The Longest Now


patterns of effability
Tuesday August 24th 2010, 11:45 pm
Filed under: Glory, glory, glory,indescribable

So I watched the full moon as it passed overhead, and the day and then full noon the next, from my bed.
I drank nothing and ate less, drifting in a certain breeze, considering the pressures of similarity and conservation of novelty in large societies. When I stirred from the warmth I could name the new field that the study of these sorts of patterns would yield, and sounded its depth and its length. And found the first challenges, boundless and bright, shared by the world and as clear as night, waiting to be coalesced into sight, that required the finesse of its strength.



Google Earthiness
Tuesday August 24th 2010, 6:48 pm
Filed under: Glory, glory, glory,international

I sometimes wonder whether Keyhole has been able to fulfill their dreams from years past when they were just starting up.  Cetainly they have accomplished amazing things.

Here’s an interesting slideshow of places found through Google Earth.  But where is the annotatable version — the wikimapia mod for Google Earth?   Why are these links to the screenshots of random people, rather than deeplinks into the images themselves?



Three lovely things
Saturday August 21st 2010, 11:15 am
Filed under: Glory, glory, glory,international,poetic justice

1) 23andMe has Genetic kits for genealogy and health analysis. I’m told they are like the OLPC version of genetic kits — green, cheerful, roughly lunchbox sized…

2) My mother made a lot of calls from her cell phone to my brother in Chile in the aftermath of its recent geologic activity. This week she received a letter from AT&T in the mail letting her know that all calls to Chile during that week were being refunded. Three cheers for transcontinental neighborliness!

3) Birthday Milongas and Holy Lolas.



Mozilla’s Drummers: Drumbeat Barcelona, November 3-5
Thursday August 12th 2010, 2:31 pm
Filed under: chain-gang,international,Uncategorized,wikipedia

Drumbeat is a new Mozilla umbrella project, consolidating its efforts to support and enhance the open web — the free and transparent elements of the Web that we love and rely on.   It combines earlier work on One Web Day, educational outreach, and direct grants to developers improving the free tools needed to expand the web.

The first global Drumbeat Festival will be held in Barcelona on November 3-5, and creators everywhere are invited.   I have been part of local Drumbeat events in New England this summer (run by Ben and Dharmishta), where the pervasive interest in learning was wonderful and fascinating.   I can’t wait to see a larger festival come together.

This year’s theme is Learning, Freedom and the Web. The open nature of the internet is revolutionizing how we learn, and Drumbeat welcomes teachers, learners and technologists from around the world who are at the heart of this revolution.

Join us in Barcelona for three days of making, teaching, hacking, inventing and shaping the future of education and the web.

Drumbeat Festival 2010: Barcelona Nov 3-5

Drumbeat Festival 2010: Barcelona Nov 3-5

Who will be there?

The festival is designed for makers, writers, hackers — on creation more than discussion.   There are currently over 100 confirmed participants, including:

Mitchell Baker, Mozilla’s Chief Lizard Wrangler
Manuel Castells, Open University of Catalonia
Joi Ito, Creative Commons
Anya Kamenetz, author, DIY U
Gever Tulley, Tinkering School
Mary Lou Forward, OpenCourseWare Consortium
Brian Behlendorf, Apache Foundation
Connie Yowell, MacArthur Foundation
Johannes Grenzfurthner, monochrom / metalab

A Festival!  Should I bring my best hat?

Hat, HUD, musical instrument… Drumbeat is not your typical conference festival.  Imagine a folk festival combined with a teach-in with a dash of outstanding oratory for good measure. That’s the plan.

You’ll have a chance to propose and invent activities throughout the festival. You can read a small sample of planned activities to get your creative essences flowing.

How do I sign up?

Registration opens on August 25.  You will also be able to apply for a travel scholarship, propose activities, or offer to volunteer.  If you are not already on our email list, you can sign up now.  Reminders will be sent out when registration opens.

Meanwhile, please spread the word – encourage your friends and colleagues to sign up for announcements, start discussing what you’d like to invent or create while there and what you might show off!



Drinking the Kool-Aid (sic)
Tuesday August 10th 2010, 1:34 pm
Filed under: %a la mod,chain-gang,poetic justice,Too weird for fiction,Uncategorized,wikipedia

Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid, they say — commonly remembered as a reference to the final drinks of most victims of the Jonestown massacre. At the time the phrase was coined,Tom Wolfe’s book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test was also popular, and in the context of  60s hippie culture, “drinking the kool-aid” could also mean taking LSD.

Early reports about the compound referred to “cool aid(sic) packets”.  Since then, Kraft Foods and others have maintained that it was an urban legend that they all drank Kool-Aid, and that it was Flavor Aid instead – a misunderstanding thanks to the genericization of “cool aid” as a term.

Enter YouTube, Wikipedia, and the open web.  After decades of casual debate, we can now resolve half of the mystery: they certainly had both powdered drinks at Jonestown, and we have a handy link to the 9 seconds of a newsreel that shows it first-hand.  Whether the final drink was from one set of packets or the other, this handily settles the question of whether they had Kool Aid on site.  It’s the first time I’ve seen a few seconds of video effectively used as a moving-image citation!  Note to Readers: you can also embed YouTube videos and tell them where to start playback.

Hat-tip to brassratgirl for helping me towards enlightenment on the issue.



Wengu is glorious
Friday August 06th 2010, 3:55 pm
Filed under: Glory, glory, glory,indescribable

Take a peek, you’ll enjoy the view. The presentation of the Book of Odes is particularly delightful. It is said that the great classics should be read a thousand times over before they are truly internalized… and that presumes a familiarity with the language to begin with.



Google’s 130M tomes (metadata only)
Thursday August 05th 2010, 8:21 pm
Filed under: international,metrics,wikipedia

While sometimes confusing “books whose metadata has been scanned by Google” with “books that exist in the world”, a recent post on the G-blog about the size of the Google Books repository is delightful in its details.  Thanks to Leonid Taycher for condensing that into a bit of light reading.

Sadly, no estimates are given on the long-tail number of works that are nowhere close to having their metadata scavenged; or the number of works in the world that have never been moved into a formal archive; or the average number of tomes per conceptual work.  So it’s hard to gauge from this list anything like ‘what % of scanned books are available in freely licensed digital form online’.

But at least the Internet Archive collection is within two orders of magnitude. Now if only finished Wikibooks would make it into that collection…  In related news, there are new docs posted for Open Library developers who want to dig into their archives.  Congrats to Raj and team for the update.

Thanks to Lars for the central correction.



Umberto Eco in the [Wiki]News
Wednesday August 04th 2010, 6:05 pm
Filed under: international,Uncategorized,wikipedia

Wikinews Italiano recently published an Intervista a Umberto Eco, complete with recent photographs. Fantastico! This is the sort of material I would like to see from more Wikinewses.   Time to reread The Name of the Rose.




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