Daily Archives: May 27, 2010

Want To Make Your Own Kite Cam? Here's How

Published May 27, 2010

On Thursday’s Radio Boston, we’ve got a story that’s, well, awesome. Our Tom Urell reports on the Awesome Foundation, a group of 10 Boston-area techy types who pitch in $100 a month to fund a new project they deem awesome.

April’s recipient is Grassroots Mapping, founded by an MIT Media Lab student named Jeff Warren. His group of cartographers attached point-and-shoot cameras to kites and weather balloons to document the devastation in the Gulf of Mexico. The airborne cameras have captured a strangely beautiful mix of bright blue and oily brown hues. Do have a look at the slideshow.

Meanwhile, The New York Times covers an Iowa firefighter and aerial photography hobbyist who hacked his Canon PowerShot to snap a picture every 15 seconds — it’s hard to remotely control a camera from the stratosphere. The software he created works on 50 models of Canon’s happy snappers, and a community has formed around it.

We’ll also hear about March’s “Awesome” recipient: Charles Fracchia, who is creating organic ink. Living, growing ink. Your pen never runs out of ink. Because the ink grows. It’s alive.

Birnbaum, Fired MMS Head, Also Oversaw Cape Wind

Published May 27, 2010

Blog host Andrew Phelps here. Curt Nickisch is WBUR’s business and technology reporter. He has covered the Cape Wind saga for us extensively.

Elizabeth Birnbaum, head of the troubled Minerals Management Agency, has been fired. And that has serious implications here in Massachusetts.

MMS is the agency that would ultimately issue a federal lease for — and oversee — Cape Wind, the proposed offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound. The agency was closely involved in the research and approval of the project.

Birnbaum’s agency came under withering criticism over lax oversight of drilling and cozy ties with industry.

It was only last month that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar introduced Birnbaum at a Beacon Hill news conference.

While the Gulf oil disaster gives fuel to Cape Wind supporters — who say the nation needs to move to cleaner energy — today’s firing will give new ammunition to Cape Wind opponents: If Birnbaum is being criticized for lax offshore regulation of drilling, what does that say about her oversight of the offshore wind power project?

1:26: Audra Parker, of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, says she has seen the same lax review process for Cape Wind. “Really, instead of protecting our environment, MMS has been consistently too close to industry and the developers that they’re supposed to be policing.”

Breaking news update, from Huffington Post: Large air spill reported at wind farm, no injuries reported

Reports Of Fire Send 2 Planes Back To Logan

Published May 27, 2010

Just checked in with the newsroom. Reports of fire on two airborne planes this morning, one Delta, the other American.

An AA spokesman MassPort spokesman Phil Orlandella told us nothing was found upon inspection of its 737, Flight 1875 to Chicago. It was a burning smell, not fire, he said.

The Herald is reporting the same for a Delta MD-88, Flight 1373 to LaGuardia — no fire, pilot smelled smoke in the cockpit.

No injuries reported.

9:50: Delta spokesman Anthony Black tell us firefighters were not able to find a heat source on board the plane. The theory of the moment is that there was a fire on the ground around the area which caused passengers and pilots to detect a burning smell. The Delta flight will take off at 1 p.m. to LaGuardia. Awaiting confirmation from the Fire Department and American Airlines.

Noon: The Boston Fire Department had no reports of major fires this morning.

Two different planes, two different airlines, both erroneously reporting fire and the smell of smoke? Something smells funny.

Getting Up Early Is What Got Them This Far

Published May 27, 2010

Harvard’s 359th commencement is today. Can’t miss it if you’re in Cambridge this morning. I snapped this iPhoto at about 7:15, on De Wolfe Street at Mem Drive:

Harvard grads as far as the eye can see (Andrew Phelps/WBUR)

Harvard grads as far as the eye can see (Andrew Phelps/WBUR)

New England’s own David Souter, retired Supreme Court justice, is the keynote.