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Point Nemo: The Point in the Ocean Farthest From Land

If you’ve ever traveled by ship, sailboat, or even surfboard, you know you don’t have to get too far out from shore to feel completely isolated. If that’s not good enough for you, you might try checking out Point Nemo, which is literally located in the middle of the ocean. This spot in the Pacific, also known as the Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility, is farther from land than anywhere else on Earth.

How far? About 1450 nautical miles. The point lies at the exact center of a triangle formed by three tracts of dry land: Ducie Island, in the Pitcairns; Moto Nui, in the Easter Islands; and Antarctica’s Maher Island. The designation of the spot itself is relatively new; we didn’t have the mapping and geotargeting technology to locate it until 1992.

The point was named after Jules Verne’s submarine Captain Nemo—a Latin name that also happens to mean “no one.” Which is exactly what you’ll find there. On the surface, anyway.

But were you to board Captain Nemo’s (fictional) Nautilus and sink to the sea floor, you’d find a different (fictional) landscape altogether—a “nightmare corpse-city,” in fact. For the Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility is also the home of H.P. Lovecraft’s eldritch god Cthulhu.

Image Credit: Nojhan via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Lovecraft placed the dread city of R’lyeh on the map long before Point Nemo was identified, yet he managed to throw his cartographic dart spookily close to the future landmark. On this map, you can see Lovecraft’s point at 47°9'S 126°43'W. His publisher August Derleth had his own ideas, and located the green, slimy vaults of R’lyeh at 49°51'S 128°34'W. Lovecraft’s approximation was closer, but there’s no reason to quibble. There are monsters and terrible deities enough to go around.

And sure, maybe there aren’t really Lovecraftian beasts smearing their prey across the sand. But there’s something down there. Five years after Point Nemo was identified, oceanographers in the region recorded one of the most puzzling sounds in the history of natural science: the Bloop. This ultra-low-frequency sound was too big and low to be made by the biggest known creature in the ocean, the blue whale. Lovecraft fans were gleeful: the Old Gods were stirring. Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for the rest of us), the Bloop was eventually identified as the sound of a continent coming apart, as an ice shelf cracked and split from Antarctica. 

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Afternoon Map
Monthly Internet Costs in Every Country

Thanks to the internet, people around the world can conduct global research, trade tips, and find faraway friends without ever leaving their couch. Not everyone pays the same price for these digital privileges, though, according to new data visualizations spotted by Thrillist.

To compare internet user prices in each country, cost information site HowMuch.net created a series of maps. The data comes courtesy of English market research consultancy BDRC and Cable.co.uk, which teamed up to analyze 3351 broadband packages in 196 nations between August 18, 2017 and October 12, 2017.

In the U.S., for example, the average cost for internet service is $66 per month. That’s substantially more than what browsers pay in neighboring Mexico ($27) and Canada ($55). Still, we don’t have it bad compared to either Namibia or Burkina Faso, where users shell out a staggering $464 and $924, respectively, for monthly broadband access. In fact, internet in the U.S. is far cheaper than what residents in 113 countries pay, including those in Saudi Arabia ($84), Indonesia ($72), and Greenland ($84).

On average, internet costs in Asia and Russia tend to be among the lowest, while access is prohibitively expensive in sub-Saharan Africa and in certain parts of Oceania. As for the world’s cheapest internet, you’ll find it in Ukraine and Iran.

Check out the maps below for more broadband insights, or view HowMuch.net’s full findings here.

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

[h/t Thrillist]

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Tony Hisgett, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0
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Explore Google Street View With a Soundtrack Chosen by AI
Tony Hisgett, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0
Tony Hisgett, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0

Google Street View is the closest you can get to globetrotting without leaving your living room. The technology features 360-degree views of thousands of locations that anyone can view by dragging their cursor across their computer screen. Now, a media artist has made the immersive experience even more realistic. As Co.Design reports, Nao Tokui’s new project Imaginary Soundscape pairs Google Street View locations with soundtracks chosen by AI.

The background noises are designed to feel like they were recorded in the same place that was photographed. Views of the inside of the Spanish church Sagrada Familia come with the sound of chatter echoing against high ceilings; pictures of the Westminster Bridge Road in London are accompanied by soft engine roars and background conversation in British accents; the view of a forest pilgrimage path in Japan is paired with chipping insects and birds and snapping twigs.

But unlike the images, the noises aren’t attached to each specific place. Rather, they’re open source audio tracks the AI system thought would fit well with the scene based on its visual information. Tokui and his team used two neural networks developed by MIT to build Imaginary Soundscape. The results, which include background noise for all of Street View, are available on the project’s website.

Search your address to see if the AI gets it right, or just select “random” to get an idea of the full range of soundtracks. The program isn't always spot-on (pictures of an empty Tokyo Station are accompanied by firework sounds, for example), but when it is, it’s easy to feel you’ve been transported away from your computer for a moment.

[h/t Co.Design]

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