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March 7, 2002

NCSA and American Museum of Natural History Take Remote Collaboration to New Level to Create Space Show Visitors are being dazzled by the new space show, "The Search for Life: Are We Alone?" at the American Museum of Natural History's (AMNH) Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space (in Champaign, Illinois? Sometimes press releases omit the most basic information). What significant is that the show was developed for the CAVE system using real-time interaction between staff at NCSA on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana-Champaign and at the Rose Center in New York City. Connection between the two sites was provided by Internet II in a demonstration of what can be accomplished with high speed networking. If you don't have time to read the article, at least take a few seconds and view one of the images. By Karen Green, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, March 7, 2002.[Refer]

3-D Med School, Hold the Cadavers A couple of high profile news releases for the CAVE virtual reality similator this week.

A new immersive simulation of the human body at the University of Calgary allows researchers to understand complex processes. "More seriously, though, Sensen says large sets of data from such subjects as gene expression can now be seen more clearly than ever. Currently, such genomic information is plotted into a cloud of points, something he calls 'unimaginative.'" The Calgary simulation is unique because it was designed using Java 3D outside the facility, freeing the system for other users and lowering development costs. By Charles Mandel , Wired News, March 5, 2002.[Refer]

21st Century Literacy in a Convergent Media World This is a major white paper sponsored by Bertelsmann and AOL Time Warner as a discussion document for the 21st Centeury Literacy Conference being held this week in Berlin. It is required reading for policy makers in learning, human resources and government. It is one of the few papers in any of these fields to explicitly make the connection between new forms of learning and new forms of government. And it represents not only a strong grasp of the potential new technology embodies but also some of the decisions administrators will have to make in order to realize that potential. The paper is in PDF format, so it is unreadable online, but at 102 pages, be prepared for a long print run. Do print it out, though, and keep it on your shelf as a reference; the appendice contain some thirty-five pages of best practice examples you will want to visit during your free time (hah!). The essay probably requires at some point a detailed and careful criticism, for while there is a lot of value in many of the recommendations, there is overall a greater emphasis in the paper on the responsibility of citizens (as opposed to, say, the empowerment of citizens). But no matter what you think of this paper, it is a solid read, well informed, authoritative and clearly written. By White Paper, 21st Century Literacy Conference, March 7, 2002.[Refer]

Free Speech Under Attack Without vouching either for the credibility of the book nor the fairness of the coverage in this article, it is nonetheless important to note the use of copyright restrictions by Scientific American to stifle criticism of its review of Bjørn Lomborg's book "The Skeptical Environmentalist". As this article states, "If the digital copy-protection legislation that entertainment industries seek becomes a reality, one can expect many more restrictions on speech in boilerplate 'licensing' agreements, and additional legislation that will make it easy for corporate titans to silence critics a la Lomborg." Lomborg has removed the offending article, but thanks to the miracle of Google caching the original version of his page may be found here. By Glenn Harlan Reynolds, Tech Central Station, March 6, 2002.[Refer]

Learning Pool Learning Pool is a good example of the sort of think I have been calling 'network learning'. Its objective is to enable learning and training in local government in the U.K. using peer-to-peer file sharing technology that will enable every council and their employees to create, pool and exchange e-learning materials. By , , .[Refer]

Speech Bound to be Read This little item ought to give in-class lecturers pause for thought: speech recognition devices are now sufficiently sophisticated to enable students to capture a text version of the lecture. This article profiles an Australian project aimed at helping students who are hearing impaired, or have trouble understanding spoken English. I wonder what will happen what what is really said in the classroom is posted online for all to see. No doubt the Australian project will have safeguards. But not all recorders will be so nice. By Tracy Peacock, Australian IT, March 6, 2002.[Refer]


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