It’s not what you think, I promise. What I did was spear trash and recycle it in rural Bali.
I am currently working in Bali Indonesia on a special project with an Australian colleague Brett Casson and a few other people, and not on a vacation unfortunately. We are working extremely long days on a tight timeline in the heat and on Saturday we took a break to meet the amazing and energetic designer John Hardy at Bambu Indah for his famous Trash Walk project as well as his daughter’s Sampah Jujur “Spear Garbage Talk Trash” (https://www.facebook.com/speargarbagetalktrash/) so we could do some non-work related good things while here, and learn something.I guess I could have just darted off to the beach and relaxed but this was a great way to learn about Bali, meet amazing people, get some good exercise, see areas tourists don’t see,and do something good.
It was absolutely amazing walking the rural Bali area and gathering trash, seriously. Bali like many places in the world is suffering from a man caused problem of pollution and waste. Here in Bali there is no trash service so much of it gets dumped or disposed of in various places or burned along the streets choking plastic smoke and all and even a few aerosol cans to add to the excitement when they blow up. It’s a very complicated problem and I am not going to get into all the details nor am I knowledgeable enough to place any blame but it is apparent there is a big problem and I did a very little part and will be ever mindful of my waste and plastic negative impact on our planet.
Some images of the trash spearing expedition as we walked, talked, all while sporting our stylish recycled trash gathering bags and homemade trash spears.
Brett Casson of Autodesk, John Hardy, and Me - Shaan Hurley of Autodesk doing our small part.
John Hardy has found that by showing an example of locally cleaning trash each week and also by offering to purchase recyclables it can slowly change the problem. It is of far too easy to just dumping garbage in canals or the forest or even catching hotels that should know better that dump and burn the trash piles. SE Asia is already under a serious smoke pollution problem of deforestation fires but also here in Indonesia the burning of garbage is really bad and at times it is really hard to breath or even see the sun at times.
Here is the Sampah Jujur sign with prices for garbage. They have even started purchasing the garbage in the local schools. Much of the plastic is going into something better. They can use the collected and purchased plastic to make plastic shipping pallets which cease the needless waste for tropical hardwoods which don’t last long. The recycled plastic pallets are manufactured here in Bali by Enviro Pallets.
We need to all reduce and remove plastics and multi materials that cannot be reasonably recycled from our usage and Earth. While plastics in our markets are prolific and cheap and we are given so many plastic bags for our convenience we must stop.
On the trash walk I met Emily Penn and got to know more about her and how she heard and why she showed up at the trash walk while we speared garbage along trails, in the river, and along house walls. Emily is a trained architect and after graduating Cambridge she decided to take a architecture job in Australia and decided to sail there from the UK. During the course of that long voyage Emily changed her course in life and now sails the seas and researches plastics impact on our planet and the ocean and operates Pangaea Explorations. She is absolutely fascinating, humble, and a wealth of knowledge on the impact of plastics to the environment. She has a really intersting background, but even more topical is when she discussed how most of the plastic in the ocean is not visible as it is broken down on wave action and more into small fragments under the surface and found all over the ocean when taking samples and even high concentrations in all the caught fish. I seen the fresh videos and photos from Lombok and Gili Islands, and was truly shocked by what was flowing out to the ocean and reefs. There were even people paid to push the clogged plastic out to sea with long poles. There is no invention yet that can gather the plastic at sea without causing other problems as you cant yet separate the plastic from small oceanic life out there. Nothing will magically mine the plastic into fuel or magically make it go away yet. Another issue is the micro plastics which are even worse and in toothpastes and skin cleaners and go through all filters and go to the sea and never breakdown and continue to show up in more and more places and cause really bad things in the environment and health of animals and humans. We just talked about plastic and a common phrase from the Aussies was “plastic sucks ….”
Bali is still an amazing tropical paradise, but has some issues as do all places around the world and a common enemy is clearly plastic. I can’t tell you the numbers of plastic store bags, plastic bottles and wrappers I speared Saturday but it was a full bag and enough to convince me that II was not making a big dent in the enormous amount. But if everyone chipped in cleaning up waste when they seen it and also reduced their day to day dependence on plastic this problem would start to go away and none too soon.
Mt Instagram for more: https://instagram.com/shaanhurley/
No effort is too small and we were happy to participate and would encourage anyone visiting Bali to consider the trash spearing with John.
For the past four days I have been enjoying a trip to Utah with my girlfriend Amy to visit my mother, my 3 kids, and some friends. It was so great to visit with friends and family but also get to show Amy around a place she had never visited. We did so much in 4 days including lunch at my favorite Mexican mole spot The Red Iguana,haunted house fun, Park City, Brews and Blues festival at Snow Basin to see my friends and Andy Frasco, dinner with friends, a hike in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Not only was it the first time Amy had seen Northern Utah, but it was the first time meeting my mother, my kids, and some of my friends. It went went very well but I think everyone likes her better than me.
I took some Portland Oregon treats to my kids including 3 pints of the famous Salt & Straw Ice cream (Carmel Sea Salt, Blue Cheese and Pear, and Bitter Orange and Olive Oil), a box of VooDoo Doughnuts, Stumptown Coffee Cold Brew, and some Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA. I was really concerned transporting ice cream on the flight but researched that you can use 2 pounds or less of dry ice in a labeled container as long as it was frozen solid and your airline was cool with it (pardon the pun.)
Yesterday morning Amy and I went up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta Ski Resort area to enjoy the fresh air and enjoy the amazing fall foliage which was coming to an end.
More photos on my Instagram feed
It was so very good to see my kids who are now 14, 21, and 24. One thing I learned, don’t leave your phone alone around your teenage daughter as they will take selfies when you are not looking. The bonus is I have some great photos of my daughter.
It was nice getting back to my Hood which is Mount Hood in Oregon. I love the welcome view of Mount Hood on the flight home.
I will never forget many years ago flying into Portland International Airport and seeing the iconic and sometimes visually loud carpet. Over the past 20 some odd years flying into the airport I always felt fairly nostalgic when seeing it and actually looked at carpets in airports around the world and nothing compared it.
This last Spring I remember flying into PDX and doing the ceremonial photo of my feet on the carpet. It was that very day I knew I had to be back in my PDX home again after being away for 18 years. It happened and now I am happily back in my Portland Oregon but they have started to replace the old carpet with a new design. Change is never easy and I have a long attachment to the old design and prefer its color and quirky shapes.
View and download the PDX Carpet Design DWG file. http://a360.co/1MeTxsx
My friends at Rogue even made a PDX Carpet India Pale Ale.
PDX Carpet story on the always amazing 99% Invisible Podcast published on Feb 24, 2014 by Roman Mars.
Episode 154: PDX Carpet http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/pdx-carpet/
Portland aka Portlandia prides itself in being unique, creative, outside the box, weird, our free range unicorn herds, world’s best beer and coffee, and loving our retro design carpet in our PDX top ranked airport.
Don't judge us.
Shaan a Portlandian.
I have been traveling a fair amount recently and about to enjoy some Summertime with my young daughter. I just returned from a work project in Mexico helping to train artists and scientist using Autodesk Memento to digitally capture corals and sculptures in 3D. While in Mexico a big storm hit the day after I arrived bring high winds and flooding leading to power outages and preventing me from some work related SCUBA dives on the worlds second largest barrier reef the Mesoamerican reef, It was several days of really bad weather of a tropical storm bordering in category 1 hurricane. I was staying with my generous host an artist TED Fellow and amazing person Colleen Flanigan who loves the melding of art and science to protect and rejuvenate the coral reefs and spent considerable time on the ZOE sculpture project.
Aerial video from UAV of the region D-QnPgHrbsM
The storm caused considerable flooding and downed power lines and debris. I even noticed boats had sunk. ONe of the crazy concerns was not the downed power lines but a local resident telling me be careful of the standing water as there are many large hungry crocodiles that can be in there,
Nighttime candles for lighting since we did not have power.
My improvised phone waterproof sandwich bag.
Why is this important and matter?
Reefs around the world are disappearing at an alarming rate and scientists scrambling to preserve and study them and 3D accurate data is far more useful than 2D coral surveys especially for volumetric changes that can be measured using Memento. The coral reefs and mangroves surrounding the Yucatan villages such as Puerto Morelos Mexico where I was staying are what protects land, villages, and sustains all life and if they vanish so does everything else.
I had several meeting and days training how scientists working with the Mexican University UNAM and Mexican Government CONAMP can use Memento to non-destructively capture corals and reef structures as well as about anything else.
I am looking forward to sharing models and some of the projects from amazing people mixing science and art underwater in the common goal of saving the coral and oceans. Colleen Flannigan and the ZOE sculpture project as well as Roberto Diaz Abraham of MUSA.
What an amazing project and so much more to the story to tell and share with you as the data is processed data and we continue to work with the artists and scientist of the Yucatan and all of Mexico.
It is Memorial Day weekend in the United States which kicks off Summer. Sadly it also is the start of more traffic accidents and many related to long holiday drives while tired. Please, if you are driving long distances this weekend stop and take resets and arrive alive.
The photo was taken by me this week from a UAV Quad Copter a rest area along Highway 26 between Portland Oregon and Cannon Beach.
Our good friend and a smart innovative marine scientist Sly Lee of The HYDROUS had a nice online piece covering his work in Wetpixel.com. Sly uses Autodesk Memento to generate 3D textured models of coral from photos he and teams take underwater in coral reef locations around the world.
The ability to document a coral in 3D with textures is far more rich than 2D underwater sketching or 2D photos. The 3D models in addition to looking amazing and artistic generates a rich amount of accurate geometric and volumetric data so you can track growth or unfortunately the deterioration of coral colonies due to several environmental factors in our oceans. This is one of those practical applications of photogrammetry where creating 3D models or scans protects and help preserve and better understand the ocean and coral.
I had the pleasure of joining him photographing coral specimens in the waters off Kalaupapa Molokai Hawaii last year. Our team spent many hours SCUBA diving upside down taking thousands of photos of coral dodging moray eels, sharks, and jellyfish in the interest of research. I hope to join Sly underwater again someday even willing to take a few more jelly fish and sponge stings in the interest of science and pushing the envelope of Autodesk technologies.
When you have the 3D models you can also 3D print the coral which are amazing to see in person and are like an abstract art than anything. We printed this acropora genus of coral model from Palau on an Objet printer in SF a couple weeks ago for the REAL2015 conference. Who knows, perhaps these amazing pieces of natures fractal art could help crowd fund the study of the coral reefs and their preservation.
We at Autodesk always say imagine, design, and create a better world and in this case it is to help preserve and leave a better world and ocean. Keep up the great work studying and preserving our coral reefs and oceans Sly!
(Fun Between the Lines Fact: This is my 1st blog post from my new office in Portland Oregon)
I live about 4 hours from Moab and will make the drive early for an action packed day of visiting with the fine people of Arches National Park and giving them a 3D printed Delicate Arch created from a laser and photogrammetry scan, hiking up for a visit to the beautiful natural sandstone Delicate Arch, seeing some ancient petroglyphs, flying some quad copters in the desert, doing some 3D captures using Project Memento and ReCap Photo, and exploring Moab.
If you cant meetup with us in Moab, plan to meet us at Autodesk University 2014!
While capturing 3D geometry with a standard digital camera is challenging and takes advanced technology, capturing 3D geometry underwater can be even more difficult. Difficult because of the optical changes and physical demand to operate in subsurface environment while trying to take photos. Over the past few months I have been involved in some of these projects that made use of not only photogrammetry but recently underwater Lidar (yes underwater laser, not mounted on a shark) and handheld sonar generating 3D point clouds which I will talk about later once the special project is revealed publicly.
This post is about photogrammetry being used by the US National Park Service and marine researchers and how technology like Autodesk Recap Photo can convert photographs using mathematical algorithms to textured 3D geometry. ReCap Photo is an Autodesk 360 service designed to create high resolution 3D data from photos to enable users to visualize and share 3D data. One great object of interest to scientist is coral and what is occurring on coral reefs around the world where colonies are dying due to many potential causes.
Despite their crucial role, coral reef research and education are still in their infancy. One major challenge that has plagued coral reef scientists for decades is the inability to accurately measure the surface area of corals, which represents the living portion. The ability to quantitatively track the growth of a coral colony is an extremely basic and essential parameter for understanding the health of a coral reef ecosystem. Current methods are incredibly imprecise and rely on simplistic two-dimensional (2D measurement.
Further, humans rely heavily upon visualization for comprehension, and corals are difficult to see first-hand. Most corals are inaccessible to anyone who does not SCUBA dive, especially children. Until now, the only way to visualize corals has been to view static pictures or non-interactive films. As a result, public understanding and interest of the complexities of coral reefs pales in comparison to other charismatic megafauna such as sharks, whales and dolphins.
This project aims to utilize Autodesk Reality Capture to generate incredibly detailed 3D models of corals for a novel scientific study and produce revolutionary educational tools.
Sylvester (Sly) Lee is a Marine Toxicologist and Science Communicator. He works at the Kalaupapa National Historical Park and is the founder of the non-profit, The Hydrous, which aims to communicate marine science through beautiful and intuitive visualizations. Interactive 3D coral models can be viewed at www.thehydro.us.
Blowing Bubbles in the name of Science and Technology, Dive Dive Dive!
As a technologist at Autodesk and advanced SCUBA diver it will be my absolute pleasure and honor to work with the Park Service on another project over the next few weeks capturing coral in 3D models for study and future studies on the isolated remote Kalaupapa National Historical Park located on the island of Molokai. I will also play the vital roles of not only safety diver, photographer, BBQ cook, comedian, but I am sure I will play the role of tiger shark bait or underwater rodeo clown to keep the other team members safe while capturing photos for creating 3D models. Autodesk's Pete Kelsey will also be a diver, photographer, and modeler on the project.
Who knows, maybe the team can even host a short Google Hangout from the remote project location and answer questions on coral and capturing underwater objects in 3D.
Another amazing example of the US Park Service using Autodesk Recap Photo Pro!
The video below of a 3D model was created by National Park Service Submerged Resources Center A/V Production Specialist / Deputy Chief Brett Seymour using Recap Photo Pro. Brett is one of the world's top professional underwater photography and videographers. It is really quite amazing to see how he operates with all the gear while SCUBA diving as he is a consummate professional and master. Just over a week ago I saw Brett diving with a large and expensive RED digital 4K cinema camera in an underwater housing and two big strobes which made it appear as if Brett was diving with the front of a small expensive car and maintained a fluid dive and controlled buoyancy throughout the dive.
Brett captured this WWII Corsair aircraft crash last week located just off Hawaii's Waikiki Beach in about 100 feet water depth.
Anyone that has attempted to create a 3D model of something on land and ran into challenges can appreciate how well both of these National Park Service professionals have mastered the process to get good results in such a challenging underwater environment.
Last weekend I went down to Southern California to do some scuba diving in the Pacific Ocean unfortunately a huge storm hit while I was there cancelling some of the dive boats myself and my friend Will had arranged to dive for some spiny lobster.
On Sunday early morning, after the worst of the storm causing floods, high winds, high surf, and mudslides had passed we were able to get out to Catalina Island by boat to at least get some diving time in at the marine preserve at Casino Point. I love scuba diving and feel like superman under the water flying around and easily gliding up and down the underwater mountains.
We made 5 dives to around 80 feet depth, and since Catalina Island's West side had been sheltered from the storm and was a ways off the main Californian coast the water had great 50 feet visibility and some great kelp forest and reef to explore. We explored 6 ship wrecks and saw many different types of fish from Garibaldi kelp bass and more, some shy octopus, eels, lobster, seals, and more. Diving in kelp forests is amazing and I would recommend it to many other divers as it is as tropical dive locations although you do need to prepare a bit more especially with a decent thickness 7mm wetsuit for the 58-60 degree water.
One of the fun fish was a large California Sheephead fish that followed us like a friendly dog on each of our dives.
The large California Sheephead named Oscar would come right up to my face and I would have to push him away.
Here is Oscar the Sheephead wanting to play or trying to photo bomb my photos.
While it was disappointing to not get the 16 dives from boats for the lobster, the dive trip was completely redeemed at Catalina Island.
Do you scuba dive? I am definitely looking for more dive buddies and dive locations.
I have traveled a great deal in my lifetime, and when I first started I always had to sit in a window seat and stayed awake the entire flight even the 10+ hour international flights watching rolling landscapes or clouds go by. Maybe it was travel nerves and watching the world fly by was not only interesting but comforting.
I don't know what has changed but I now prefer the aisle seat most likely so I can easily escape to the restroom, easily get to the overhead storage, or get off the flight faster. The other oddity besides being able to identify a make of the jet engine whether it is the hum of a GE, the whir of a Rolls Royce, or the heavy metal whine of the Pratt & Whitney engines is that I now sleep most of a flight. Even with the best of intentions of working the flight, reading, or watching a movie I go unconscious even before the flight takes off. Yes before and during the takeoff. Maybe it is the people talking and babies crying that has conditioned me to shut off my brain or the planes rocking down the tarmac to the runway, but I go out like a light. Not even a free upgrade to first class or business with fancy food and never ending drinks will be enough to tempt me to stay awake.
Yes the airport tarmac is like anesthesia to me...and like magic I go to sleep on taxiway in Salt Lake City and wake up in far away places.
I will be working in the beautiful city of Toronto Ontario Canada half of this week, and as I have often done in the past around the world hold a casual meetup. I love chatting about Autodesk, Autodesk’s products, design, industry, technology such as reality capture, blogging and social media, or just casual conversational topics and what you are doing with Autodesk products or looking for solutions to.
If you will be available Wednesday Morning for a morning coffee or tea meetup chat or Friday night email me.
I am still getting back to speed after returning this week from 5 amazing days on Cozumel Island in Mexico. Cozumel is one of the top scuba and snorkel diving locations in the world, with the worlds second largest barrier reef. I had a ladder into the Caribbean located just 10 steps from the condo where I was staying in the Northern region of the island. I found the amazing Marazul condo on AirBnB.com which was all new to me but I will most definitely use the service more often as the location was like living in a fully furnished home instead of a hotel or resort experience. There was Wi-Fi, food, even beer in the fridge. It was a great deal of fun to go snorkeling on the reef within 5 minutes. I did swim and snorkel other locations up and down the island, but honestly preferred the abundance of coral and sea life behind the condo units. I took many underwater photos using my iPhone in a special Seashell case that was rated to 100 feet depth, luckily there were no leaks.
One of the highlights of the trip was getting to see the self-contained submarine Atlantis II. I helped design and fabricate this vessel about 16 years ago while working for a large metal fabrication company in Portland Oregon. The submarine was currently in Cozumel in dry dock for some maintenance before going back to work on the reef to the delight of tourists wanting a unique experience.
I took the ferry over to the mainland to Playa del Carmen which had amazing sandy beaches where the heat and beverages must have got to me. I found myself getting my feet made baby smooth by a tank of doctor fish that were setup in a special tank at a shop along the tourist trap lined street. I can’t remember when my feet were this soft.
Alas, nothing reminds you that you have returned from a tropical location and brings you to a screeching and stinking reality more than a fist sized dead crab in your backpack. Yes, I had a dead crab that made its way into my clothes before he decided to expire during the journey home…I have already heard all the jokes on this experience.
I travel by air a fair amount of time over the years and have fancied myself a bit of a travel related MacGyver. The first real stroke of MacGyver’ness was using crushed Altoid mints rubbed in my mouth on my teeth with my clean fingers to brush my teeth and end up with a powerfully minty breath. This was to be used when you did not have your toothbrush or toothpaste handy and didn’t want to offend others with the long flight breath.
Now here is another one of my grand travel creations. This nugget came to me on a long flight. I didn’t have time to grab any of the horrible fast foods at the airport, and most flights today don’t serve meals in this day in age. I had to be resourceful to fashion something that was somewhat filling and healthy, or I could resort to cannibalism of the passengers unlucky enough to be seated near me. After being given packs of peanuts and pretzels, it hit me. Maybe it was the low blood sugar causing the crazed thoughts but I asked for a virgin Bloody Mary mix which is free when not ordered with alcohol. Now I had the spicy tomato base and then poured the peanuts and pretzels into the glass and stirred, not shaken. And voilà I had invented my own cold airline stew or what I call my Delta Airlines Margarita. It is even good with a good shot of Vodka if you feel the need.
Don’t knock it until you are starving on a flight as it is really quite good, as long as you eat the pretzels before they get soggy. The flight attendants have now started laughing as the word spreads of a mad man on some Delta flights eating Bloody Marys as a meal.
What crazy things have you come up with while traveling?
I know many of my friends are in Vegas this week for CES and thought I would point out one of the biggest threats to your computer and network, thumb drives. You see them at most trade shows or even just laying around in public like the one I found at the gym yesterday.
Many of the largest network compromises including governments, top secure military facilities, and even nuclear reactors have occurred because the bad guys have figured out people will grab these thumb drives (“sweet, free hardware”) and stick them into their machines without even a thought about it. The problem is some of the amazing free found USB thumb drives contain trojan software code that gets installed on your machine once inserted. After inserting a malicious USB thumb drive your machine and the security rights it has are provided to the malicious trojan thus the criminals or data stealing or damaging code can spread to your corporate and other networks.
You can even have a network breach/compromise without a target computer even connected to the web or network in a secure DMZ area by one person inserting that malicious thumb drive into a machine in that secure environment. I have seen at military bases where the USB ports on computers were actually epoxy glue filled so that nobody could insert any USB device.
Your USB port and Wi-Fi are two most insecure highways onto your computer besides executing unknown free software from the web.
Save yourself the potential problems and spend $15 for a thumb drive at the store, and always format before use. So just think when you see a free USB thumb drive sitting on a chair or on a table in public, it could be a big trap.
Be secure out there,
Update: @Kitestyle_twit on Twitter pointed out one more good tip for mitigating the USB threat and that is disabling the autoplay setting on your computer. But the malicious USB could be placed in almost any computer, and not all will have autoplay disabled. Microsoft should disable it by default in a service pack.
USB Flash Drive Security from Wikipedia
Myself and fellow Autodesk CTO office colleague Gonzalo Martinez were recently on an Octo Copter research project
One thing I observed which was amazing and resourceful, is that they are constructing some research and study buildings, schools, as well as medical facilities by the Turkana Basin Institute. Materials are an issue as it can take over 4-5 days by truck to get materials to the job site and they are expensive so people have learned to make most of their own from what they have available locally.
Instead they make their own including compacting, shaping, and the drying of the bricks.
They did not have any construction documents just some simple sketches created by Dr. Richard Leakey and frequent construction oversight by Dr. Louise Leakey.
The only things brought in were some raw materials and glass and rebar but the rest was created from local resources as was all the power from solar, wind and limited generators. Water was from stored rainwater or pumped deep down from a well and then reverse osmosis to remove the high levels of salt and fluorides.
It was amazing how well these buildings were constructed and the different construction methods in the blazing heat.
Under these difficult conditions and constraints, they manage to construct nice buildings using entirely local people.
They are the ultimate Makers creating amazing things from scrap materials they can find. I met Martin who had created a nice camera tripod using only scrap pieces of materials he was able to find. Martin is not even an engineer just a very smart local. The tripod worked as well as most commercial ones and was also customized so they could photograph ancient fossils and some from hominids our millions year old human ancestors.
So when you go to the building supply store or the construction site, just think of how some are self sufficient in materials and power and do not have access to most materials or equipment.
It was truly inspiring.
The week started out in San Francisco with some meetings then accompanying Dr. Louise Leakey of the Turkana Basin Institute and AfricanFossils.org speaking at Singularity University at the NASA Ames facility. I met many of the brightest young minds looking to change the lives of a billion people, as well as Ray Kurzweil and many other Silicon Valley icons including Autodesk’s own Jonathan Knowles.
Early today I head for the airport to Salt Lake City and another shoulder surgery in the morning, this time my left shoulder after having the right shoulder worked on in June.
Then I am taking some well needed personal time off.
I recently was in in extremely Northern Kenya near the Ethiopian border on Lake Turkana for a few weeks with Dr. Louise Leakey, Deming Yang of Kenya National Museum, and my colleague Gonzalo Martinez for an Autodesk research project. It changed my perspective on the world, and life.
Some blog articles on the research project.
Hover over images for descriptions of the photos.
The people of Northern Kenya need a helping hand to lift themselves out of the poverty and limited options of just goat herding. There could be the next brilliant engineer, architect or scientist, but they may never get the opportunity to fully live to their potential and make a difference in the world ort their local communicates. They need more than just being manual labor in their life. The proud and humble local people also need help in education so their only skill is not their hard backbreaking labor in a hot poverty and drought stricken area.
One quote from a Ethiopian tribal elder is forever stuck in my mind, he said through a translator through three languages looking at us in our clothes, with cameras, GPS, and a remote controlled copter “you have too much stuff in your life.” He was adorned in minimal traditional tribal clothing, a stick, and a round wood carving to lay his head on to sleep and can move his families shelter in minutes to a new location in search for food and water which they dig in the sand for by hand. They live as they did for thousands of years. Just imagine if he had seen where we live and our homes and all the stuff in them.
These people are extremely resourceful given little materials and I called them the “Ultimate Makers.” In remote regions there are no stores or Home Depots or 3D printers. They find scrap materials, and build what they need. Simply amazing ingenuity and they are really smart.
If I had no obligations in my life, I would dedicate my life to building schools and helping provide a better life for the amazing people and children. Typically only one child per family can go to a cinder block school where they might get some food, but are starving for education and have nothing but old ragged clothes and ancient books. Their siblings sit across the road some without any clothes hoping their brother or sister would pass on the knowledge they learned that day. Some walk 6 hours each way to attend school for an hour of education. We visited two schools while there to tell them they can do and be anything..They need more opportunities and schools and volunteers. It would be amazing to get Khan academy involved in helping educate these children as well as more schools and supplies, even clothes.
You don't have any idea how well we have it compared to some people around the world. Comparing the education in the US and those in Kenya is a great divide as the Kenyans want to learn and don't complain about school conditions, teachers, locker size, homework etc. The Kenyan students attend regardless of all the obstacles and challenges in their life, and they appreciate it and see it as a real opportunity to change their lives and people. The young Kenyan students lucky enough to go to school will walk miles barefoot in hot sand and thorns and perjhaps a scorpion or venomous snake along the way to get to their small cinder block school with no fans or AC just so they can get an education, but I am not sure how many in US or Western world have the same passion for school even though they have so many more opportunities.
If I do one thing that makes me feel like a difference in my life to make a better world besides building my beautiful family and career, I will do everything I can to help the people I met in Northern Kenya and people less fortunate elsewhere around the world. An internal fire has been lit in me.
I am forever thankful for Dr. Louise Leakey for opening my heart and eyes to the world far away and Autodesk for allowing me to participate in the Octo Copter research project in remote Northern Kenya where most people never go. Autodesk is a company known for design, visualization software, technology, and services.
Sincere gratitude to my management and people like Carl Bass, Jeff Kowalski, Amar Hanspal, Brian Mathews, Jon Pittman, and of course the Turkana Basin Institute’s Dr. Louise Leakey who made it all possible for taking our Octo-Copter for testing in remote Northern Kenya. You have forever changed me and given me the goal and fire to do something.
Autodesk is not just about selling software or making profits, but have a very active philanthropic program to Build a Better World. Autodesk is a company with a big heart. We at Autodesk are not just a corporation, but people that really truly care about our world, environment, and its people.
I challenge everyone to try and make a difference to someone else they meet less fortunate to gain an education.
Last month myself and Gonzales Martinez spent a few weeks in Kenya with Dr, Louise Leakey of the Turkana Basin Institute and Yang Deming of the National Museum of Kenya. We were researching several aspects of aerial photography and from a remote controlled copter to not only capture video and photos by map and locate areas of interest for fossil artifacts. We were in the Northern most part of Kenya in the Lake Turkana basin where the earliest evidence of man has been discovered over the years including several skulls dating back millions of years. Gonzalo has taken some of our video from both my camera and the onboard Octo-Copter video as well as photos and posted the video for everyone to enjoy.
Autodesk Octo-copter aerial video of flying in Northern Turkana region of Kenya. http://youtu.be/KvhJu6b0gug?hd=1
Recently while in Kenya I found out what a Hyrax is, and why they are evil and not to be slept near. A Hyrax is a small rodent looking thing that is actually related to the elephant with little small tusks.
Now here is why I call these cute unique animals evil, they have a tendency to scream at about 160 decibels from 10pm to 5am sounding like someone is being murdered. I did not get any sleep the two nights I had one near where I was sleeping. These critters were more alarming than lions roaring, hyenas evil laughing or jackals barking in Kenya at night.
So I present for your listening displeasure my iPhone recording of the Hyrax at 2am. I wanted to make him into a nice spicy little stew.
Hyrax in Kenya at 2am.mp3
(photo credit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyrax)
I recently spent a couple weeks in Kenya mostly working from sunup to sundown with Dr. Louise Leakey of the Turkana Basin Institute, Deming Yang of the National Museums of Kenya and my colleague Gonzalo Martinez.of Autodesk. I thought I might share a fun photo with you from the Giraffe Centre located just outside Nairobi Kenya before our research work in Northern Kenya began.
So here is me taking a big wet kiss from a rare female Rothschild Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi.)
Trivia: Giraffes can have a 50cm (about 19-1/2”) long sandpaper textures tongue with a slimy grass flavored slime coating.
I am still awaiting the call from this Giraffe, but sadly she has not called me yet.
I arrived back home late Friday. To sum the trip up in one word “Amazing” would be appropriate. I will be posting more on what we did in Kenya and the experience including a couple crazy travel stories over the next couple of weeks. As I review and edit my 6000+ photos, I will be uploading some of them to my Flickr photostream http://www.flickr.com/photos/btl/.
I did get to see wild lions, cobra, scorpions, rhino, crocodile, zebra, warthogs, mongoose, a giraffe (and kissed it) and so much more but we were not on safari or at club med. We worked every day sun up to sun down carrying heavy gear in some really hot weather and rough terrain and traveled some of the worst roads imaginable to do research on aerial imagery capture with the remote operated Autodesk Octo-Copter.
Still battling some infections on my legs due to some thorn tree wounds and had two days of IV antibiotics to be safe that they did not get worse as well as dealing with the infamous jet-lag monster. So very glad to be home but I have so many stories to tell about amazing places and people.
Do I dare look in my email inbox…that’s more frightening than having a scorpion in your tent or a nile crocodile in the water you are swimming in.
Gonzalo Martinez and myself (Shaan Hurley) are currently in the extremely remote Turkana Basin of Kenya where many of the hominin fossils (our human ancestors) were found along with a great deal of other fossils and tools. We are researching aerial video and photo capture with Louise Leakey using a state of the art eight bladed remote copter mounted with lots of high tech equipment and cameras that we have named the Autodesk Octo-Copter for many exciting potential uses.
We hiked with all our copter and camera equipment to the Logatham Circle and Pillar site located to the West of Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya.
And from the air!
Some of the other research flights we are trying to research how well we can see the rich fossils on the ground.
Here is a photo of the copter in a region today with several eroding faces with fossils. Here is a close up of a ancient crocodile jaw fragment.The fossils can be from the very small rodent, hominids, to giant hippo and elephant over 1 million years old.
Autodesk has been working with Louise Leakey, Turkana Basin Institute, and the National Museums of Kenya to document an amazing collection of fossils in 3D using Autodesk 123D Catch for display online at http://www.africanfossils.org.
We are now exploring several more ways in which to capture data with the latest technology to help preserve ancient sites and fossils. In remote locations around the world sites, structures, and fossils records are being lost and finding ways to capture them digitally would change everything. Imagine all the downstream possibilities after you capture these one of a kind objects, you could share the digital geometry with a remote researcher to study across the world or even create a cardboard pattern or 3D print so school children could have a copy in their classroom rather than a picture in a book.
Introduction Video narrated by Louise Leakey:
Welcome to AfricanFossils.org
We have been living and working off the grid for quite sometime with only solar & wind power, rain water or wells and mostly local food and an Internet or cell phone connection occasional as a treat although some AC would be a really nice treat in the intense heat of the day. Finding a cold Tusker Lager is equally amazing when chilled to freezing and taking a deep breath and looking at the scenery and reflecting on the busy day. One of my favorite and necessary pieces of equipment in my backpack has been my GoalZero solar panels and batteries which give me plenty of juice for the laptops, receivers, cell phones, cameras, as well as last night using the GoalZero invertor we were able to use a soldering gun to repair connections on the copter. I charge the panels during the day with the abundant sun.
The people and region is absolutely stunning and add to that the capturing of ancient ruins and fossils from a location of the earliest human evolution where hominid fossils are being found. I am really trying to stay awake and doing something every single minute so I do not waste a minute in this amazing and remote part of Kenya.
As I am writing this blog post taking advantage of an Internet connection being available (rare), it is so hot today my machine has shutdown several times so now I have my laptop comfortably resting on an ice pack.
I leave you with a photo of my hat which had been snatched off my head by a thorny tree.Apparently the tree wanted me or the hat to stick around a little longer.
If you go to the middle of nowhere in East Africa, go North, and turn right, then drive another couple hours in the blazing heat, you will be where I am. Gonzalo Martinez and myself of Autodesk are capturing some of the most remote geography in Africa using a remote controlled eight bladed Octo-Copter. The photos and video are amazing as are the reaction from local nomadic tribe members when they see the copter fly by and they run to the river to see it and wonder what it is. It was an interesting language barrier experience to try to explain what it was, and what it does and that we can actually see like a bird from the copter. I am pretty sure they are convinced I am some sort of space alien. The Autodesk Octo-Copter is doing very well but heat and rough transport did cause a great deal of extra effort in repairs and adjustments and no way to get to a location to get repair parts as we had to solve the problems right here in the first field site.
Dealing with overheating equipment, tons of bugs of all shapes and sizes including malaria carrying mosquitos, absolutely amazing bird life, venomous scorpions and snakes like the small cobra found yesterday, sand, lack of much if any Internet access or a cell phone signal and only ~106 F. degrees and some humidity. Not getting much sleep with all the travel, work and heat. Living off the grid with solar energy and rain water. And Yes, I am loving it!
Now we have another sunset flight to prepare for as being located on the equator the sunset goes so very fast and the flood of bugs soon. The bugs can be so this it is raining bugs and your computer screen becomes unusable as it is quickly covered in bugs.
(That’s “Hello” in Swahili)
I have posted to this blog regularly for over 8 years and even found remote connections to post to the blog even while in the deepest of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. Over the next couple of weeks I will be in a extremely remote region without any real connections other than voice satellite phone. To save me from having to stand in the middle of an open area to try to post a message at a very slow speed oer a satellite phone and looking like a fat juicy meal to a large carnivore, a few bloggers have graciously provided guest posts.The guest posts will go live over the time I am traveling.
A huge thank you to:Brian Benton http://CAD-a-Blog.com
I am traveling with a friend and decided that I don't really need to be fast enough to outrun a hyena, lion, or leopard, just be able outrun my friend.
There will be a great deal of stories and photos once I return.
(Hungry Lioness photo credit Flickr user digitalwallpapers)