To researchers discoveries

Across the globe there are millions of letters and numbers hiding among buildings and in the landscape of the Earth. The shapes can be spotted in satellite images and include buildings shaped like the letter A, trees planted in the shape of an E and circular marks in the landscape that resemble Os or zeros.A pair of designers has created a tool to help seek out these natural and manmade shapes and is hoping to use the findings to develop software as well as a new font. Kickstarter campaign, set up by German designer and computer scientist Benedikt Groß and Californian geographer Joey Lee.They raised $11,492 (£7,630) and have since set up the Aerial Bold crowdsourcing tool.
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‘While satellites orbit around the Earth taking thousands of images each day, we have limited idea about what unique features actually live on those photographs,’ said the pair.‘Aerial Bold is as much about developing new methods of mapping features on the Earth’s surface, as it is about generating the first map and typeface of the planet. HUNT FOR FACES ON GOOGLE German researchers recently developed a computer system that can scan Google Earth satellite images looking for faces.Called Google Faces, it was developed by German design studio Onformative and uses an algorithm that can highlight land masses and terrains with face-like features.The system scans the world, switches to the next zoom level, and starts the scan again taking snapshots and coordinates of the faces it finds.Seeing faces and other shapes in objects and landscapes is known as pareidolia. It is also the tendency to hear hidden messages when songs are played backwards.Human eyes can spot faces, letters and numbers easily and this helps them recognise friends and see patterns.It is harder for computers to mimic this behaviour and software must be trained to do so. ‘In order to develop the smartest and robust letterform detection and classification algorithm, we need to find dozens of real world training data for each letter, number, or character that we are interested in including in Aerial Bold.‘These training data include examples all of the possible shapes of As, Zs, 6s, ❤s, and so on that we might be able to see in aerial imagery.’This database will help researchers at the Institute for Artificial Intelligence at HS Weingarten to automate what the designers call ‘the planetary search for letterforms.’Once trained, this algorithm could be used to automatically find words and letters on images. One example could be to find business addresses using visual search – such as all shops on a Street View map where people can buy lottery tickets. The tool lets people scan through Mapbox satellite images and catalogue all the letters, numbers and characters they find.Users begin with a grid divided into 21 rectangles. The exact location of the satellite imagery isn’t revealed.The software will suggest letters, numbers or characters in each rectangle and this will be displayed with a corresponding number.These suggestions can then be placed over the relevant part of the map.For example, within a rectangle the software may have recognised the letters ‘s’ and ‘e’ but the selection boxes are placed in the centre.It is the ‘hunter’s’ job to move the selection box to sit above the letter. They then rotate and resize the box to make the selection as accurate as possible.Each time a box is placed above a letter the user must click Update Geometry to add it to the database. To add a new letter that the software hasn’t suggested, click ‘Add New’, type the letter and reposition the box.
Users begin with a grid divided into 21 rectangles. The software will suggest letters, numbers or characters in each rectangle and this will be displayed by a number. These suggestions can then be placed over the relevant part of the map (pictured). Once Update Geometry is clicked, the letters are added to a database
It is hoped this database will help researchers at the Institute for Artificial Intelligence at HS Weingarten to automate what the designers call ‘the planetary search for letterforms.’ A selection of letters that have been found using the tool are pictured with their respective locations and co-ordinatesOnce a grid has been explored the ‘Submit Task’ button in the bottom left-hand corner becomes active and the user is taken to another location.People can search for letters either anonymously or by adding a credit name to the discoveries. And they are added to a leaderboard as soon as they find more than ten letters.The top ‘hunter’ is currently Marco Berends with 365, and more than 500 letters, numbers and characters in total have been spotted. German researchers recently developed a computer system that similarly scans satellite images looking for faces.Called Google Faces, it was developed by German design studio Onformative and uses an algorithm that can highlight land masses and terrains with face-like features.
People can search for letters (examples shown) either anonymously or by adding a credit name to the discoveries. They are then added to a leaderboard as soon as they find more than ten letters. The top ‘hunter’ is currently Marco Berends with 365, and more than 500 shapes in total have been spotted.
German researchers recently developed a computer system that similarly scans satellite images looking for faces. This face was found in the Magadan Oblast region of Russia, in the Far Eastern Federal District of the country. This part of the world is mainly made up of mountainous desert, tundra, and forestsThe system scans the world, switches to the next zoom level, and starts the scan again taking snapshots and coordinates of the faces it finds.Seeing faces and other shapes in objects and landscapes is known as pareidolia. It is also the tendency to hear hidden messages when songs are played backwards.Human eyes can spot faces, letters and numbers easily and this helps them recognise friends and see patterns.It is harder for computers to mimic this behaviour and software must be trained to do so.
This image is one of the faces found in the UK. It was taken next to Priory Road in Ashford in Kent and could be either a human face in profile, or the face of an animal. Trees appear to form the faces mouth and nostrils
Another image captured by the Google Faces project in Russia. This grumpy-looking face was found in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast in the Russian Far East – an area also known as Yevrey
 
Read more:
Aerial Bold – Letter Finder App – Welcome
Aerial Bold: Kickstart the Planetary Search for Letterforms! by Benedikt Groß & Joey Lee — Kickstarter

Transpires the game leash

Rob Kearney has vowed that the ‘real Ireland’ will roar into Murrayfield to try and salvage a Six Nations title win on Saturday, amid continuing criticism of the performance in defeat to Wales.Ireland face a major challenge to retain the championship with England enjoying a better points difference and Wales expected to run up a big total against Italy in Rome.However, the Welsh were left fuming on Monday night after it emerged there will be no trophy to present to Sam Warburton in the Stadio Olimpico even if it transpires after the final match of the day between England and France that the Welsh are champions.
Rob Kearney has vowed that the ‘real Ireland’ will try to salvage a Six Nations title winThere are two Six Nations trophies and one will be in Murrayfield, and the other in Twickenham, a planning decision that has caused anger amongst some Welsh supporters. It will require a more coherent and less error-addled performance from Ireland to defeat the Scots, and Kearney did not shirk the challenge laid down before he and his team-mates.‘This week will be a big test and will give a really strong insight into the group as a whole, how we react after a very disappointing defeat,’ the full-back said.‘We’ll see the real Ireland step up this week. A lot of us who underperformed last week know if we get the opportunity, [we have] to right a lot of those wrongs.’Ireland’s message for the week appears to have been decided: they will say they have no interest in chasing a big points total against winless Scotland, but Kearney did intimate that at least the desire for a more attacking style is there.The impression was of players straining, impatient for their coaches to let slip the leash. Yet whether it is admitted or not, the sense in salting away as big a points difference as possible is evident given England’s superior figures and the fact that they are hosting underwhelming France. Wales will also be confident of eating into the Irish and English points’ advantage against Italy.‘I think any time you get to the last game of a championship you can go and play a bit,’ said Kearney on the question of style. ‘When I say that, it’s important the wrong perception isn’t picked up here and that we’re going to chase this game and we’re going to try and build points, because we’re not,’ he quickly added.
Ireland will need a more coherent and less error-addled performance to defeat Scotland‘But we do know that we have to go out and give this game a right bash. It’s important to get the win but how we do that will be no different to over the last three or four weeks.’The Ireland style council remain unmoved by criticisms of their game, and the claim in its aftermath that they were forced to work outside the strict instructions provided by Schmidt in chasing the match last Saturday. That explained the dislocated moves close to the Wales line, goes this argument.‘We have good confidence in our running game,’ said Kearney. ‘We were just getting a lot of value from our kicking game. If you launch up a ball and it travels 40 metres and you get it back, that is the equivalent of a 40-yard line break which is very hard to come by.‘I think the other side of that is maybe we were chasing the game a bit from early so maybe we were forced to keep the ball in hand a little bit more and try and go after the game.’They couldn’t do so, but there is little expectation of significant changes being made by Schmidt for the trip to Scotland.One of the rare positives to survive the journey to Wales was the fitness of the squad.
Ireland were criticised for their poor performance in Six Nations defeat by WalesNo new casualties were sustained, and it is certain that the coach will stay largely faithful to the team that started in the Millennium Stadium.Iain Henderson was the most dynamic of the subs used against Wales and is the most probable point of discussion in team selection this week, with a start in the second row rather than the back row a possibility.There have also been calls from some for the addition of Luke Fitzgerald to the replacements’ bench.Kearney admitted that when a team is changed it can sharpen the attention of everyone within the group.‘It keeps everyone on their toes. I think every single player has been dropped at some stage in their career. It’s happened to the very best of guys. You’ve got new guys coming into the team and they bring a huge amount of energy and excitement because they’re finally getting their chance.‘The guys who performed under par realise that maybe they have been given a second chance and they really need to pull their socks up.‘I think when that does happen there can be some positives taken from it.’
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Biggest is eclipse

A solar eclipse is set to block out nearly 90 per cent of sunlight across parts of Europe next month – and it will be the biggest event of its kind in 16 years. On 20 March, the moons orbit will see it travel in front of the sun, casting a shadow over Earth. The eclipse will see up to 84 per cent of the sun covered in London – and around 94 per cent in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.Meanwhile, electricity system operators have warned the eclipse poses a serious risk of blackouts all over Europe as the continent increasingly relies on solar power.Scroll down for video   
 
  The path of totality for next months eclipse will travel from just beneath the Greenland peninsula, heading north into the Arctic Circle. The left-hand animation shows the totality of the 1999 eclipse. The right-hand animation shows how the shadow created by the eclipse on 20 March will travel over EuropeThe event is taking place on the morning of 20 March, and a partial eclipse will be visible across Europe, North Africa and Russia for about 90 minutes. Northern Scandinavia and the Faroe Islands will experience a full eclipse, known as totality. Dr Steve Bell, head of the HM Nautical Almanac Office told MailOnline that Torshavn in the Faroe Islands will see two minutes and two seconds of totality. 
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And the maximum duration of totality will be two minutes 47 seconds at a point 186 miles (300km) to the east of Iceland in the Norwegian Sea.In London, the partial eclipse – when the moon starts touching the suns edge – will start at 8.45am GMT. The maximum eclipse will hit at 9.31am and this will be the point when the moon is closest to the centre of the sun.By 10.41am the moon will leave the suns edge and the partial eclipse will end. 
The solar eclipse is set to block out nearly 90 per cent of sunlight across parts of Europe next month. On the morning of the 20 March the moons orbit will see it travel in front of the sun casting a shadow over Earth – and the eclipse will be the biggest event of its kind since 11 August 1999 (pictured over Germany)
The eclipse will see up to 84 per cent of the sun covered in London and around 94 per cent in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. A partial eclipse will be visible across Europe, North Africa and Russia for about 90 minutes. Northern Scandinavia and the Faroe Islands will experience a full eclipse for two-and-a-half minutes
This animation is designed to appear from the point of view of the eclipse as it will occur on March 20. It shows the shadow being cast over the UK, Greenland, Europe and into RussiaThe path of totality of next months eclipse travels from just beneath the Greenland peninsula, heading north into the Arctic Circle. Totality is the path the full shadow travels across the surface of the Earth, while a partial solar eclipse will be visible over a region thousands of miles wide.Dr Bell added: The path of totality lies well to the northwest of the UK making landfall over the Faroe Islands and Svalbard as totality moves towards the North Pole.The UK will see this eclipse as a deep partial eclipse.The place that sees the deepest partial eclipse of the sun in the UK is the west coast of the Isle of Lewis close to Aird Uig. Here 98 per cent of the sun will be obscured at mid-eclipse at around 9:36am GMT. Skies will darken for any location where the maximum obscuration exceeds 95 per cent which includes north-western Scotland, the Hebrides, Orkneys and Shetland Islands. WHAT IS A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE? 
A total solar eclipse is only visible from a certain region on Earth and those who can see it are in the centre of the moons shadow when it hits Earth. For a total eclipse to take place, the sun, moon and Earth must be in a direct line. The totality of the 11 August 1999 eclipse is shownAn eclipse occurs when one heavenly body, such as a moon or planet, moves into the shadow of another. On Earth there are two types – lunar eclipses and solar eclipses.Lunar eclipse: For a lunar eclipse, the Earth moves between the sun and the moon and blocks sunlight normally reflected by the moon. Instead of light hitting the moon’s surface, Earths shadow falls on it and a lunar eclipse can only happen when the moon is full. Solar eclipse: By comparison, a solar eclipse occurs when the orbit of the moon moves it between the sun and Earth. 
A solar eclipse occurs when the orbit of the moon moves it between the sun and Earth. When this happens, the moon blocks the light of the sun When this happens, the moon blocks the light of the sun reaching Earth and the moon casts a shadow on Earth. Types of shadow: During a solar eclipse, the moon casts two shadows on Earth.The first shadow is called the umbra, and this gets smaller as it reaches Earth.The second shadow is known as the penumbra, and this gets larger as it reaches Earth. There are additionally three types of solar eclipses:Total: A total solar eclipse is only visible from a certain region on Earth and those who can see it are in the centre of the moons shadow when it hits Earth. For a total eclipse to take place, the sun, moon and Earth must be in a direct line.People standing in the umbra will see a total eclipse and this will occur over the Faroe Islands on 20 March. Partial solar eclipse: This occurs when the sun, moon and Earth dont line up exactly.People standing in the penumbra will see a partial eclipse. Annular: An annular eclipse happens when the moon is farthest from Earth. Because the moon is further from Earth, it appears smaller.  As a result, it doesnt block the entire view of the sun. The moon in front of the sun resembles a dark disk on top of a larger sun-colored disk and creates what looks like a ring around the moon. Source: Nasa  . They were designed by the HM Nautical Almanac Office and reveal the time of the events and altitudes This could mean that transmission networks will have to cope with sharp drops and sudden surges in capacity as the eclipse takes place in the early hours of 20 March. HOW TO WATCH THE ECLIPSE Projection: Place a pinhole or small opening in a card, and hold it between the sun and a screen – giant sheet of white paper works – a few feet away.Filters: The sun can be viewed directly only when using filters specifically designed for this purpose. Such filters have a thin layer of aluminum, chromium or silver on the surfaces.Telescopes with solar filters: There are sun-specific telescopes available for sale – or perhaps through a local astronomy club – that are also safe for viewing a partial eclipse.  Solar eclipses have happened before but with the increase of installed photovoltaic energy generation, the risk of an incident could be serious without appropriate countermeasures, European grid company lobby ENTSO-E said.Under a clear morning sky on 20 March, some 35,000 megawatts of solar energy, which is the equivalent of nearly 80 medium size conventional generation units, will gradually fade from Europes electrical system before being gradually re-injected: all in the space of two hours.The organisation, which represents 41 electricity transmission system operators (TSOs) from 34 countries across Europe, added that the eclipse poses an unprecedented challenge for grids. Continental Europe overall has 87 GW of solar capacity, mainly in Germany, Italy and France.German solar capacity alone has risen from just a few hundred MW in 2003, when the region last witnessed a major eclipse, to 38,200 MW now. 
The spread of huge solar arrays across the EU means that more than 10 per cent of the continent’s electricity now comes from solar panels. With power supply so reliant on the sun’s rays, the solar eclipse on 20 March might lead to blackouts. Experts have warned the eclipse poses ‘an unprecedented test for Europe’s system’Under German renewable laws, solar power takes priority when being fed into the grid to reach consumers.Germanys four high-voltage power firms, in the heart of Europe, said separately they had commissioned studies on likely scenarios and are currently preparing for an 82 percent loss of sunshine between 08.30am and 11am on the day. The eclipse in 1999 saw no great impact on solar power because the industry was still in its infancy.   …AND THE ECLIPSE COULD CAUSE POWER BLACKOUTS The eclipse next month could disrupt solar power supplies across Europe, energy experts have warned.The spread of huge solar arrays across the EU means that more than 10 per cent of the continent’s electricity now comes from solar panels.With power supply so reliant on the sun’s rays, the solar eclipse on 20 March might lead to blackouts.Electricity system operators have warned that the eclipse poses ‘an unprecedented test for Europe’s electricity system’.The European Network Transmission System Operators for Electricity, a group of power supply organisations, said: ‘The risk of incident cannot be completely ruled out.‘Solar eclipses have happened before but with the increase of installed photovoltaic energy generation, the risk of an incident could be serious without appropriate countermeasures.’The organisation said it had been planning so-called ‘countermeasures’ for months, with suppliers across Europe set to help balance the load with more energy from other power stations as solar electricity drops off.  The eclipse is not expected to cause blackouts in Britain because so little of our power comes from solar power.Despite a boom in British solar arrays in recent years, particularly in southern England, solar power today provides just 1.5 per cent of our electricity needs.The National Grid said it expected solar power output in Britain to halve from an average March figure of 3,000 megawatts to 1,700 megawatts. 
Read more:
NASA Eclipse Web Site
Total Eclipse of the Sun: 2015 March 20