Stories tagged internet


What does the future hold in store, Arthur?
What does the future hold in store, Arthur?Courtesy Mamyjomarash
Oh, hey there, Buzzketeers! Do you know what day it is today? That's right: it's Wednesday! It's also July 11, and twenty-nine years ago today, one JGordon burst screaming from his mother's thoracic cavity, covered in gore and bits of sternum. He would go on to grow a beard, to grow taller and weaker than any other member of his family, and to learn about childbirth from the movie Alien. And also to use the Internet.

Who could have predicted any of that? Sure, my mother and father consulted the stars, the entrails of guinea pigs, and their massive probability crunching computer (which runs on star dust and rodent entrails, coincidentally), and they predicted some things correctly. Their son would never have a tail. Their son would have an older brother. Their son would likely be male, if he wasn't female. Their son would accidentally staple a Kleenex to his finger in 7th grade. But how could they have guessed the rest? Could anyone have?

Yes! Sit back and let your mind-holes be cracked wide open by black and white footage of Arthur C. Clarke taking a break from writing about ape frenzies to tell us about how things would be. Now that we can compare "would be" with "are be," it's pretty uncanny.

Here A-Clarke essentially predicts LOLCats:

And here Wart tells us how much we will like Facebook:

And here ACC shows us how much we will be into nehru collars in a couple years:

(I guess he also has some things to say about private spaceflight, nanotech materials, and other stuff.)

Man oh man! If only Sir Arthur was around today to tell me what the next 29 years have in store! Super strong robotic arms, maybe?

Internet: Don't look too closely at white parts.
Internet: Don't look too closely at white parts.Courtesy The OPTE Project
40 years ago today Leonard Kleinrock sent the first internet message via a network between Stanford University and UCLA. I think the message said something like, "Dooood! Did you hear than new Girl Talk song? He totally mashed the Trashmen and Herman's Hermits perfectly." But seriously, this simple messaging technology set the ground for the interconnected web of computers that is pretty much essential to my daily life today.

Happy Birthday Internet. At 40, I suppose it's time you bought a Porsche.

A computer program called CyberLover mimics the conversation of an on-line dating service chat room. The program fools users into divulging personal information, which can lead to identity theft -- and heartbreak.

2007 A Health 2.0 community A Health 2.0 communityCourtesy RevolutionHealth

What is Health 2.0?

Health 1.0 would be like going to the doctor and the doctor tells you his diagnosis and prescribes a treatment plan. Health 2.0 involves more interactive communication involving groups of patients and doctors.

Treating a sty in my eye the old way

To demonstrate how Health 2.0 works I am going to share with you a health problem I recently had and how it might be resolved using these two models of health care. I have had allergies for several decades but after getting sawdust in my eye, my eyes often were itchy. After a few months of this I noticed a sty on the inside of my lower eyelid (a white, puss filled pustule). I tried squeezing it. Eventually I managed to lance it with a needle. After repeating this "treatment" four more times over the next six months I decided to consult a doctor.

First, I did an internet search and decided that I had blepharitis and recurring hordeolums. I printed out data about these conditions and scheduled a doctor appointment. The doctor did not want to look at my information. He did not even want to look at my eyes but instead said, "I am referring you to an eye specialist".

The eye specialist agreed with my diagnosis and wrote a prescription for both antibiotic pills and eye drops. He said I needed to practice good eye hygiene for the rest of my life (using hot packs and swabbing my lower eyelids with diluted baby shampoo).

Treating a sty in my eye the Health 2.0 way

The first website I joined that had many Health 2.0 type features was Revolution Health. Upon landing on their home page you might first notice red box (upper right) to help you find a doctor, dentist, or hospital. Upon clicking on it I was given the choices "find doctor or specialist by specialty, conditions, or treatments & procedures. Another option was to see "patient reviews and ratings on doctors, dentists, and hospitals in your area."

My hope was to learn about my problem and fix it without needing a doctor so I found a feature called "symptom-checker" provided by First I looked under adult symptoms (child symptoms are in a different column). I then clicked on "Eye discomfort and redness" I checked the box by "Red, painful lump on eyelid" and clicked submit. The result was "A sty is an eyelid infection. Treatment may be with antibiotics." There was also a link labeled "sty" that took me to an eight page article about styes (hordeolums) advising what to do and not do (apply hot compresses and "Don't try to squeeze the pus from a sty on your own"). Three people had rated this advice, two gave it a zero and one gave it a 50%.

Entering "sty" in their "search" box resulted in 82 hits. On top was Revolution Health's page labeled "Sty" with links to basics, causes, treatments, and when to see a doctor. There were also links to Dr. Jackie Griffiths "A blog of vision: focus on your eyes" and a post titled Styes: When should they be removed?

In second place was a page about "ocular lubricant" for sty relief including use, side effects, interactions, dosage, and important information.

A Health 2.0 community should help you:

  • Figure out what the problem is (differential diagnosis)
  • Decide on and apply a treatment plan
  • Recommends doctors near to you that have experience with treating your problem
  • Provides you with patient satisfaction data (based upon feedback from their previous patients) for various doctors.
  • Provide access to forums (on line discussion) where people who have your problem can offer support or share what they have learned that might help you with your problem.

iMedix is another Health 2.0 service

Another health search engine + patient social network startup is iMedix. iMedix is now in beta mode (early experimental phase). I plan to join up and will write another review soon.


Every known species to be included.

Encylopedia of Life
Encylopedia of Life
For the first time in the history of the planet, scientists, students, and citizens will have multi-media access to all known living species, even those that have just been discovered.
The Encyclopedia of Life, to be developed over the next ten years, will provide, via the internet, written information and, when available, photographs, video, sound, location maps, and other multimedia information on each species. The Encyclopedia will be a moderated wiki-style environment.

In terms of practical accountability, efforts are currently being headed by a steering committee of senior officers from Harvard University, Smithsonian Institution, Field Museum, Marine Biological Laboratory, Biodiversity Heritage Library consortium, Missouri Botanical Garden, and the MacArthur and Sloan Foundations. ... Encyclopedia of Life and its board will work with scientists across the globe, securing the involvement of those individuals and institutions that are established experts on each species. Sources

$12.5 million in seed money.

Grant money from the John D. and Catherine T.
MacArthur Foundation($10 million) and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation ($2.5 million) enabled the project to pick up speed. The list of Encylopedia of Life's partners includes Edward O. Wilson as honorary chair of the advisory board.

Learn more about the Encylopedia of Life project:

Who Is Sick?" is a website that tracks illness at the individual level. Look up your neighborhood and see how many people have the flu, a cold, allergies, whatever. (Participation is purely voluntary.)

How do you get started on the internet looking for science information? I jump on Google and get searching. But this can cause you to miss a ton of great science resources that are invisible to the search engine. Too dig a little deeper check out the Online Educational Database's Research Beyond Google -- science resources for some stuff you won't see on Google.


Learning with Web 2.0: photo from Wikimedia
Learning with Web 2.0: photo from Wikimedia

Learning how to learn

Want to learn something? How do you find what you are looking for? Today's internet is evolving. Some parts of it are referred to as "Web 2.0". If you wish gain some new learning techniques, I recommend "learning by doing" and to accept my "Do a Dozen" challenge.

The SMM "Do a Dozen" challenge

Listed below are a dozen things (or small exercises) that you can do on the web to explore and expand your knowledge of the Internet and Web 2.0.

  1. Open up the Seven and 1/2 Habits of Highly Successful Lifelong Learners and view the online tutorial. The tutorial is 14 minutes. You will need headphones or speakers.
  2. Set up your own blog and add your first post(entry).
  3. Learn about RSS feeds and setup your own Google Reader account. To give you an idea of what I am reading I activated a feature called Art's Shared Items.
  4. Learn about and explore Flickr (a photo hosting site and community)
  5. Use picasa software to edit and publish some of your photos, create an album, burn it onto a CD as a slide show that plays in DVD players, and create a CD cover which shows all the pictures contained on the CD.
  6. Learn how to use and understand how tags can be used to find information
  7. Explore technorati and learn how tags work with blog posts.
  8. Roll your own search engine with Rollyo
  9. Learn about wikis and participate in creating one.
  10. Learn how to use some personal productivity tools (spreadsheets and word processing)
  11. Learn how to find and use audiobooks, music, and videos on the internet.
  12. Add to this list by creating a "How To ..." article on your blog

I will lead the way.

I am learning by doing. I did the first three this evening, and hope to do more soon. I am a beginner at this, but will help you if I can. You can use comments to ask for help or let me know how you are doing.

I wish to acknowledge Helene Blowers and the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County for inspiring this project.