ABC (au) Radio National launches Pool

via Boing Boing

ABC Radio National has launched Pool:

It’s a place to share your creative work with the Pool community and ABC producers – upload music, photos, videos, documentaries, interviews, animations and more. It’s a collaborative space where audiences become makers. – About Pool

One aspect of Pool that got my attention is the use of Creative Commons licences. It is great to see the ABC exposing Creative Commons, RSS feeds and the like to their audience. The, government funded, ABC and particular Radio National and Triple J, have often been early to embrace aspects of new media. Radio National were one of the first old media organisations to offer podcasts of their programs.

I, an Australian, discovered the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Pool via post on Boing Boing, a North American blog, by Cory Doctorow, who lives in the UK. The web is truely global medium.

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Radiohead’s "House of Cards" video made without cameras

I am a big fan of Radiohead, their album In Rainbows and cool uses of technology, so this is the kind of think I like. The video for “House of Cards” from In Rainbows was not shot with cameras in the traditional sense. 3D data was captured using lasers and then rendered to produce the video. Very Cool.

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Astronomy study proves mathematics theorem

From New Scientist, Astronomy study proves mathematics theorem. As an astronomy and maths geek and teacher, this is the kind of story that makes me smile. The research concerns gravitational lens. This phenomenon occurs when the light from a very distant object is bent by the gravitational field of some objects between the distant object and the observer. This was a prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Depending on the mass and shape of the objects who’s gravitational field results in the lensing effect, multiple image of the distant object can be observed, this is where the mathematics comes in. It turns out that for a lens made of n stars, 5n – 5 is the maximum number images. It is not every day that The fundamental theorem of algebra is mentioned in the media, even in New Scientist πŸ™‚ This is an example of how Pure Mathematics that is developed without any direct practical application can be vital to work at some later time. Another example is the applications of number theory to cryptography.

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NSW education downgrades Microsoft

via Jeff Waugh’s Be the signal. The Australian Financial Review reports NSW education downgrades Microsoft.

β€œThe NSW Department of Education has put Microsoft on notice after it agreed to extend its software licensing agreement for just one year instead of renegotiating a new three-year contract.” β€” Prepares to deploy on 41000 PCs by end of 2008

Very interesting, I am big supported of the use of open source and open standards in education. The purpose of education should not be to teacher kids particular commercial software, it should be to teach kids how to use technology to empower them to learn. I look forward to further developments.

note: I am a casual employee of the NSW DET, my comments do not represent my employers, past. present or future.

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Google's Photovoltaic System

This is kind of a follow up to my previous post on Green Computing. IT Conversations has posted a talk by Anthony Ravitz, Project Coordinator, Real Estate & Workplace Services, Google, about Google’s installation of photovoltaic cells on the roof of the Googleplex. Google’s significant size and wealth would allow them to be a leader and implement this type of project based purely environmental/ethical grounds, in the near future I hope to see many organisation around the world implementing similar projects and environmental, ethical and economic grounds.

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Negroponte on why OLPC needed to be non-profit

The Science Show (Radio National, ABC Australia) recently broadcast Nicholas Negroponte’s address to the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston. He spoke about the OLPC, One Laptop Per Child, being interested in both education and technology I have followed the OLPC project for some time, but this talk made me appreciate the project more from an educational and social perceptive rather than just a technological one. In my view then most important point of the whole talks concerned the economics of OLCP.


“Then the biggest decision in retrospect that we made was to do it as a non-profit and everybody advised me the opposite.”

I see this as an example of how in a purely capitalist system some great things will never eventuate, I can see parallels with FLOSS here. Negroponte also speaks of how on the OLPC they used the rapid pace of technology advancement not to make a product with more feature but one at a lower price.

A transcript and mp3 (for a limited time) of the talk are available from the Science Show site, I highly recommend reading/listening. It is people who work on things like OLPC who change the world for the better.

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