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Author Topic:   RIP Google Earth
dwise1
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(1)
Message 1 of 19 (893980)
04-27-2022 1:46 PM


Apparently Google Earth has reached end of life and is being deleted from our computers. It just completely disappeared from my Win10 box. Bummer!

I used it a lot, including the Time Machine feature (eg, the only way to see where we had lived on base and where the SAGE blockhouse used to be). My friend had spent years on a Google Earth world tour -- as soon as she had finished with South America she moved out into the Pacific, last she had mentioned. And I would also use it to measure distances and dimensions (eg, of that SAGE blockhouse). It will be sorely missed. Google Maps is such a poor substitute.

Google Earth is also the subject of a German miniseries on Netflix, The Billion Dollar Code, about the patent infringement lawsuit by a German company against Google for having stolen from their TerraVision to develop Google Earth. Netflix also has a "The Making of ... " feature which summarizes the case.

So has anybody else been hit by this?


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nwr
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From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
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Message 2 of 19 (893981)
04-27-2022 2:10 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by dwise1
04-27-2022 1:46 PM


It's maybe 10 years since I last tried Google Earth. I guess I can survive without it.

Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

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Theodoric
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Posts: 7316
From: Northwest, WI, USA
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Message 3 of 19 (893982)
04-27-2022 2:20 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by dwise1
04-27-2022 1:46 PM


Just fired up my Google Earth Pro and it is working.

What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. -Christopher Hitchens

Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.

If your viewpoint has merits and facts to back it up why would you have to lie?


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Tanypteryx
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From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 4 of 19 (893983)
04-27-2022 2:22 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by dwise1
04-27-2022 1:46 PM


Mine still works.

Stop Tzar Vladimir the Condemned!

What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq


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AZPaul3
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From: Phoenix
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Message 5 of 19 (893984)
04-27-2022 3:05 PM


I watched a guy do it once, but in my experience I know of no one who used Google Earth. Maybe once or twice a year for wild-hair entertainment purposes if that. There wasn't a need. I know it had pictures of grandads on sidewalks as memes and I thought it was big with geologists and other science.

So what happened and will it hurt?


Stop Tzar Vladimir the Condemned!

  
ringo
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(1)
Message 6 of 19 (893985)
04-27-2022 3:11 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by dwise1
04-27-2022 1:46 PM


I liked the built-in flight simulator. I flew down the West Coast from Vancouver to Tijuana in 20-mile legs. (It was more-or-less in real time, so I didn't want to do longer legs.)

"I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man!"
-- Lucky Ned Pepper

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Percy
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Posts: 20761
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 7 of 19 (893990)
04-27-2022 5:32 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by dwise1
04-27-2022 1:46 PM


I don't know what happened to Google Earth on your Windows 10 box, but using my own Windows 10 box I just went to their website (Earth Versions – Google Earth) and started downloading Google Earth Pro. Oh, it's done already, started it up, seems fine.

--Percy


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Percy
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From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 8 of 19 (893991)
04-27-2022 5:54 PM


Google Earth Timelapse
Google Earth is available on the web, too (https://earth.google.com/web/), and they also have a time lapse feature at https://goo.gle/timelapse. Tried it out on our neighborhood but there's not enough resolution. But could tell when roads were put in. Only since 1985.

--Percy


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dwise1
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Posts: 5075
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 9 of 19 (893993)
04-27-2022 7:11 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Percy
04-27-2022 5:54 PM


Re: Google Earth Timelapse
The historical imagery feature uses older aerial photographs (obviously) which are usually of much lower resolution.

One example of using that feature was when a friend who used to live here came back for a local dance event (she's a teacher) and I mentioned Lion Country Safari and Frasier the Lion as we drove past where it used to be. She had never heard of it before, so later I tracked down where it was. A lot has changed, including new streets, so it took extensive use of historical imagery to track it down and to tell when what parts went away or got repurposed (eg, the Verizon Amphitheatre). It's now almost all repurposed as housing, except for the amphitheater which has been razed but nothing else.

Another use for Google Earth was to check out the reason for Wallace's Line, the line discovered by Darwin's contemporary, Russell Wallace, which delineates Australian and Southeast Asian fauna -- the islands on either side all have either of two sets of animals, but not ones belonging on the other side. A quick tour with Google Earth shows an underwater trench corresponding with that line, such that during the last ice age there were land bridges between the islands, but that trench was still a water barrier they could not cross.

 
I was able to download it again and it's working for now. A Google search had uncovered many complaints of Google Earth either no longer working or disappearing altogether (as in my case; it wasn't even in the apps settings list of installed applications), so it is definitely a thing and not just me.


This message is a reply to:
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Tanypteryx
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Posts: 3296
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 3.2


(1)
Message 10 of 19 (893994)
04-27-2022 8:38 PM


I notice that my house looks like an image that must be 5 years or so old, based on the vehicle parked in the driveway.

I use Google Earth(GE) fairly often to look for aquatic habitats to check for dragonflies.

Several years ago a paper was published about using GE to look for the types of specific terrain where Tanypteryx hageni nymphs can be found in SE Oregon. The nymphs are restricted to hillside boggy seeps where Darlingtonia pitcher plants are also found. The author was quite successful at predicting new previously undiscovered nymph habitats.


Stop Tzar Vladimir the Condemned!

What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq


  
Percy
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Posts: 20761
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 11 of 19 (893995)
04-28-2022 7:09 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by dwise1
04-27-2022 7:11 PM


Re: Google Earth Timelapse
dwise1 writes:

I was able to download it again and it's working for now. A Google search had uncovered many complaints of Google Earth either no longer working or disappearing altogether (as in my case; it wasn't even in the apps settings list of installed applications), so it is definitely a thing and not just me.

Back in the day the computers of science fiction were frequently non-deterministic, unlike real-world computers of the time that given the same inputs always delivered the same outputs. Even programs with random number generators would provide the same outputs if initialized with the same seed. I saw this determinism as at the core of why computers could never truly be intelligent.

But maybe twenty years ago I began detecting what I saw as examples of non-determinism in some computer programs. I reasoned that these programs being multi-process beasts where the behavior of each run of the program with identical data could result in different answers depending upon how these processes interacted, which was in turn a function of their relative rate of progress which was in turn a function of many factors, most importantly their interactions with the outside world, which caused them to fetch data in different orders and thereby make decisions using different input values.

How close this casual spare-moment analysis was to the truth isn't important. What is important is that computer programs had crossed a line of demarcation from deterministic to non-deterministic. Where I usually experience non-determinism today is at websites like Travelocity and AirB&B where sometimes you do the same search you just did and get different results. Probably this is often the result of changing underlying data, but other times it definitely feels like the program has been routed down a meaningfully different decision path.

Today I not infrequently encounter computers doing inexplicable things, whether they're phones or laptops or desktops or tablets. They're the kind of things that I think your average non-computer person chalks up to their own mistakes or lack of knowledge or doesn't even notice because having to ask your phone to do the same thing several times before it actually does it is something they're so accustomed to they don't even notice.

In other words, I never thought it was just you.

--Percy


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ramoss
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Posts: 3225
Joined: 08-11-2004


Message 12 of 19 (894008)
04-28-2022 5:28 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by dwise1
04-27-2022 1:46 PM


I noticed the app is gone, but it's still available via a web browser

https://earth.google.com/web/


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dwise1
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Posts: 5075
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 13 of 19 (894010)
04-28-2022 7:36 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Percy
04-28-2022 7:09 AM


Re: Google Earth Timelapse
In other words, I never thought it was just you.

Apologies. Years of marital training/brainwashing must have kicked in. Everything that went wrong was my fault, especially when it involved the computer and was caused completely by her refusal to learn how do it right (eg, "What did your stupid computer do with my Word document?" which she couldn't find because she never named her documents nor gave any thought to where she was saving it).

Back in the day the computers of science fiction were frequently non-deterministic, unlike real-world computers of the time that given the same inputs always delivered the same outputs.

I graduated high school in '69. Around that time the percentage of the US population that had any experience with computers (even just looking at one through a window) was extremely small. When I was a paperboy around 1964 our newspaper "computerized" and we were given a tour of their computer center. Remembering back, I think it was just data processing equipment (which had been around since the 1920's or earlier) without an actual CPU (post-WWII) -- the card sorter was programmed with a patch panel, the first time I had seen that technology (in my active duty shop, our test set was programmed with patch panels).

And in movies and on TV, computers were depicted as magical devices with capabilities far beyond actual computers (as you just pointed out). Around 1970, I encountered my first two YEC claims: the living fresh water mollusks carbon-dated to be thousands of years old (the old reservoir effect issue) and the NASA computer that found Joshua's Lost Day (that link is to an essay about that claim):

quote:
After my grandmother went to be with the Lord in 1996, it fell to several of my cousins and me to sort through her belongings in the apartment where she had spent the last 19 years of her life. Grandmother owned several Bibles, tucked inside which one could often find a little treasured poem, an old note from my grandfather, or perhaps a program from a funeral. This was quite moving for me, so you can imagine my surprise when, in the midst of all that, I found a few pages of lies.

Most of us have seen the story in some form or another. It starts off something like, "Did you know science proves the Bible?" and goes on to tell the story of how NASA astronomers were puzzled to find almost a day "missing" in some "calculations," and how a Christian showed them how it corresponded to the Biblical stories of Joshua and Hezekiah. An inspiring story, except that it is completely false (I mean the NASA part is false, not the Biblical stories themselves). This lie had been made into a tract, and that tract had made its way into my grandmother's Bible.

...

By the way, the story is nonsense on its face. There is no way computer calculations could detect a "missing" day. All they could do is take the current positions and motions of the planets and the laws of physics and calculate backwards to determine where objects were at some time in the past. But this would always give an answer -- the only way one could find a day "missing" would be if the results of the calculations were compared with some precise (and precisely dated) astronomical observations prior to the missing day and the positions did not line up. There are no such recorded observations from the time of Joshua.


Basically, the NASA computer story is that NASA had this lunar orbit prediction program which they decided to test by running it back in time a long, long ways (many thousands of years if not millions of years). Imagine their astonishment when the program abruptly stopped around 23 Oct 4004 BC with the error message: "Nothing existed before this." Then they reran the program forward from there and when it got to the present it was off by one day. A Christian (who had somehow slipped past the "atheist scientists" running the place) opened his Bible and found the answer: that missing day corresponded to when Joshua had commanded the sun to stop.

I didn't earn my BS Computer Science until 1979, but even in 1970 I knew that was nonsense and that that claim imbued computers with magical attributes that they simply cannot possibly possess. That claim alone told me that creationist claims are nothing but bullshit nonsense, which is why, when I learned that creationism was still around in 1981, I was surprised and decided to look into their claims; still bullshit nonsense.

Now, that halt at 4004 BCE would make sense if a programmer had put it in as a joke. As for it being off by one day, I would be extremely surprised that it was off by so little. The problem with using floating point numbers (eg, IEEE 754) is that most floating-point numbers cannot be expressed exactly, but rather you will always have some small amount of round-off error. More round-off error accrues with every floating-point operation, which will accrue even more as you iterate through do-loops.

For example, Simpson's Rule is an iterative method for approximating the area under a curve (AKA a definite integral). The smaller you make the Δx (ie, the more sub-intervals) the more accurate your approximation. However, having more sub-intervals means that many more iterations with each iteration accruing more error. Our numerical methods textbook had a graph of the error in Simpson's Rule (ie, how far off the approximation was from the actual answer) with relation to the number of sub-intervals: as the number of sub-intervals increased, error decreased rapidly, but then so much round-off error had accrued that it completely swamped out any benefit.

The lunar orbit prediction program obviously used iteration, so the effect of so many iterations would have been the accrual of round-off error swamping out those results. And since mathematicians would have very involved with that program and since mathematicians know about error and round-off error, they would have known better than to have agreed to such a stupid test. And if that test had actually been run, then every mathematician there would have immediately realized what had caused that error.

If you Google on that NASA claim, you will find several web pages discussing, most of them on Christian sites and most of them denouncing that claim as false (at least that's what I found a decade or two ago). It also made Answers in Genesis' 2002 article listing "Claims We Wish Creationists Would Not Use" along with "so why are there still monkeys?" and "men have one fewer rib than do women."

Even programs with random number generators would provide the same outputs if initialized with the same seed.

I learned that lesson the hard way in 1978. Our university used an IBM mainframe which had an "interactive" module, Virtual Storage Personal Computing (VSPC). Since it included VS BASIC, I decided to teach myself BASIC, there being no class offered in the subject. I bought the VS BASIC handy-dandy (USAF term for a quick-reference card) as a syntax reference and David Ahl's books, BASIC Computer Games and More BASIC Computer Games, for coding examples.

My first test program was Hamurabi. When I ran it, I noticed something rather odd: plague struck the city every single year. I turned out that the syntax for Microsoft BASIC's RND() function was different than for VS BASIC and that using the MS syntax (RND(1)) resulted in running the VS function with a seed of one. Changing my VS code to RND(0) cleared up that problem.

... , but other times it definitely feels like the program has been routed down a meaningfully different decision path.

Yes, the bane of software debuggers. We would refer to an unexpected result as being due to it "finding a different sneak path", which is why a gorilla is so vitally important during software testing. Remember the classic Samsonite luggage commercial where the suitcase is put in the gorilla cage and it remains intact and closed despite being thrown around and stomped on by the gorilla. A software gorilla plays with the program and tries to break it by doing totally unexpected things to it, things that the programmers would never have considered (and hence would never try to do when testing it themselves).

Talking about sneak paths, on NPR's All Things Considered I listened to an interview with RADM Grace Hopper, I think on the occasion of her retirement from the Navy in 1986. In talking about her work which led to COBOL, she described a feature they had put in the compiler which would trace through all the execution paths in the program in order to ensure that there were no "dead ends", places where the program gets caught in an infinite loop. In my school programs, we always knew when we had an infinite loop because the ABEND message would be that the program used up its entire time allocation. That interview was the only time I ever heard of such a test feature in a compiler and it sounds like a useful feature to have.

Also on the subject of sneak paths was a bug discovered in a piece of medical equipment. The device was used to administer radiation treatment of a cancer. It had been "thoroughly" tested and had been in use for years without a problem. Then one day the technician started punching in the settings, then changed some of the settings that he had done wrong. As a result, the patient received bad radiation burns (it's been decades, so I forget whether that was fatal). Somehow, those settings corrections went through a sneak path that nobody knew about despite all the testing it had gone through and its years of flawless operation. One programmer I worked with absolutely refused to ever take a job working on software for medical equipment for precisely this reason.


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jar
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Posts: 33904
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


(2)
Message 14 of 19 (894013)
04-28-2022 8:14 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by dwise1
04-28-2022 7:36 PM


Re: Google Earth Timelapse
$ cal 9 1752
September 1752
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
1 2 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

My Website: My Website

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dwise1
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Posts: 5075
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 15 of 19 (894027)
04-28-2022 11:27 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by jar
04-28-2022 8:14 PM


Re: Google Earth Timelapse
Not quite sure what your point is.

I did have to chase down info on the cal utility, mainly wanting to look at the source code to figure out that "anomaly".

But that Wikipedia article specifically says: "The Plan 9 from Bell Labs manual states: "Try cal sep 1752." " It's not an anomaly, but rather September 1752 is when the British calendar switched from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar which had been introduced in October 1582. The reason for the nearly two-century delay (170 years) is because the Gregorian Calendar was a Catholic thing which no self-respecting Protestant country could ever consider adopting ... until the Julian Calendar had drifted far enough from the seasons to make it necessary. Similarly, Orthodox Christian countries ignored that Catholic thing as long as they could: Russia waited until 1918 and Greece until 1923. Most non-western countries adopted it for civil purposes, with the latest one being Saudi Arabia in 2016.

So that sudden jump from 02 Sep 1752 to 14 Sep 1752 was the deletion of 11 days to bring the calendar back in sync with the seasons, the specific problem with the Julian Calendar that the Gregorian Calendar was designed to correct.

 
Or was it your purpose to point out areas in our calendar where days can disappear. But since this application is an astronomical one (a lunar orbit calculation program), it would have handled time as astronomers do in their calculations, as a Julian day number (JDN):

quote:
The Julian day number is based on the Julian Period proposed by Joseph Scaliger, a classical scholar, in 1583 (one year after the Gregorian calendar reform) as it is the product of three calendar cycles used with the Julian calendar:

28 (solar cycle) × 19 (lunar cycle) × 15 (indiction cycle) = 7980 years

Its epoch occurs when all three cycles (if they are continued backward far enough) were in their first year together. Years of the Julian Period are counted from this year, 4713 BC, as year 1, which was chosen to be before any historical record.

BTW, the next epoch will start in 3268 CE, more than a millennium from now.

As I understand, Scaliger named his new system after his father, Julius, a historian. The system's original purpose was to arrive at a standard dating system for historical events. Normally, dates were kept in terms of "this many years into the reign of this king", so there was no easy way to correlate historical records within a single kingdom let alone between different kingdoms.

The usefulness of this system for astronomical and other long-term time calculations is obvious when you consider that it's the number of days since a specific starting point (similar to UNIX time being the number of seconds since its Beginning of Time at the start of 01 Jan 1970). And there are formulae for converting a given calendar date to a JDN and vice versa.

But there are two problems with that. One is that a JDN day was defined as starting at noon, so conversion calculations needed to correct for those 12 hours. Second is that the JDN has gotten really big (eg, the current JDN value as of calendar date if it is October 15, 1582, or later, but a Julian calendar date if it is earlier. JD stands for Julian Date. 0h is 00:00 midnight, 12h is 12:00 noon, UT unless otherwise specified. Current value is as of 21:22, Thursday, April 28, 2022 (UTC) is 2459698.39028.

To make the number more manageable, the Modified Julian Date (MJD) is often used. Basically, its value is JD - 2400000.5, which was the JDN at midnight on 17 Nov 1858; current value is 59697.89028. BTW, when we were using a VAX-11 minicomputer, I read that the system clock was the number of 100-nanosecond intervals since midnight 17 Nov 1858; it wasn't until I researched MJD two decades later that that date finally made sense.

So to reiterate, the "missing day" in the bogus NASA computer story would have been a mismatch of JDNs (or MJDs), not of human-readable calendars.


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