Find out your trip duration based on current traffic

Find out your trip duration based on current traffic:

Should I take public transit or a taxi to the airport? What’s the fastest way to get to my appointment on time: local streets or the expressway? Oftentimes, the answer to these questions depends on the current traffic conditions.

Now using both live and historic traffic data, Google Maps enables you to once again see the estimated length of time your journey might take. In areas where the information is available, this new and improved feature evaluates current traffic conditions and is constantly being refreshed to provide you with the most accurate, up-to-date estimate possible. To see this feature, simply access directions as you normally would on Google Maps. Below the time estimate for how long your trip might take without any traffic, you’ll see the adjusted estimate that factors in current traffic data.

For example, if I’m trying to get to JFK Airport from Manhattan I can see it is quicker to take the train versus a taxi during rush hour.

Comparing Driving Time vs. Transit Time

If the roads you’re traveling do not yet show the current traffic information, don’t despair. You can help your fellow drivers and improve traffic data about road conditions and speeds by turning on the My Location feature on Google Maps for Android.

We hope being able to plan your travels based on current traffic information saves you time, and perhaps even prevents some road frustration. Happy driving!

To learn more about directions and navigation on your Android phone, start here.

Posted by Szabolcs Payrits, Software Engineer, Google Maps

PHOTOS: Helping vulnerable children survive to 5 | WORLD VISION ...

PHOTOS: Helping vulnerable children survive to 5 | WORLD VISION ...: In places of poverty, the first five years of a child's life are the most deadly — and if a child lives to the age of 5, his or her ...

Google Earth live?

Google Earth live?:
Ever since Google Earth was first released, people have been asking how they can access the "live" version. My standard answer is that it's 10-20 years away, and that's still likely the case.

However, a company called UrtheCast is trying to make it a bit more of a reality. They'll be mounting two cameras on the International Space Station that will stream live content for people to view.

Of course, they'll only be capturing a very small area of earth at any given time, so it's certainly quite a long way from being "Google Earth live", but it's interesting nonetheless. That said, there are a few other problems to consider that they've hopefully researched.

The biggest problem is that you can't just point the camera on a particular location and expect to get a good shot. Problems with that are not limited to:

1) For any particular orbit, you may not be able to view the desired location (too far over the horizon, too much of an angle). You might a have to wait dozens of orbits to get over that spot.

2) Daylight - you have to be over the location at the right time of day.

3) Weather - too many variables to count a) clouds b) haze c) pollution.

4) time of year can be a factor - sun angle too low, and weather.

5) Conflicting opportunities. How do you decide which place to have your camera aimed at when there are 100 different places to aim and you're moving at 17,500 mph?

This leads back to the main article we wrote on how Google Earth imagery is processed. Even for static imagery it's quite a long process. To properly put live video into Google Earth would be amazingly difficult. As far as I know, UrtheCast has no plans to integrate their data with Google Earth, but there's still quite a lot to consider.

All of that said, this looks like a pretty neat project!

(via +Google Creative Sandbox)

Video: Biking from SF to TED2012 (in 5 minutes)

Video: Biking from SF to TED2012 (in 5 minutes):
Keeping with his annual tradition, Rickshaw Bags’ CEO, Mark Dwight, rode his bicycle more than 500 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles in February to attend TED2012 in Long Beach — along the way raising more than $10,000 to help homeless youth via the I Think I Can campaign.
With a Go Pro camera on his handlebars, he collected over 40 hours of footage from the ride. Here is a compressed version of the highlights — from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge to the Long Beach Performing Arts Center — in 5 minutes.

Class of 1984 - WDAM-TV

Class of 1984 - WDAM-TV:

Class of 1984
According to the Geocaching website "Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that ...


"CINCINNATI BLUES": It's not the Mississippi Delta, but Cincinnati has a rich and varied blues heritage. When W.C. Handy published the first blues hit song, “Memphis Blues,” in 1912, it was with a Cincinnati company. Eight years later, when the record industry loosened up enough to allow an African-American woman to record a blues song (then a craze among white vaudeville acts such as Sophie Tucker), it was Cincinnatian Mamie Smith who broke the color line. That song and 49 more can be found on Cincinnati Blues, an excellent and essential two-CD set from England's Catfish label. The collection will be released in the United States on Tuesday. The set comes with a detailed booklet, annotated with a genuine sense of place by Steven Tracy, the Cincinnati native who wrote the local blues history, Going to Cincinnati (University of Illinois Press; $29.95, $16.95 paperback). With its broad scope, Cincinnati Blues is as much an overview of early blues styles as it is a document of the local scene.The set opens with Ms. Smith's groundbreaking “Crazy Blues,” but it quickly forsakes that vaudeville blues sound, with its hokey trombones, for an earthier country blues style. With its rural guitars and loping rhythms, it's a sound shared by the jug bands of Louisville and Memphis. “Sixth Street Moan,” by Kid Cole, for example, could have just as easily come from Memphis' Furry Lewis, with “Beale” substituting for “Sixth.”
Jug bands started in Louisville, entertaining the crowds at the Kentucky Derby, but the most popular groups came out of Memphis. These groups started a national craze that blended percussive washboards, trumpet-like kazoos and tuba-like jugs with more traditional instruments. Two local groups are here, the Cincinnati Jug Band (whose “Newport Blues” was also on Harry Smith's seminal Anthology of American Folk Music) and King David's Jug Band.
Piano blues is represented by three non-Cincinnati artists who happened to record here. Indianapolis' Leroy Carr pays tribute to the local scene with “George Street Blues,” about the West End's equivalent to Beale or Bourbon. Walter Davis, who recorded “M&O Blues” here in 1930, hailed from St. Louis. Pianist Jesse James was recalled by the late Pigmeat Jarrett as living here in the '50s. But Mr. Tracy cites blues scholars who trace Mr. James to Memphis and Little Rock, Ark. Indeed his final song (and the last on the set) is “61 Highway Blues” about the road that runs from Memphis through the Mississippi hill country and into the Delta. This doesn't mean, of course, that there were no Cincinnati blues pianists. But the local blues artists who traveled to Chicago, St. Louis, Louisville, New York and Atlanta to record were country bluesmen, probably chosen by the record companies to compete with the popular jug bands and guitarists from fellow river cities Louisville and Memphis. Only two songs were recorded in the Tristate — Walter Davis' “M&O Blues” (cut in Cincinnati) and Bob Cole's “Sing Song Blues” (done at Gennett Studios in Richmond, Ind.).
Had the record companies sent field units here specifically in search of blues, it's likely that we'd have an even more varied portrait of local blues.
Cincinnati Blues is the definitive collection of what did get recorded between the two world wars, classic country blues with plenty of references to the Queen City's wild, river town past.
In “I'm Going to Cincinnati,” Walter Coleman sings, “Now when you come to Cincinnati, stop at Sixth and Main. That's where the good, hustlin' women get the good cocaine.”
Most of this stuff has been available piecemeal on various anthologies for years. Cincinnati Blues brings together the city's early blues heritage in a single, well-annotated (and bargain-priced) collection. This is an essential part of any collection of local music. And it took a European record label to do it. Thank you, Catfish Records. By Larry Nager, The Cincinnati Enquirer

trax CD 1:
1. Crazy Blues - Mamie Smith 2. I´ve Got Salvation In My Heart - Sam Jones 3. Lonesome John - Sam Jones 4. Fisher´s Hornpipe - Sam Jones 5. Court Street Blues - Sam Jones 6. A Woman Gets Tired Of The Same Man All The Time - Sam Jones 7. A Chicken Can Waltz The Gravy Around - Sam Jones 8. Bed Slats - Sam Jones 9. Cincinnati Southern Blues - Ivy Smith & Cow Cow Davenport 10. Sixth Street Moan - Kid Cole 11. Hey Hey Mama Blues - Kid Cole 12. Hard Hearted Mama Blues - Kid Cole 13. Niagra Falls Blues - Kid Cole 14. Newport Blues - Cincinnati Jug Band 15. George Street Stomp - Cincinnati Jug Band 16. Tear It Down - Bob Coleman 17. Cincinnati Underworld Mama - Bob Coleman 18. Sing Song Blues - Bob Coleman 19. M & O Blues - Walter Davis 20. Have You Ever Been Worried In Mind? Part One - Sweet Papa Tadpole 21. Have You Ever Been Worried In Mind? Part Two - Sweet Papa Tadpole 22. Your Baby Can´t Get Enough - Sweet Papa Tadpole 23. Keep Your Yes Ma´am Clean - Sweet Papa Tadpole 24. Black Spider Blues - Sweet Papa Tadpole 25. Weep & Moan When I´m Gone - Sweet Papa Tadpole
trax CD 2:
1. I Had To Smack That Thing - Frances Wallace 2. Can´t Get Enough - Clara Burton 3. Mama Keep Your Yes Ma´am Clean - Walter Cole 4. Everybody Got Something - Walter Cole 5. What´s That Tastes Like Gravy? - King David's Jug Band 6. Rising Sun Blues - King David's Jug Band 7. Sweet Potato Blues - King David's Jug Band 8. Tear It Down - King David's Jug Band 9. I Can Deal Worry - King David's Jug Band 10. Georgia Bo Bo - King David's Jug Band 11. Clair And Pearley - Kid Coley 12. Tricks Ain´t Walking No More - Kid Coley 13. Freight Train Blues - Kid Coley 14. War Dream Blues - Kid Coley 15. George Street Blues - Leroy Carr 16. I´m Going To Cincinnati - Walter Coleman 17. Greyhound Blues - Walter Coleman 18. Mama Let Me Lay It On You - Walter Coleman 19. Smack That Thing - Walter Coleman 20. Carry Your Good Stuff Home - Walter Coleman & Jesse James 21. Mama Let Me Lay It On You - Walter Coleman & Jesse James 22. Sweet Patuni - Jesse James 23. Southern Casey Jones - Jesse James 24. Lonesome Day Blues - Jesse James 25. Highway 61 - Jesse James
...served by Gyro1966...

Holding A Gun Makes You Think Others Are Too #SanClemente

Holding A Gun Makes You Think Others Are Too:

Hmm, wonder if this ever comes into play in real life? Via Science Blog:
Wielding a gun increases a person’s bias to see guns in the hands of others, new research from the University of Notre Dame shows. In five experiments, subjects were shown multiple images of people and determined whether the person was holding a gun or a neutral object such as a soda can or cell phone. Subjects did this while holding either a toy gun or a neutral object, such as a foam ball.
Simply showing observers a nearby gun did not influence their behavior; holding and using the gun was important. By virtue of affording the subject the opportunity to use a gun, he or she was more likely to classify objects in a scene as a gun and, as a result, to engage in threat-induced behavior, such as raising a firearm to shoot.
“Now we know that a person’s ability to act in certain ways can bias their recognition of objects as well, and in dramatic ways. It seems that people have a hard time separating their thoughts about what they perceive and their thoughts about how they can or should act.”

Let's put the NRC on NOTICE and get others to do the same.

C’mon People – Time to Flex Some Muscle:
Let's put the NRC on NOTICE and get others to do the same.
You can see how far they are willing to let things go by looking at the old generator they replaced.

Aging Nuke Plants On Fault Lines In Tsunami Hazard Zones = Fukushimas... Any Questions?

Street View Guide to Japan’s Cherry Blossom Season

Street View Guide to Japan’s Cherry Blossom Season:

One of the most popular times to travel to Japan is during the sakura season, when the nation’s innumerable cherry blossoms erupt in full pink bloom. With the season starting soon, we launched a new visual travel guide this week that uses our Street View technology to help English, Korean, Chinese and Japanese speaking travelers plan hanami flower viewing trips to popular destinations across Japan.

Check out the new Street View Guide to Japan

Working with the Japan Tourism Agency and Japan National Tourism Organization, we figured out the most popular tourist spots for foreign travelers and listed them on our guide.

This edition covers eight distinct areas — Ginza, Asakusa, Akihabara, Tsukji, Kamakura, Fuji spots, Kyoto, and Osaka — and for each, we recommend spots for sightseeing, eating, and, shopping. We are able to offer interiors panoramic views of many of the guide’s business locations, since many of the business owners participated in our Business Photos pilot program. In total, the guide offers 339 total locations, including 26 great cherry blossom viewing spots.

We encourage you to view the guide if you are traveling to Japan in the next few months or would like to virtually experience a few of Japan’s most beautiful sites. So grab some sake and some friends — it’s officially sakura season!

Posted by Kaori Negoro, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Google Japan


RAMBLIN' JAMES & THE BILLYBOPPERS "Burn One Down!" 2002: Killer Modern Authentic Rockabilly from Ashley, Jeff & Bobby from Big Sandy & the Flyrite Trio plus Jim Maund. Highly Recomended. - No Hit RecordsBurn One Down has to be one of the hottest sets of traditional rockabilly to come out in a long time. How could you go wrong with Ashley Kingman, Jeff West and Bobby Trimble from the Fly Rite Boys? Combine fantastic vocals/playing with catchy songwriting and you just can't go wrong. My faves on it are "One time, so fine" and "Brown Eyed Sweet". (Amazon)trax:
01 One Time So Fine 02 Weight Of The World 03 Heart Ain't Havin A Ball 04 Ballad Of Jacko 05 Brown Eyed Sweet 06 Friday Night 07 Which Way The Wind Blows 08 Diggin' & Datin' 09 Watchin' The 7:10 10 I'll Change Your Name Someday 11 Columbus Stockade Blues 12 I Done Told You
...served by Gyro1966...


JUDGE ORDERS SDG&E TO CREATE OPT-OUT PLAN FOR ...: 16 hours 40 min ago; California Utility Company Finally Admits Smart Meter Radiation 16 hours 43 min ago; Smart Meter Health Problems Utility Company ...

Sightseeing heat maps for Google Earth

Sightseeing heat maps for Google Earth:
Google Earth is an amazing tool to visualize data, and over the years we've shown you dozens of examples of that -- everything from census data to Google Analytics to LIDAR, and almost everything inbetween.

Sightsmap is a neat project that creates a heatmap in Google Maps based on the number of photographs that have been submitted to Panoramio. To see how to build these kinds of maps yourself, Alexander Tchaikin has a great project that shows exactly how it's done. Even better, his project page includes a variety of KML files so you can play with the resulting data in Google Earth.


Alexander includes dozens of examples, and hopefully will inspire you to create some visualizations of your own. If you create anything noteworthy, please let us know about it and perhaps we'll feature it on here in a future post.

(via Google Maps Mania)

Twitter Won’t Hand Over Data About OccupyWallStreet Protester

Twitter Won’t Hand Over Data About OccupyWallStreet Protester:
TwitterJohn Paul Titlow writes on ReadWriteWeb:
Barely two weeks after the New York District Attorney asked Twitter to hand over data about an Occupy Wall Street protester, the company says it will not comply with the request, at least for the time being.
The D.A.’s office had sent a subpoena to the microblogging service’s headquarters seeking information about the account belonging to Jeffrey Rae, one of several hundred activists arrested during an Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York on March 1.
Paul Mills, the attorney representing Rae, filed a motion to quash the subpoena on March 15 on the grounds that the request was in violation of California’s requirements for out-of-state subpoenas. Twitter’s legal department then informed the D.A.’s office that they would not comply with the request until the motion was resolved, Mills tells ReadWriteWeb.
Earlier this week, the D.A. offered Rae what’s known as an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, which effectively lifts the subpoena and may lead to the charges being dropped all together.
Read More: ReadWriteWeb

I Bet You Thought I Was The Only Paul Ryan Fan!!

Why Do New York Times Columnists Keep Swooning for Paul Ryan?

By James Kwak
After David Brooks last year, now it’s James Stewart who has fallen for Paul Ryan’s rugged good looks. He attempts to defend Ryan’s tax proposals against charges that they favor the rich:
“To me it sounds like a proposal to raise [the wealthy's] taxes by depriving them of cherished ‘loopholes,’ to use the proposal’s word. . . .
“There’s no getting around the fact that a 25 percent rate on the top earners would nearly double Mr. Romney’s effective rate and more than double it for the 101 of the top 400 taxpayers who pay less than 10 percent, assuming the loopholes are indeed closed.”
Stewart is at least smart enough to realize that a 25 percent rate is only a tax increase if you eliminate preferences for investment income (capital gains and dividends, currently taxed at a maximum rate of 15 percent):
“Despite Mr. Ryan’s reluctance to specify which tax preferences might have to be curtailed or eliminated, there’s no mystery as to what they would have to be. Looking only at the returns of the top 400 taxpayers, the biggest loophole they exploit by far is the preferential tax rate on capital gains, carried interest and dividend income.”
So give Stewart credit for knowing the basics of tax policy. But he is basically assuming that Ryan must be proposing to eliminate those preferences: “there’s no mystery as to what they would have to be.”
Only they aren’t. Stewart quotes directly from the FY 2012 budget resolution authored by Ryan’s Budget Committee. But apparently he didn’t notice this passage:
“Raising taxes on capital is another idea that purports to affect the wealthy but actually hurts all participants in the economy. Mainstream economics, not to mention common sense, teaches that raising taxes on any activity generally results in less of it. Economics and common sense also teach that the size of a nation’s capital stock – the pool of saved money available for investment and job creation – has an effect on employment, productivity, and wages. Tax reform should promote savings and investment because more savings and more investment mean a larger stock of capital available for job creation.”
In other words, taxes on capital gains should not be increased, but if anything should be lowered.
Stewart assumes that Ryan wants to raise capital gains taxes because that’s the only way to justify a 25 percent top rate as anything other than a massive giveaway to the rich. But Ryan himself has said he doesn’t want to raise capital gains taxes.* It really is a massive giveaway to the rich. The reason Ryan won’t specify the “loopholes” he wants to close is that he can’t: if he made a list of tax expenditures to eliminate but didn’t touch the preferences for investment income, it would be patently obvious that he is waging class warfare on behalf of the 1%.

Like David Brooks before him, Stewart has fallen into the trap of believing that Paul Ryan is something other than a charlatan and a political hack. There are real tax reform proposals out there, like Domenici-Rivlin, which would cut the top rate to 27% but tax capital gains as ordinary income). I don’t agree with Domenici-Rivlin because I think now, with looming structural deficits ahead, is not the time to cut tax rates. (In White House Burning, we propose to reduce or eliminate preferences for investment income, mortgage interest, sales of homes, employer-provided health care, charitable contributions, state and local taxes, and state and local bonds, among others.)

But Domenici-Rivlin is at least worth discussing. Paul Ryan’s “proposal” is simply a transparent assault on ordinary Americans on behalf of the rich.

* How Stewart missed this is baffling, since the passage I quote is from page 51, and Stewart quotes directly from page 50.

Hummingbirds in San Clemente, CA

Hummingbirds in San Clemente, CA: I never saw so many hummingbirds in one place like I did in San Clemente. My stepson's mom, Diane, has several hummingbird feeders in her backyard. Watch the above video.

Also check out Darin Mcclure's awesome video he made with his iPhone HERE. He propped his iPhone on top of the roof close to the hummingbird feeder. He turned the camera on and then walked away. When he returned to play back

21 Unexpected Ways Brands Can Use Pinterest

21 Unexpected Ways Brands Can Use Pinterest: As Pinterest grows into a top 30 US website, brands are joining the image-sharing social network by the boatload. But not all Pinterest strategies are created equal. A new medium requires some creativity, so I set out to find some of the most creative uses of Pinterest out there today. If...

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

The World's First Lamp

The World's First Lamp:

Erik's link to the orange lamp on Saturday reminded me to post this. This is Project #1 in Making It, and we often open our lectures by building one of these, but I realize I've never talked about oil lamps here on the blog.

Forgive the somewhat atmospheric photo. What you're looking at is the simplest thing in the world: an oyster shell filled with olive oil and balanced in a small dish of sand. Three pieces of cotton string are lying in the oil with their ends poking just a little way off the side of the shell. Those are the wicks.

This is a shell lamp. This is perhaps what the first lamp ever looked like. (A Paleo-lamp?) At the very least, this is a fundamental human technology. When you build one, you're echoing the practices of so many cultures over so much history--from the flat clay oil lamps of Rome to the soapstone lamps of the Inuit to the the ghee-burning temple lamps in India.

Even if you don't buy all this romance, it's a good trick to remember next time you're in a blackout and running out of candles.

One reason I burn little shell lamps like this because I like candlelight, but candles are expensive, especially beeswax candles, which I prefer over petroleum-based candles. Since these lamps use olive oil or any cooking oil for fuel, they're a great way to us up those rancid or off-tasting oils which tend to clutter the back of our cupboards. I save the stale or otherwise suspicious olive oil from my herb-infused oil experiments for this purpose-- oil which I'd have to throw away otherwise. This makes my flame habit essentially free.

The shell lamp FAQ:
  • A lamp with a single wick burns approximately 1 tablespoon of oil per hour (burn time varies by wick size and number). You can easily top off the oil as it burns.
  • You can use any100% natural fiber for a wick: a bit of string or a shoe lace or a sliver of cotton rag work great. The wider the wick, the wider the flame.
  • Want more light? Add more wicks. The shell above has three.
  • Yes, you can add a few drops of essential oil for scent.
  • Adjust the flame height by lengthening or shortening the wick length. The oil doesn't get hot, so you can just poke your finger in the shell and push the wicks up or down.
  • Don't use lamp oil, kerosene, etc. as fuel--only cooking oils. Conversely, don't try to burn cooking oil in other types of oil lamps, like hurricane lamps. 
  • Stabilize tilting shells either by nesting them in one another or by putting them in little dishes of sand, salt or pebbles. I'm using a couple of oyster shells that I dragged home from an oyster bar right now because I broke my favorite shells, but in terms of restaurant-sourced shells, I prefer big mussel shells because of their depth. Scallop shells work well, too.
  • If you don't have a shell, you can use any shallow vessel. A jar lid works especially well if you dent one edge to make a little "V" for the wick to rest on. Lately I've been eyeballing ashtrays in thrift stores, wondering how well the cigarette rests would work as wick rests. 
  • Like any candle, the open flame can set things on fire, but if you knock one of these over it's not going to erupt into a conflagration of doom. Olive oil and other cooking oils have high flashpoints. All that will happen is that you'll stain your favorite tablecloth. The wick will most likely be snuffed out in the spill. If it doesn't get snuffed out, it will continue burning if it can continue to draw oil from the spill.