Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Einstein Centennial

September 27th marks 100 years since Albert Einstein submitted a paper which introduced his famous equation: E = mc2.

I heard about it on NPR today, and thought I would include a link to their coverage of Einstein.

Even better is some major coverage on the NOVA site from PBS. The site is a companion to their series: Einstein's Big Idea. One of the articles on the PBS site lets you listen to 10 top physicists explain the equation.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Google Mail, Anyone?

I recently extended two GMail invitations to friends, taking me down to 4 remaining invitations to use Google's very cool Web Mail service.

I was surprised to notice today that I now have 100 remaining invitations! Is this true for Everyone? Is this Google's way of rapidly expanding the user base?

No matter what the reason, I now have a LOT of GMail invitations available. If you want one, please drop me a note.


Sunday, September 11, 2005

Rescue Workers Distance Themselves From FEMA

photo by Joel Johnson
(click through for entire Flickr set)
I was listening to NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday morning, and heard a story that I just had to share.

Martin Kaste filed a story from New Orleans, describing attempts by rescue workers to convince remaining residents to leave.

He is speaking to Paul Goodman, a firefighter from Georgetown, Kentucky, when he notes that forcing residents to leave isn't the only thing rescue workers are reluctant about:

Kaste: "They're also reluctant to advertise the fact that they work for the much-maligned Federal Emergency Management Agency. Goodman and his unit of firefighters are here working for the agency, but they've hidden their FEMA ID tags under their shirts."

Goodman: "They still wanted us to wear it, um, we were advised by the U.S. Marshals not to wear it."

Listen to the entire story at NPR.org.

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Web Surfers Can Help, Too

Have you been surfing the web for days, wishing you could do more to help with Katrina relief than just sending cash? Well, they have a job for you over at the Katrina Help Wiki.

they are looking for people to volunteer their time sitting right in front of their computer by helping out with the Katrina PeopleFinder project:

Several dozen sites have been established to help survivors of Hurricane Katrina find their loved ones, and to allow people to report missing people. This creates a difficulty for people trying to locate missing persons - they need to search dozens of separate databases and message forums.

So we've decided to create a centralized database, where you can search the data from all of these at one time.
You can help in two ways, depending on just how deep your geekdom goes:
  1. Enter lost/found info from various non-scrapable websites into a web form at the PeopleFinder project. Go here and follow the instructions.
  2. Write code to scrape existing datasets and integrate them into the PeopleFinder database. Go here and sign up to help.

I decided that since my scraping skills are pretty beginner-like, I would just dive in on the volunteer side. I have already claimed and entered three datasets of postings from the Katrina Connections site, where people were posting photos of lost loved ones.

Help out if you can.