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Media & the web - Aug 29

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


Author of oil articles charged as spy in Sudan

Tim Jones, Chicago Tribune via LA Times
Paul Salopek, 2-time Pulitzer winner, was on freelance assignment for National Geographic
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Paul Salopek, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, was charged with espionage and two other criminal counts in a Sudanese court Saturday, three weeks after he was detained by pro-government forces in the war-torn province of Darfur.

Salopek, 44, who was on a freelance assignment for National Geographic magazine, was arrested with two Chadian nationals, his interpreter and driver. If convicted, they could be imprisoned for years.

Chicago Tribune Editor and Senior Vice President Ann Marie Lipinski called Salopek "one of the most accomplished and admired journalists of our time. He is not a spy.

"Our fervent hope is that the authorities in Sudan will recognize his innocence and quickly allow Paul to return home to his wife, Linda, and to his colleagues," Lipinski said. She added: "We are deeply worried about Paul and his well-being, and appeal to the government of Sudan to return him safely home."
(26 Aug 2006)
Paul Salopek is a peak oil ally, having written the magnificent newspaper series on oil that was recently published in the Chicago Tribune. All hopes and prayers for his safe release. -BA


Bart Anderson on "The Reality Report"
(Audio)
Jason Bradford, The Reality Report via Global Public Media
Bart Anderson is a co-editor of Energy Bulletin, an on-line source for news and commentary related to energy, society and the environment. Bart is a trained journalist now specializing in media coverage and the cultural response to peak oil and global warming. He speaks with Jason Bradford about how the press is dealing with issues such as peak oil, climate change and the social ramifications, and gives a news round-up. Jason Bradford hosts The Reality Report, broadcast on KZYX&Z in Mendocino County, CA.
(21 Aug 2006)


How Google Earth Is Changing Science

Manfred Dworschak, Spiegel (Germany)
Biologists, epidemiologists and disaster control experts are discovering Google Earth as a powerful tool in their work. The success of the digital globe has reawakened interest in computer mapping models.

Erik Born constantly keeps tabs on the whereabouts of his walruses no matter what part of the Arctic Sea they might decide to visit on a given day. Just off Greenland's ice-bound coast last spring, the Danish biologists managed to embed tiny tracking sensors in the animals' blubber. Now, he can follow his subjects through the four seasons, wherever they might migrate.

Born doesn't even have to leave his own office. Instead, Google Earth's digital globe rotates on his computer monitor. A position marker on the screen identifies the position of each walrus.

Google Earth wasn't really intended for scientists. The Google search engine's extraordinary globe, which is made up of hundreds of thousands of satellite photos and aerial images, first became well-known as a game for virtual hobby pilots. Users discovered that it was fun to fly over their own homes, swing up into space and, within seconds, swoop back down into the depths of the Grand Canyon. But now the scientific community is discovering how useful the software is for their own work.

With a single keystroke, biologist Born superimposes colored maps over the Arctic. The maps show him where the ice sheet is getting thinner and the direction in which the pieces of floating ice on which walruses like to catch a ride are drifting. All of the ice data, which comes from satellites and measuring buoys, is available on the Internet. By loading the data into the program, Born can detect how global warming is affecting the migratory behavior of his giant walruses.
(1 Aug 2006)


The Trainspotters of Google Earth
(slideshow)
Michael Agger, Slate
What happens when the Internet and geography collide
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Those of us who enjoy looking out of airplane windows received a special gift last year with the debut of Google Earth, a virtual globe that can be manipulated with a mouse. The globe itself is composed of satellite photography that has been taken in the past three years, and the data are updated piecemeal every couple of months. Using Google Earth is similar to driving a satellite.

With a few keystrokes, you can zip from Paris to New York to Tokyo. Where the photographic data are particularly rich, you can zoom in and see the shadow cast by a woman walking down the street. You can also simply fly around. At first, this is all very interesting, but I suspect that most people locate their house, check out the Grand Canyon, then leave Google Earth to clutter up their hard drives. For the chosen few whom Google Earth calls out to, however, it's powerfully addictive-sort of like freebasing your sixth-grade Earth science class.
(25 Aug 2006)

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