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Jason Morrison
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Attended Ohio Wesleyan University
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Jason Morrison

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I heard this story on NPR driving home this afternoon. 

An Imaginary Town Becomes Real, Then Not. True Story

Pirate-Protected Maps

Companies that create maps get their work copied all the time. You hire a draftsman. You check spellings, you work on the colors, you get all the cities in the right place, and along comes a gas company, or a tourism agency; it takes what you've done, slaps its own name on it. You cry, "Piracy!" and take it to court.

The pirates say, "Prove it." It's a map, they say. It describes what is. Because there's a real world out there, obviously maps are going to be identical. So we're only guilty of describing the same world the other map described. Jurors think, "Hmm, sounds reasonable," and the pirates get away with it. Unless the mapmaker runs a little scam.
Two mapmakers made the place up. It wasn't real. Then, oddly, it popped into being. I am not making this up. It happened. Then it un-happened.
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Have you heard of machine learning, but have no clue what it really means?

This is the best intro I have ever seen.

It only covers decision trees, but it illustrates things really clearly.  Can't wait for their next post.

http://www.r2d3.us/visual-intro-to-machine-learning-part-1/
What is machine learning? See how it works with our animated data visualization.
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Athena came running down the stairs, yelling "Daddy!"
Me: "What's wrong?"
Athena: "I'm scared!"
Me: "I thought you were playing Minecraft?"
Athena: "I'm scared of the spiders, can you get rid of them?"

I kill a couple spiders, but keep finding more. It seems like hundreds of spiders are wandering around her town, and some trees are on fire.
Me: "Athena, I didn't think you were playing on survival mode?"
Athena: "I'm not."
Me: "Then the only way to get spiders is if you put down spider eggs."
Athena: "I know."
Me: "How many spider eggs did you put down?"
Athena: "A lot."
Me: "So you spawned hundreds of spiders, then set fire to the trees to kill them, and when that didn't work you came to me?"
Athena: "Yeah..."

The moral of the story: don't fill your town with spider eggs if you don't want a town full of spiders.

In the image, you can see several spiders along with a sheep and two pigs, somehow wedged into one mine cart.
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Daddy to the rescue!  Looks like TWO sheep and two pigs to me. ;)  
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You know those full-screen popups that interrupt you and tell you to install the site's app instead? Google looked at the data for theirs and decided to stop. Turns out it mostly annoys people and then they go away.
 
69% of the visits abandoned our page. These users neither went to the app store nor continued to our mobile website.

In other words nobody likes app download interstitials, so stop.
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The “Gore Sat” – a scientific spaceprobe proposed originally by Vice President Al Gore – is now positioned in a gravitationally metastable orbit about a million miles from Earth, closer to the Sun, allowing it to send home stunning images of the entire daylit face of our planet, every single day or hour. Of course the money was spent for science. Discovr was launched in February of this year on a mission to monitor solar winds. Keeping tabs on space weather helps scientists issue accurate warnings ahead of solar storms that can potentially disrupt telecommunications or power infrastructure. But Gore (whose Senate bill around 1990 freed the internet into the wild and open thing we know) also dreamed that the perfect images of our world might inspire us.  Make it so.
http://www.cnet.com/au/news/nasas-new-million-mile-view-of-earth-is-a-stunner/
A faraway satellite turns its eyes back to its home planet to catch a fresh photo of our Blue Marble suspended against the darkness of space.
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Secret Maps
via +Joerg Fliege 

In the days of the Cold War, before smartphones with a selection of colourful, detailed, satellite-based maps were in the hands of the public, the Soviet authorities, it seems, privately held beautifully-made, highly-detailed and (usually) highly-accurate maps of locations from all over the world as well as their home territories.

Many of these maps provide additional GIS details that go far beyond any immediate military purpose and are so accurate that they contain information not on the maps of the countries concerned.  Many cities in Europe, a few in the United States (Pontiac, MI, Galveston, TX, Bristol, PA, Scranton, PA, Syracuse, NY, Towanda, and North Towanda, NY, Watertown, NY, Niagara Falls, NY), and it is speculated the whole of the home territories, were mapped at a ratio of 1:10,000.

John Davies has found scores of features on the Soviet maps that don’t seem to have immediate military relevance, things like factories, police stations, and transportation hubs. “If it’s an invasion map, you wouldn’t show the bus stations,” Davies says. “It’s a map for when you’re in charge.”

That’s probably true, but there may be even more to it than that, says Alex Kent, who’s now a senior lecturer in geography at Canterbury Christ Church University. Kent thinks the Soviets used the maps more broadly. “It’s almost like a repository of intelligence, a database where you can put everything you know about a place in the days before computers,” he says.

“They managed to turn so much information into something that’s so clear and well-presented,” Kent says. “There are layers of visual hierarchy. What is important stands out. What isn’t recedes. There’s a lot that modern cartographers could learn from the way these maps were made.”

Aesthetically, the maps are striking, if not beautiful. The cartographers who made them took tremendous pride in their work, down to the last details, says Kent Lee, the CEO of EastView Geospatial, a Minnesota company that was once Russell Guy’s main competition in the Soviet map import business and now claims to have the largest collection of Soviet military maps outside of Russia. “Cartographic culture is to Russia as wine culture is to France,” Lee says.


More here (article): http://goo.gl/HQUJK8
Look out for various links in the article most of which resolve.

Image: https://goo.gl/rdhC4C
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They're gorgeous Maps!
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Jason Morrison

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I’m not a “Pluto is a planet” partisan, but when NASA’s New Horizon mission took this close-up photo of Pluto, I knew I had to have this shirt.

Feel free to grab the design and make your own shirt :)

http://www.jasonmorrison.net/content/2015/i-heart-pluto/
Poor Pluto. Once a planet, now demoted to dwarf planet status. I'm not a "Pluto is a planet" partisan, but when NASA's New Horizon mission took this close-up
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If you have a web site, you've probably received these unsolicited emails asking for links, guest posts, or affiliate programs.

Here's a few hilarious responses for your consideration.
I am kind of an asshole. This should not be surprising for anyone familiar with the blog. I haven't exactly done a great job of concealing it. But I feel that I should probably start off this post by stating it, plain and clear. I have several reasons for this: There is something wonderfully ...
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You would be surprised how often web sites are hacked by spammers, and we're seeing 180% the number of sites hacked compared to last year.

Spammers hack sites to make use of your site's users or your site's reputation. Don't let them take advantage of your hard work.
 
#NoHacked is back with more specific and advanced information.
We noticed a 180% increase in the number of sites getting hacked this past year. In these next few weeks, we'll help you learn to protect your content on the web through:
• hacking insights on our blog every Monday
• actionable tips on our social channels every Wednesday
• a security-themed Hangout on Air: https://goo.gl/U8htqZ

Check out our 1st #NoHacked blog post on password security, software security and helpful tools → http://goo.gl/979BBB
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Wait, hold up... Did NASA actually name a dark, foreboding feature on Pluto the Cthulhu Regio?

This has me half filled with glee and half filled with terror.
NASA’s New Horizons mission has found evidence of exotic ices flowing across Pluto’s surface, at the left edge of its bright heart-shaped area.
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Oh man, this is beautiful. Probably the best way to ruin a KKK march.
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"Political movements are viral, but conspiracies are bacterial. They thrive in dark recesses, fed by self-reinforcement, shielded from the disinfecting light of contrary opinion."
The long read: In December, a handful of middle-aged American immigrants attempted to topple the autocratic ruler of the Gambia. They had few weapons and an amateurish plan. What possessed them to risk everything in a mission that was doomed to fail?
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Freedom fighters? That's what they call every unsanctioned attempt by others with supposed American interests at hand when they circumvent our laws for personal gain.
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Work
Occupation
Support Engineer, Search Quality Team at Google
Employment
  • Google
    Support Engineer, Search Quality Team, present
  • AT&T
  • SBC
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
CA
Previously
Cleveland
Story
Tagline
Googler on the Search Quality Team and a bit of a geek.
Introduction
I work on Google's Search Quality Team, trying to make the web a little bit better place for searchers and webmasters.

This is my personal account, but feel free to follow if you're interested in stuff related to Google, web design, programming, maps, photography, random funny things my kids says, and related geekery.
Education
  • Ohio Wesleyan University
  • Kent State University
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Jason Morrison's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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