Telescopes, The Web and Scoble’s Tear

It’s not often that I see a demo (a video of a demo no less) of something and get excited about it.  I can think of very, very few in recent memory: Spore, the CompuTrainer with HD Video, and now the WorldWide Telescope.

As some may recall, this was the same product which brought a tear to Robert Scoble’s eye when he did the interview with  Curtis Wong.  Scoble finally has his exclusive video up, and all I can say is “wow.”  I can’t really explain it in a way that does it justice.  Watch the video.  The camera work is awful, and Robert needs to learn how to do interviews of this format a little better.  To his credit, he does get really smart people on camera, and that’s what makes his videos so interesting (specifically this one).

Having two young children has given me the opportunity to start dreaming again.  Dreaming about possibilities, about how my kids will view the world, and the types of tools and technology they will have available to them to do some exploring.  My wife was amazed the other day when my daughter used her trackpad on the computer to move some things around the screen.  My wife said “I’m 35 and still can’t get this right.”  The beauty of being a kid is that they don’t know any better, and so they don’t have any mental barriers keeping them from doing amazing things.  A tool like this will surely spur incredible amounts of interest in what is possible, not just in astronomy, but with inter-spacial relational photography (**I made that phrase up).

I believe that I am a closet astronomy nerd wanting to break out of some artificial confines I have erected over the years.  Whenever I get near a telescope, or somewhere where I can see the night sky, I really wish I knew more.  Sometimes I even hear the drunk/stoned freshman saying “like, the universe is expanding, but what’s it look like at the edge???”  <insert Keanu Reeves “whoa.”>  I have actually started to let that nerd out a little bit in the last couple of weeks, and plan on doing more.  Having this desktop app will really make it easy.

As I said, it’s hard to communicate the awesomeness that is what these guys at Microsoft have built.  The sheer amount of data is mind boggling.  Being able to weave it all together into a seamless tapestry of near infinite resolution is simply incredible.  I am not sure how much of the land based photography will be in this product as well, but the Yosemite footage made me say “wow” yet another time, and with an increased level of incredulity.

I’m not sure this was enough to make me cry, but my money is on the notion that this app could zero in on Scoble from space and find that tear.  I really, really want access to this app…now.  Good on Microsoft, and good on Scoble for sharing.