openfrog writes: On 30 April 1993 CERN published a statement that made World Wide Web ("W3", or simply "the web") technology available on a royalty-free basis. By making the software required to run a web server freely available, along with a basic browser and a library of code, the web was allowed to flourish.
By late 1993 there were over 500 known web servers, and the WWW accounted for 1% of internet traffic, which seemed a lot in those days (the rest was remote access, e-mail and file transfer). Twenty years on, there are an estimated 630 million websites online.
openfrog writes: The New York Times has an interesting article about Mark Penn joining Microsoft, in charge of "strategic and special projects".
Penn made a name for himself in Washington by bulldozing opponents through smear campaigns. Now he spends his days trying to do the same to Google, on behalf of its archrival Microsoft.
This a scaling up of the anti-Google campaigns he has been mounting up since 1990 as CEO of the PR firm Burson-Marsteller, on behalf of his old Harvard friends Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.
Presenting this as a defensive posture for past wounds inflicted on Microsoft, the new strategy is described as moving from working in the shadows to one of perpetrating attacks in plain view.
Reading this makes one feel like distant the idea that capitalism works from competing to bring a better product to the consumer.
I propose creating a new category on Slashdot to track down this behaviour, where we would detect and expose distasteful PR strategies in action, for the benefit of journalists, bloggers and reviewers who could otherwise fall in for the lies.
openfrog writes: The South Korean government is poised to appoint a new committee that will revisit a controversial plan to drop two examples of evolutionary theory from high school textbooks. The committee, to be led by insect taxonomist Byoung-Hoon Lee, a member of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology, has been asked to re-evaluate requests from a Korean creationist group to drop references to bird and horse evolution that they argue promote "atheist materialism."
At the same time, about 50 prominent Korean scientists are preparing to present government officials with a petition, organized by the Korean Association of Biological Sciences, which calls for rejecting the proposed changes.
"When these things are done, I think it will turn out that after all Korean science will not surrender to religion" says Jae Choe, an evolutionary biologist at Ewha Womans University in Seoul who helped organize the petition.
openfrog writes: Right now, the Avaaz website is under massive attack, which has been going for 36 hours straight. An an attack this large is likely coming from a government or large corporation.
Their people-powered campaigning has been fearless, and they have taken on the world's worst actors head-on, in ways that genuinely hurt them — from the Syrian and Chinese regimes to Rupert Murdoch, Big Oil and organized crime. The Syrian dictatorship called their campaigner 'the most dangerous man in the world', and a UK inquiry recently revealed emails between Murdoch's news corporation and top levels of government saying the Avaaz campaign against Murdoch was their biggest concern.
Avaaz is raising money to take its security to the next level. Can Slashdotters help with suggestions on how best to build their infrastructure?
openfrog writes: An inspired professor at University of Washington-Bothell, Martha Groom, made an interesting pedagogical experiment. Instead of vilifying Wikipedia as some academics are prone to do, she assigned the students enrolled in her environmental history course to contribute articles. The result has proven "transformative" to her students. They were no longer spending their time writing for one reader, says Groom, but were doing work of consequence in a "peer reviewed" environment, which enhanced the quality of their output. What do you fellow Slashdotters think of the idea that in our colleges and universities lies a potentially large and untapped resource for Wikipedia?