Free Travel

By Mike Johnson

This morning I visited my childhood neighborhood. My old schools. Baseball fields. Our old hobby farm. Prior employers. The space in the strip center that housed my favorite childhood bakery.
And I did it from the comfort of my loft office.

Google Earth was my free, magic carpet.

Iíd gotten acquainted with it a few years ago when searching for the Forrest Fenn treasure chest. But out of sight, out of mind.

This morning I remembered.

I needed to use it to measure distance. Iím going to conduct an experiment that measures earth curvature across Yellowstone Lake. So I looked up two points on distant shores and had Google Earth measure the distance.

The points are 8.3 miles apart. Using spherical math, this means the far point should be 21 feet below the curve of the earth. With both points at the same elevation, I should not be able to see the distant shore. If my spotting scope can bring it in, right where the water touches the land, there is no curvature.

Thousands of such tests have been conducted all over the world proving no curvature. No curvature means the earth is not a ball. Thatís such a fantastic revelation that I want to test this for myself.

Anyway, since Google Earth was already loaded, I zoned in on my house. Then the forest and mountains behind me, looking for ponds or lakes in the nearby wilderness. It was the easiest exploratory hike I ever took.

You can search by specific address or just use your mouse to move about the world and magnify until you find the locations you desire.

Soon I was zeroing in two states away, on aerial views of my childhood home. Then I tried ďstreet view.Ē It brings you right there. Itís like I was walking right down my neighborhood streets. Itís amazing how many memories flood back once immersed in a place.

All this travel right from home feels like sorcery. Free of charge! All it costs is time.

For many reasons, I donít use or recommend Google as a search engine.

But if you want to avoid an airline ticket or a thousand mile drive, I recommend Google Earth as a free magic carpet.

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