This map shows you how far you can go in 10 minutes  BY MAT SMITH  @THATMATSMITH  MAY 24TH 2014, AT 9:54:00 AM ET


Commuting is often, no, regularly, hell. And now there’s a map to prove it. Enter a city into the Isoscope map, and it will show how far a two, four, six, eight and ten-minute drive will take you, specific to the day of the week — and to a prescribed hour of awful, awful rush-hour traffic. You can click multiple areas and adjust the hour, increasing or decreasing where you’re able to go. If you’ve only get a 30-minute lunch break, you can try to make that work. “We wanted our project to shed light on situations when urban mobility is compromised, when the pulse of the city falters, such as during traffic jams,” developer Sebastian Kaim told Fast Company. There’s also a pedestrian option for non-drivers, and after testing a few cities and times, we’re thinking next week could well be a work-at-home kind of a week.


Tunnel Vision Uses Augmented Reality to Animate NYC Subway Maps  by Karissa Bell  2 days ago

Image: Tunnel Vision
Image: Tunnel Vision

A new iPhone app is using augmented reality and big data to create animated visualizations based on New York’s subway system.

Tunnel Vision enables users to see which stations are likely to be the most crowded and view where in the system their train theoretically is — simply by pointing their iPhone at a subway map.

The iOS app will recognize any map of the subway — whether it’s a wall map, a paper map or an onscreen map. Once it recognizes the map, it overlays animated visualizations that display transit and demographic data for different areas of New York City, based on where they are located in relation to the subway.

The app relies on MTA and U.S. Census data to provide its visualizations, which are based on six different datasets.

MTA information includes subway schedules and turnstile activity. Tap on Schedules and it displays an animated map of the estimated position of each train in the system; Turnstile activity shows estimates of whether stations have more people entering or leaving at any given time.  Click to continue


NYPD Is Looking Into Using Drones For Surveillance  by Inae Oh  posted 5/22/2014  11:16am EDT

Don Emmert Getty Images
Don Emmert Getty Images

New York City police commissioner Bill Bratton expressed his support Tuesday for the use of drones as a potentially reliable tool to help monitor and reduce crime in the city, calling the unmanned devices “extraordinarily effective.”

“Myself, I’m supportive of the concept of drones, not only for police but for public safety in general,” Bratton said at a City Council’s Public Safety Committee meeting. “It’s something that we actively keep looking at and stay aware of.”

The city has embraced high-tech surveillance, with $500,000 allotted for a new pilot program to test gunshot detectors in neighborhoods with high crime rates. Triggered by the sound of shots, camera sensors then transmit the location of the sounds — and possibly a photograph of the alleged shooter — to police officials.

Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller, who also spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, said drones would not be deployed anytime soon.

“At this point, we have no drones, don’t use any drones, haven’t deployed any drones,” Miller said. “However, it’s something that we’ll continue to look at.”

Law enforcement agencies throughout the country have already begun using similar gunshot detectors and domestic drones. But civil rights groups have raised deep concerns over their potential violations of privacy, particularly as such surveillance equipment becomes cheaper to produce.

In 2013, Bratton’s predecessor, Ray Kelly, said the NYPD was looking into thepotential use of drones to size up large demonstrations.. But he acknowledged that there were specific hurdles unique to using drones in New York City, including heavy air traffic.

The budget of the new gunshot detectors program awaits approval from Mayor Bill de Blasio and city council.

NASA Has a New Plan to Save Its Zombie Spaceship  by Alex Brown  May 212, 2014

A long-lost spaceship may still have some life left in it—if a California company can figure out how to talk to it.

Courtesy of NASA
Courtesy of NASA

NASA has a plan to save a satellite long given up for dead: Let the private sector take care of it.

The agency’s groundbreaking ISEE-3 satellite is nearing Earth for the first time in 30 years, and while its instruments still appear to work, the communications equipment used to control it was scrapped years ago. The only reason we know it’s still working is that someone forgot to send the “off” signal when it was scheduled to shut down.

ISEE-3’s summer pass-by of Earth could provide the gravity needed to send it on another mission—otherwise it will just keep sailing around the sun. But NASA says it can’t afford the resources needed to re-create the communications equipment it would need for such a maneuver.


How Green Energy Won Out Over Fossil Fuels in a Red State  by Clare Foran  May 22, 2014

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

How FaceTime wrecked a sailor’s dream (6:50 am PDT, May 24th)

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple’s video chat feature FaceTime has bridged the miles for families, sparked a ton of romances and probably shattered a few marriages.

This may be the first time it’s ever shipwrecked someone, though.

John Berg was sailing off the coast of Kona, Hawaii when a FaceTime login request started messing with the navigation app on his iPad. Although sailing apps on smartphones and tablets so popular they’re credited with having sunk the market for Garmin products,  imprecise navigation has been a concern.

He was almost at the finish line for the journey of a lifetime: Berg, who is blind, and crew sailed for 21 days covering 2,800 miles from Banderas Bay in Mexico to Hawaii in a 40-foot-boat dubbed the Seaquel.

An app called iNavX on Berg’s iPad guided the Seaquel’s GPS. As they headed for the night’s waypoint, the screen was taken hostage by a system request to log in to FaceTime. And then another request to log in to iCloud. Berg and crew couldn’t figure out how to dismiss the request and log back in to iNavX. Things spiraled down into an All is Lostscenario when it turned out that although Berg’s iPhone had the app installed, the waypoint wasn’t set.

The vessel, a Nordic 40, cracked open on the jagged reefs just three miles from its destination. Fortunately, neither Berg nor the crew were injured and swam to safety. The boat is a goner, though.

Berg, who had lived aboard the boat for 12 years with his daughter, only blames himself.

“I just want to make it crystal clear that it was my boat, I was the captain, and it was me who screwed up. Even though I had sighted crew with me, it was my fault we lost the boat,” he told magazine Latitude 38.

Even so, it’d be nice if  some Apple fan had an unused boat for Berg to call home now.

Via Latitude 38