Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"The Thistle Amongst the Lilies"

I have to break from the usual content of this blog to point out to all the bagpipers who read this blog - there is at least one - my Montreal / Black Watch / 78th Fraser Highlanders friend Jeff McCarthy's new book of pipe music called "The Thistle Amongst the Lilies: A Collection of Original Compositions by Montreal Pipers For The Great Highland Bagpipes".

I'm going to order one. You should too! :-)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fantastic Viral Campaign

The Pomegranate Phone has a great campaign: make sure you look at all of the features before checking out the release date.

And yes, I do want one!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Springer to acquire BioMed Central Group

I just read this happened earlier this month (more at the BioMed Central Blog) via Peter Suber's Open Access News.

I must admit I am rather surprised by this turn of events.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ukraine law mandating open access to publicly funded research

I have just discovered that the Ukraine passed a law[1] in January 2007
mandating Open Access to publicly funded research. This was done after
extensive consultation and lobbying[2,3]:


  • "Since January 2007 Ukraine has a law mandating open access to publicly funded researches.

  • It was widely supported by most of the Parliament members.

  • And it is already the second parliamentary inquiry mandating the
    Cabinet of Ministers to take actions on creating favorable conditions
    for developing open access repositories in archives, libraries,
    museums, scientific and research institutions with open access
    condition to state funded researches."
    [4]


[1]Law of Ukraine On the principles of developing information society in Ukraine (in Ukrainian).

[2]Kuchma, I. 2007. Developing National Open Access Policies: Ukrainian Case Study. Proceedings ELPUB2007 Conference on Electronic Publishing. Vienna, Austria, June 2007.

[3]Kuchma, I. 2008. Open Access, Equity, and Strong Economy in Developing and Transition Countries: Policy Perspective. Serials Review 34:1:13-20.

[4]Kuchma, I.2008. Open Access in Ukraine: Cooperation with the policy makers. Open Access Repositories Workshop, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Second Life Beagle trip

Wow! This is so very cool:

"To commemorate the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, the University of Cincinnati has recreated the Galapagos Islands, where Darwin conducted some of his famous research, in Second Life. The project is part of the university’s 2009 Darwin Sesquicentennial Celebration.

By January 2009, all avatars will be able to retrace Darwin’s steps — from his 1832 journey to South America aboard the Beagle to his tours of the islands — with the help of a wind-surfing tour guide. Archived audio and video clips, as well as live events, will be available in the Darwin Celebration Theater and Gallery."

From: Darwin's Famous Journey Is Recreated in Second Life, The Wired Campus, October 16, 2008

Friday, October 03, 2008

Science (and life??) through (augmented reality) Semantic Goggles

The FP6 CINeSPACE project, Experiencing Urban Film and Cultural Heritage project (article) creates an augmented reality by combining GIS information with semantic technology. The results are a location-/ orientation-aware binocular-like device which overlays multimedia information based on - among other things - what the user is looking at:



This is a great concept and prototype, but could we take it a little further and generalize it? Say, to semantically enhanced reality goggles that allow you to select a particular semantic view of the world, including scientific and social views? Put them on and toggle the "Biological taxonomy" semantic view while you are walking through the rainforest and you have species names overlaid on your enhanced reality; identified poisonous plants and animals are marked with a bright red "Do not eat" and "Avoid", respectively; identified endangered species are marked with an "Endangered: Do not step-on / touch / damage / pick" and when when a dangerous human-eating animal is recognized close-up, perhaps your goggles would go opaque and flash "Don't Panic". ;-)


Hop on a plane to Devon Island and switch to "Geology" and the goggles make use of its hyperspectral sensor to identify rock types as you hike, supplemented by geological ontologies of geological mapping information, as latitude/longitude second lines are projected across the landscape.

And as you are hiking across the tundra, perhaps - in an Agent-like manner - the "Biological Taxonomy" interrupts when it detects the movements of a polar bear in the distance!

Head back home and switch to the "Social Networking" view, and as you walk through the mall - through facial recognition and subsequent information gleaned from social networking sites and other human-oriented data sets and ontologies - the people walking by you are augmented by a colour coding based on some criteria you have defined, like "History of violence" or "SF likes long walks on the beach" or "Recently dissed your blog"...

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