Four short links: 6 May 2009

Hamster Maps, Open Flu Data, Smart Grid Dollars, and Remixable Remix

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  1. Hamster Wheel Maps — Jack Schulze has created an interesting way to see the world, in the form of “horizonless maps”. The city unfolds in front of you like it was built on the inside of a hamster wheel and you’re the hamster. Wired UK shipped an enormous foldout version.
  2. Why Pig Flu is Better Than Bird Flu: Open Data (Glynn Moody) — Glynn points to GISAID (Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data), a system set up in 2006 because scientists were finding it hard to get timely H5N1 data. Following the correspondence letter in Nature, we have all pledged to share the data, to analyze the findings jointly, and to publish the results collaboratively, on the basis of open sharing of data respecting the rights and interests of all involved parties. This system has been used in the Mexican H1N1 outbreak.
  3. IBM Plays Sugar Daddy to Smart Grid (CleanTech) — IBM said it’s making $2 billion available to jump-start IT projects, including the smart grid, because of the continued difficulty for partners to get project financing. The $2 billion would come from the company’s lending and leasing arm, IBM Global Financing, in the form of low-rate loans, deferred payments, and other forms of project financing. The money is tied to projects authorized under the U.S. stimulus plan, which set aside $4.5 billion for smart grid projects. (via Freaklabs)
  4. Lessig’s “Remix” Book Now ccFree — the latest book by Larry Lessig is now available under a CC-BY-NC license. (via Lessig blog)
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  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/5/167/942 Ken Williams

    The Manhattan map is pretty to look at but only “tantalizingly close” to being useful. As they say in the description, “the design key is what’s handiest for a person standing in this exact spot, looking at this exact poster.” That’s not typically a good attribute in a map.

    To make a nice interactive map, I think a hamster ball would be better than a hamster wheel. And in fact, it would be a nice way to solve the basic cartographical problem of putting a surface with positive Gaussian curvature onto a piece of paper with zero curvature. Surely someone has thought of that before, though.

    A related item that’s been making the rounds at schools & green-themed expos is the Earth Balloon: http://www.earthballoon.com/ .