Of Cows and Power Lines (using Google Earth)

The IEEE Spectrum magazine has an interesting study of "Of Cows and Power Lines" (related articles: 1, 2), which states that Cows (amongst some other animals) naturally align in an North/South direction.

Studies also found that this orientation is distorted when Cows are close to power lines.

What's interesting to Google is that the studies are using Google Earth to find the herd of cattles and power lines. Google is surely achieving the mission of "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." =)


Textbooks 101

IEEE Computing in Science & Engineering published a small primer on writing your first book (portion from a conference paper of the same title) by Steven Barrett and Daniel Pack, who have now written 6+ books. The article outlines the overall process in writing textbooks, including:
1. considering coauthors;
2. selecting a topic;
3. preparing prospectus (including the books' philosophy, overview, and outline);
4. time commitment;
5. finding a publisher;
6. book contract; and
7. writing the book.
(Some of the questions from the acquisition editor are also good.)

It's a good read if you intend to write a book.