I stayed at work a little late, playing with Google Maps (see the entry below), and as I drove home, I experienced a sort of mental jetlag; switching from outer space eye-views of the Earth to my more immediate, pedestrian surroundings gave me a profound sense of irrelevancy and insignificance. A half hour in front of satellite imagery that comprehensive gives one a perspective previously available only to astronauts. It’s a massive shift.
A poem I read in 5th grade talked about aliens looking at Earth and assuming the major lifeforms to be the many cars moving about constantly. Looking at Google Maps, it’s a natural assumption. The little limbed blobs inside the cars are hard to see.
Anyway, I then thought about a 5th grader today having access to the vast amount of information in Google Maps. All I had when I was a kid was a globe and my imagination to switch between it and a US map or an Arkansas map. And those were just representations. Satellite photography shows reality. Seeing the true scale of this country and this planet…if you spend several minutes exploring the vastness of this place, you can practically feel your mind being blown.