Tag Archives: australia

Google Maps adds underwater imagery – go diving in Hawaii, Australia, & the Philippines

Maps go underwater now as Google has added panoramic imagery of Hawaii, Australia, and the Philippines. From the Google Maps Blog:

Find a sea turtle swimming among a school of fish, follow a manta ray and experience the reef at sunset. in the Great Barrier Reed. At Apo Island, a volcanic island and marine reserve in the Philippines, you can see an ancient boulder coral, which may be several hundred years old. And in the middle of the Pacific, in Hawaii, you can join snorkelers in Oahu’s Hanauma Bay and drift over the vast coral reef at Maui’s Molokini crater.

The images are stunning as seen in this video.

 

 

The feature works like Street View in Google Maps. And the images were captured using an SVII specialized camera while traveling at 4 kilometers an hour.

View the full collection of 12 dive sites at Google Maps Ocean.

Come Hell of High Water (trailer, DVD) – documenting the culture of bodysurfing

 

Keith Malloy’s debut film, Come Hell or High Water, shot primarily on 16mm focuses on the simplicity and beauty of bodysurfing. “It’s about taking a breath, and kicking your feet, in the big blue sea.” – Patagonia

 

The film explores the history and progression of the sport of bodysurfing and the pureness that comes from riding a wave. Shot primary in 16mm, the film takes a unique look at the culture, beauty and simplicity of the sport, capturing the stories and locations of those who belong to this community.

Winning awards in best cinematography, and best film at both The London Surf Film Fest and The Surfer Poll Awards,

Shot on location at The Wedge, Point Panic, Piha Beach, Las Escolleras, The Pipeline, Waimea Bay, Makapuu, Sandy Beach, Sandspit, Cloudbreak, Yellowstone, Mentawais, Kamakura, Teahupoo and Nantucket.

Features: Mark Cunningham , Mike Stewart, Chris Kalima, Durdam Rocherolle, Patrice Chanzy, Belinda Baggs, Crystal Thornburg-Homcy, and Dan Malloy. – Patagonia Australia

 

Buy the DVD, $25

Buy the digital version, $15, or rent $5

Read: Behind-the-scenes in New Zealand

 

 

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Orange County has become a dominant location for Olympic athletes to live/train

There seems to be a competition between San Diego (who is sending 80 athletes) and Orange County, for the king of the Olympics:

 

If Orange County was a nation it would have ranked among the top 10 in gold medals at each of the past two Summer Olympics. At the 2004 Games in Athens, Orange County athletes won as many golds (nine) as Great Britain, or one more than Brazil and Spain combined. Four years later, O.C. athletes brought home 19 medals, as many as Ethiopia, the Czech Republic and Argentina combined.

Athletes with O.C. ties also produced two of the most iconic moments of the 2008 Beijing Games. Irvine’s Jason Lezak kept Michael Phelps’ bid for a record eight gold medals alive in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay with what has been called as the greatest anchor ever. Phelps later edged Serbia’s Milorad Cavic, a Tustin High grad, by a mere hundredth of a second to win the 100-meter butterfly to equal Mark Spitz’s then-Olympic record of seven golds.

In London, Orange County athletes could put up even bigger numbers.

A record 79 O.C. athletes will compete in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, more than double the 31 who participated in the Athens Games just eight years ago. And unlike some other Olympic hotbeds like Kenya’s Rift Valley or Australia’s Gold Coast, Orange County’s Olympic success is not limited to just one sport. In London, O.C. athletes could win gold medals in as many as nine sports.

 

Source: OC Register - For Olympics, Orange County has become a powerhouse

 

 

If you add in the athletes from Los Angeles then 1 out of 3, or even half, of all Olympic athletes hail from Southern California.  Continue reading

Wikimedia Foundation votes to start a travel guide – as Wikitravel implodes

The Wikimedia Foundation has decided to create a travel guide in the mold of its non-profit, user-written and search engine results-hogging Wikipedia.

The foundation’s board of trustees on July 11 approved a proposal to launch an advertisement-free travel guide and noted that 31 of the 48 administrators of the Internet Brands-owned Wikitravel have pledged to join forces with the Wikimedia Foundation’s travel guide website.

The foundation indicated that Wikitravel is the current leader in travel wikis, but its advertisements and monetization efforts may turn off travelers and would-be contributors.

In addition, the foundation argues that Internet Brands has failed to keep pace with the times and that Wikitravel suffers from a “lack of technical support/feature development.”

Jani Patokallio, a Wikitravel admin based in Melbourne, Australia, wrote about the editors’ mass exodus from Wikitravel, and told Skift that the situation there had reached “the boiling point.”

 

Source: Skift – Wikipedia Parent to Launch Travel Guide with Wikitravel Rebels

 

 

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Google Maps adds bike routes for Europe, Australia – take a trip through the Swedish countryside!

Back in 2010 we added biking directions for users of Google Maps in the US and Canada. Helping cyclists navigate the bike trails throughout those countries proved hugely popular, so we’re wheelie excited to announce that starting today, we’ve also added extensive biking data to Google Maps for Austria, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In many of these countries we are also enabling biking directions in beta mode.

We know how popular cycling is in many parts of the world, so we wanted to include as much bike trail data as possible to provide efficient routes, allow riders to customize their trips, make use of bike lanes, calculate rider-friendly routes that avoid big hills and busy roads and to customize the look of the cycling map to encourage people to hop on their bikes. So that’s exactly what we’ve done.

If you’re keen to start riding into work, or maybe just do your bit for the environment by swapping your car for a bike a couple of days a week, biking directions can help you find a convenient route that makes use of dedicated bike lanes and avoids hills whenever possible.

 

Source: Google Lat Long Blog - Biking directions expands into Europe and Australia

Communist party in China facing public anger as corruption gets exposed

Even more interesting considering that both this Economist article and the Bloomberg exposé are currently blocked in China.

 

In recent years China’s leaders have become increasingly concerned that the public’s awareness of the growing wealth gap could lead to social instability. In Beijing, displays of gratuitous overcompensation are a daily reminder that some people, in keeping with a famous dictum of Deng Xiaoping’s, have indeed got rich first. Officials last year even went so far as to try suppressing ads that promote “luxury lifestyles”—lest the have-nots be inspired to rise up and storm the local Lamborghini dealership.

Perhaps even more troubling for the Party is the surge in scepticism over how such wealth seems to find its way into the hands of officials and their families, not to mention into those of their beloved Swiss bankers, English boarding schools and Australian estate agents. Particularly galling are the reports about the great number of officials who have taken to working “naked”. That is to say, many officials are working in China while their wives, children and, presumably, a chunk of the motherland’s money take residence overseas. A report released last year estimated that as much as $120 billion may have been transferred abroad by corrupt officials.

The Chinese media have been given greater freedom to report on corruption and the financial shenanigans of large companies of late. Which makes it all the more striking that reporting on the business activities of the Central Committee’s wives and offspring is still strictly forbidden.

So one can only imagine the consternation caused by yesterday’s sensational exposé by Bloomberg, which details the financial assets belonging to the family of China’s president-in-waiting, Xi Jinping…

More on this storyWealth and power: It’s a family affair

 

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First ever video of the world’s most elusive whale

Scientists on a research voyage in Bass Straight (south of Australia) got an exhilarating surprise when they chanced upon what might be the world’s most mysterious and elusive whale: the Shepherd’s beaked whale. It is believed this is the first time the species has ever been captured on video (shown below).

Since the Shepherd’s beaked whale was first described in 1937, there have been only 3 confirmed sightings of the animal besides this one. Due to its extreme rarity, almost nothing is known about the species. What little is known has mostly been derived from strandings or carcasses that have washed ashore. But just over 40 such strandings have ever been recorded.

Adults of the species can reach lengths of about 20-23 feet and typically weigh about 2.32 to 3.48 tons. They have a dark brown color on their dorsal side but are cream-colored ventrally, and males display a pair of tusks at the tip of the lower jaw.

One of the reasons the whales are so difficult to spot is that they are typically found only in deep, offshore habitats where sighting conditions are rarely ideal (i.e., along the latitudes commonly referred to as the “Roaring 40′s” and “Furious 50′s”). Like other beaked whales within the family Ziphidae, Shepherd’s beaked whales can also dive for long periods– over an hour at a time– and to extreme depths. In fact, most beaked whales dive to such great depths that they must surface slowly to avoid decompression sickness.

All sightings and strandings of the Shepherd’s beaked whales have occurred in waters off New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania.

via Animal Planet

 

Shepherd’s beaked whale is listed as Data Deficient by the IUCN Red List given that there is so little known about the marine mammal.

Award-winning short about legendary surfer – ‘Another Day in the Life of Wayne Lynch’

Wayne Lynch is a surfing legend, blazing individualistic pathways in both the performance and the lifestyle. Ascending during a time of great change and experimentation, Wayne took up the mantle personally, redefining what a surfboard should look like and how it should be ridden. Much of this innovation done outside of surfing’s athletic or institutional complexes.

Today, Wayne’s life is almost as it was 40 years ago. He still shapes surfboards, still lives simply by the sea. Were it not for his recent heart attack, both the observer and Wayne himself, could be forgiven for thinking things had stayed the same, despite how they change. But serious jeopardy to anyone’s health, our surfing heroes included, can have a way of radically altering everything underneath the surface, appearances be damned. A rebirth into the same skin.

In this portrait, filmmaker Cyrus Sutton provides a window into Lynch’s new life. With a nod to Jack McCoy’s Tubular Swells, Another Day in the Life, is crafted with ultra-fine cinematography and a spare and modernist feel. The viewer is transported back to the Wayne Lynch they grew up idolizing, while making current those admirations and anchoring them in the reality of human mortality.

- Scott Hulet, The Surfer’s Journal