a woman who’s having trouble locating her husband, to serve him with divorce papers via Facebook. Sending legal documents electronically isn’t really a new concept, but through social media? And especially Facebook?

Personally, I think we give Facebook too much personal information about ourselves. And they use it in a lot of weird ways. They’ll probably end up rolling this out as a new relationship status: “In litigation“, or a paid service similar to their dollar messaging service.

So be careful checking those Facebook messages, who knows what could be coming next. Might be an eviction notice, or Jury Duty. ;)

Urban Exploration, for the win.

Not sure what it is that about abandoned buildings and settlements, but I find the topic of urban (and not so urban) exploration pretty fascinating.  I can usually get my fix over at Love these Pics, which is a fantastic site if you’re not familiar with it. Some of my favorites there are an old NSA listening post in Berlin, Bodie Historic State Park and Chernobyl (a subject that I’ve studied extensively – more on that below).

Tonight I came across this post on Longreads about a long abandoned Soviet-era mining town in the Arctic. Definitely worth checking out, calling the history of this site “interesting” would be an understatement.

If you’re interested in reading up on the Chernobyl disaster, make sure to check out Kidofspeed’s website. It’s a photojournal of her visits to the exclusion zone around Pripyat, it serves as an eerie reminder of worse case scenarios. Recommended reading on the subject: Wormwood Forest by Mary Mycio and Chernobyl A Novel by Frederik Pohl.