Here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own

thank you,

 

Listening to this, I wonder why the title wasn’t the line that defined Kennedy’s first inaugural. My favorite line:

Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.

Yeah, let’s seek that, ok?

Supersize my YouTube

Apparently YouTube has been showing full-length movies for some time. They don’t have a ton online but it’s got to be enough to give NetFlix the heebie-jeebies.

Here’s Morgan Spurlock’s Supersize Me, but you might prefer the original fan-fic The Hunt for Gollum or a horror film like  cult classics Dracula vs Frankenstein or The Blob. They’re featuring some Bollywood films as well!

10 to the 100 to the Google

Project 10100 is a call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible.

Go. Vote.

After not too much deliberation, I decided to…

Help social entrepreneurs drive change

Opportunity

Create a fund to support social entrepreneurship. This idea was inspired by a number of user proposals focused on “social entrepreneurs” — individuals and organizations who use entrepreneurial techniques to build ventures focused on attacking social problems and fomenting change. Specific relevant ideas include establishing schools that teach entrepreneurial skills in rural areas; supporting entrepreneurs in underdeveloped communities; and creating an entity to provide capital and training to help entrepreneurs build viable businesses and catalyze sustained community change.

Speaking of that, check this out.

Cutting through the Babel with Google Fusion Tables

Circle of Blue has an article about last week’s launch of Fusion Tables by Google. The new system allows users to upload and manage huge databases of information and access aggregated data through a common format

“The biggest potential is to build an ecosystem of data on the Web,” said Alon Halevy, the senior Google engineer who led the Fusion Tables development team. “This means making it easy for the people to upload, to merge data sets, to discuss the data, to create visualizations and then to take these visualizations and put them elsewhere on the Web so that there’s better data on the Web.”

…Fusion Tables, a breakthrough application of online research and communications capacities, goes beyond traditional database systems because it allows users to share and merge data in real time with other contributors wherever they work. It also allows users to apply visualizations, and discuss discrepancies of specific data points. Multiple users can cross-check and discuss individual rows, columns or even cells as easily as right-clicking on the spot.

Users can also display their data through a variety of visualizations: as a timeline, a graph or a map. The “fusion” of the data sets can link dissimilar information from the far corners of the Web to reveal patterns and trends that might be impossible to spot otherwise. This makes Fusion Tables a central hub for data collaboration, as anyone can publish and access files, which were formerly locked away in Excel spreadsheets, PDF reports, and hard-cover textbooks.

I know from scientist friends who I’ve talked with that one of the biggest barriers to collaboration is the fact that Lab A can’t communicate with Lab B … fortunately there’s Google to allow them to speak the same language. Check out the article for more and some created images and watch this interview with Halevy.

The photo is The Last Drop by lepiaf.geo and it’s part of her Water set (slideshow).

Google punches earth sized hole in the browser

the Earth in the palm of your hand?

Earlier this week I thought I should write something about Google adding underwater environments to its Google Earth program on Monday.

While that will no doubt be cooler than a bucket of cucumbers, I was pretty surprised when I typed “embed Google Earth” instead of “embed Google Maps” and found out that you could in fact embed Google Earth* into web pages.

When I loaded Hello, Earth, I realized how deftly Google has moved.

Web browsers are our portal to the information we want: news, travel, shopping, video and other media are all just a quick search. It is a limited environment however. Sure, you can click, pull and drag windows around, but the lack of a 3rd dimension removes immediacy and I suspect renders the online experience kind of boring to people who aren’t accustomed to getting entertainment from non-moving 2D environments like books. Add that 3rd dimension, however, and I suspect that the content that many of us find so enriching will explode into the lives of many more.

Snapshot: You click the map portal on a site – let’s say Absolute Michigan. You’re going to spend a weekend in wine country, touring the Leelanau Peninsula and you spin the globe to check it out. You can tap the winery icons to read about their tasting rooms and wines, scroll through photos and video and even make reservations for dinner or lodging, all while cruising through a 3D map that makes it easy to see beaches and trails and all kinds of fun stuff that you would miss if reading it.

Can you see it? OK, now add social networking in…

To install the Google Earth plugin, just click the Hello, Earth link above

*OK, so you’ve been able to access Google Earth in Windows for a while. #1 I didn’t know and #2 I don’t consider things real until they’re cross system.

GE: Google Electric?

Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO, Google interviews Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO, of GE about what needs to be done regarding renewable energy in Electricity 2.0.

Jeffrey says that solving the energy problem is not hard (as compared to say health care). Hilarious Al Gore cameo. Esther Dyson too!

Much more cool video at Zeitgeist of 2008 from the GoogleTube.

Dangerous amusements

I was emailing someone to tell them not to worry when a big site like Flickr or YouTube loses a bunch of media, that despite the fact that those sites are massive and complex systems, there’s a lot of smart people there who spend all their time figuring out how the systems work and how to improve and fix them.

Then it struck me that 200 years ago, those very same “best & brightest” were working to discover the undiscovered and better understand the immensity of Creation.

Suddenly the comforting thought wasn’t all that comforting.

Time to get busy folks.

in the google cloud

Mt Cloudy by g0da

In Google Takes to The Cloud With App Hosting Platform, internetnews.com reports on The Google’s latest party favor: Google App Engine.

“With Google App Engine, developers can write Web applications based on the same building blocks that Google uses,” Kevin Gibbs, Google’s technical lead for the project, wrote in a company blog (link). “Google App Engine packages those building blocks and provides access to scalable infrastructure that we hope will make it easier for developers to scale their applications automatically as they grow.

Translation: Use our blocks, kids. They’re the bestest.

This photo is titled MT Cloudy and it’s part of GoDa;s picks. On the photo post he wrote:

From my balcony the other day,
A mountain of floating skyscrapers appeared,
Imagination took over…

I have no idea if ‘ll ever see the day when imagination takes over, but somedays I think I will…

Social networks … reaching out of their boxes?

Reaching out...

Wired wrote aboutthe newly minted Open Social platform yesterday saying:

From the preliminary details it looks like Google agrees with what we said a couple months ago — it’s time for social networks to open up. Instead of rolling out another “me too” platform, OpenSocial is basically three APIs bundled together that allows developers to roll out the same application across a number of participating social networks.

They returned to it today with Ning: OpenSocial is Less About Silly Apps, where they quote Ning CEO Gina Bianchini as saying:

“The challenge with Facebook Apps today – and don’t get me wrong, we think that they are fantastic – is that there isn’t a lot of space for them to exist. You really only have one little box on a profile page. As a result of this constraint, the apps on Facebook tend to be more playful.”

I think that “playful” is shorthand for “silly” … I also think that the idea that apps (and eventually data) can bounce from platform to platform is yet another speed limit to fall on the Information Superhighway (sorry to get all 1999 on you there). If you want to get your geek on, read Open Social: a new universe of social applications all over the web, where Netscape founder and Ning principal Marc Andresson explores the new Open Social API in depth.

It’s a pretty good read and not too technical. I think he makes some interesting points about programming, especially when he says something to the effect of Standards that standardize standard behavior succeed. It sounds kind of “well DUH” but it’s an important point that is too often overlooked. I was gratified in a silly sort of way to see that Marc calls his blogroll a linkroll. I’d chalk it up to “great minds” but I think that the similarity between our minds begins and ends right about there.

The photo is Reaching out… by carf. It doesn’t appear to have anything at all to do with social networking, but his photos do appear to have very much to do with some very important things – check them out!