Guest Blog Posts

GPS Systems: What Writers Should Know

(Published: July 11, 2019)

You and your friends have been looking forward to your adventure in Australia. You’ve rented a car with a GPS system, so you won’t get lost as you drive around in the Outback. But your adventures are brought to a swift end when the GPS give you instructions to turn down a road that leads you in one direction: straight into the Pacific Ocean.

But the GPS system can’t be wrong. Your eyes must be the ones at fault. So, you keep driving, despite the water climbing up your door.

It might sound like fiction, but it’s not. In 2012, a group of Japanese tourists did exactly that. They trusted the GPS system so blindly that they drove into the middle of nowhere—and into the ocean. The hilarity of the situation swept the world, bringing about so many questions, the biggest of which is how anyone could not see that they were driving into the ocean?

[Read more]

Analog versus Digital Imaging

(Published: September 6, 2018)

You’re watching your favorite crime TV show or movie. There comes a point when the detectives are looking at the images from the CCTV footage taken at the time of the crime. The chief investigator leans over the shoulder of the technician in charge of cleaning up those images, trying to find anything that was missed in the initial passes.

“There.” She points to the screen. “What’s that?”

The tech zooms in on what looks like nothing but a fuzzy blob.

“Can you clean it up?”

The technician hunches over the keyboard. A few keystrokes and clicks of the mouse later, the image reveals the fully featured face of the mob boss that they have been trying to catch since the beginning. Or you get that license plate number from the gray blob. Pick any detail that you want, and Hollywood can make it appear out of thin air, claiming that it’s science.

[Read more]

Selected Academic Papers

Mohr, J. L., Johnston, R. A. and Cottrell, P. L. (2010) "Optical Turbulence Measurements and Models for Mount John University Observatory." Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia27, 347-359.

Mohr, J. L. (2009) Atmospheric Turbulence Characterisation Using Scintillation Detection and Ranging, PhD Thesis, University of Canterbury.

Mohr, J. L., Johnston, R. A., Worley, C. C., &  Cottrell, P. L. (2008) "Optical turbulence profiling at Mount John University Observatory" in Optics in Atmospheric Propagation and Adaptive Systems XI, Eds. Kohnle, A., Stein, K. & Gonglewski, J. D., Proc. SPIE, 7108, 710809; doi: 10.1117/12.799756;

Walsh, M. F. et al. "First CT using Medipix3 and the MARS-CT-3 spectral scanner." Journal of Instrumentation 01/2011; 6(01):C01095.

Rajendran, K. et al. "Reducing beam hardening effects and metal artefacts using Medipix3RX: With applications from biomaterial science." Journal of Instrumentation 11/2013.