Thursday, December 21, 2006

Google Earth Blogs

Here is a short list of Google Earth Blogs that I watch frequently.
Google Earth Blog, Ogle Earth, and Juicy Geography's Google Earth page.
(Note - The image links to my Google Earth video on>>)

Almost every day there are very interesting posts on the Google Earth Blog by Frank Taylor. It "is dedicated to Google Earth (GE) news, features, tips, technology and applications."

Today, for example there is a post identifying a new feature that the Digital Urban is developing to allow Google Earth users a way to view high resolution360 degree panoramas directly within Google Earth. On the Digital Urban Blog they have made a stand alone video demonstration available to show how his will work.

On December 19, Frank Taylor created a list of the "Top 25 Stories from Google Earth Blog for 2006." Out of nearly 600 blog entries these are the ones that were "pivotal points in the development of Google Earth, others were significant illustrations of some important event or place, and others were just fun things someone found or did in Google Earth."

The Ogle Earth Blog about Google Earth is published by Stefan Geens in Stockholm, Sweden. He posts information that is often similar, but also different than the Google Earth Blog.

Noel Jenkins in the UK has created the Juicy Geography web site to share ideas and resources especially related to teaching and education. The Juicy Geography's Google Earth Page is now a blog.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Idaho Environmental Summit - Postscript

Summary: 1. My opinion is that Wikis, Blogs and Discussion groups on every topic at this Idaho Environmental Summit should be made available to citizens of Idaho and other bordering states to provide an ongoing dialogue about all of the important topics: (See topics listed on this Blog on Wednesday, November 29, 2006)

The sessions related to Soverign Native American Tribes were especially interesting and naturally they have a hightened sensitivity to public information that is available. Hopefully elder and young Native American people can get involved in this global communication network and help us all understand their views.

Postcript: After contacting the organizers of the Idaho Environmental Summit about attending they asked me if Mountain Visions could produce a "slide show" of Idaho Outdoor images including slides of Summit Partners. In return we could set up an exhibit booth to demonstrate our various ongoing projects and services. The "slide show" was well received and the exhibit booth was visited by many people who gained an appreciation of our involvement with interactive and collaborative natural resource, ecosystem and environmental web site networking projects. We had set up two 23 inch monitors with two laptop computers to show High Definition 360 degree panoramas, video and Google Earth demonstrations.

As is common in many conferences many overlapping sessions held at the same time meant that people had to choose one session at a time or move from one session to another, missing part of each. I also had to be at the Mountain Visions exhibit booth when interested people were visiting and was not able to attend many of the interesting sessions. I, and others, asked the conference organizers if all of the conference presentations would be made available on the Idaho Environmental Summit web site after the conference. Apparently this process was not specifically planned for, but I was assured that they would try to gather and post the papers and power point presentations in the near future. I offered to show them how we had developed similar post conference materials for a Conservation Training Week Conference for the Jamaica Protected Area Trust in March of 2006.

I will continue to monitor the post conference activities of the Idaho Environmental Summit on this Blog as time permits.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Idaho Environmental Summit - Boise December 5-7, 2006

The first annual Idaho Environmental Summit will be held in Boise, Idaho -December 5-7, 2006.

I plan to attend this meeting. It will be interesting to examine if and how this conference may stimulate the use of social networking concepts in the future. New online technologies, some of which I have identified on this Blog, should allow all of the topics that are being highlighted at the Summit to be discussed throughout the year and in the future by interested citizens.

The web site notes that "The mission of the Idaho Environmental Summit is to provide an annual event for the people of Idaho to work together to achieve a healthy environment through communication, education and action. "

Over thirty partner organizations are working together to provide an agenda full of sensational and nationally recognized speakers in six keynote events and over fifty breakout sessions. Environmental subject areas include:

Land Use
Water Resources
Air Quality
Regulatory Compliance
Treaty Rights and Trust Responsibilities
Fish and Wildlife
Community Building and Environmental Science
Cleanup and Remediation
...and much more.

I will write a report here after the meeting is concluded.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Children, EPA and The Semantic Web/ Post #2

"A story from EPA - “Is my child safe from environmental toxins?”

A Google search revealed this topic in the table of contents of an HTML web document titled "Introducing Semantic Web Technologies: Harnessing the Power of Information Semantics."

The story noted above is described as a pilot study underway for the EPA in 2004. "It will apply Semantic Web technologies to integrate distributed data sources including those administered by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and a variety of state government agencies."

"This story is just one example of the tremendous challenges that the federal government faces in relation to the complex organizational structure, the size of its data stores, and the interdependence to other government or non-government entities. These challenges have placed increasing demands for better information sharing, more effective information management, more intelligent search, and smarter decision-making in order to improve government services, enable net-centric defense capabilities and ensure the safety of our nation."

Reading about the EPA story helped me gain a better understanding of how the Semantic Web is being developed and led me to investigate the group responsible for writing it. It is encouraging to find more information about how Semantic Web groups like this are using Collaborative Networking and Wikis for communication. For reader's information below is a quick overview and links to a few of the project pages.

The final draft of this Executive Brief White Paper was published in September 2004 and was developed at KM.GOV by the Semantic Interoperability Community of Practice which " is established by a group of individuals for the purpose of achieving "semantic interoperability" and "semantic data integration" focused on the government sector." KM stands for Knowledge Management and the KM.GOV web site has Knowledge management working groups, special interest groups and a Wiki COLAB:> "An Open Collaborative Work Environment to Support Networking Among Communities of Practice" and more.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Children, EPA and The Semantic Web

Every day I read in the local, national and global news something that makes me wonder why humans are not using the best scientific knowledge that is available, to help guide decisions related to natural resources and ecosystems. From the understanding I have gained over my lifetime I assume that there is enough general agreement about what needs to be done about clean water and air, species sustainability, energy issues, causes of climate change and many other ecological problems that we could be making better decisions every day if we just followed the best scientific conclusions that continue to accumulate constantly from all over the world. I don't understand how citizens can allow short term religious, political and economic issues to overrule science when clearly the future of many living organisms including the human species is at stake. Today I want to write a few comments about the following topics and follow up with more detailed comments in future posts.

1. Is there any scientific doubt that the sensory mechanisms of all organisms including human children are tuned to respond and learn from natural environmental experiences? An interesting new book by "Richard Louv" is available titled, "Last Child in the Woods" - Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder," (The links provided are to Google Searchs.) The book may be spawning a social movement now being developed by schools, states and even government agencies such as the National Park Service and Forest Service called, "No Child Left Inside." (Another Google Search Link) Children and their families are being encouraged to visit parks, wetlands and natural areas. Note that the areas to visit includes water bodies like lakes, rivers and streams. My question is, how do citizens reconcile the need for children to explore these places at the same time allowing more chemical pesticides to be applied by rule changes by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency? Note that the slogan on the EPA web site is "35 years of protecting human health and the environment."

2. "EPA Issues Final Rule on Aquatic Pesticide Applications" is a November 21, 2006 news release from the EPA Newsroom. An article written by H. Josef Herbert, of the Associated Press "EPA Exempts Some Pesticide Use" notes that this is an exemption from previous rules and means that pesticides can be applied directly into water or sprayed nearby or onto foliage over water without a pollution permit from the federal Clean Water Act, if the application is needed to control aquatic weeds, mosquitoes or other pests. He also notes that obviously environmental groups say this ruling will make it easier to pollute the nation's lakes and streams. He also quotes Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, who believes the permitting exemption will lead to more toxic pollution getting into lakes and streams. "He said a billion pounds of pesticides are used annual in the United States "and much of it ends up in our waterways."

3. The Semantic Web: I share Nova Spivac's opinion on his blog Minding the Planet, that "ecology is going to be the most important science and discipline of the 21st century – it is the science of healthy systems." In his very comprehensive and understandable November 06, 2006 article "Minding the Planet -- The Meaning and Future of the Semantic Web" he wrote, "Ecology is essentially the science of community – whether biological, technological or social. And community is a key part of the Semantic Web at every level: communities of software, communities of people, and communities of groups. In the end the global mind is the ultimate human community. It is the reward we get for finally learning how to live together in peace and balance with our environment."

As I read and research ideas about the future of the Semantic Web I understand the potential for how expert knowledge that is trustworthy, reputable and reliable is accumulating and will become more and more important in the future. Meanwhile, I believe there is already valuable expert knowledge that we use every day and could use even more effectively to help solve a myriad of ecological problems that are accumulating at an alarming rate.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Semantic Web -Minding the Planet, by Nova Spivack

I received some nice comments about my last post about the Semantic Web. One of these pointed me to Nova Spivack's Blog where he has several recent posts related to this topic. I found his insights to be very interesting and foward thinking. For those interested in learning more I suggest you read his posts I have noted below.

In the November 6, 2006 article titled "Minding The Planet -- The Meaning and Future of the Semantic Web " Spivack provides a "Prelude" explaining some of his background and a successful attempt to provide "a detailed introduction and context for the Semantic Web for non-technical people."

November 12, 2006
What is the Semantic Web, Actually?

November 15, 2006
The Semantic Web is About Helping People Use the Web More Productively

I plan to read more of Nova Spivac's posts and will comment more in the near future.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Semantic Web - A third generation?

The Semantic Web is a concept that seems to be re-emerging as a third generation of the thought about the World Wide Web. Expert or knowledge based computer programs are commonly used by businesses and one would hope by government agencies and community organizations. Clearly the increasing power of computers, search engines, and data base information availability promises to increasingly add a new interactivity to the Internet and the World Wide Web which should help humans address complex natural resource, environmental and ecosystem issues.

I intend to make a few notes now and continue to explore these concepts in much more detail as time permits.

A Wikipedia entry notes that the concept of "An expert system also known as a knowledge based system, is a computer program that contains some of the subject-specific knowledge of one or more human experts. This class of program was first developed by researchers in artificial intelligence during the 1960s and 1970s and applied commercially throughout the 1980s."

An entry note under Purpose in Wikipedia for the term Semantic Web notes that in 1999 'Tim Berners-Lee originally expressed the vision of the semantic web as follows:'

"I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analysing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialize."

On November 11, 2006, John Markoff wrote an article in the New York Times titled, "Entrepreneurs See a Web Guided by Common Sense." In this article he refers to the emergence of Web 3.0. and he also refers to Tim Berners-Lee's call for a Semantic Web in 1999.

Of current interest, "Berners-Lee launches a web science initiative," is the title of an artcle by Clement James, on November 3, 2006. In the beginning of the article James notes that "Tim Berners-Lee, father of the World Wide Web, has announced the launch of a long-term research collaboration between MIT and the University of Southampton that aims to turn the web itself into a fundamental science.

The Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI) will generate a research agenda to understand the scientific, technical and social challenges underlying the growth of the web.

Research will focus on the volume of information on the web which documents more and more aspects of human activity and knowledge.

WSRI research projects will weigh such questions as: 'How do we access information and assess its reliability? By what means may we assure its use complies with social and legal rules? How will we preserve the web over time?' "

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Two new Social Networking opportunities

Two recent announcements about new social networking opportunities are worthy of note. I believe it is very evident that we, as users of the internet, are being enabled to build specialized networks for local social and environmental topics. As we learn how to use these new opportunities citizens should have a much more active involvement in deciding future natural resource and ecosystem issues.

is developing a wide variety of useful internet applications that qualify as social networking opportunities. Google Earth, by itself, is just an amazing way for people to share photos and web site information about geographic locations people care about. Combined with all of the other Google Services and Tools Internet users are gaining new options that they have never had available to them before.

As explained in the Ning article below, Google is not alone in developing amazing new options and opportunities for individual and group networking opportunties we can learn how to use in the near future. This is an exciting time for internet users who want help change how we participate in our democracy.

October 31, 2006 - Ben Ames, IDG News Service, wrote an article in titled Google buys JotSpot, offers free wiki pages. "In a bid to grow beyond its roots as a search engine, Google has acquired JotSpot, a developer of wiki technology for collaborative Web sites. Earlier this month, Google announced it would offer online word processing and spreadsheet applications to its millions of Web searchers. The company also has a blogging service, but hasn’t yet introduced a tool for Web-based collaboration."

The Jotspot web site notes that is not accepting ..."new account registrations while we focus on migrating to Google's systems." They will notify you when registration is open if you provide an email address. On a Frequently asked questions JotSpot page "Why is Google acquiring JotSpot?" The answer is "Google shares JotSpot's vision for helping people collaborate, share and work together online. JotSpot's team and technology are a strong fit with existing Google products like Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Apps for Your Domain and Google Groups.

November 8, 2006 - Martin LaMonica, wrote a article for CNet titled Ning brings social networking to the masses. "Marc Andreessen and Gina Bianchini took the stage at the Web 2.0 Summit here Wednesday to publicly launch, which lets people build Web sites for online socializing." He quotes Gina Bianchini CEO of Ning, ""What's different about Ning from other services is that we give you your own video site like YouTube, or social-networking site like MySpace," she said. "But unlike being a page in somebody else's service, it's yours. You get to choose what it's about."

Lamonica also quotes Mark Andreessen, best known as a Netscape co-founder, "Our basic theory is that as people get more sophisticated and used to social networks, they are going to want a lot more flexibility and a lot more customization," Andreessen said. "We're making a big bet that there will be a lot more social networks over the next couple of years."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Net Neutrality and the new Congress

It seems very likely that new U.S. House of Representatives and Senate will reconsider actions taken in the recent past concerning "Net Neutrality" and other technology related legislation. This is a positive turn for the opportunity for individuals and organizations to continue to develop Social and Community Networking applications related to natural resource and ecosystem projects.

"What the Democrats' win means for tech," written by Declan McCallagh and Anne Broache for CNET today, notes that "the outlook for technology-related legislation has changed dramatically overnight. On a wealth of topics--Net neutrality, digital copyright, merger approval, data retention, Internet censorship--a Capitol Hill controlled by Democrats should yield a shift in priorities on technology-related legislation."

New announcements taking place now at the Web 2.0 Conference (renamed Summit) are very interesting. Rafe Needleman, CNet Web 2.0 Blog has listed links to thirteen "Launch Pad" products and companies selected as "The official start-ups of Web 2.0."

I will write more about some of these in the future as I have time to explore.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Digital Democracy and Web 2.0 ?

As expressed in earlier posts I am interested in how new "Social Networking" and "Web 2.0" concepts can be developed to encourage individual citizens to become more interactively involved in natural resource and ecosystems that affect them and the communities they are concerned about. Clearly we are now seeing the "tip of the iceberg" in how this interactivity might start to develop in the future. My view is that we, as individuals, will ultimately be the ones that produce the energy and involvement that will make this work. We have to learn how to use, and modify, the social networking tools that will be provided. In the article noted below Dan Fost makes a reference to a social networking Wiki project called "BarCamp" which encourages people to set up "un-conferences ... freewheeling roundtable discussions about how to use the latest technological innovations." This is a good example and a useful project to consider.

Yesterday, in the San Francisco Chronicle, Dan Fost wrote a very interesting overview noting critics an supporters of these concepts in an article titled, 'Digital Utopia - A new breed of technologists envisions a democratic world improved by the Internet.' "Behind the random silliness of YouTube videos and the juvenile frivolity of MySpace Web sites lies a powerful idea: Everyday people are using technology to gain control of the media and change the world.

At least that's what a new breed of Internet technologists and entrepreneurs want us to believe. The new Internet boom commonly referred to as Web 2.0 is really an exercise in digital democracy."

Interestingly, Fost concludes the article with what I feel is a pessimistic statement by Tim O'Reilly, organizer (and copyright, or service mark, name holder) of the popular Web 2.0 Conference, the third of which will begin this Tuesday in San Francisco. "Web 2.0, he says, is about business. He says many tech movements start out with similar idealism, only to give way to capitalism."

There are so many complexities related to the current use of the term "Capitalism" and how it is related to unexpected negative changes to natural ecosystems around the world, that if the term Web 2.0 is to be defined this way, I will probably prefer not to use it in the future. The more general term Social Networking is more acceptable and I hope a term will emerge that provides a positive movement toward sustainable ecosystems, if that is still possible.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Public Fear, Democracy and Web 2.0

Jennifer Granick wrote an article for Wired News on Oct, 25, 2006 titled "Saving Democracy With Web 2.0." She writes, "I'd like to see applications that go further, mashing up statistics about government procurement contracts with databases of campaign finance donations -- visually tracing the path of a dollar as it travels from campaign contributor to contract procurement."

My concern is that we the public are not able to fully understand important natural resource and ecosystem issues because information is often controlled or interpreted by special and political interests. I believe that the new developments in Social Networking and Web 2.0 applications can help create a groundswell of public interest in making the government and special interests much more responsive to the public concerns for a sustainable local, regional, national and global future.

Granick also quotes Bruce Cahan, president of the nonprofit Urban Logic, "We read of billion-dollar national infrastructure repair cost studies on the eve of highway legislation, or scary medical risks on the eve of public health or environmental budget hearings," Cahan told me. "Special interests with special knowledge compete to out-shock us because we've made their funding depend on public fear.

"But with a common performance benchmark, we can model urban risks so that both voters and markets can hold government accountable for creating multidimensional solutions to complex problems." Granick writes that "Cahan proposes using new data-sharing technology to blend various performance metrics for cities into a spatially weighted measure called "sustainable resiliency." People can then use the measure as ratings for capital markets, insurance and even politicians."

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Social Networking & The Environment, etc.

Today I read an article titled " Social Networking Grows Up," written by Sarah Lacy on October 26, in the Technology section of Business

"Name for me one other social-networking site that's having an intelligent debate about health care or Iraq or about the environment," she quotes Tom Gerace, key investor and supporter of

Lacy notes that "The year-old site is trying to create an online space for the NPR crowd." She quotes Bill Kling who is president of American Public Media Group, one of the largest producers and distributors of public radio programming. ' "We discovered there is someone—usually many people—who know more about any subject we broadcast than we do," he says. What's more, they seemed to be yearning for a way to interact with the stations, not just passively listen to the radio.'

My assumption is that new applications for Social Networking, especially on natural resource and environmental topics is just beginning. Blogs, Wikis, and discussion groups are growing in number and, I believe, will provide a much needed public dialogue which should influence future management, political and scientific decisions. I also assume that interactive web sites that provide a lot of visual information about natural resource and ecological issues, and at the same time invite people to participate (interact) in these discussions, can be an important stimulus for this dialogue.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Google Earth - 2006 Election Guide

Google Earth has added the 2006 Election guide, another amazing interactive feature, to the U.S. maps to allow people to find information about Congressional Districts in every state. Two sub-layers can be turned on or off and include the U.S. Election guide and the U.S. Congressional Districts that shows the defining borders of each district.

You can click on the Election Guide placemarks to find the following information:
1. Election Information:
  • Register to Vote and Voter Information
  • Campaign Finances: FEC, Center for Responsive Politics
  • (Link to - Total amount of dollars raised by each candidate)
2. Candidates: (Name and Party)
  • Related web sites
  • News
  • Images

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Wikis for Grassroots politics

On 10/18/06 I wrote about Hot Soup, New Social Networking for political and other opinions. The web site became live the next day and the potential looks promising, even though there are a some issues or bugs that I hope will be worked out soon. / Update 10/25/06 William Beutler sent me a a blog entry that is much more critical of

Today I found a reference in TechNewsWorld, to an article written by Tom Sowa, on 10/9/06 in The, titled "Wikis get political."

"Two relatively new sites that transfer the wiki idea to the world of grassroots politics are Campaigns Wikia and"

Campaigns Wikia - "The Mission: It's time for politics to become more intelligent, and for democracy to really involve the people. Broadcast media tells you what to think and doesn't let you get involved. It's time to focus on what you need, what you care about, and the messages you want to get out."

More Perfect promotes "creating a more perfect union: more perfect is an entirely new approach to democracy - enabling more direct public involvement and participation, and creating a marketplace of ideas where we, the people, can collaborate with each other on matters that affect our daily lives."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bill Moyers, PBS - "The Net at Risk"

Last night the Public Broadcasting System, aired a very important program about Net Neutrality issues that is also available to view on the Internet by Bill Moyers titled, "The Net at Risk." A "live discussion" and 'blogs" are also available on the PBS web site "Moyers On America."

The web page provides a statement that "The future of the Internet is up for grabs." Will citizens have the same open opportunities for personal expression and social networking that have been developing for more than a decade? Or will Congress, in the very near future, allow a few very large corporations to construct a "toll road" which could restrict these new emerging opportunities in the future?

We should all be actively involved in insisting to our elected representatives that this issue deserves a thorough public discussion throughout America. This topic may be one of the most important of our times. Imagine that Blogs, discussion groups, sharing photographs and other creative multimedia efforts, etc., are restricted in the future, instead of encouraged as we have come to expect.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hot Soup - New Social Networking for political and other opinions

Tomorrow, Oct. 19, a new social-networking Web site will launch named It "aims to give an online voice to the millions of U.S. residents who keep up with the news and influence the opinions of their friends, family and coworkers," according to an online article today in Macworld. 'The goal is to create smart, civil debate, said three of the site’s co-founders during a preview Wednesday. “Americans are tired of yelling at their TV screens,” said Allie Savarino, a Hotsoup co-founder who also helped start the social-networking site. “They want a voice of their own, and they want someone to listen.” '

I had read about the Hotsoup project, and registered for membership, in July with the understanding that it would be operational for the 2008 national elections. Interestingly, it now appears it will be available for citizens to use for the upcoming 2006 mid term elections. I wonder how many people might participate and whether it will make a difference in just a few weeks. Check it out and tell your friends about it, and we will see what happens.

Another source of detailed information about is another Wiki type site named, "Source Watch" a project of the Center for Media and Democracy. One overview comment is that " "will be organized in a way similar to, with areas for information and networking so people can connect to one another"; "will also include discussion boards throughout the web pages"; and "will feature a ranking system to allow users to rate how persuasive, interesting, and relevant they find someone else’s insight or opinion to be."

My understanding is that another goal of the Hot Soup project is to try to get politicians to take a stand, before elections, on issues that large numbers of people support. I sincerely hope a significant number of issues that start to be discussed immediately are related to local, regional, national and global issues related to natural resources, environment, ecosystems and climate. In addition, I believe that as more people learn how to participate in this type of Social Networking effort, they will be inclined to participate in other civic projects and even start their own project blogs, wikis and discussion groups for people with mutual interests.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Social Networking tools are "also" being used by Business

Community Groups and organizations are learning how to use Social Networking tools but they are also becoming popular with big business organizations. Martin LaMonica, in an article on C/Net, titled "IBM warms to social networking." quotes Michael Rhodin, the general manager of IBM's Lotus division.

"The guiding idea behind the effort is to help people tap into the collective knowledge of their co-workers, in much the way consumer social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook connect people online.

"The real phenomenon of Web 2.0 is the concept of community," Rhodin said. "What if you could create tools that allow you to tap into the collaborative wisdom of a community?"

I believe this is what is beginning to happen with individuals and groups interested in natural resources and environmental ecosystems. The more we can encourage people to learn about this new phenomenon, and the more people are involved, the possibilities for creating better decisions for the future are limitless.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Environmental Countdown sponsors Amanda Across America

Environmental Countdown is creating a project to highlight online video of people across the country who are leading efforts to change their communities for the better. One video is available now titled "Spill at Newton Creek." Their web page notes that " Later this fall, we will launch as a full site where anyone can submit videos about what they're doing in their cities and towns across the United States."

Currently Environmental Countdown is sponsoring Amanda Congdon's Trip Across America and playing select videos from communities along the way. For this project Amanda has created an interesting web site that also has a wikia project where visitors can suggest interesting places she might visit and also a section called "Environmental Awareness" where visitors can enter information about environmental projects they want to highlight. Amanda has a significant Video Blog Internet following and this is a neat new way to let people learn how to particpate in a Wiki project.

One of the wiki trial pages was titled "Rain Gardens" and I submitted a link to the Interactive Watersheds project for the Potomac Watershed Partnership where we produced a 360 degree panorama and video describing the construction of a rain garden at the Blue Ridge Community College on the Shenandoah River in November 2000.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

C/Net News publishes Media 2.0 and a Web 2.0 Blog

c/net publishes daily reports on Media 2.0 including information about Social Networking applications. It also publishes a Web 2.

A recent article on September 26, profiled "Wallop," another social networking site that will compete with Friendster and Another similar site is

In the article Karl Jacob, Wallop's chief executive, said in a statement. "It’s about the trend of self-expression moving online."

My own review of these and similar social networking sites seems to indicate that individuals are encouraged to express their interests in popular culture, but not much emphasis is placed on interest in natural resources, the environment or other important activist issues. For example, global warming is a multifaceted issue that has the potential to dramatically change the lives of the many millions of people participating in the Social Networks mentioned above. Searches on the Internet reveal many discussion groups, blogs and web sites that do have a lot of participants on natural resource issues. I am interested in knowing more about how, or if, individuals include these interests in their social network profiles.

Our own efforts with Mountain Visions to work with natural resource projects to develop interactive web sites with community networking centers does include the invitation for people to participate in the projects. Some of these people may also decide to include their personal natural resource interests into one of the major social networking sites mentioned above. For example, we are creating projects now using Wiki and other applications. I will write more about these in the near future.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Only 1500 Comments on Idaho's Roadless Plan

After President Bush rescinded the Clinton 2001 Roadless mandate governing 58 million acres of roadless land in America, he gave state Governors the opportunity to come up with their own plan. This action has been overturned by a U.S. Magistrate Judge, until a full environmental impact study is done.

Meanwhile, some states including California, New Mexico, Oregon and others have chosen to keep development out of roadless areas. But Idaho's Governor Kempthorne directed the County Commissioners to conduct public hearings to come up with a petition to create new plans to allow development in roadless areas in Idaho. Meanwhile Kempthorne has become the new Secretary of Interior and interim Governor Risch (who has just over a month left to serve) has just announced his own plan minimizing the allowable roadless areas from 9.3 million Idaho acres down to 3.1 million acres.

The Idaho Statesman today wrote an article about this plan and noted that 1500 Idaho Citizens had commented at the public hearings held in Idaho this past year. My reaction - only 1500 comments on an issue that affects everybody in this state, forever? How can politicians be so arrogant and dis serving of the public to act on so little public input? The people of Idaho and the U.S. deserve better.

When President Clinton was considering the Roadless Area Conservation Rule of 2001 it was supported by more Americans than any other similar rule in U.S. History. 1.6 million comments were made and more than 95 percent supported the Roadless Rules. Bush, Kempthorne, the County Commissioners, and Risch know these facts, but chose to insult the will of the American people by choosing their own form of public input.

I hope that some of the new Social Networking opportunities on the Internet will start to develop a public reaction to the decisions by politicians who create plans that affect everybody in Idaho and other states as well, when only 1500 people comment.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Gary's new Video Blog (Vlog)

I have finally started my Video Blog (Vlog) with a few experimental posts. As I started this I realized, given some time, I could post links to several hundred video sequences I have done in the past.

This is just the beginning. I expect to post videos of current events as a higher priority.

The link to the gogrimm-vlog is here.

Note on September 17, I posted a High Definition video on my Vlog and a link to Mountain Visions pages where several other HDV videos can be viewed.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Sun Valley Sustainability Conference - Sept.27-30, 2006

In Sun Valley, Idaho on September 27-29, 2006, educational practical knowledge and expertise will be presented by high level speakers with global knowledge from across the country. The 2006 Sun Valley Sustainability Conference web site contains details and Registration information.

On the agenda are important topics such as "Global Warming," "Healthy Homes," "Sustainable Communities," "Solar Electricity," "Land Conservation," etc.,. In the morning of Saturday, September 30 there is a "free tour of green homes, gardens and businesses."

We may be able to attend sessions on Friday afternoon and the tour on Saturday. The topics covered at this conference should be of high interest to citizens of Idaho. Hopefully Social Networking projects can be developed to allow many more people to participate in discussions about these topics via the Internet.

Technorati registration

I am creating a link to my Blog with Technorati. I am also trying to figure out how to create more of a presence on the web for this Blog in order to get more participation. It appears this is a process that will take some time to do effectively.

Technorati Profile

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Boulder-White Cloud Wilderness Bill

I wanted to start uploading images with my posts when I can. This image is in the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains in Idaho. The prominent peak in the background is "Castle Peak." Katy Flanagan and I have shot and produced interactive 360 degree panoramas in this are and you can find them on our Mountain Visions Idaho > Interactive Virtual Tour pages.

The Idaho Conservation League has also published some of these panoramas on their "Seeing Wild Idaho" section. In addition they have published a "Special Update" for the Boulder-White Clouds wilderness bill just passed through the US House of Representatives.

I have been involved in Wilderness issues during all of my adult life. I have been frustrated by the "Public Input process" primarily organized by Federal Agencies. During the 1970's we tried to initiate citizen input "networking meetings, conferences and newsletters with limited success. Examples include conferences that gained national interest on topics such as "Wilderness Use Ethics" and "Wilderness and Individual Freedom" I have hard copy documentation for the Wilderness Use Ethics conference but cannot find reference to it on the Internet at this time.

Today, Social Networking applications that are available on the Internet should dramatically increase citizen opportunities to be involved in Wilderness and other public land and natural resource issues. I believe that the Idaho Conservation League, The Wilderness Society and other environmental organizations should be learning how to use these new tools and incorporating them into their web sites.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Fwiki - A New Web application can supplement web sites

Today, September 11, 2006, PRWeb released a newswire describing FWiki as "A revolutionary new web application is now available for Internet users."

I believe that one or many "Wiki" type projects could be developed with the Interactive Multimedia and Community Networking projects Mountain Visions is now developing. These include the "Jamaica Protected Area Trust", "Idaho Weed Awareness" and "River Menders." Past projects we are still involved in might also begin to develop new Wikis, Blogs, and discussion groups as the tools become easier to use. Additional projects include the "Interactive Watersheds" project that involved 5 major watersheds across the country, "Ridge to Rivers Trail System," "The Floodwood, Choices for a Working Forest," "Seeing Wild Idaho," and many others. (See Mountain Visions web site).

The PRWeb article notes that "The power of the application is that it can be used by bloggers and site owners to enhance their blog or web site and even create a page that drives traffic to an existing site."

Look for more information about our experiment with different Wiki features and programs in the near future.

Web 2.0 - Detailed description by Tim O'Reilly

Tim O'Reilly has been instrumental in clarifying the Web 2.0 phenomenon. Many web sites refer to him and to the Web 2.0 conferences his company "O'Reilly Media" has co-sponsored since 2004.

I looked a his description again today and decided the link should be prominently placed on my Blog for people to read. It is very informative and will help gain an understanding of the broad changes that Web 2.0 is initiating throughout the public Internet.

You may also be interested in knowing about the upcoming Web 2.0 conference on November 7-9, 2006, in San Francisco. It is "sold out" but "top notch presenters, leaders and experts" will be there. One topic of discussion will be "Defining Web 3.0: What's Next?"

Saturday, September 09, 2006

CivicEvolution - Wiki like program for civic projects

I read a short article published September 8, 2006 in CNET Web 2.0 Blog describing a new type of Wiki. "CivicEvolution, still in development, is designed for political committees, nonprofits, and small collectives like neighborhood groups and teams. Fundamentally it's a wiki, but unlike most first-generation wikis, it offers a great deal of structure."

The CivicEvolution web site (Beta) notes that the program "provides online tools and resources to help groups achieve their goals through deliberation and collaboration." Several "Example Projects" are provided including a "Private discussion group," "Brainstorming," "Study an issue," "Focus Group," and "Create a Proposal."

In a Beta stage "CivicEvolution is now accepting new pilot projects." I tried to fill out the form provided but it was not working today. Instead I sent an e-mail to get more information about how to start a project. This looks like an excellent program for Social Networking projects. I will try to write more as I learn about it.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Broadband should be faster and cheaper

In addition to articles about broadband being relatively slow in America, I also read that in some other countries it is significantly cheaper and available to more of the population.

An article written on September 5, by Matt Lake, CNET Reviews, in an article titled, "Who's investing in broadband?" notes that in "England, for example, has almost universally available DSL at 2.3Mbps to 8Mbps for the equivalent of $28.45 per month, taxes included. How does your service stack up to that?"

He also provides information about how "the billions of dollars in the Universal Service Fund (USF) could have helped." And, he concludes, "As far as I can see, it was incredibly poor management of the USF (a problem with government) and short-sightedness on the part of the broadband providers (a problem among corporations). The result is that we, the consumers, are stuck with spottily available broadband at underpowered data rates." He ends the article with a comment that the DSL providers and FCC should "Quit bickering; start serving"

Quite obvious to all citizens of this country is the fact that Corporations are successful at lobbying for favors that will provide the greatest profit to them. We citizens have to get better at lobbying for actions that will provide the greatest public service at the best cost to us as individuals and social groups. I hope the new Social Networking opportunities will stimulate more of us to organize our efforts to communicate with our elected representatives on these issues.

Why is America 16th in the World in Broadband?

On the Internet I periodically see articles that state that America has slower broadband service, even 100 times slower, than than some other countries around the world. These often allude to what a group called Teletruth, an Alliance for Customers' Telecommunications Rights, is calling "one of the largest scandals in American history,and it's never been told, but it impacts every aspect of the future of telecommunications and broadband in America from municipalities laying fiber or building Wi-fi networks, the issues surrounding "Net Neutrality", "VOIP", "cable services", the cost of local phone service, the new digital divide, and even America's economic growth."

They have published an Ebook called the "$200 Billion Broadband Scandal." A short summary is provided in this press release. And, they filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission on October 27th, 2005.

This issue seems critically important for those of already using the Internet and one that should have already provided the impetus for a lot of "Social Networking" citizen discussion opportunities. I would like to find links to any of these we can find.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Social Networking for Climate Change Threats

What Social networks exist related to the possibilities of climate change threats in the near future? Everything in our social, economic, political and environmental ecosystems will change dramatically if climate change happens faster than expected. As a high priority I will try to locate sources of good information to post here. Meanwhile here are some of my thoughts today.

The current U.S. administration does not provide citizens with adequate information regarding these threats even though people like Al Gore (An Inconvenient Truth) and many others are trying to alert us to potential problems. This is one of the most important topics for citizens around the earth to start building "Social Networking" concepts to try to learn and educate our friends and neighbors, and also to create much stronger communication networks with our community, state, and federal elected officials.

Below is an article about a scientific study that definitely confirms "recent carbon dioxide has come from fossil fuel sources and must be due to human activity."

"A CLIMATE change timebomb may be just 10 years away from detonating, according to the latest global warming evidence." An article with this statement was published in The, today, by John Von Radowitz. Titled "Ice cores hold threat of climate timebomb."

At the same time we need more information to be shared on all kinds of topics, including climate change, some in the U.S. government are alluding to the problems that the free use of the Internet may cause for national security.

Should we be alarmed about the future of our opportunities to use the Internet to organize groups for social activism? Who is talking about this on the Internet?

In the New York Times on September 5, David Sanger and John O'Neil wrote an article titled "Political Season Opens with Focus on Security". In the article they note that The White House Report, titled "National Strategy for Combating Terrorism" In the last sentence of this article they state 'The report notes the "increasingly sophisticated use of the Internet and the media" that has allowed terrorists to recruit and communicate.'

Net Neutrality & Social Networking

The current dialogue and future congressional action on the issue of "Net Neutrality" may affect the functionality of Social Networking and Web 2. applications in the future. At stake is the possibility that public access to web sites and applications may be dramatically altered in the future compared to the past up to now. Please study this issue and let your views be known to your elected representatives now.

Proponents of Net Neutrality and good descriptions of their views include, Save The, and It'sOurNet. Google Help Center also has a "Guide to Net Neutrality for Google Users."

Critics of Net Neutrality, including an article published in Knowledge@Wharton titled "Getting a Fix on Network Neutrality" argue that legislation is not necessary yet, because it is uncertain what the future will be regarding this issue. Even though major corporations like AT&T, Verizon, etc., argue that they need to be able to charge a "toll" for the required development of future Internet resources, and this toll will be a fair charge, some people are uncertain about the true outcomes of an upcoming congressional vote which could go against the concept of Net Neutrality.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Wiki applications and sites gain in popularity

Wiki applications that allow anyone to create a wiki site are growing in number and many new wiki web sites are being produced. I will try to add information here to Internet articles and information I find as often as I can.

My primary interest is learning how citizens and organizations can use Social Networking tools and Web 2. applications like the Wiki concept to start discussions and communicate their concerns about natural resource and ecosystem issues that affect them every day, to leaders and government officials who make decisions about these issues that affect the long range future.

One important issue will be how the companies who provide the "Social Networking" services will survive economically. Probably most individual and community web site projects may not have a profit motive. Below is an article that explains a few "for profit" "Wiki" projects and also alludes to the fast growing popularity of the Wiki concept.

CNET published an article by Stefnie Olsen on June 12, 2006 titled, "Social networks poised to shape the Net's future." She quotes "Safa Rashtchy, managing director and senior analyst at investment firm Piper Jaffery."..." 'This is going to get big, folks,' he said"

The New York Times today (September 4, 2006) published an article by Robert Levine titled, "New Web Sites Seeking Profit in Wiki Model."

Several examples are provided, including, "a how-to guide to everything," Wikia, started by Jimmy Wales, who founded Wikipedia and is "a collection of communities with websites you can edit," and, a domain name recently purchased by an entrepreneur for $2.86 million.

Levine also notes that, "The Gartner Group has predicted that half of all companies will use them internally in some fashion by 2009."

Friday, September 01, 2006

Update on public mosquito spray information

On August 31, 2006, Jennifer Miller,Idaho's representative of the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, wrote an op-ed to the Idaho Statesman titled: "After spraying, questions of safety, efficacy, alternatives remain."

The same day the Statesman also published an article titled: "Officials: Spraying killed 90-95% of mosquitoes."

Ms. Miller noted that "The Abatement District's mosquito monitoring results indicated levels were already dropping, raising questions about the need for the scale of action."

She also cited two additional issues.

"• Inconsistent recommendations from local and state officials on how to protect ourselves from the spray."

"• Lack of public participation for a program that would subject thousands of residents to involuntary pesticide exposure."

This last issue brings up the question of how the public can become more involved in government action plans, before they are implemented. Is it the government's responsibility to provide well publicized opportunities for input on issues related to health welfare and safety? Or is it the responsibility of each citizen, or groups of citizens to watchdog issues of concern and alert their friends and neighbors or the whole community in time for meaningful public dialogue?

I believe that both the government and citizens must become much more proactive in understanding and developing new ways to involve the public in the decision making process. The Internet and new Social Networking tools are available to help with this process, but we all have to learn how to use these tools more efficiently before they can make a difference in our personal lives and in the local, regional and global communities we belong to.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Emergency Mosquito spray program/ Boise, Idaho

The Ada County Mosquito Abatement plan, which includes the city of Boise instituted an emergency aerial mosquito spray program last week to try to kill mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus. (See Ada County News Release page)

When the plan was announced some local people became concerned about the brand chemical "Dibrom Concentrate" being used. Even though county officials claim it is a "safe" chemical, convenient Google searches can find evidence that there are some concerns to be considered. Some of these were noted in the Local newspaper, The Idaho Statesman. As a precaution, people who had concerns were told they could close their windows, turn off their air conditioners, harvest the garden fruits and vegetables, and cover outdoor furniture. Organic food producing farms were excluded from the spray pattern.

New West
, a network of online communities devoted to information aout the Rocky Mountain West, published an article on 8-20-06 by Nathaniel Hoffman with more information about how the decision to spray was made. "Aerial Mosquito Spraying in Boise - Practical or Political?"

The spraying program was supposed to start about Monday August 21 at 9: PM and continue for several hours. Spraying a second night would complete the project. The problem that occurred is that the wind came up for a few nights during the week which caused a cancellation until the next night.

Regarding Social Networking: I could not find a way to find out about 9:PM whether the spraying was going to be done, or not, because of wind conditions. Ada County did not have a phone number or an updated web site entry, nor did the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. I watched some of the local TV stations and radio and did not find any information either.

On a very basic level it would have been more comfortable to be able to open the windows on these hot evenings when the spraying was cancelled. On a more comprehensive level, clearly citizens should have more information about chemicals being used in their community and the opportunity to voice their opinion regarding the use of controversial chemicals and practices. It is also important that people have access to instant information about issues that might affect their health and welfare. New Internet technology exists and citizens have a right to demand that it be used more effectively.

I decided to write my concerns to the Idaho Outdoors Yahoo Discussion Group and offered to start an offline discussion about the various issues related to how citizens find out last minute details about a local Emergency programs. A few people have responded already and I will try to write reports here on what happens in the future.

The Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides
has already started one listserve (wnvnospray) to discuss the issues related to this emergency spray project.

Online personal reputation concepts

I am interested in how people participate in Social Network projects by noting their "real names" or "pseudonyms" or "anonymous" identities.

10/25/06, on MeatballWiki I found a good discussion about why people should Use Real Names.

When contributing to a Wiki project, for example, if a person does not use a "real name" how can other readers develop a level of trust that this contributor has a reputation that can be verified.

The Wikipedia has a page titled "Motivations for contributing to online communities" that is helpful in understanding this issue.
, under the archives for the topic "The Evolution of Reputation" lists a series of online articles discussing this issue.

Harold Rheingold's book "The Virtual Community" is online and contains a detailed history of how the Internet and online virtual communities developed.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Carmel River Restoration Wiki started

Our long time associate and friend Harrison Hilbert, has taken recurring photographs of the Carmel River Restoration in California over a 30 year period. Katy Flanagan and I helped him digitize 35 mm slides and prints and created a multimedia slide show presentation showing the progressive changes. People associated with the Carmel River have asked "H" to send his digital images for potential printing on posters and/or posting on the internet.

In the late 1960s and 70s we were all heavily involved in the development of Common Adventure Bulletin Board Social Networking concepts associated with colleges and communities before the age of the personal computer or the Internet. We decided to experiment with a the new wiki services available today to make the photos and stories of his knowledge of the river available and to encourage others to do the same.

Two days ago we started to create a new Wikispaces project. It is still under construction but you can now view the Carmel River Restoration Wiki project.

Comments are welcome.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Google Earth Community and Social Networking

The Google Earth Community is an amazing example of Social Networking. Google Earth users from all around the world have submitted KMZ files to special places that anyone can visit using the free Google Earth Browser.

Moving around the geography of the world is really exciting for users. Being able to share points of interest adds to the interactive possibilities. Going further by adding pictures, web sites or other kinds of information opens up the opportunities for people to understand the possibilities of creating and publishing interesting content about places they care about.

In the Environment and Conservation section, on July 23, 2006 I created one experimentl KMZ file for locations in Jamaica were we have taken fifty five 360 degree panoramas. In the near future I plan to update this project. At this time 18 of these locations are linked to web pages where people can see full screen panorama views. The Google Earth Community pages change with new entries every day so I will not link to the KMZ file. However, On the Mountain Visions "What's New" web page you can download this file. (Jamaica360PanoramaTour3.KMZ) Look for the entry date 7/24/06.

I also purchased the license to use Google Earth Pro with the Movie Maker, GIS, and Printing programs. I have now created several experimental QuickTime movies that do not require the Google Earth Browser. These can be found on the Mountain Visions Digital Video/Terrain Animations page.

Comments are welcome.

Web 2 Applications & Social Networking

Information about the very interesting concept of Social Networking and community building is exploding on the Internet.

The organization of personal blogs, community wikis, and dicussion groups has been enabled by what is being called Web 2. Applications. On Matt Mackenzie's blog he comments that "Web 2.0 is about community building."

These applications can perform the same function as an old analogue or cork "Bulletin Board" where individuals can post a notice about a trip, idea, or community project and invite others to join in a "Common Adventure" to attempt to organize and actualize a proposed project.

I am doing research on how these expanding Web 2. opportunities can be used by people who are visiting the web sites Mountain Visions is producing. This Blog is my attempt to produce ideas and links to relevant articles about Social Networking, Web 2. and Wikis.

In August, 2002 I wrote a short blogspot outline of my thoughts about the "Common Adventure on the Internet."

In 2003 I started one "Common Adventure Blog" and I will either expand this or create a new one, possibly as an adjunct to this Gary O. Grimm blog.

In 2004 I presented a topic titled "InterActive InterNetworking for Ecological Commons" at the PlaNetwork Interactive Conference in San Francisco.

I also plan to start experimental Wiki groups for new web site projects Mountain Visions is producing, including those "under construction" for the Jamaica Protected Areas, Idaho Weed Awareness and River Menders. I may also start experimental wiki projects for the 5 Interactive Watersheds projects, we produced between 2000 and 2003. All of these web interactive web sites contain 360 degree panorama Virtual Tours to help people learn about the natural resource issues and Community or "Social" Networking sections to invite web users to participate in the projects.

Comments are welcome.