More seriously, Street View as lint for road signs would be a superb idea! It's probably not something that anyone short of Google would have the processing power to do, but it would help a great deal.
(Assuming municipalities want help, that is. There are plenty of small towns that operate as speed traps, looking to shake down drivers by posting few speed-limit signs and many traffic cops. But lint-for-road-signs could reveal when an area has unresolved road-sign issues, and warn drivers to take another route.)
(Top HN post in Feb 2021: "Alphabet Corp announces it's dropping support for GoogleBlood starting April 1st: A blogpost advises users to replace their blood with blood from alternative vendors and restore from backups as access to all blood functionality (not just the SmartBlood(tm) features) will cease at midnight Mar 31th. Advertisers with prepaid in-blood advertising bids will be pro-rata credited in their AdsInside account.")
I don't really know why you'd think that line would be the one thing holding them back from super villainy, but you'll be relieved to know that it's definitely still there:
Arcing power lines can be tracked down with with a shortwave radio and reported, but the powerline adapters are a nightmare. They're suppposed to notch out the amateur radio bands but many do not, often swamping everything from 3 to 30MHz with noise.
That said, I think that these devices are actually quite rare in the real world - most people don't even seem to know what they are - and in my testing the noise dissipates very quickly as I leave my house, disappearing into the background of the city after only 20-30 feet.
I think that regulators have definitely dropped the ball on HomePlug, but I also don't think that it's that much of a problem, particularly given that it's been a commercial failure. Most of the ire towards HomePlug comes from people being upset about commercial-scale BPL installations, which actually have the potential to be a major problem over a large area.
In my house, my monitors actually account for more problems I experience than the HomePlug adapters do, in my everyday radio usage. And they aren't even cheap knockoffs, they're pricey name-brand models.
Interestingly enough, there is enough radiation that you don't really need an actual connection. Someone put one of the endpoints in a field with a generator and got a connection to another endpoint. In a sense power line adapters are just using radio over the air.
Sending data over a power line, even at low bit rates is very difficult to do reliably. So all the radiation is in a sense a feature in that it improves connectivity. Not so much a feature to those who have an actual licence to use those frequencies...
Wouldn't ethernet cables have the same issues? Does the increased power flowing through power lines somehow amplify the signal? Is that pretty much the definition of what a power amplifier in a radio does, add juice to a signal on an antenna so it gets broadcast further?
Does the amount of wattage going through the line effect how "loud" the interference is?
In PLC (power-line communication), wiring is not meant to act as antenna. All transceivers are wired. It's an undesirable, unintentional side effect of limited (to the extent of complete lack of) cable shielding - because, well, power lines are usually meant for different application than data transfers.
The refineries in the Houston area play all sorts of fast and loose with monitoring the chemicals they let go into the environment. If Google could measure stuff like this across wide geographical areas near the refineries, some good could come of this.
On the other hand, for all I know, the problem had been there for years.
Google Books and Google Streetview are just the tip of the iceberg.
I would be willing to bet that "massively distributed real-time data collector" was listed as a key business case by whoever pitched self-driving cars at Google.
Here's NYC's 311 data: https://nycopendata.socrata.com/Social-Services/311-Service-...
...I recall there being a category for people calling in gas odor, but the Socrata site seems to be slow/down at the moment.
> Dallas is one of nine participating cities, including
> Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and Jacksonville. This program
> was developed with scientists from Colorado State Univ
There's a growing effort to monitor CO2, CH4, and CO at very fine spatial scales, and to do inverse modeling to infer emission rates ("fluxes") from the snapshots. (E.g., https://megacities.jpl.nasa.gov/portal/)
But at least it's related specifically to buses and the equipment is carried by the very vehicle being impacted by the violation.
Also, you would probably register unreasonably high levels of all sorts of things that are being released by decomp in the garbage.
From the POV of a local government official, I'll bet this looks like a way to throw money down a rat hole and be voted out for doing so.
However if all you are looking for is major gas leaks, even the data gathered from garbage trucks aught to be accurate enough. Gas from leaking pipes will be far more concentrated than that produced by garbage trucks.
Unfortunately, I have not read the article due to the site apparently dying to the Hacker News hug of death.
I wanted to buy one to check my pipes for leakage, but the only inexpensive thing I could find was a go/no-go sensor, and nothing something with an actual reading.
These guys (http://lmsnt.com/applications/applicationideas/ch4/) will sell you a sensor development kit. The commercial instruments are all several hundred dollars but my experience with specialty tools is that they have high prices to support high margins because they don't sell in very high volumes.
The gas sensors you can afford as a (poor) hobbyist tend to be resistive/heater devices. You heat up a catalyst and monitor its resistance which varies when a suitable gas is present. The downside is that typically they're sensitive to all kinds of gases - e.g. methane, ethanol other volatile organic compounds and so on. Either you can use them in a single-gas environment, or where you would only expect one polluting gas, or you can have a general threshold. Cheap and cheerful and nice for IoT home "air quality" sensors, but useless for real measurements.
Most of the very expensive sensors - like the one you linked - have much higher specificity. That methane detector is optical and is tuned precisely for the IR absorption band of the gas. Optics and filters are expensive, plus the driving circuitry and probably NIST-traceable calibration if you want it. EDIT: It also uses a fairly unusual LED wavelength which adds to the price (InGaS = money).
Other sensors, like Oxygen, have shelf lives of a few years and need to be replaced even though they're horribly expensive ($200 or so).
A filtered methane sensor is about $50 (Figaro make a lot of nice gas sensors): http://microcontrollershop.com/product_info.php?cPath=301_42...
AMS also make some nice inexpensive general VOC sensors like this one: http://www.digikey.co.uk/product-detail/en/ams/AS-MLV-P2/AS-...
residents paid as much as $1.5 billion extra between 2000 to 2011 for gas lost to leaks.
Is anyone able to calculate approximate how much gas this is in volume or weight? 1.5 billion divided by residential gas price per unit?
So 150 million units. Switching to the numbers I'm seeing quoted for pipelines, 150 billion cubic feet.
This pdf lists many pipelines pushing 1 billion cubic feet or more a day:
So at most a couple months of normal usage.
If you only want 1 sigfig, I'd say the price is about $10 per thousand cubic feet over that timespan. So that's 150 billion cubic feet? You could calc a mass if you knew the composition, or a weight if you knew the pressure.
I love that I can wear a watch that doubles as a phone, health monitor, gps/mapping, mp3 player, etc.
The flip side of there being a loss of privacy would both be technological (weak or no security in the device itself or the apps and services it uses) and political (government saying "give me all the data").
This cry of "but my privacy!" is nothing more than a useless complaint, and does nothing to address the problem. We as citizens and consumers of such great tech NEED to demand better device security as well as political reform. Changes in how things are done and why.
So be picky about which tech you buy and politicians you vote. Be picky with your time, money, votes.
Don't, however, waste time on comments that do nothing to address the problem. That includes providing no information to further advance your ideology: privacy. No product endorsements to sway us into purchasing or supporting something which WILL keep your private info out of nosy third-party hands, or info about politicians or policy we should be aware of?
That would be a pointless comment when you obviously care about something.
And in this case, Google's not revealing personal data at all, they're finding and reporting industrial problems; their wide-ranging, unaccountable cyberstalking powers are very creepy, but this time they're being used for good.