Fridaygram: Galapagos on Street View, insect gears, Foucault’s doodle

SEP 20, 2013
Author PhotoBy +Scott Knaster, Google Developers Blog Editor

Regular Fridaygram readers know that Street View goes places even if there aren’t any streets, like the Galapagos Islands. This week we launched the panoramic images collected earlier this year with the Street View Trekker, and they’re pretty cool.

View Larger Map

As we mentioned back in May, we also used an underwater camera to collect images of marine life in the waters off the Galapagos. Between the land and the sea, we collected pictures of blue-footed boobies, Magnificent Frigatebirds, and other island creatures. These images will help with Galapagos environmental research. If you’re interested, you can read more about it.

Speaking of the wonders of nature, researchers have used high-speed video cameras to record insects with natural gears that mesh to enable movement. Scientists Malcolm Burrows and Gregory Sutton of the University of Cambridge found that young planthoppers have microscopic gear teeth that synchronize their legs when they jump. Their legs move within 30 millionths of a second of each other, ensuring that their jumping is effective. As the insects mature, they lose these baby teeth and learn to jump without them.

Finally, last Wednesday’s Google Doodle honored the birthday of legendary physicist Léon Foucault, namesake of the Foucault pendulum, which shows the effect of the Earth’s rotation. The doodle itself is a working Foucault pendulum, complete with controls to change its time and location. We hope it inspires you to do some weekend inventing and adventuring of your own.

The world keeps turning, and Fridaygram keeps publishing. Look us up for nerdy cool news right before you start your weekend. And for still more amazing Galapagos stuff, see Darwin for a Day, built by the Charles Darwin Foundation and iNaturalist using the Street View API.