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Publisher Verso writes: It is assumed that every inch of the world has been explored and charted; that there is nowhere new to go. But perhaps it is the everyday places around us--the cities we live in--that need to be rediscovered. What does it feel like to find the city's edge, to explore its forgotten tunnels and scale unfinished skyscrapers high above the metropolis? Explore Everything reclaims the city, recasting it as a place for endless adventure.

Plotting expeditions from London, Paris, Berlin, Detroit, Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, Bradley L. Garrett has evaded urban security in order to experience the city in ways beyond the boundaries of conventional life. He calls it 'place hacking': the recoding of closed, secret, hidden and forgotten urban space to make them realms of opportunity.

Explore Everything is an account of the author's escapades with the London Consolidation Crew, an urban exploration collective.

The book is also a manifesto, combining philosophy, politics and adventure, on our rights to the city and how to understand the twenty-first century metropolis.

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Homo Virtualis: The Virtual Ape in the Digital Future: Ray Hammond at TEDxSalford

Ray Hammond is one of the world's most experienced and most widely published futurists. For over 30 years he has researched, written and spoken about how future trends will affect society and business. As global warming, globalization and the environmental threat continue to be priorities on the world's agenda, Ray is one of a few commentators equipped to communicate how these massive challenges will affect our futures, the way we do business and the far reaching implications both socially, economically and politically. Ray is a visiting lecturer at the Institute for the Future of Humanity, University of Oxford, a visiting lecturer at the London Business School and a contributing editor to the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory at the University of Maryland, USA He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). He is also a globally published novelist (Macmillan) whose three recent high-tech futuristic novels have won world-wide critical acclaim. In 2010 Ray was awarded the Medal of the Italian Chamber of Deputies for his services to futurology. Credits: Camerawork: Nathan Rae & Team - nathanrae.co.uk Post production: Elliott Wragg - twitter.com Audio restoration : Jorge Polvorinos - jorgepolvorinos.wordpress.com Head of IT and Design Vlad Victor Jiman - twitter.com Intro: Mike Wood - www.completeedits.co.uk twitter.com In thespirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like <b>...</b>
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Wikidata, the first new project to emerge from the Wikimedia Foundation since 2006, is now beginning development. The organization, known best for its user-edited encyclopedia of knowledge Wikipedia, recently announced the new project at February’s Semantic Tech & Business Conference in Berlin, describing Wikidata as new effort to provide a database of knowledge that can be read and edited by humans and machines alike.

There have been other attempts at creating a semantic database built from Wikipedia’s data before – for example, DBpedia, a community effort to extract structured content from Wikipedia and make it available online. The difference is that, with Wikidata, the data won’t just be made available, it will also be made editable by anyone.

The project’s goal in developing a semantic, machine-readable database doesn’t just help push the web forward, it also helps Wikipedia itself. The data will bring all the localized versions of Wikipedia on par with each other in terms of the basic facts they house. Today, the English, German, French and Dutch versions offer the most coverage, with other languages falling much further behind.

Wikidata will also enable users to ask different types of questions, like which of the world’s ten largest cities have a female mayor?, for example. Queries like this are today answered by user-created Wikipedia Lists – that is, manually created structured answers. Wikidata, on the hand, will be able to create these lists automatically.

The initial effort to create Wikidata is being led by the German chapter of Wikimedia, Wikimedia Deutschland, whose CEO Pavel Richter calls the project “ground-breaking,” and describes it as “the largest technical project ever undertaken by one of the 40 international Wikimedia chapters.” Much of the early experimentation which resulted in the Wikidata concept was done in Germany, which is why it’s serving as the base of operations for the new undertaking.

The German Chapter will perform the initial development involved in the creation of Wikidata, but will later hand over the operation and maintenance to the Wikimedia Foundation when complete. The estimation is that hand-off will occur a year from now, in March 2013.

The overall project will have three phases, the first of which involves creating one Wikidata page for each Wikipedia entry across Wikipedia’s over 280 supported languages. This will provide the online encyclopedia with one common source of structured data that can be used in all articles, no matter which language they’re in. For example, the date of someone’s birth would be recorded and maintained in one place: Wikidata. Phase one will also involve centralizing the links between the different language versions of Wikipedia. This part of the work will be finished by August 2012.

In phase two, editors will be able to add and use data in Wikidata, and this will be available by December 2012. Finally, phase three will allow for the automatic creation of lists and charts based on the data in Wikidata, which can then populate the pages of Wikipedia.

In terms of how Wikidata will impact Wikipedia’s user interface, the plan is for the data to live in the “info boxes” that run down the right-hand side of a Wikipedia page. (For example: those on the right side of NYC’s page). The data will be inputted at data.wikipedia.org, which will then drive the info boxes wherever they appear, across languages, and in other pages that use the same info boxes. However, because the project is just now going into development, some of these details may change.

Below, an early concept for Wikidata:

All the data contained in Wikidata will be published under a free Creative Commons license, which opens it up for use by any number of external applications, including e-government, the sciences and more.

Dr. Denny Vrandečić, who joined Wikimedia from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, is leading a team of eight developers to build Wikidata, and is joined by Dr. Markus Krötzsch of the University of Oxford. Krötzsch and Vrandečić, notably, were both co-founders of the Semantic MediaWiki project, which pursued similar goals to that of Wikidata over the past few years.

The initial development of Wikidata is being funded through a donation of 1.3 million Euros, granted in half by the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, an organization established by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2010. The goal of the Institute is to support long-range research activities that have the potential to accelerate progress in artificial intelligence, which includes web semantics.

“Wikidata will build on semantic technology that we have long supported, will accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, and will create an extraordinary new data resource for the world,” says Dr. Mark Greaves, VP of the Allen Institute.

Another quarter of the funding comes from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, through its Science program, and another quarter comes from Google. According to Google’s Director of Open Source, Chris DiBona, Google hopes that Wikidata will make large amounts of structured data available to “all.” (All, meaning, course, to Google itself, too.)

This ties back to all those vague reports of “major changes” coming to Google’s search engine in the coming months, seemingly published far ahead of any actual news (like this), possibly in a bit of a PR push to take the focus off the growing criticism surrounding Google+…or possibly to simply tease the news by educating the public about what the “semantic web” is.

Google, which stated it would be increasing its efforts at providing direct answers to common queries – like those with a specific, factual piece of data – could obviously build greatly on top of something like Wikidata. As it moves further into semantic search, it could provide details about the people, places and things its users search for. It would actually know what things are, whether birth dates, locations, distances, sizes, temperatures, etc., and also how they’re connected to other points of data. Google previously said it expects semantic search changes to impact 10% to 20% of queries. (Google declined to provide any on the record comment regarding its future plans in this area).

Ironically, the results of Wikidata’s efforts may then actually mean fewer Google referrals to Wikipedia pages. Short answers could be provided by Google itself, positioned at the top of the search results. The need to click through to read full Wikipedia articles (or any articles, for that matter) would be reduced, leading Google users to spend more time on Google.

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The Nikon Small World contest, which selects some of the best examples of photomicrography annually has added a new category to include movies made under the microscope. This year’s winner is a stunner of a video by Anna Franz in the School of Pathology at the University of Oxford. Ms. Franz cut a window into an egg to expose the 72-hour-old chick embryo and carefully injected ink using a glass capillary needle into its artery under a stereo microscope. Here is an edited transcript of an interview with Ms. Franz:

“I am currently doing a Ph.D. in developmental biology studying centriole duplication [cell behavior] in Drosophila [fruit flies]. In 2010 I took a six-week course in embryology at Woods Hole [Marine Biological Laboratory] where I learned several techniques used to study embryogenesis in a number of organisms. One of these techniques was the injection of ink into an artery with the aim to visualize the vasculature of the chick embryo. This image/movie gives the viewer the opportunity to observe a biological process as it is happening and gives an overview of how the blood system works. The films also demonstrates beauty in simplicity; what could be more simple than an egg?

The reason why researchers study the vasculature of chick embryos is because it is very similar to the human vasculature. A better understanding of the development and function of the heart and the vasculature may help spur the discovery of novel therapeutics, which can be used to treat cancer (since tumor growth relies on blood vessel growth) and cardiovascular diseases.”

Courtesy Anna Franz, University of Oxford/Nikon Small World

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