The hidden world of “how stuff works”

When things work as they should, we often take them for granted, rarely stopping to think about their inner workings. It’s only when things go wrong, or something unusual happens, that we get a glimpse into the secret world of “how stuff works”.

This is an image from Google Earth, taken as a satellite passed over Hyde Park in Chicago, Illinois. (Click on the image for a larger version). There must be thousands of pictures like this given the number of planes in the air at any one time, but it’s the first time one’s passed under my nose.

Thanks largely to the Internet, many of us have unprecedented access to satellite imagery we’d only have dreamed of a few years ago. Flying around landscapes trying to find our homes, for example – something many of us have done on Google Earth – would have likely cost tens of thousands of pounds not so long ago (and maybe friends in high places).

If you’ve ever wondered how satellite images work, this one might give you a clue. If you’re still not sure or are hungry for more, check out this useful resource. It’s all good stuff.