Scallywag

Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.

~ Mark Twain ~

There’s A Live Satellite View Of My House

June 3rd, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 57 secs

They can see how much of our house by satellite?

They can see how much of our house by satellite?

Who ever thought there’d ever be a live satellite view of my house for everyone to see? Back in the days of linoleum and Bakelite, it was unthinkable.

Then came Sputnik. Creating history for the sake of politics, satellites started assuming other much more crucial uses, like broadcasting live via satellite TV. Suddenly we could see for ourselves what life was like in “real time” on the other side of the world. And what did we discover? The awful truth that far off places were fuzzy and occasionally disappeared, or simply froze for the odd moment (proving to everyone that there really was no place like home)

But that’s a wild psychedelic fantasy away from all of us being able to say, “Hey everybody! There’s a satellite view of my house on the screen!” It took major technological advances, brave folk with rockets, and a host of unconnected events to bring the ability for you to spy on your neighbor’s washing without even reaching for the curtains.

Now, many people believe they have the ability to totter out of the kitchen and slump in front of their computer, dropping crumbs onto the keyboard while watching anything they want. Only, that’s not quite right. I might peer into a screen a thousand miles away and think I’m seeing a live satellite view of my house, but it isn’t. And here’s why.

Using the likes of Google Earth, for example, it’s possible to peer down at your house with varying degrees of resolution, to see if your son has cleared up his backyard mess, mowed the lawn, or forgot to park the car in the garage. Or should I say, it feels like it’s possible. The view you are seeing with Google Earth via satellite is sometimes six months old! So unless you plan on hanging your washing out for that long, what you are seeing isn’t quite what you get.

Then again, you could do better. While it’s not a live satellite view of my house, I can at least update daily to marvel at what the pigeons are getting up to on my roof. Thanks to NASA’s space-based view through www.flashearth.com, you can do it too, which is kind of handy if you are interested in pigeon fancying or watching paint dry.

Personally, I’m not totally sure what these advances mean. But I get the impression we could put this technology to better use than checking if your neighbor is throwing snails over your fence. Then there’s that teensy matter of privacy. How would you feel about people being able to spy on your comings and goings from the kingdom of far far away? A live satellite view of my house or yours would make it easy, for instance, to profile much of our comings and goings in life.

Being busy, you might not have noticed this sort of stuff creeping up on you (or, should I say, looking down at you). You are probably far too busy putting food on the table, paying bills, and wondering when you next need to go to the dentist than pondering these spy-cam implications.

“So we aren’t too far away from the potential for a live satellite view of my house, you say? Okay… Now could you please heat up the dinner before I get home? Oh, and have you booked us to see the dentist?”

Yet, unless we keep half an eye out for change, like underwear with bad elastic, it will sneak up on us before we know it (and we will be forced into buying big umbrellas to hide beneath and have to abandon our clothes lines). Seriously, I believe you should have a say whether people in Lapland are entitled to see your smalls, and judge whether you’ve swept the back porch properly or not. Call me old fashioned, but I believe some things aren’t meant for public display. And, perhaps that’s what Robert Frost, the American poet, was getting at when he said, “Good fences make good neighbors” Perhaps good umbrellas will too.

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