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> september 2001
sampling new cultural context
friday :: september 28, 2001
  perspectives in astrobiology
the life in the universe

NASA join NATO in sponsoring an Advanced Studies Institute entitled "Perspectives in Astrobiology, to be held in Crete, from September 29 through October 10, 2001. It will produce the first in-depth book devoted exclusively to the major aspects of this rapidly developing new field. Astrobiology is a newly emerging multidisciplinary field triggered by paradigm shifts resulting from discoveries regarding microbial extremophiles and evidence for possible microfossils in the Mars meteorite. Astrobiology addresses fundamental questions of interest to all mankind: "Is life unique to Earth-or is it a Cosmic Imperative?" "What are the physical, temporal, and environmental limitations of life on Earth?" "What is the origin, distribution, evolution, and destiny of life in the Universe?". The Institute considers the paleoemergence of life on Earth and Mars and the relevance of microbial extremophiles from the deep subsurface and hydrothermal vents and ancient viable microorganisms from deep ice in the polar caps and permafrost to planetary habitats and Astrobiology. The importance of definitive indicators of biogenicity to the recognition of traces of life in ancient terrestrial rocks, returned samples and astromaterials will be explored. From *Perspectives in Astrobiology site*.

wednesday :: september 26, 2001
  RealOne platform
audio and video with contextual information

Supporting open standards like SMIL and SVG, RealNetworks unveiled "RealOne Platform, a new integrated media platform for connecting consumers to content.

At the core of the platform is its media engine, RealOne Player, which combines and reinvents the industry-leading RealPlayer and RealJukebox and adds to them a powerful new media browser to give consumers an unmatched, multi-dimensional media experience.

RealOne Platform enables content providers to easily author content using standard Internet languages, extending their current Web sites to create an immersive multimedia experience which features audio and video playback with contextual information." For example, a person watching a movie trailer through the new player could also read film reviews and find information on where the movie is playing and how to purchase tickets.

The consumer launch of RealOne will occur in the next 60 days -- *download RealOne Player "Preview" Version here* --. Announcement comes when RealNetworks is trying to stay ahead of Microsoft in the streaming media battle. RealNetworks is considered the leader -- with 220 million users and 300,000 paid subscribers -- but faces the upcoming challenge from MS which will embed its media player in the Windows XP operating system.

From *RealNetworks Introduces RealOne Platform*, september 24, 2001.

tuesday :: september 25, 2001
  life come from explosions of stars
toward a standard model of supernovae

While it takes millions of years for a star to evolve, the core collapse supernova explosion takes place in just hours. "Life as we know it would not exist if not for these incredible explosions of stars," said astrophysicist Tony Mezzacappa. "When stars die in these explosions that generate billions upon billions of watts of energy, elements necessary for life are strewn throughout the galaxy and become part of the 'soup' from which our solar system formed." The project on nuclear astrophysics to study this phenomenon, "Shedding New Light on Exploding Stars: Terascale Simulations of Neutrino-Driven SuperNovae and Their NucleoSynthesis," is a five-year $9.2 million Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing project (*SciDAC*).

"The advent of computing resources capable of trillions of calculations per second makes it possible to carry out the necessary large-scale three-dimensional simulations to understand the supernova explosion mechanism and all the phenomena that accompany the explosion of stars," Mezzacappa said.

From *ORNL heads DOE project that looks to the stars*, September 18, 2001.

saturday :: september 22, 2001
  autumnal equinox
sunrise at the south pole

The autumnal equinox marks the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern hemisphere.

On the day of the equinox sunlight and darkness are of almost equal length -- equinox means "equal night" --. At the south pole the sun rises, and at the north pole it sets for six months. Equinoxes occur when the subsolar point (the location on Earth where the Sun is directly overhead) crosses the equator, once in March (the Vernal Equinox) and again in September (the Autumnal Equinox). The subsolar latitude moves around during the year because the Earth's spin axis is tilted 23.5 degrees. If there were no tilt, we would have no appreciable seasons.

By convention, equinoxes and solstices are named after the corresponding season in the northern hemisphere. When the north pole of a planet is tilted toward the sun, astronomers call it the Summer Solstice; when the south pole is tilted toward the sun it is called the Winter Solstice. Every planet in the solar system has seasons. Most have four seasons like the Earth. The approximate dates of recent solstices and equinoxes for the other planets are tabulated in this url.

From *Sunrise at the South Pole*, science@nasa

>related context

The Fall Is Upon Us
Insight Into The Equinox

wednesday :: september 19, 2001
  parasitic computing
computing with the communication infrastructure

On the Internet, reliable communication is guaranteed by a standard set of protocols, used by all computers. These protocols can be exploited to compute with the communication infrastructure, transforming the Internet into a distributed computer in which servers unwittingly perform computation on behalf of a remote node. In this model, one machine forces target computers to solve a piece of a complex computational problem merely by engaging them in standard communication.

Parasitic computing raises important questions about the ownership of the resources connected to the Internet and challenges current computing paradigms. The purpose of our work is to raise awareness of the existence of these issues, before they could be exploited. By publishing our work we wish to bring the Internet's various existing vulnerabilities to the attention of both the scientific community and the society at large, so that the ethical, legal and scientific ramifications raised by it can be resolved. Our implementation of parasitic computing is not efficient. If it is made efficient, it could offer unlimited computational power. How should it be dealt with then? Should it be allowed under controlled circumstances? These are issues that the community must address shortly.

From *Parasitic Computing web site*, last modified september 9, 2001.

tuesday :: september 18, 2001
  rosh hashanah
jewish new year 5762

"The Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashanah is widely known and celebrated as the New Year's Day of the Jewish calendar. Celebrated with it's holiday greeting cards, special prayers, and festive and sweet foods (to ensure sweetness in the New Year). Rosh Hashanah is observed the first and second day of the seventh month of the Jewish calender, Tishri. Coming in the Fall season of the western calendar, usually in September. It is believed that on Rosh Hashanah the destiny of all mankind is recorded by G-d in the Book of Life. After Rosh Hashanah services, as the congregants leave the synagogue they say to each other... "May you be inscribed in the Book of Life."

Jews visit a body of water or pond, containing live fish*, to symbolically "cast away" their sins into the river. The fish's dependence on water symbolizes the Jews dependence on G-d, as a fish's eyes never close, G-d's watchful eyes never cease.

On Rosh Hashanah it is customary for families to gather together for the holiday meal. Traditional foods sweetened with honey, apples and carrots are served, symbolizing sweetness, blessings, abundance and the hope for a sweet year ahead. The first night's meal begins with apple dipped in honey. Challah, the bread usually eaten on the Sabbath (not braided as at regular meals but instead baked in a circle - a wish that the coming year will roll around smoothly without unhappiness or sorrow) is also dipped in honey before eating."

From *The Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashanah*

monday :: september 17, 2001
  chaos computer club
for info peace
international understanding more important than ever

As a reaction to the inconceivable murders in the US, an appeal to destroy web sites and other communication systems linked to the Internet in Islamic countries or used by Islamic organisations is currently passed around in the hackers scene.

The Chaos Computer Club strongly condemns this appeal and asks the public to ignore said appeal and similar ones. Being a galactic union of hackers, we simply cannot imagine to divide the world into good and bad at this moment and use -- of all reason -- religion as a criterion for such a segregation. Understanding the recent events is a real challenge for every person on this planet and in the global village. Being hackers, however, we should try to do the now necessary "world processing" in the spirit of humanity. "We face this power of destruction and feel helpless. However, we believe in the power of communication, a power that has always prevailed in the end and is a more positive force than hatred", said Jens Ohlig, spokesman of the CCC. "Electronic communication infrastructures like the Internet are now necessary to contribute to international understanding. In a situation like this, which is understandably tense, it's simply not acceptable to cut lines of communication and provide a stronger foundation for ignorance", CCC-spokesman Andy Miller-Maguhn added.

The Chaos Computer Club, celebrating its 20th anniversary, demands informational freedom and at least world-wide, unhampered communication as a human right in its by-laws. In 1999, the CCC joined an international coalition of hacker groups to strongly condemn the use of networks as battlegrounds: "DO NOT support any acts of 'Cyberwar.' Keep the networks of communication alive. They are the nervous system for human progress." The 1999 declaration of info peace can be found at http://www.ccc.de/CRD/CRD19990107.html

From *Chaos Computer Club condemns attacks against communication systems*, september 13, 2001.

friday :: september 14, 2001
  social skills earlier than thought
early evidence of social safety net

Teeth and jaw fossils found last year in southeastern France not only reinforce perceptions about how our Neandertal ancestors developed physically, but also suggest that their social and technological development was much more advanced than previously documented. An international team of scientists, including Erik Trinkaus, studied two ancient teeth and a large segment of a lower jaw. From the shape of the jaw fragment, scientists can see that the cheek was beginning to sweep back, demonstrating that the face was losing strength. Because of the changing patterns of food preparation, less forceful mastication was needed. That finding reinforces concepts derived from examining the otherwise limited fossil record. But the jaw also has changed perceptions about early human behavior, specifically when the early humans began to care for, and support, people within their groups who had difficulty caring for themselves. Previous fossils have shown evidence of caring for infants with congenital problems, but the jaw provides the first evidence of long-term survival of someone without effective chewing. "This is the oldest example of someone surviving for some period of time without an effective set of choppers," Trinkaus said. "There had to have been extensive preparation of food -a combination of cutting and cooking- before this person could eat. They had good cutting tools and controlled fire, but the absence of real hearths and tools that would have done more than dice the food suggests that this individual was being given softer food items by other members of the social group. Although commonplace among later Neandertals and recent humans, such survival of toothless humans is unknown for earlier time periods."

From *Pre-Neandertal humans developed social skills earlier than thought*, september 12, 2001.

thursday :: september 13, 2001
  center for cosmological physics
probing phenomena beyond standard model

The University of Chicago has received a $15 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish a new national research center where researchers will spend the next five years probing the universe and studying astrophysical phenomena still unexplained by the known laws of physics. The new center is among the NSF's inaugural Physics Frontier Centers. "The frontier that we're proposing to explore is to my mind the ultimate frontier because it delves into the laws of physics governing the entire universe," said center Director Bruce Winstein. "In the area of astrophysical cosmology we do have clear signs of new phenomena, new physics beyond the standard model," Winstein said. "They are addressable by experiment and can be probed with new instruments." Among these phenomena are dark matter and dark energy. Dark matter is invisible to telescopes, but astrophysicists know it exists by its gravitational interactions with visible matter. Dark energy is a mysterious repulsive force that apparently is causing the universe's expansion to accelerate rather than slow down, as astrophysicists had expected to find. Also difficult to square with the Standard Model is the fact that points on the sky which have apparently never been in contact with each other have almost exactly the same temperature. Equally baffling are the rare but extremely powerful high-energy particles of unknown origin that periodically bombard the Earth.

From *Probing Phenomena That Go Beyond The Standard Model*, september 6, 2001.

wednesday :: september 12, 2001
  scalable vector graphics version 1.0
xml-based vector graphics to the web

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has issued Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.0 as a W3C Recommendation, representing cross-industry agreement on an XML-based language that allows authors to create two dimensional vector graphics. Web designers have requirements for graphics formats which display well on a range of different devices, screen sizes, and printer resolutions. They need rich graphical capabilities, good internationalization, responsive animation and interactive behavior in a way that takes advantage of the growing XML infrastructure used in e-commerce, publishing, and business to business communication. "With SVG, Web Graphics move firmly from mere decoration to true graphical information," declared Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. "Scalable Vector Graphics are the key to providing rich, reusable visual content for the Web. At last, designers have the open graphics format they need to make professional graphics not only work visually on the Web, but perform as searchable, reusable Web content." SVG 1.0 brings the advantages of XML to the world of vector graphics. It enables the textual content of graphics - from logos to diagrams - to be searched, indexed, and displayed in multiple languages. This is a significant benefit for both accessibility and internationalization. In addition to being an excellent format for stand-alone graphics, the full power of SVG 1.0 is seen when it is combined with other XML grammars; for example to deliver multimedia applications, or provide rendering capability for business data - from interactive charts to process visualization.

From *World Wide Web Consortium Issues Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.0 as a Recommendation*september 5, 2001.

tuesday :: september 11, 2001
America under attack

Remarks by the President After Two Planes Crash Into World Trade Center
september 11, 2001 .
source = white house

Analysis of Early Media Coverage
by christopher mitchell. september 11, 2001 .
source = indymedia

Scripting News weblog

september 11, 2001.
source= dave winer's scripting news

Internet Use after "Attack on America"

and Words for All of Us
by Vinton Cerf. september 11, 2001.
source= Internet Society

ccc condemns attacks against communication systems.

september 13, 2001.
source= chaos computer club

CPSR Statement on the Terrorist Attack

source= Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility

Improve security not eliminate freedoms

source= Electronic Frontier Foundation

Artist and scientist in times of war
by roger malina
source= leonardo electronic almanac

Updated news on attacks in US

source = google current events

Web resources for journalists covering the terrorist attacks

source= Paul Grabowicz, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

Intelligence Challenges Through 2015

by John C. Gannon. april 27, 2000 .
source = cia

decentralism against terrorism
september 11, 2001.
source= eric s. raymond

justice not retaliation! seattle 911 peace coalition
september 15, 2001.
source= seattle civic network

thousands dead, millions deprived of civil liberties?
september 18, 2001.
source= richard stallman

in defense of freedom declaration

september 20, 2001.
source= in defense of freedom

icann meeting, preliminary announcement
26 september 26, 2001
on stability and security of the net's naming and addressing systems
source= icann

protect the Internet by Vinton Cerf
october 1, 2001.
hacktivism. ethical hackers to protect the internet program
source= cyberangels special message

tuesday :: september 11, 2001
ethiopian new year 1994

"The Ethiopian New Year falls in September, at the end of the long rains. The sun comes out to shine all day long. The highlands turn to gold as the Maskel daises burst out in all their splendor. Ethiopian children in brand new clothes, dance through the villages giving bouquets of flowers and painted pictures to each household... the little girls singing and dancing in pretty new dresses among the flowers in the fields convey the message of springtime and renewed life. The day is called Enkutatash meaning the "gift of jewels". When the famous Queen of Sheba returned from her expensive jaunt to visit King Solomon in Jerusalem, her chiefs welcomed her back by replenishing her treasury, with Inku or jewels. The spring festival has been celebrated since these early times and as the rains come to their abrupt end, dancing and singing can be heard in every village in the green countryside. After dusk, on New Year's Eve, people light fires outside their houses."

From *Enkutatash, New Year*
Links from Ethiopia at The ACG Ethiopia Page

monday :: september 10, 2001
  public library of science journals
a new model for scientific publishing new sonic method

The Public Library of Science is a grassroots initiative by scientists. In the 10 months since their published an open letter to support the establishment of an international online public library on medicine and the life sciences, more than 26,500 scientists from 170 countries have signed it. "To encourage the publishers of our journals to support this endeavor, we pledge that, beginning in September, 2001, we will publish in, edit or review for, and personally subscribe to, only those scholarly and scientific journals that have agreed to grant unrestricted free distribution rights to any and all original research reports that they have published, through PubMed Central and similar online public resources, within 6 months of their initial publication date." Now some journals adopted the policies they advocate, "however, the resistance this initiative has met from most of the scientific publishers has made it clear that if we really want to change the publication of scientific research, we must do the publishing ourselves. It is now time for us to work together to create the journals we have called for." So they will launch early next year new scientific journals that will publish peer-reviewed scientific research reports online with no restrictions on access or distribution. Articles published by the forthcoming journals will be released under terms of a new *Public Library of Science Open Access License*, analogous to the way in which open source software is produced. The costs of peer review, editorial oversight and publication will be recovered primarily by charges to authors (approximately $300 per published article; costs will be subsidized for authors who can not afford these charges.)

From *The Public Library of Science site*

>related context

Concerns over commercial control of medical research.
Maintaining the integrity of the scientific record by members of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. September 9, 2001

Science must push copyright aside
by Richard Stallman. June 20, 2001

friday :: september 7, 2001
  detection of viruses
new sonic method

A team of Cambridge University scientists have invented a new method that could revolutionize the way scientists detect viruses. It works by "vibrating" viruses and listening to the sound they make as they break away from a surface. The secret lies in tiny quartz crystals less than 1 cm in diameter and 1 mm thick. An antibody is used to bind the virus to the surface of the quartz and the crystal is then made to vibrate electrically. As the virus breaks off the crystal, it makes a distinctive noise -- like the sound made when a twig snaps. The crystal is then used as a sensitive microphone to convert the sound back into an electrical signal that detects the virus. The method is inexpensive, versatile and the results are obtained much more quickly than conventional techniques. "In our tests, we used a herpes simplex virus, which causes cold sores, and which is a useful model for more life-threatening viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis B. The whole process is completed in under two hours, and we hope will eventually be able to eliminate anxious waiting periods for patients being diagnosed," Dr. Cooper said. A company, called Akubio, has been formed to commercialize the technology. The aim is to make the instrument smaller and to extend the range of samples that can be detected to include bacteria, proteins and DNA.

From *Making Viruses Vibrate To Signal Their Whereabouts*, september 4, 2001.

thursday :: september 6, 2001
  first controllable nanopatterns
nanotemplates for nanostructures

"The work --which to our knowledge is the first unambiguous observation of the expected sequence of domain patterns-- helps understand the new physics that manifests itself at these small length scales," says Sandia project lead Gary Kellogg. The researchers observed atoms of lead deposited on a copper substrate forming, first, lead dots, then lead stripes, and then reverse dots, copper becoming the dot material, as more lead is added. Sandia researchers were able to record real-time, real-space images using a low-energy electron microscope (LEEM) that show exactly how the nanostructures are generated, self-assemble, and transform. "The close agreement between experiment and theory allows us to probe the key inter-atomic force parameters involved in the process,"says Kellogg. Pattern control at this level means that nanotemplates could be formed to fine-tune the device characteristics of self-assembling nanostructures. Possibly, characteristics could be tailored for devices like photonic lattices, an advanced method for controlling light and of wide interest to the huge telecommunications industry.

From *Nanotemplates for nanostructures. First controllable 2D nanopatterns imaged by Sandia researchers* august 30, 2001.

monday :: september 5, 2001
  revolutionary semiconductor materials
from integrated circuits to integrated semiconductor circuits

Motorola Labs scientists are the first to develop the technology that allow to combine light-emitting semiconductors -- known as the III-V materials, like gallium arsenide, indium phosphide or gallium nitride -- with silicon integrated circuits on a single chip. Discovery solves a problem that has been vexing the semiconductor industry for nearly 30 years. "This is a tremendous achievement by our scientists and one that has the potential, when fully commercialized, to transform the industry in a way that is similar to the transition from discrete semiconductors to integrated circuits," said Dennis Roberson, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Motorola.

From *Motorola Creates Revolutionary Semiconductor Materials; Potential to Transform Economics of Communications and Semiconductor Industries* Semiconductor Online, september 4, 2001.

>related context

Internet II: Rebooting America
by Michael S. Malone, Forbes ASAP. september 10, 2001


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