The World Right Now

“What’s Going On?” – Marvin Gaye

Wireless Environmental Monitoring

The World Right Now

This reminds me, technology can mitigate its own impact.

“The global spread of wireless networks brings a great opportunity for their use in environmental studies. Weather, atmospheric conditions, and constituents cause propagation impairments on radio links. As such, while providing communication facilities, existing wireless communication systems can be used as a widely distributed, high-resolution atmospheric observation network, operating in real time with minimum supervision and without additional cost. Here we demonstrate how measurements of the received signal level, which are made in a cellular network, provide reliable measurements for surface rainfall. We compare the estimated rainfall intensity with radar and rain gauge measurements.”

Self Awareness

The World Right Now

Awareness of the world right now’s awareness of America.

WatchingAmerica reflects global opinion about the United States, helping Americans and non-Americans alike understand what the world thinks of current issues that involve the U.S. This is done by providing news and views about the United States published in other countries.

Must Be in the Front Row

The World Right Now

Imagine a TV remote control as easy to use as the iPod interface. Marry it to a processor that’s powerful enough to find all the cable channels snaking into your television or browse through all the music on your iPod. You can find all your stuff through one interface, but the problem is, you don’t _view_ or listen to the same stuff through the same display. So, can the interface travel with you. Can the iPod be your control for every device you walk past or sit down in front of?

“Remote Possibilities

The new Apple Remote makes it as easy to navigate through all the cool stuff on your computer as it is to navigate the songs in your iPod. A minimalist six buttons is all you really need. Play. Pause. Skip. Rewind. Crank up the volume. Whatever your pleasure, wherever you sit. Tip: you can use the Apple Remote to put your iMac to sleep. Simply press and hold the pause button for three seconds, just like iPod. Then, press any button to wake it up again.”

Bigger and Better Interfaces

The World Right Now

The wider and deeper availabilty of information from the world around us is outstripping our ability to keep it all useful and close at hand. Nobody thinks a single computer screen is the best place to bring it all together – here’s an example of someone experimenting with what is possible merely by increasing the size.

“Stuart Card, a senior research fellow at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, said the other thing that’s getting bigger is computer displays. Dr. Card has evidence of that in his own office in California, where he has six large computer screens attached to each other. “It has the surface area of a 5-foot table,” he said. He can use the screens as one large screen or several smaller ones and can easily move information from one area to another. Research suggests that having more information arrayed in front of them can actually help people have “bigger ideas,” Dr. Card said.

Tip of the NeuroHat to FUTUREdition from the Arlington Institute.

Remote Observatories

The World Right Now

Our place in the world right now.

“On 29 March a total solar eclipse will be observable from the island of Kastelorizo in Greece. The eTen funded D-Space project will, in collaboration with the Greek Astronomical Society, organise a mission to Kastelorizo in order to set up 2 solar telescopes and to transmit live the phenomenon through satellite and terrestrial link to the web. The D-space project is to deploy a virtual science thematic park that will connect schools, universities, science museums and parks with a network of robotic telescopes around the world. The project will give students, teachers, researchers and individuals (amateur astronomers, visitors of science parks) all around the world the opportunity to use remotely controlled robotic telescopes in real time.”

Wi-Fi Digital Cameras

The World Right Now

Another convergence of Neurosphere topics – network infrastructure and the world right now, evolving in tandem.

“The Wi-Fi digital cameras have arrived. Nikon recently began shipping its CoolPix P1 and P2 models (only narrowly beating Kodak to the punch). Both Nikons feature integrated Wi-Fi for sending pictures from camera to PC, as well as to a PC-connected printer, or directly to some printer models equipped with an optional USB/Wi-Fi adapter supplied by Nikon. The P1 ($550) is an 8-megapixel camera, the P2 ($400) a 5-megapixel model.”

World Changing Right Now

The World Right Now

Not only a wider awareness of the world right now, but a deeper knowledge.

“Ever stand in a grocery aisle contemplating the unknown (and potentially unappealing) story about where a product comes from and what it contains? Given the deceptive nature of advertising and packaging, the best way to get a straight answer about a product is to aggregate the opinions of its users. Enter GreenScanner, a public database of consumer opinions about the environmental accountability of over 600,000 products.”

Posted at 11:47 PM on April 18, 2006

Virtual Worlds Revisited

The World Right Now

During a bookstore appearance about my book, an audience member said, “there’s already a Neurosphere – it’s called Second Life.” Here’s a short interview with the founder. 175,000 “residents” and growing.

“Second Life creates an Internet-like environment in 3D. The best way I can show you why 3D is so important is to ask you to tell me the last five emails you read or the last three files you opened with Word or any file name from your docs directory? Almost impossible, right? … So when I show you stuff in Second Life — like my house — if you’re in that room once, you’ll never forget what I’m doing there or what I’m working on. Let’s say there’s a kid in China who can’t speak English well — he can get into Second Life and start making stuff because he doesn’t need to understand any of the concepts in words.”

Follow the Money

The World Right Now

Here’s an awareness of the world around us that could make a huge difference.

“’One of the next big steps in interactive television will be to let viewers find out instantly who the financial backers of public officials are, as they speak,’ C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb said.

‘It won’t be too long where if you’re watching a network like ours or any of the news networks and you see a political official on-screen, you’re going to be able to push a button and know instantly where the money is coming from,’ Lamb said during the opening session of the National Show here Sunday.”

Global Lip Service

The World Right Now

Here’s an international effort that the Bush Administration supports. “More study” of course is also the Administration’s response to global warming, hence their lack of support for Kyoto Protocols that might actually do something about what is observed. So far, in the U.S. part of GEOSS, they’ve completed a strategic plan, and have scheduled a workshop – breathtaking progress in only 14 months.

“On February 16, 2005, 61 countries agreed to a plan that, over the next 10 years, will revolutionize the understanding of Earth and how it works. Agreement for a 10-year implementation plan for a Global Earth Observation System of Systems, known as GEOSS, was reached by member countries of the Group on Earth Observations at the Third Observation Summit held in Brussels. Nearly 40 international organizations also support the emerging global network. The GEOSS project will help all nations involved produce and manage their information in a way that benefits the environment as well as humanity by taking a pulse of the planet.”