Map: Cook Strait Cable Protection Zone

Map of Cook Strait Cable Protection Zone from Transpower NZ's 'Catch fish not cables' brochure.

From Transpower NZ’s ‘Are you cable conscious?’ brochure, which exhorts boaties to avoid fishing or anchoring over its 350,000 volt power cables and fibre-optic telecommunications cables in the Cook Strait Cable Protection Zone.

Map of Cook Strait Cable Protection Zone from Transpower NZ's 'Catch fish not cables' brochure.
Map of Cook Strait Cable Protection Zone from Transpower NZ’s ‘Catch fish not cables’ brochure.
Map of Approaches to Wellington: Cook Strait Cable Protection Zone
Approaches to Wellington: Cook Strait Cable Protection Zone
Map of Port Underwood: Cook Strait Cable Protection Zone
Port Underwood: Cook Strait Cable Protection Zone

Google launches internet-from-the-sky balloons over NZ (2013)

Screengrab of Project Loon page

Screengrab of Project Loon page

Nice. Google has today launched Project Loon in Canterbury, New Zealand.  Loon is “a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people [to the internet] in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people back online after disasters.”

Project Loon balloons float in the stratosphere, twice as high as airplanes and the weather. They are carried around the Earth by winds and they can be steered by rising or descending to an altitude with winds moving in the desired direction. People connect to the balloon network using a special Internet antenna attached to their building. The signal bounces from balloon to balloon, then to the global Internet back on Earth.

Click here to follow Project Loon on Google+

From the NZ Herald:

At this stage, the company is putting a few dozen balloons up over New Zealand and then bringing them down after a short period. Later this year, Google hopes to have as many as 300 of them circling the globe continuously along the 40th parallel, on a path that takes them over New Zealand, Australia, Chile and Argentina.

Covering the whole world would require thousands of the balloons. No timetable has been set for that.

Google chose New Zealand in part because of its remoteness. Some Christchurch residents were cut off from the internet for weeks after a 2011 earthquake that killed 185 people. Google said balloon access could help places suffering natural disasters get back online quickly.

From AP:


#One liners – the heroically uninformed, comic strips & NZ’s broadband problem


“Nobody should be that young, but the problem presented by these busy tyros is that they have no sense of the past even when it comes to the medium they have chosen to bless with their brash but heroically uninformed presence.”

Clive James on the lack of tone, culture and accuracy set by young BBC executives after the Beeb’s News at Ten displayed a picture of the still-living Siân Phillips during a segment on the death of actress Margaret Tyzack.

What the BBC has lost is not 60,000 followers. What they have lost is Laura Kuenssberg’s relationship with 60,000 people. And no amount of Twitter-account claiming could allow them to retain that relationship. Guess what? Your staff just got more important.

– Adam Tinworth in Twitter account ownership, logic lessons and what the BBC really lost

“I was on jury duty one day and was told the bailiff wanted to see me… He said, ‘I just called to complain because ‘Hägar the Horrible’ wasn’t in the paper. I’ll get you out of jury duty if you put it back.’”

– Tulsa World managing editor Susan Ellerbach, in an article about syndicated content companies, talks about why she hasn’t changed the lineup of her comics section in at least five years – mostly because of the reaction she received from readers who have strong emotional connections to their comic strips.

“It’s not a supply problem, it’s a market problem”

– Sam Morgan, TradeMe founder, dairy farmer and one of the names behind Pacific Fibre, talking at Idealog’s recent relaunch about the high prices New Zealanders pay for mobile data and (slow) broadband.

“For years and years we’ve been trained not to use our phones for data.”

Xero founder and one of the names behind Pacific Fibre, Rod Drury, talking at Nethui about NZ data charges. He also said he wanted @pacificfibre to allow New Zealanders to tap into the giant pools of content (think TV and movies a la Netflix) that people overseas get to enjoy online.

“The FT annoys its readers into taking out a subscription; the NYT, by contrast, has persuaded hundreds of thousands of people — it’s overtaken the FT already — to pay for digital-only subscriptions even when they don’t really need to. That’s a much more positive model.”

– Felix Salmon in a post called ‘The NY Times paywall is working‘.

Leaders are over-glorified…. it is really the first follower that transforms the lone nut into a leader… If you really care about starting a movement, have the courage to follow and show others how to follow.  When you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first one to stand up and join in.”

– Derek Sivers in a 3′ TED talk on How to Start a Movement.

Maps show how transport shrinks the world


New Scientist has published some beautiful maps exploring which are the remotest places on earth – given how much international transport we have available to us.

“The maps are based on a model which calculated how long it would take to travel to the nearest city of 50,000 or more people by land or water. The model combines information on terrain and access to road, rail and river networks. It also considers how factors like altitude, steepness of terrain and hold-ups like border crossings slow travel.

Plotted onto a map, the results throw up surprises. First, less than 10% of the world’s land is more than 48 hours of ground-based travel from the nearest city. What’s more, many areas considered remote and inaccessible are not as far from civilisation as you might think. In the Amazon, for example, extensive river networks and an increasing number of roads mean that only 20% of the land is more than two days from a city – around the same proportion as Canada’s Quebec province.

This one shows roads around the world:

This one shows shipping routes:

And this one shows rivers:

More lovely maps here. H/T to Cliff Kuang at Fast Company.