How To Explore The Universe ( Space ) From Computer

Microsoft launches a free tool that allows amateur star-gazers to explore the universe / spave from their computers.

Microsoft launches a free tool that allows amateur star-gazers to explore the universe from their computers. The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a Web 2.0 visualization software environment that enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope—bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world for a seamless exploration of the universe.

This is a virtual telescope for you and me. You can now view galaxies, exotic nebulae and exploding stars from your own computer Want to see the same images that scientists use for their research or perform your own research with those images? Do you want to see the Earth from the same perspective that astronauts see as they descend to Earth? Try this software.

System requirements to run WWT

  • 2GHz or faster processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 1-10GB of free disk space
  • Graphics card with 128 MB RAM or 256 VRAM
  • Windows XP Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista
  • Net connection
  • Macs must run Windows OS

=> Download software here
=> More information available here and here

Google Knol – Another Wikipedia Like Service

Knol has been described as a rival to Wikipedia. It is an online wiki like publishing platform from Google. It will be used to create user-generated articles on various topics. It was announced on December 13, 2007:

Earlier this week, we started inviting a selected group of people to try a new, free tool that we are calling “knol”, which stands for a unit of knowledge. Our goal is to encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it. The tool is still in development and this is just the first phase of testing. For now, using it is by invitation only. But we wanted to share with everyone the basic premises and goals behind this project.

The key idea behind the knol project is to highlight authors. Books have authors’ names right on the cover, news articles have bylines, scientific articles always have authors — but somehow the web evolved without a strong standard to keep authors names highlighted. We believe that knowing who wrote what will significantly help users make better use of web content. At the heart, a knol is just a web page; we use the word “knol” as the name of the project and as an instance of an article interchangeably. It is well-organized, nicely presented, and has a distinct look and feel, but it is still just a web page. Google will provide easy-to-use tools for writing, editing, and so on, and it will provide free hosting of the content. Writers only need to write; we’ll do the rest.

Google  Knol  - Another Wikipedia Like Service
(Fig 01: Google Knol Sample Mock-up page)

I guess Google will put ads on the content and they will be getting a share of the profits. Also users will be allowed to rate, edit or comment on the articles. The site is in private beta.

=> Read more: Encouraging people to contribute knowledge