February 28, 2005

Help for the Digitial Divide?

This idea, reported in New Scientist, would help close the digital divide, at least in the developing world.

$100 laptop sought for world's poor
12 February 2005
Celeste Biever

STRIPPED-down $100 laptops could hugely boost computer ownership in the developing world. So says Nicholas Negroponte, former head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, who is on a drive to convince PC makers to develop cheaper computers. He outlined his idea at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, late last month. Full story (free).

February 23, 2005

Alive! What do you need to create life?

New Scientist reports on efforts to create real artificial life. Or "synthetic life," following the steps used to create artificial artificial life. Really.

New Scientisit, 12 February 2005, pp. 28-33. (note: link works for Hampshire community; available via LexisNexis).

February 22, 2005

The Pronunciator (not a linguist)

February 21, 2005
Audiobooks Have Their Henry Higgins
"... Paul Topping hunts for precise pronunciations of foreign expressions, medical maladies and obscure geographical and biological names."

Google "Cheat Sheet"

Find fun Google techniques on Google's cheat sheet. Finally, some kind of proximity searching with this technique: red * blue. The asterisk, they say, will help find "the words red and blue separated by exactly one word."

February 18, 2005

Hampshire "trials" OpenURL with Google Scholar

Google Scholar now includes HC Links! Search in Google Scholar and click on "Hampshire Access" in results. You'll see if Hampshire has access to the journal online, or if it's available in the library. It only works from http://scholar.google.com/schhp?inst=hampshire.edu (or from within the Hampshire IP range). Note: if you're not at Hampshire, the SFX/HC Links won't work ...

Of course, since it's beta, there are some issues. Like incomplete metadata, so links don't always work. And it's still unclear exactly what the scope of Google Scholar is (what journals are included? subject areas? what kinds of content are included? journals? books? dissertations?). That said, PubMed links work pretty well.

And this is a good opportunity to check out their worldcatlibraries option -- click on "Library Search", enter your zip code, and see if the book is in a nearby library. Again, this is only as good as Google's metadata.

February 14, 2005

Link your address book to Google Maps

This is a tip specifically for Mac users, but it's got interesting implications beyond the Mac universe.

"This AppleScript will add a 'Google Map Of' option to the Address contextual menu in the Address Book application. It will open Firefox and map out the address on the new maps.google.com mapping service. Note that Firefox *must* be installed for this to work." From MacOSXHints.com

Linking personal stuff to web searching. Hmmm. Lots of issues -- privacy, convenience. Implications for librarians? Linking favorite books to the catalog? Radio streaming playlist to amazon.com to buy CDs?

Autistic Savant Explains it All

(well, some of it)
From the Guardian UK: Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant. He can perform mind-boggling mathematical calculations at breakneck speeds. But unlike other savants, who can perform similar feats, Tammet can describe how he does it. He speaks seven languages and is even devising his own language. Now scientists are asking whether his exceptional abilities are the key to unlock the secrets of autism. Interview by Richard Johnson
Saturday February 12 2005
The Guardian
(thanks to Elton Joe for the link)

February 11, 2005

2 More New CS Books

Developing learning in early childhood; by Tina Bruce. publisher: Paul Chapman, 2004. for more info.

Logic made easy : how to know when language deceives you; by Bennett, Deborah J.. publisher: Norton, 2004. for more info.

February 08, 2005

Google Does Maps

Google Maps are pretty cool -- great graphics, nice display. Just what you'd expect from Google! Except: doesn't work on Safari or Mac / IE browsers. They say Safari is coming soon.

Note: it's very buggy, at least on Mac Firefox. Still: way cool.

February 07, 2005

2 New CS books

Motivation, Emotion, and Cognition: Integrative Perspectives on Intellectual Functioning and Development (The Educational Psychology Series); by David Yun Dai, Robert J. Sternberg. publisher: Erlbaum, 2004. for more info.

Spatial Reasoning and Planning Geometry, Mechanism, and Motion Series : Advanced Information Processing ; by Liu, Jiming and K. Laeeque. publisher: Springer, 2004. for more info.

New link in Animal Behavior

Added 1 cool link to the "Doing Research in Animal Behavior" page. Check out the Animal Diversity Web. This is a database of animal natural history, distribution, classification, and conservation biology. Includes photos and information about both phyla and specific species. From the University of Michigan.

February 02, 2005

A new language develops

The New York Times reports on a new language developing in Israel.

February 1, 2005
Science: A New Language Arises, and Scientists Watch It Evolve
By studying a signing system that spontaneously developed in an isolated Bedouin village, linguists have captured a new language being generated from scratch. Full Story here