"The Great Barrier Reef, just off the Australia’s Queensland coast, is the largest structure in the world that’s composed of living organisms. (You can see it from space!) It’s a lush — and, visually, pretty magical — ecosystem, one that begs to be both explored and visualized. Scientists are doing both … with the help of an underwater incarnation of Google’s Streetview. Researchers at the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute are teaming up with Google and the Catlin Coorporation to conduct a comprehensive study on the effects of climate change on the health of the coral polyps that compose the 1,600-mile-long reef. To conduct the study, the researchers have developed an underwater camera — the maritime version of Google’s Streetview Car — which is able to take 360-degree panoramic shots of its surroundings as it propels its way through the sea."
"You know the maps that show the criss-crossing lines of global air routes? Well, if you could make a map of Twitter, with arched lines tracing the connections among the places that tweeters and their followers live, it would look quite similar — and not just in that it would be a map of connections all around the world, but much more of a direct resemblance: Air routes are a pretty good predictor of relationships on Twitter. This is the conclusion of a new study from three Canadian researchers, who compared Twitter connections and airline routes. Though local connections make up a good bulk of Twitter ties (39 percent), the frequency of airline connections between two places is a good proxy for ties that go outside of one’s hometown. This means “the strength of prior ties between places matters more than the simple distance between them.” Of course, this isn’t only because the constant flights provide more opportunities for connection between residents of two distant places; the airline connections are themselves like the Twitter connections — a manifestation of an existing relationship between two places. In this sense, it’s no more surprising that New York and London are well connected on Twitter than it is that they are well connected by air travel."