Fifty years ago when it was fashionable to photograph big high school classes with a panoramic camera – which traversed the student body in one long exposure and yielded a very long print – it also was fashionable for class clowns to pose at one extreme of the line then sprint to the other end in order to appear in the picture twice.
That prank is literally kid stuff compared to Bill Higgins’ Olympian feat of inserting himself into Google Earth’s Street View multiple times.
Last April, when Higgins discovered a Google Street View mapping car was in the vicinity he pulled out his own camera and began stalking it through his neighborhood. He also lurked about in his red sedan along the route the Google car was taking.
Beamjockey shoots back.
Bill and/or his car showed up in Street View shots at 16 different addresses. He even appeared standing on the corner by his house –
It’s been pointed out that, since I have a camera in front of my face, Google’s “recognize a face and blur it” software may have left me alone. Not that I mind, being vain and all.
You can still see screen captures of Bill in Street View at his blog (click link above). However, Google obviously felt its digital leg being pulled because they’ve now rephotographed all the streets. Same houses. Same trees. No more Bill.
As they say, all glory is fleeting.
I’m passing on some of the interesting links people have sent me in the last 24 hours –
(1) Janice Gelb discovered proof that Arthur C. Clarke predicted the Internet in 1974 [YouTube]. Really accurately, and on video!
In 1974 Arthur C. Clarke told the ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corporation] that every household in 2001 will have a computer and be connected all over the world.
(Was this really such a daring prediction? The ARPANET was declared operational in 1975 (I know several science fiction writers who got accounts so they could play the games online at MIT) and companies were already bringing to market the forerunners of the true PCs that appeared in the early 1980s.)
(2) Steven H Silver points to “Ferguson Wins Collecting Prize” at SF Site where he reports –
Andrew Ferguson has won the top prize in the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia’s 49th Book Collecting Contest. Ferguson’s collection focuses on the works of R. A. Lafferty.
(3) On April 1, James H. Burns announced the discovery of the treatment for a lost episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. guest-starring The Three Stooges.
(4) Bill Higgins has written a post for Tor.com about a 1956 NBC radio documentary devoted to SF. Lots of interesting voices: hear Asimov, Bradbury and John W. Campbell:
On the 4th of December that year, the NBC radio network broadcast “Ticket to the Moon,” an episode of the series Biography in Sound. Usually this series profiled a prominent person of recent decades — for example, Winston Churchill, Knute Rockne, or Grandma Moses — but on this occasion, the subject was science fiction.
You can access a recording of the show from Bill’s post.
Back in the Eighties Bill Higgins — aka Beam Jockey, who works at Fermilab as a radiation safety physicist — helped build the Tevatron, the premiere particle accelerator of its generation. And Bill was there on September 30 when the Tevatron was retired.
Bill is interviewed in BoingBoing’s report about the event:
Ultimately, the Tevatron was simply the victim of the progress of technology. When it opened in 1983, it replaced older, lower-energy accelerators. And, in turn, the Tevatron has been replaced by the Large Hadron Collider, an accelerator capable of pushing particles to even higher energies. Once that happened, it was only a matter of time before the Tevatron felt the budgetary axe….
Bill Higgins: Wistful is a good word to describe the way I felt, as I witnessed the shutdown ceremonies, and joined the crowd at the party—think of it as a wake—afterward…. Right now I work on shielding analysis to support future operation of Fermilab’s multiple accelerators. Over thirty years ago, I was assigned to work on the testing of Tevaron magnets as they came down the production line.
[Thanks to Bill Higgins for the story.]