One can now know, literally, what flights are in the sky above you.
To access this literal, real-time flight search, just type “flights overhead” into the Wolfram Alpha search box, and voilá! If you’re using a desktop computer, Wolfram Alpha does its best to figure out your location automatically and — if there are flights in the sky above you — lists the commercial flights in the area. You’ll also see the planes’ altitude and angle against the horizon, how far away they are and the aircraft type.
Wolfram Alpha Offers New Twist On Flight Search: Literal Answers To What Planes Are Overhead.
From Google’s own Search blog:
Behind the simplicity of Google search is a complex set of algorithms that expands and improves the query you’ve typed to find the best results. Automatic spelling correction ([vynal] to “vinyl”) and substituting synonyms (matching [pictures] to “photos”) are just two examples of the improvements we make.
In most cases, Google’s algorithms make things better for our users – but in some rare cases, we don’t find what you were looking for…
Since then, we’ve received a lot of requests for a more deliberate way to tell Google to search using your exact terms. We’ve been listening, and starting today you’ll be able to do just that through verbatim search. With the verbatim tool on, we’ll use the literal words you entered without making normal improvements…
You can access the verbatim search tool under “More search tools” on the left-hand side.
via Search using your terms, verbatim – Inside Search.
The 2011 National Book Award winners have been announced. Here they are:
Fiction: Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones (Bloomsbury USA)
Nonfiction: Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern (W. W. Norton & Company)
Poetry : Nikky Finney, Head Off & Split (TriQuarterly, an imprint of Northwestern University Press)
Young People’s Literature: Thanhha Lai, Inside Out & Back Again (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)
via The Rumpus.net.
Beware the ‘vengeful librarians’ [which is pretty much an oxymoron, if you ask me]
In an anonymous industrial park in Virginia, in an unassuming brick building, the CIA is following tweets — up to 5 million a day.
At the agency’s Open Source Center, a team known affectionately as the “vengeful librarians” also pores over Facebook, newspapers, TV news channels, local radio stations, Internet chat rooms — anything overseas that anyone can access and contribute to openly.
via AP Exclusive: CIA following Twitter, Facebook – Yahoo! News.
Cory Doctorow says
I inaugurated this column in 2008 with an editorial called ‘‘Why I Copyfight’’, which talked about the tricky balance between creativity, culture, and the relationship between audiences and creators. These have always been hard subjects, and the Internet has made them harder still, because the thing that triggers copyright rules – copying – is an intrinsic part of the functioning of the Internet and computers. There’s really no such thing as ‘‘loading’’ a web-page – you make a copy of it. There’s really no such thing as ‘‘reading’’ a file off a hard-drive – you copy it into memory.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the 21st century: copyright policy ceased to exist. Because every copyright policy that we make has a seismic effect on the Internet, and because you can’t regulate copying without regulating the Internet.
via Locus & Cory Doctorow.