Monday, September 10, 2007

The Modern World Is An Insane Place, Part 47

If for some reason you're not on the Amazon Mechanical Turk mailing list, you're probably not aware that right now you could be helping look for Steve Fossett, the American aviator who went missing somewhere over Nevada last week.

As of this writing there are a little over 130,000 unexamined satellite photos of Nevada uploaded to Mechanical Turk, and more appear to be coming from Geo Eye at about the same rate that people are working on them. I just went through about 20 of them, and so far my impression is that Nevada contains a lot of nothing.

That you can search for a pilot missing over Nevada from your desk is pretty insane already. What, to me, is more insane was the one sentence uttered at our weekly operations meeting this morning. We look at graphs to see how our services are performing, and a fellow engineer pointed to a particular point on a particular graph and said, "...and this spike here is from people looking for Steve Fossett."

And there you a nutshell: a rather monumental confluence of information, technology, and zeitgeist conveniently translated into one easily digestible data point. We now return you to your regularly scheduled modern life, already in progress.

No comments: