Google Earth

Google Earth

Wow, wow – I am amazed by this thing.

http://earth.google.com

The technology to do this has been around for years; but nobody has put them together until now. It is a map that has taken satellite images and overlayed them on topographical and street maps. You can zoom around in 3D, pan, and explore the entire world with actual satellite images overlayed on it – all for free.

I was just using it to plan out some possible photo shoot locations for my trip to Bend this weekend. It helped me see where some good sunrise/sunset shots might be taken from without even leaving my chair here in Portland.  This is really close to real-time updating globe described by Neal Stephenson in his book the Cryptonomicon.  If such a technology existed for the masses, you wouldn’t even really need CNN anymore – just go look at the events unfolding yourself. Imagine watching battles, demonstrations, parades/festivals, all in real-time from home.

It has made me realize again and again how much our society is in desperate need of some new tools to make sense of these new capabilities.  Well, not new, but emotional, moral, and spiritual tools that people need when given these major shifts in information available to each of us. Human beings need a way to make sense and assign value to the many events in our lives. As a chaplain, I have been seeing this dynamic powerfully at work in the hospital. People become paralyzed and act very irrationally when they can’t make sense of what is going on to them. How do we go about avoiding this fate as we advance in technological understanding?

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