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Thai Villagers Arrest a Google Street View Driver, Thought He Was a Spy Photog

Thai Villagers Arrest a Google Street View Driver, Thought He Was a Spy Photog streetviewcar

On your own mental list of “most perilous jobs,” chances are Google Street View driver doesn’t make it very close to the top. But one of Google’s own wound up in a strange situation recently when a group of villagers in Thailand put him under citizen’s arrest, believing him to be a spy for a government dam project they oppose.

The incident took place in the Song district of Thailand in the village of Ban Sa-iap when about 20 concerned villagers blocked Google employee Deeprom Phongphon’s way and placed him under citizen’s arrest. The villagers there have long opposed a dam project, and thought that he was taking spy photos for the project using the convenient disguise of a Google Street View car.

According to The Guardian, the villagers took the driver to a local office to quiz him, after which they took him to a temple where he was asked to swear on a statue of Buddha that he wasn’t working for the dam project.

Thai Villagers Arrest a Google Street View Driver, Thought He Was a Spy Photog songdistrictthai

Since the incident took place, the village has released a statement apologizing to the employee, Google and the people of Thailand for the embarrassing mistake, explaining that many repeated cases had “convinced the villagers to believe someone was trying to survey the area in disguise.”

For its part, Google didn’t see the incident as a very big deal. In a statement released by Google spokesman Taj Meadows, the company explained that when “embarking on new projects, we sometimes encounter unexpected challenges, and Street View has been no exception.”

(via Boing Boing)


Image credit: The Google Street View Car In Playa de Arinaga by Risager

The Ends of the Earth, As Seen Through Google Street View

The Ends of the Earth, As Seen Through Google Street View s e02 00000033

The advent and continuous expansion of Google Street View has made it possible to explore far off places that we may never be able to visit in person. But where exactly does Google’s reach end? One person deigned to find out.

Inspired in part by the online game GeoGuessr, Alan Taylor over at The Atlantic’s In Focus blog set out to find “the ends of the road” — although, in truth, it’s a lot less philosophical than it might sound.

What he did was spend some serious time on Google Street View, attempting to find the borders of its coverage. At the top we have the end of Google’s ability to follow the Kaimu-Chain of Craters Road in Hawaii. Over time, lava from eruptions of the Kilauea volcano has covered the road and made it impossible to follow any further.

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Both the photo above and below show a southernmost point, although one is much better marked than the other. Above we have the southernmost point buoy in Key West, Florida. Below, the southernmost point of Africa — no, not The Cape of Good Hope, though that’s a common misconception — The Cape Agulhas, South Africa.

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From the south, we go east, to two of the easternmost points on their respective continents. Above is Lighthouse Road, Byron Bay, New South Wales, which is located on Australia’s easternmost shoreline. Below is one of the easternmost points Google has managed to map along Brazil’s Atlantic shoreline.

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Finally, the last two photos we’ll show you here take you in opposite directions. Above, we have a photo of the Chilkat Range, across Lynn Canal from Juneau, Alaska. This point is about as far north of Juneau as Google (or anyone) can drive. And below is a point about as far south as one can go on the South Island of New Zealand.

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These are only a few of the pictures that Taylor collected over the course of his digital travels. To see all 26 “ends of the road” for yourself, be sure to follow the link below to the original In Focus article.

The Ends of the Road [The Atlantic via kottke.org]

Photographer Snaps Surprised Reactions After Shouting Words on Subway Trains

Photographer Snaps Surprised Reactions After Shouting Words on Subway Trains friedegg

Thai photographer Benz Thanachart caused quite a stir in his country this past summer with an unusual photo project titled Smartphone. For each photo, he boarded a subway train, screamed a completely random word, and snapped a photograph to document the passengers’ startled reactions. The photograph above was captured after Thanachart shouted “Fried egg!”

Here’s Thanachart’s description of the project:

After staying in New York City for one year, I went back to Thailand on summer 2012. The biggest thing I first noticed was that several people now own smartphone. On the public transportation, they were always obsessed with the little personal space on their hand. Everybody was facing down and being cut off from the outside world. At that time although I was being in my hometown, the feeling of unfamiliarity gradually emerged. So I decided to do something to express that disoriented emotion. I got into the subway, shouted out a random word that is completely unrelated to the situation and then captured that moment. It was the moment when everyone was getting out of their small worlds and noticing the presence of public space.

Thanachart tells us that he wanted to capture photos that you don’t come across every day. Since he and the friend that accompanied him didn’t want to get into trouble with authorities, they chose random words and phrases rather than impolite or unsafe ones (e.g. “bomb”, “fire”, “gun”).

Passengers were often so occupied with their phones that the Thanachart had trouble getting everyone in the frame to look over at the same time (despite shouting at the top of his voice).

After each scream he thanked the passengers for their participation. Surprisingly, none of his “subjects” ever got mad at his sudden outbursts, and some even started laughing and asked him to do it again.

The project took a total of two days. He would shout once on each train and then step off at the next stop. After hundreds of photographs, Thanachart ended up with a handful that he liked. Once the photographs made their way online, it wasn’t long until they started going viral among the Thai people. The images attracted tens of thousands of likes on Facebook and were featured in a magazine.

Here are the photographs in the project, along with the words and phrases he shouted to elicit each reaction:

Photographer Snaps Surprised Reactions After Shouting Words on Subway Trains corn

“Corn!”

Photographer Snaps Surprised Reactions After Shouting Words on Subway Trains kahlilgibran

“Kahlil Gibran!”

Photographer Snaps Surprised Reactions After Shouting Words on Subway Trains kale

“Kale!”

Photographer Snaps Surprised Reactions After Shouting Words on Subway Trains morningglory

“Morning Glory!”

Photographer Snaps Surprised Reactions After Shouting Words on Subway Trains tokyotower

“Tokyo Tower!”

Photographer Snaps Surprised Reactions After Shouting Words on Subway Trains crocodile

“Crocodile!”

Photographer Snaps Surprised Reactions After Shouting Words on Subway Trains hokkaido

“Hokkaido!”

Photographer Snaps Surprised Reactions After Shouting Words on Subway Trains stingray

“Stingray!”

Photographer Snaps Surprised Reactions After Shouting Words on Subway Trains thefinalpicture

“The Final Picture!”

Photographer Snaps Surprised Reactions After Shouting Words on Subway Trains omelette

“Omelette!”

You can find more of Thanachart’s work on his website and through his Facebook page.


Thanks for sending in the tip, Pocky!


Image credits: Photographs by Benz Thanachart and used with permission


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