Hey kids! Fly an F-16 into the APEC hotspots in Sydney from the comfort of your own computer. No risk of arrest. No troublesome criminal record. No being hauled by the ghoulies by fascist police sadists into a mobile prison cage.

Google Earth (latest free version only) has not only put some of the most sensitive APEC venues back into crisp clear high resolution, but thoughtfully hidden a flight simulator in the tool bar.

For your choice of an F-16 jet or a more sedate but easier to fly Cirrus SR22 light plane, and an excellent tutorial, try this link. That gives you a good start.  Or this link on YouTube, for a hands on look at the more difficult jet fighter option.

The flight simulator doesn’t match the also professionally next-to-useless Microsoft program that costs money, but the Google “surprise” or so called Easter Egg found concealed inside the new version of its geo-browser is free.

A funny thing also seems to have happened to the spectacular hi-resolution aerials of Sydney that Google cravenly smudged in the run up to APEC last month.

The APEC world leaders’ wives luncheon hot spot, the Bondi Icebergs, is back in all its glory, right down to the door knobs.

So is the Harbour Bridge adjacent to Kirribili House, which is still under a clumsy veil, and the actual arch and pylons remain so blurred you can’t make out the bridge walkers, even though at either end you can make individuals and the lap swimmers in the adjacent North Sydney pool.

OK, so the skies over Sydney might be too obvious.

Just cruise over to Pine Gap near Alice Springs Airport. The top secret radar domes are blurred out but you can see exactly where they are, and every access road, support facility and even staff parking areas are shown in enough detail to pick up the clumps of spinifex.

The discovery of the hidden Google Earth flight sim has of course brought out comments on the techcrunch.com forum that seem to match in intellectual rigor the witless hairy chested security circus utterances from APEC officials as Sydney begins to seize up behind steel and concrete walls and road closures.

“Joe” (comment 40) starts off: “This is cool but don’t let Muslims play it, you know they might get to plottin somethin…”

Joe should be sent to his room minus computer until he gets his spellin rite…

Peter Fray

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