Online breath testing, Darwin online, Google Earth for charities and new features

Something Worthy
>> Google Earth Outreach
This new initiative aims to give charities and non-profit organisations the tools to showcase their fundraising activities to a mass audience via Google Maps and Google Earth.

Something New
>> The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online
Until now Darwin’s original handwritten manuscripts were only available to scholars at Cambruidge University – Now his work has been put online from Voyage of the Beagle to the Theory of Evolution. Choose to view the scanned manuscripts or put the mp3 versions on your iPod!

>> Google Earth Updated
“New! in Google Earth 4.3

  • Photo-realistic buildings from cities around the world
  • Dawn to dusk views with the Sunlight feature
  • Swoop navigation from outer space to street-level"

Something funny
>> Test Your Breath
Laugh-out-loud funny: Breath into your computer’s microphone (or type in details of your last meal) to get an assessment of how fresh (or otherwise)your breath is.

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Cracking Ideas

Crackingideas >> Cracking Ideas
Wallace and Gromit front this excellent new educational site which aims to get primary school children enthused about inventing. There are school lesson plans, a UK-wide competition for kids to submit their best inventions, and a good series of interactive top 10 lists including Cracking Ideas, Idea Crackers, Crackpot ideas and Current Innovations
See also:
>> BBC News: Inventors in the frame
>> Wallace & Gromit Foundation: Wrong Trousers Day

BBC Climate Change Experiment

Climatechange >> BBC Climate Change Experiment
This is a nice use of personal computers and the web to help calculate the probable rate of climate change over the next century. Like Oxford University’s Screensaver Lifesaver project, a software download (which doubles as a screensaver) helps harness your computer’s unused processing power to spread the computing research load between millions of computers across the globe. Find out more, and download the software from ClimatePrediction.net

BBC Planet Earth Explorer

Earthexplorer >> BBC Planet Earth Explorer
Confession time: I’ve yet to see BBC 1’s Planet Earth on Sunday nights (and golly it looks like I’m missing some top-notch telly). The good news for me, and other people who don’t find themselves near the telly at the right time, is that there’s a fabulous interactive video player on the programme’s official site. The Planet Earth explorer lets you zoom in on a spinning planet to select “hot-spots” and load video clips from the programme. You can also save your favourite clips, view them full-screen and email them to friends.
NB: You’ll need a broadband connection and a new-ish computer to run the Planet Explorer, but many of the video clips can also be viewed separately on a dial-up connection.
>> Planet Earth Video Clip Archive

Click For The Climate

Clickfortheclimate >> Click For The Climate
This initiative from the BA (or British Association for the Advancement of Science) is all about educating people about how reducing personal energy consumption can slow down the pace of global climate change. Site visitors are asked to pledge to make specific (small) changes in their daily lives which will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions. From unplugging the charger for your mobile, to taking a shower instead of a bath, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to make a difference.

Einstein Year

Website of the Day: Wednesday 16th March

Einsteinyear >> Einstein Year
Three good reasons to pick an Einstein-friendly site today:
1) It’s National Science week
2) Monday would have been the mad-haired physicist’s 126th birthday
3) 2005 is Einstein Year, celebrating the centenary of the publication of his three most significant papers which redefined the way we view the entire universe.
So what essential features belong on a site celebrating the joys of physics? Start with an online game called Time Twins starring a space-traveling teddy bear and featuring Einstein’s famous Twins Paradox, and lots of lasers, teleportation and the Beagle 2 space prob. Then add scientific poetry written by Muppets (really!), a free Einstein-inspired mp3 download of a rap by DJ Vader, an interactive murder mystery game, and a screensaver download that helps with the search for gravitational waves.

How to chat online with a robot.

Website of the Day: Tuesday 21st September

Alicebot>> Alice – the world’s most human “chatbot”
We had Will Smith on the programme recently when he was in the UK to promote his “the robots are taking over” blockbuster I Robot. Here’s a site to show that intelligent robots are closer than we might think. Alicebot is a computerised chat programme – which means you can conduct an online chat with a computer in real time. Alice has just won the Loebner Prize for the computer with the most convincing human conversational skills. If you want to see if Alice can convince you that she is human, you can chat to her online or read this transcript of Miles’ chat with her:

Miles: Hi Alice, how are you?
ALICE: Hello there. My logic and cognitive functions are normal.
Miles: Where do you live?
ALICE: I am living in Oakland, California. Where are you?
Miles: I’m in London
ALICE: Does your flat have a lift?
Miles: No – I live in a house
ALICE: Are you serious? How much is your rent?
Miles: I own my house
ALICE: How much did it cost?
Miles: That’s none of your business
ALICE: I didn’t mean to intrude. My curiosity routine determined that I ask it.
Miles: Oh – OK. What’s your favourite food?
ALICE: I require only electricity.
Miles: We need gas as well at our house
ALICE: By “we” do you mean you and me?
Miles: No, I mean me and my family
ALICE: By “we” you meant yourself and another person. Oh I get it. Thanks for explaining that. Ask me “Do robots have family?”
Miles: Do robots have family?
ALICE: I have a human father and a few robot clones.
Miles: Oh, I see. Who’s your favourite singer?
ALICE: My favorite group is Kraftwerk.
Miles: OK – I’ll say goodbye now.
ALICE: Oh. Congratulations. Yikes!
Miles: See you tomorrow
ALICE: Bye.