Iranian blogger goes to jail for 14 years

February 28th, 2005

Via WhatsNextBlog. If you thought Mark Jen’s firing at Google was the end. Well, here’s more.

An Iranian blogger, Arash Sigarchi, has been jailed for 14 years. His offense? Criticizing Iran’s arrest of other bloggers.

He was jailed on charges against the state, including espionage and insulting Iran’s leaders, after the 28-year-old criticised the Iranian government and its treatment of web log writers on his own blog.

Bloggers across the web were asked to add a Free Mojtaba and Arash banner to their blogs and contact Iranian government representatives.

More at

Automatic policy adherence – be it for an organization, blogging host or country will have to be addressed soon. This is not to say that policies in effect are right or wrong and have to be followed. But means of verification need to be in place to atleast warn the blogger on possible implications.

Blog categories <==> tags

February 24th, 2005

I was happy to see that Technorati now automatically maps from the category system in many common blog systems to tags:

“If your blog software supports categories and RSS/Atom (like Movable Type, WordPress, TypePad, Blogware, Radio), just use the included category system and make sure you’re publishing RSS/Atom and we’ll automatically include your posts! Your categories will be read as tags.”

One might like to have tags that differ from the blog category system (e.g., finer grained), but I think this might give me 80% of what I want with virtually no effort. For example, here’s what Technorati has under the SemanticWeb tag. We’ll have to re-think our categories, add some new ones, and get in the habit of categorizing a posting more carefully.

Blog category systems, at least the one that comes with WordPress, are hierarchical. If the AI category has a subcategory MachineLearning, then all postings tagged with MachineLearning will show up when you look at the AI postings. So, we may have to do this manually in order to have that posting show up on Technorati under both tags, AI and MachineLearning.

Another problem is that the names in a category system are often chosen to make sense in the context of the hierarchy, differentiating the category from its parent, siblings and children. In a flat and more open tagging environment, there is no contextual information, so that the names have to carry all the weight.

New Geospatial Semantic Web Group

February 23rd, 2005

Early this week, I attended a geospatial semantic web meeting organized by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The attendees of the meeting were researchers from different companies and government agencies that are the participants of an NGA-sponsored geospatial semantic web project.

Key research issues that NGA is interested to address:

  • Geospatial data and information sharing: many government agencies (including NGA) have vast amount of geospatial data and information. Because different kinds of geospatial data have different representations, often sharing the data among different groups of analysts are difficult.
  • Problem solving and mapping: a key task of a geospatial analyst is to solve problems, e.g., figuring out if the N. Korean government is building WMD facilities in a particular region. As the geospatial intelligence technology improves, more data and information will need to be analyzed by an analyst. How to develop systems that can help geospatial anaylsts to solve problems quickly and effectively is a challenging issue.

There is a disccusion group for people who are the participants of the NGA’s geospatial semantic web project. Because this is private group, membership is by invitation only.

There is a public discussion group for people who have general interest in the geospatial semantic web technology (see below).

Geospatial Semantic Web Group (or geo-semanticweb-interest) is an open discussion group for people who are interested in the research and development of geospatial semantic web.

Topics of interest includes the use of semantic web languages (RDF, RDFS, OWL) and ontologies in geospatial applications, software tools and systems for building geospatial semantic web applications, and the latest news and development of geospatial semantic web research.

Swoogle’s cheat sheet

February 23rd, 2005

Swoogle’s Cheat Sheet has just been added to our Swoogle website. It’s a list of syntaxes you can use with Swoogle’s search engine, along with some other interesting services, such as Ontology Dictionary, Swoogle Statistics, and Swoogle’s RDF Site Map. This cheat sheet could be printed in two pages, but the orientation has to be landscape.

Here are something that you may be unfamiliar with:

  • [..] in vocabulary search: Search "[cat]" for all terms of "cat";search "[cat" for all terms with "cat>" as a prefix in localname, such as "category";search "cat]" for with "cat" as a suffix in localname, such as "Domestic_cat".
  • ns: in document search: search document by the namespaces it used. We already have a previous description for this.
  • Swoogle’s RDF Site Map: Search for website and its hosting RDF documents with HTML and RDF output.

  • The tenth circle of Hell

    February 23rd, 2005

    The Adventures of Action Item comic strip must surely be talking about what goes on in the tenth circle of Hell. (posted on the SWIG scratchpad by Jim Hendler)

    Vimeo – Folksonomies for video

    February 22nd, 2005

    Via SearchViews.
    has a similar interface to Flickr and works on collaborative content management. Vimeo
    Its currently in Beta and does not support account signups. But it does look cool.

    OWL Developer’s Mailinglist

    February 21st, 2005

    The W3C Semantic Web Coordination Group has established as a new mailing list for the discussion of OWL related topics — OWL tools, OWL techniques, OWL extensions, tutorials, boos and papers on OWL, etc. This complements, which will remain as the forum for the more general topics of logic on the web or on the use of RDF in support of ontologies. public-owl-dev has an archive and an RSS feed and can be subscribved by sending email to with a subject subscribe.

    India: The next knowledge superpower

    February 20th, 2005

    A special issue of New Scientist dated 19 February has has a dozen well researched articles covering developments in Indian science and technology.

    “There’s a revolution afoot in India. Unlike any other developing nation, India is using brainpower rather than cheap physical labour or natural resources to leapfrog into the league of technologically advanced nations. Every high tech company, from Intel to Google, is coming to India to find innovators. Leading the charge is Infosys, the country’s first billion-dollar IT company. ”

    The article covers a wide range of S&T sectors — IT, medicine, genetic engineering, space, pharmacology, agriculture, etc.


    February 20th, 2005

    A posting on Hacknot is a bit curmugeonly, but makes some good points. I’ve certainly seen lots of projects roll out Wiki’s with high hopes for them, never to be realized. Still, Wikipedia has turned out to be one of the best things to have happened on the Internet. Ever.

    “Wikiphilia: A mental illness characterized by the irrational conviction that any problem faced by a group can be rendered solvable through installation and use of a Wiki. This delusional ailment has been occurring in increasing numbers ever since it was first identified in 1995. Wikiphilia usually manifests in two distinct phases – the rapturous anticipation of the Wiki’s potential in the short post-installation phase; slowly giving way to denial of the Wiki’s failure to fulfill that potential in the second phase. …”

    Cabir bluetooth virus speads to USA

    February 18th, 2005

    The Cabir bluetooth virus has been reported found in the wild in the United States. Cabir originated in the Philippines and infects bluethooth enabled mobile phones and (maybe) other device running the Symbian operating system. F-Secure offers this description:

    Cabir is a bluetooth using worm that runs in Symbian mobile phones that support Series 60 platform. Cabir replicates over bluetooth connections and arrives to phone messaging inbox as caribe.sis file what contains the worm. When user clicks the caribe.sis and chooses to install the Caribe.sis file the worm activates and starts looking for new devices to infect over bluetooth. When Cabir worm finds another bluetooth device it willstart sending infected SIS files to it, and lock to that phone so that it won’t look other phones even when the target moves out of range.

    Top 100 gadgets of all time

    February 18th, 2005

    MobilePC Magazine has an article on the The Top 100 Gadgets of All Time. Their constraints were: (i) must have have electronic and/or moving parts; (ii) must be a self-contained apparatus that can be used on its own; and (iii) must be smaller than a bread box.

    Everyting in this post is false

    February 18th, 2005

    Find out what your SRAT-Q with James Propp‘s self-referential aptitude test. It’s possible to answer all of the questions correctly and there is only one way to do so. Knowing this is not neccessary in order to correctly answer all of questions, but it can help answer them more quickly. Knowing that this knowledge is not neccessary is also not essential. Nor is it particularly helpful. If the test reveals that you have a high aptitude for self-referencial thinking, consider entering the exciting new field of omphaloskepsistical engineering (OSE).