Here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own

thank you,


Listening to this, I wonder why the title wasn’t the line that defined Kennedy’s first inaugural. My favorite line:

Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.

Yeah, let’s seek that, ok?

10 to the 100 to the Google

Project 10100 is a call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible.

Go. Vote.

After not too much deliberation, I decided to…

Help social entrepreneurs drive change


Create a fund to support social entrepreneurship. This idea was inspired by a number of user proposals focused on “social entrepreneurs” — individuals and organizations who use entrepreneurial techniques to build ventures focused on attacking social problems and fomenting change. Specific relevant ideas include establishing schools that teach entrepreneurial skills in rural areas; supporting entrepreneurs in underdeveloped communities; and creating an entity to provide capital and training to help entrepreneurs build viable businesses and catalyze sustained community change.

Speaking of that, check this out.

Cutting through the Babel with Google Fusion Tables

Circle of Blue has an article about last week’s launch of Fusion Tables by Google. The new system allows users to upload and manage huge databases of information and access aggregated data through a common format

“The biggest potential is to build an ecosystem of data on the Web,” said Alon Halevy, the senior Google engineer who led the Fusion Tables development team. “This means making it easy for the people to upload, to merge data sets, to discuss the data, to create visualizations and then to take these visualizations and put them elsewhere on the Web so that there’s better data on the Web.”

…Fusion Tables, a breakthrough application of online research and communications capacities, goes beyond traditional database systems because it allows users to share and merge data in real time with other contributors wherever they work. It also allows users to apply visualizations, and discuss discrepancies of specific data points. Multiple users can cross-check and discuss individual rows, columns or even cells as easily as right-clicking on the spot.

Users can also display their data through a variety of visualizations: as a timeline, a graph or a map. The “fusion” of the data sets can link dissimilar information from the far corners of the Web to reveal patterns and trends that might be impossible to spot otherwise. This makes Fusion Tables a central hub for data collaboration, as anyone can publish and access files, which were formerly locked away in Excel spreadsheets, PDF reports, and hard-cover textbooks.

I know from scientist friends who I’ve talked with that one of the biggest barriers to collaboration is the fact that Lab A can’t communicate with Lab B … fortunately there’s Google to allow them to speak the same language. Check out the article for more and some created images and watch this interview with Halevy.

The photo is The Last Drop by lepiaf.geo and it’s part of her Water set (slideshow).

Google punches earth sized hole in the browser

the Earth in the palm of your hand?

Earlier this week I thought I should write something about Google adding underwater environments to its Google Earth program on Monday.

While that will no doubt be cooler than a bucket of cucumbers, I was pretty surprised when I typed “embed Google Earth” instead of “embed Google Maps” and found out that you could in fact embed Google Earth* into web pages.

When I loaded Hello, Earth, I realized how deftly Google has moved.

Web browsers are our portal to the information we want: news, travel, shopping, video and other media are all just a quick search. It is a limited environment however. Sure, you can click, pull and drag windows around, but the lack of a 3rd dimension removes immediacy and I suspect renders the online experience kind of boring to people who aren’t accustomed to getting entertainment from non-moving 2D environments like books. Add that 3rd dimension, however, and I suspect that the content that many of us find so enriching will explode into the lives of many more.

Snapshot: You click the map portal on a site – let’s say Absolute Michigan. You’re going to spend a weekend in wine country, touring the Leelanau Peninsula and you spin the globe to check it out. You can tap the winery icons to read about their tasting rooms and wines, scroll through photos and video and even make reservations for dinner or lodging, all while cruising through a 3D map that makes it easy to see beaches and trails and all kinds of fun stuff that you would miss if reading it.

Can you see it? OK, now add social networking in…

To install the Google Earth plugin, just click the Hello, Earth link above

*OK, so you’ve been able to access Google Earth in Windows for a while. #1 I didn’t know and #2 I don’t consider things real until they’re cross system.

GE: Google Electric?

Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO, Google interviews Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO, of GE about what needs to be done regarding renewable energy in Electricity 2.0.

Jeffrey says that solving the energy problem is not hard (as compared to say health care). Hilarious Al Gore cameo. Esther Dyson too!

Much more cool video at Zeitgeist of 2008 from the GoogleTube.

Dangerous amusements

I was emailing someone to tell them not to worry when a big site like Flickr or YouTube loses a bunch of media, that despite the fact that those sites are massive and complex systems, there’s a lot of smart people there who spend all their time figuring out how the systems work and how to improve and fix them.

Then it struck me that 200 years ago, those very same “best & brightest” were working to discover the undiscovered and better understand the immensity of Creation.

Suddenly the comforting thought wasn’t all that comforting.

Time to get busy folks.