Wolfram Alpha shows flights overhead

Nov 18, 2011
Wolfram Alpha, the online search service launched two years ago, now lets inquiring minds in the United States find out what flights happen to be overhead at any given moment.

Wolfram Alpha, the online search service launched two years ago, now lets inquiring minds in the United States find out what flights happen to be overhead at any given moment.

Typing "flights overhead" into a Wolfram Alpha query box is rewarded with information about above, including altitudes, distances, aircraft types, and which are operating them.

"You'll get information on aircraft that should be visible to you, assuming a clear sky and unobstructed view," Wolfram Alpha said Friday in a blog post at its website.

"At one time or another, we've all looked at a jet flying high overhead and thought 'I wonder where they're headed?'"

If people are using smartphones, Wolfram Alpha results will be based on latitude and longitude information provided by location-sensing capabilities in devices.

Otherwise, the service will work with whatever location information is supplied by Web browsing software.

Wolfram Alpha launched in May 2009 as a search engine that delivers factual answers to online queries instead of links to Web pages.

The curated answer engine uses to scour the Internet for information and natural language recognition technology to figure what queries are aimed at finding out.

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User comments : 21

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El_Nose
1.5 / 5 (8) Nov 18, 2011
sounds like a little too much information for public access -- just my personal opinion
that_guy
4.4 / 5 (5) Nov 18, 2011
It does seem a bit unnecessary. And convenient for terrorists. But then I thought about it, and there are planes overhead all the time, so I doubt it would make a difference, unless you were looking specifically to make a targeted assassination.

Still seems kind of pointless though.
axemaster
4.9 / 5 (8) Nov 18, 2011
And convenient for terrorists.

This information has been available for years already. And I think it's fair to say that shooting down an airliner is a fairly trivial task for anyone with an education and a willingness to spend a few thousand bucks on equipment and a few weeks on design and assembly.

In other words, if people wanted to do it, it would have happened already. Quit worrying.
ronaldk13
4.6 / 5 (11) Nov 18, 2011
it already accessible by the public, Wolfram just made it nicer. I wonder when we will stop living in fear....
trekgeek1
5 / 5 (2) Nov 18, 2011
Just tried it. Amazing. Clicked on the flight number of one plane and it displayed it's approach vector, altitude history, heading, atmospheric conditions, type of engines, schedules departure and actual departure, etc. Wow, that way way better than expected.
Che2000
5 / 5 (6) Nov 19, 2011
it already accessible by the public, Wolfram just made it nicer. I wonder when we will stop living in fear....

For the most powerful country in the world, militarily unmatched by any other combination of countries, America and Americans sure are afraid. Mellow out you guys. Not everyone wants to blow you out of the sky.
FrankHerbert
1 / 5 (57) Nov 19, 2011
Che2000, they are the "Fearful Fifth" and have gone by various names over the years. The John Birch Society and The Tea Party are modern examples.

"The Paranoid Style in American Politics" by Richard Hofstadter is an excellent description of the phenomenon. Here's a link to it: http://karws.gso....yle.html
and to its wikipedia article: http://en.wikiped...Politics

From the essay:

It is a notorious fact that the Monarchs of Europe and the Pope of Rome are at this very moment plotting our destruction and threatening the extinction of our political, civil, and religious institutions. We have the best reasons for believing that corruption has found its way into our Executive Chamber, and that our Executive head is tainted with the infectious venom of Catholicism


Reads like a madlibs of ryggesogn2 or the teaparty, doesn't it? It's from an 1855 newspaper. The same BS forever.
nejc2008
5 / 5 (2) Nov 19, 2011
If you want to manipulate people, make them afraid.
Hengine
5 / 5 (1) Nov 19, 2011
There's nothing over my head :(
tkjtkj
1 / 5 (1) Nov 19, 2011
Although their site ( wolfram.com ) says " .. for everyone .." , it omits the majority of users, as its only an iPhone ap..
Oh well ...
Noumenon
4.5 / 5 (56) Nov 19, 2011
@FrankHubris (& your sockpuppet harem),... sometimes I think you just speak out of your a$$. Is "orac" your newest one?

The Tea Party is a group of people that don't want more taxes until the $15 trillion in debt government first cuts spending then enacts budget balancing laws.

They have nothing to do with generalizing fear. You make up all manner of non-sense to construct a caricature specifically designed for you to win arguments against, or read such from idiot web sites like the Huffington Post.

Meanwhile it's the Right who complain about Obama's Janet Napolitano and the reactionary TSA groping blonde three year olds,.. not the "Tea Party".
MorituriMax
1 / 5 (1) Nov 19, 2011
I'm waiting for them to add the command "terrorists nearby"

8 )
MorituriMax
4 / 5 (4) Nov 19, 2011
If you want to manipulate people, make them afraid of the other people who think like you do.

Since when is it a crime to want a government that does a few specific things with a limited budget, and lets We The People get on with making our country a great place to live?
Nerdyguy
2.7 / 5 (3) Nov 19, 2011
it already accessible by the public, Wolfram just made it nicer. I wonder when we will stop living in fear....

For the most powerful country in the world, militarily unmatched by any other combination of countries, America and Americans sure are afraid. Mellow out you guys. Not everyone wants to blow you out of the sky.


Yep, you're right. Only a few million, or maybe more. Nothing to worry about. And it's not just Americans - it's everyone in the West.
Nerdyguy
3 / 5 (2) Nov 19, 2011
Although their site ( wolfram.com ) says " .. for everyone .." , it omits the majority of users, as its only an iPhone ap..
Oh well ...


Wrong. Read the article. Go to Wolfram's site and type "flights overhead" in the query box. Works great.
wwqq
3 / 5 (3) Nov 19, 2011
The Tea Party is a group of people that don't want more taxes until the $15 trillion in debt government first cuts spending then enacts budget balancing laws.


The tea party was coopted by the republicans from day 1. They care about guns, gays and god and giving tax cuts to the rich. They've done fuck-all to reduce spending or balance the budget; throw them some tax cuts for the rich and they cave instantly. They've done fuck-all to go after the rampant fraud in the financial system. They've in fact been kneeling down and performing indecent acts on the banksters since pretty much day one.
Nerdyguy
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 19, 2011
The Tea Party is a group of people that don't want more taxes until the $15 trillion in debt government first cuts spending then enacts budget balancing laws.


The tea party was coopted by the republicans from day 1. They care about guns, gays and god and giving tax cuts to the rich. They've done fuck-all to reduce spending or balance the budget; throw them some tax cuts for the rich and they cave instantly. They've done fuck-all to go after the rampant fraud in the financial system. They've in fact been kneeling down and performing indecent acts on the banksters since pretty much day one.


Yes, by all means, let's rant on about the Tea Party on a post about a flight tracking mechanism.

Score for the dolts!!!
Noumenon
4.5 / 5 (50) Nov 19, 2011
They've done fuck-all to reduce spending or bal the budget; tax cuts for the rich and they cave instantly. They've done fuck-all to go after the rampant fraud in the financial system. They've in fact been kneeling down and performing indecent acts on the banksters since pretty much day one.


Your generalizations are meaningless. A) The Obama administration is administering tarp also, so both sides bailed out banks. The root cause was subprime mortgages. B) The rich already pay a disproportionate amount of taxes, while the lower 40% pay zero. Even if you confiscated every dime of the top 5% it wouldn't amount to dent in the deficit spending, so raising taxes on job creators ("the rich") is no more than political class warfare. The government has a spending problem not a tax problem. C) The tea party came into being through dissatisfaction with BOTH over spending parties. D) By definition "fraud in the financial system" is illegal already. Only gov fraud is not.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2011
Have to agree: pretty pointless for everyday living.

But I could envision one application: Games

Think of a flight simulator that just takes the real plane data over the area you're simulating instead of having to generate and update AI controlled planes. Would be a lot more realistic (though probably a lot more boring since there will be much fewer 'exciting' situations.)
Ricochet
not rated yet Nov 21, 2011
Although their site ( wolfram.com ) says " .. for everyone .." , it omits the majority of users, as its only an iPhone ap..
Oh well ...

Android app: https://market.an...aGEiXQ..

You're welcome.
Ricochet
not rated yet Nov 21, 2011

Yes, by all means, let's rant on about the Tea Party on a post about a flight tracking mechanism.

Score for the dolts!!!

That's because someone had to go and mention how scared we Americans are... Of course we are! We know many other countries hate us, and just look at the dolts running things!