Category: technology

100 Quotes by 100 Women about the Web

As more and more people awaken to the threats against our basic rights online, we must start a debate – everywhere – about the web we want.- Sir Tim Berners-Lee

Image source:
Image source:

Web We Want is a global movement to defend, claim and change the future of the Web. The focus is on using innovative approaches to build support for national and regional campaigns to create a world where everyone, everywhere is online and able to participate in a free flow of knowledge, ideas, collaboration and creativity over the open Web.

One of the projects and campaigns around the world is 100 quotes from Women about the Web. Behind this campaign is Renata Avila, Global Manager for the Web We Want Initiative, collected the quotes, pointing out that “one must remember that both the Web and the Internet were designed by men and that still the 50% of the global population has a lot of ideas, new structures, architectures and innovation to contribute to each layer. And women in our space are really present and active and vocal.”

You can read 100 quotes by women enagaged on the web, including yours truly. What is the web 100 women want?


Connecting the Quantum Dots

(This post was originally written for Australian Science)

Last week, after I spent a couple of days in Brest, Brittany at a ESF, EU workshop/seminar brainstorming with other internet and scientific researchers on interesting topics related to  internet science and innovation,  I got myself back to Paris. I visited a French national institute with an international reputation for  scientific excellence – ESPCI (École supérieure de physique et de chimie industrielles) and the CNRS department of Physics, Quantum Foundations – a group dedicated to  research on quantum effects in materials. Also, I took the opportunity to meet up with two Australian Science writers who reside in Paris: Rayna, and Charles.

ESPCI Paris Tech stands for Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institution (a French “Grande École d’ingénieurs”). Founded in 1882, ESPCI is a major institution of higher education – an internationally renowned research center, gathering  leading scientific innovators like Nobel Prize laureates Pierre and Marie Curie, Paul Langevin, Frédéric Joliot-Curie, Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, and Georges Charpak.

ESPCI ParisTech
ESPCI ParisTech

At ESPCI, I met with Arjen Dijksman, a physicist and researcher interested in tiny semiconductive nanoparticles, known as “quantum dots”. His background is in applied physics, and his research interests are focused on time-resolved spectroscopy of core-shell CdSe-CdS quantum dots. Arjen works at the Laboratoire de Physique et d’Étude des Matériaux − (Department of Physics and Materials Study) – an inspiring and interesting lab, and a place for the scientist interested in these innovative fields of physics.  Arjen is also a science blogger at Physics Intuitions, and you may not know the fact that Arjen is also the scientific database creator for Physics Quote of the Day: hashtag on Twitter #xsw (exploring the scientific world), he spent years collecting interesting quotes from famous scientists.

Before going to the lab, we stopped by ESPGG  – the  Pierre-Gilles de Gennes center, where science meets culture and society.  This open place is promoting international exchanges, meetings, lectures, exhibitions, and joint discussions between researchers, science communicators, journalists, artists, and storytellers interested in science and culture. Matteo Merzagora, a program director, introduced us to the Biophilia Education program happening this month: workshops led by musician Björk at the intersection between science, education and musical awakening.

Pierre-Gilles de Gennes center, Paris

During the lab tour, Arjen showed me the labs and demonstrated synthesis of Quantum Dots. Arjen’s research puts into practice the results of quantum mechanics using semiconductor nanocrystals. To the contrary of insulators, in which electric current can not flow, and conductors, where it can circulate easily, semiconductors are materials in which  current can only flow if one adds a little extra energy.

In his laboratory, Arjen synthesizes these crystals, dubbed  quantum dots . They are sometimes called “artificial atoms” because their diameter is of the order of a few nanometers – the size of a few atoms. Cadmium selenide, a semiconductor material, is often used because in that case, they show amazing properties of fluorescence. In particular, electrons are confined in the small volume of the quantum dots. They are unable to move out of this space. Continue reading “Connecting the Quantum Dots”

Making sense out of data: coding, creating, contributing

Ok,  here’s what I’ve been doing in the previous couple of weeks (among other things).  I cannot reveal it completely right now, just a little sneak-peak (see the snapshot). Beside e-resources and data I’ve been collecting, processing, and analysing, I’ve created a huge analogue map made out of more than 60 printed spreadsheets all over the office wall, and added some colour and cross-thematic coding. Now my creativity, the scientific story-telling, and writing is what I am challenging myself with in the next couple of weeks. Many of you searched in the box up here on the site how to overcome digital divides, and what are digital divides present in social media now so I know there is also a lot of interest in those topics. Some of my work on this will be published early in December.  The book chapter I’ve contributed to the Routledge Advances in Sociology series will be published in May 2013.  The link to the forthcoming book is

Interview / Marcus Foth

As an internet researcher and social media consultant, I ask some of the guests to tell me and my readers more about themselves, their current projects, and their views on topics including internet technology, the use of the Web in science and education, and certain aspects of the digital technologies that influence our everyday lives and work.  Earlier this month I had a conversation with Marcus Foth, the interview is published for Australian Science.

Marcus Foth is an Associate Professor and Director of the Urban Informatics Research Lab, as well as the Principal Research Fellow at the School of Design, Queensland University of Technology. He has authored and co-authored over 90 articles published in journals, edited books, and conference proceedings, as well as the Urban Informatics web site. You can follow him on Twitter.

mfWould you, please, tell our readers a little bit more about yourself? Where do you come from, both geographically and philosophically? What is your scientific background, and your professional scope? 

Certainly. I was born and grew up in the Northern part of Germany, in a town called Lübeck, at the coast of the Baltic Sea, about an hour from Hamburg. After high school I moved what appears to be as far away diagonally as possible within Germany in order to commence a computer science degree at the University of Furtwangen in the Black Forest that offered a – at the time – unique specialisation: Medieninformatik which combined technology applications and media studies. This was in 1997. The internet was just starting to become commercially successful, and many current students were still working on kiosk installations and multimedia CD-ROMs which were the latest fad at the time.
Continue reading “Interview / Marcus Foth”

Interview / Kingsley Idehen

Being a Semantic Web, Open Linked Data, Open Source enthusiast, and at some point the contributor to the AP for the FOAF and other metadata standards, recently I had an opportunity to talk with Kingsley Idehen on his current projects,  views on the use of the Web technologies, Open Linked Data,  WebID, serendipity, and certain aspects of the Internet that influence our everyday lives. The interview is published for Australian Science.

Kingsley Idehen is the Founder & CEO of OpenLink Software. He is a recognized technology enthusiast and expert in areas such as: Data Connectivity middleware, Linked Data, Data Integration, and Data Management.  He is also a founding member of DBpedia project via OpenLink Software. Kingsley’s  background is quite varied: he had planned to become a scientist in the genetic engineering realm but ended up being more fascinated by the power Information Technology and its potential to reshape mankind. From science, accounting, and programming, he followed his scientific instincts to architect OpenLinkVirtuoso, a powerful and innovative open source virtual database for SQL, XML, and Web services. The Virtuoso History page tells the whole story about Kingsley’s vision and accomplishments. You can follow him on Twitter and read his Google+ posts.

Would you explain to our readers a bit about the OpenLink Software, for those in the Web technology who may not be familiar with it? Can you give us a story about the inception, history, work and achievements of the OpenLink Software?

OpenLink Software develops, deploys, and supports bleeding edge technology covering the following realms:
1. Relational Database Connectivity Middleware — ODBC, JDBC, ADO.NET, OLE-DB, and XMLA Drivers/Providers
2. Disparate Data  Virtualization
3. Personal & Enterprise Collaboration
4. Relational Tables (RDBMS) and Relational Property Graph (Graph DB) based Database Management Systems
5. Federated Identity Management.

I founded OpenLink in 1992 with open database connectivity middleware supporting  all major RDBMS products as our focus. By 1998 we evolved our vision to include RDBMS virtualization, and by 2000 we decided that the Semantic Web technology stack provided all the critical standards that would enable us extend data virtualization to include other data sources and formats beyond the RDBMS.
Continue reading “Interview / Kingsley Idehen”

Nikola Tesla and the magic of science

Science is but a perversion of itself unless it has as its ultimate goal the betterment of humanity – Nikola Tesla

One of the greatest people in the history of science, and the greatest inventor of the post industrial society, Nikola Tesla, is the visionary that many people have never even heard of or about his work. He could visualise the future inventions with the greatest facility. Numerous articles have been published, books have been written related to this magician of the science. There are many sources about this man who lit the world, and his developments.

Among many Tesla’s inventions,  the most relevant that influence directly our everyday life include: radio, wireless telegraphy, remote control, robotics. He even photographed the bones of the human body. But the high point was the realisation of a childhood dream: harnessing the raging powers of Niagara Falls, and bringing light to the city. Tesla has over 700 patents to his name: invented the World First AC Generator which led to electrical development and enlightment of the world. This high frequency high volatage electricity is used today in many communication devices.

Also, Tesla’s Wireless power System including certain devices is now considered to be an untouched method to transmit electrical current without wires. Extraterrastrial Radio Transmitter – Teslascope, radio transceiver designed with the intention of communicating with extraterrestrial life on other planets. It received publicity after Tesla’s statement on the device was published by Time magazine in their July 20, 1931 issue celebrating Tesla’s 75th birthday.

We should mention here Tesla’s Earthquake Machine invention that probably many people never heard of. This is an excerpt from the New York World Telegram, July 11, 1935:

“Nikola Tesla revealed that an earthquake which drew police and ambulances to the region of his laboratory at 48 E. Houston St., New York, in 1898, was the result of a little machine he was experimenting with at the time which “you could put in your overcoat pocket.” The bewildered newspapermen pounced upon this as at least one thing they could understand and Nikola Tesla, “the father of modern electricity” told what had happened as follows:

Tesla stated, “I was experimenting with vibrations. I had one of my machines going and I wanted to see if I could get it in tune with the vibration of the building. I put it up notch after notch. There was a peculiar cracking sound. I asked my assistants where did the sound come from. They did not know. I put the machine up a few more notches. There was a louder cracking sound. I knew I was approaching the vibration of the steel building. I pushed the machine a little higher. “Suddenly all the heavy machinery in the place was flying around. I grabbed a hammer and broke the machine. The building would have been about our ears in another few minutes. Outside in the street there was pandemonium. The police and ambulances arrived. I told my assistants to say nothing. We told the police it must have been an earthquake. That’s all they ever knew about it.”

Nikola Tesla – called “the greatest geek who ever lived“, was not only the physicist, electrical engineer, philosopher, futurologyst, genius who lit the world, but above all – the humanist who created for the mankind.

Check out this very interesting TED presentation of Marco Tempest, who combined the projection mapping and a pop-up book, visually telling the story of Nikola Tesla.

Image source.

Australian Science cross-post.

Highlights from The World Wide Web 2012 conference

Please check the summary of posts, articles, and media release after the World Wide Web 2012 conference (#WWW2012).

Scientific American published the article “Phatic Posts: Even the Small Talk Can Be Big” – where I’m discussing the paper I presented at #WWW2012 on ‘phatic’ communications online: on brief and apparently trivial or mundane updates posted on social media.
For Australian Science online, I published ”Global Web, Society and Knowledge at #WWW2012”, some of my thoughts on workshops, sessions, and presentations as Part I of the #WWW2012 highlights. Part II “Connected and Free: World Wide Web professionals at #WWW2012” presents random notes and micro-opinion bits, focusing on people, attendants who have been actively participating in this web professionals meeting and their impressions of the conference. I’ve been tweeting before, during, and after the conference, you may check my Twitter stream and the hashtag #WWW2012.

This week Advocacy Global Voices Online published my article, reporting from France, on an inspiring keynote by Tim Berners-Lee (TBL), the inventor of the World Wide Web and Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Tim Berners-Lee: Protect the Open Web! #WWW2012

On April 16-20, 2012 the 21st International World Wide Web Conference (#WWW2012) gathered around 2,500 internet and social science professionals, web and mobile technology creators, researchers and scholars, in Lyon, France to discuss matters of global concern for the Internet and the Web. The main themes were “Society and Knowledge” and “The Future Direction of the Web”.

The conference agenda covered both social and technological issues, as well as Internet and democracy, free access to services, freedom of expression, regulation and censorship, control and copyright. The #WWW2012 proceedings are available online, so the many interesting papers can be downloaded. Plenary keynotes videos are also available.

I was a program committee member for a Making Sense of Microposts (#MSM12) workshop. I also presented a research paper on “phatic communication” and why tweets and Facebook updates on weather, food, and mundane life are useful for online communities, human relationships and social networks (I have written about this subject herehere, and here).

“Imagine what you want the world to look like”

But perhaps the major highlight of #WWW2012 was an inspiring keynote on April 18 by Tim Berners-Lee (TBL), the inventor of the World Wide Web and Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). He shared insights on the current situation of the web, as well as future directions that could threaten the vitality of the Internet. Rallying the crowd, he said, “Democracy depends on an open internet. Go out in the streets and complain that your democracy is being threatened. (It’s) a duty, something you have to do.”

Tim Berners-Lee at WWW2012
Tim Berners-Lee gives keynote speech at WWW2012: photo by Danica Radovanovic

TBL touched on the most pressing issues of open data, open government, privacy and control, Net Neutrality, and future generations. Continue reading “Highlights from The World Wide Web 2012 conference”