A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that the Dover, Pennsylvania, school board cannot have “intelligent design” taught in schools. The 139-page verdict concludes: “The secular purposes claimed by the board amount to a pretext for the board’s real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom.” It concluded that ID was “not science.” Click here for full ruling
December 20, 2005
December 15, 2005
I’ve a story in firstname.lastname@example.org today on the BOINC platform developed by SETI@home as a sort of distributed supercomputing operating system for the Internet. SETI@home itself moves onto the new platform today.
December 14, 2005
This weekâ€™s issue of Nature contains a survey ( it’s on free access) of the quality of a sample of scientific entries in Wikipedia. They emerged as having hardly any more errors than corresponding entries in Encyclopedia Brittanica, often considered the gold standard of encyclopedias. In the survey, in which I was involved, entries were reviewed by external experts in each of the topics.
December 13, 2005
Google Earth has set new standards for visualizing geographical information systems (GIS) data. Great for viewing the worldâ€™s sightseeing spots, your house, or the nearest hotels and restaurants at your business, or, holiday destination. But thatâ€™s a bit limited. The full extent of rich scientific, and other, GIS datasets often cannot yet be easily converted for viewing in Google Earth, because of differences in formats. Speak to anyone at various geographical or scientific databases these days and you often hear the same question: â€œHow can we get our data into Google Earth?â€ New computing tools are now emerging, however, that are changing this situation.
December 9, 2005
December 8, 2005
One of the best open source WYSIWYG web editors I’ve come across is the cross-platform NVU; it has much of the functionality of Dreamweaver or Frontpage, but it’s free. Also if you are looking for the ultimate open source text editor try VIM; it’s light, powerful, and can handle huge datasets.
Scientific American today reported on the threatened closure of Namru-2 in Indonesia (see previous post). Associated Press also report that the laboratory may now be given a stay of execution, and that this may be tied to financial terms of any vaccine produced from Indonesian viral samples.
December 7, 2005
In tomorrow’s issue of Nature, I’ve a short exclusive on Indonesia seeking to close down Namru-2, a US military lab which has played a key role in helping build the country’s influenza surveillance and testing infrastructure.
Here’s a couple of snippets:
Journalists are information professionals. We handle, and select, huge amounts of information every day, and add to it through our own investigations. That’s what we are paid for. But can we use new technologies to help us share our research better, rather than leaving it in notebooks and on our hard drives? I think so; here I kick off with just some personal reflections on bookmarks and web resources.
December 3, 2005
Skype, the voice over Internet telephone company, has just launched a free video beta, Skype 2.0, allowing videoconferencing calls. I’ve downloaded it, and it seems to work; more later…
My Skype tel number is declan6016
December 2, 2005
John Wilbanks, executive director of Science Commons has responded to the Nature editorial on data access and web services with a FAQ explaining in detail the application of Creative Commons licenses to databases.
From the Science Commons website: “Our goal is to encourage stakeholders to create areas of free access and inquiry using standardized licenses and other means; a ‘Science Commons’ built out of voluntary private agreements.”