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The Heart of the Great Alone: Scott and Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventures December 10, 2009

Posted by dataduchess in Amazing.
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I have always been fascinated by stories of adventurers who traveled into unknown and treacherous territory in the pursuit of fortune and glory. But, you know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and this is no exception – New Scientist has a gallery of amazing images on their website, taken from a new book and exhibition at the The Queen’s Gallery called The Heart of the Great Alone: Scott, Shackleton & Antarctic Photography. The 11 images in the gallery are stunning, and there are many more on the exhibition’s website.

Help the Pentagon Find the Red Balloons December 4, 2009

Posted by dataduchess in Uncategorized.
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Starting tomorrow morning, the Pentagon’s Research Agency, DARPA, invites you to help it study the capabilities of the internet. They will release 10 red 8-foot balloons in random places around the country, and internet users (aka social networkers) will have to work together to collect the GPS data for each balloon.

The first person to submit correct data for all 10 balloons will win $40,000. The competition will explore the roles the Internet and social networking play in the timely communication, wide-area team-building, and urgent mobilization required to solve broad-scope, time-critical problems.

Here’s the Official Site – its not too late to register!
Also, see this article from Monday’s New York Times.
(via New Scientist)

When Science and Lit Collide in Fantastical Ways November 4, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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Here’s a great interview by New Scientist on Terry Pratchett, the prolific writer of over 40 books who is best known for his Discworld Series. Fraught with humor, this article tackles Pratchett’s love of science, fight with Alzheimer’s, and, the impetus for his newest work, Unseen Academicals.

discworld

Ubiquitous web=ubiquitous music October 29, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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A new service is attempting to change the nature of online music, again. Playdar is an organization that is trying to take all the music (not downloadable, but stream-able) on the web, on personal hard drives, and from anywhere else you might digitally store music and make it immediately available. What does this mean? It means that a song you write about, suggest, or mention in your blog, Facebook page, tweet, etc. will be immediately available for play. An article by New Scientist explains this service with better clarity.

This is all hypothetical speak, of course. While Playdar is up and running, the instant gratification promised above will only be available should social networking sites choose to opt into this service.

Like many of the web’s musical services designed to let netizens listen but not download (Last.fm, Pandora, etc.) this concept raises a whole host of copyright issues. While both New Scientist and the Playdar page explain that this service does no more than the aforementioned seasoned music-playing sites do, Playdar, if widely adopted, has the ability to make any song playable, on demand, which is not something other sites offer. And while the songs may not be downloadable, who needs to download anymore as the web continues to grow ever more portable in the form of smartphones and netbooks? While musicians and streaming sites are silent on the nascent service as of yet, this infomaven predicts a violent backlash.

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