Monday, February 15, 2010

Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture

Zoeller 507-0005 Basement Sentry Battery Backup Pump SystemIstanbul has been designated as a "2010 European Capital of Culture" by the European Union. There are a lot of cultural things to see and do in Istanbul, but you would be hard pressed to find them from the official web site. Most useful is the calendar of events. See also my Istanbul by Public Transport.

There are two official documents. Unfortunately, while these must be magnificent in printed format, with high quality photos of the city, they are too large and cumbersome when translated into PDF documents. It is a shame some of this effort was not put into making a more usable web site. The official web home page had 255 HTML Validation errors and is not mobile friendly.

One document is the "Istanbul 2010 2010 European Capital of Culture Program". This is 137 pages of PDF (15 Mbytes):
Hayati Yazıcı / 6
Hüsamettin Kavi / 7
Sekib Avdagiç / 8
Yılmaz Kurt / 9
Pécs / 16
Ruhr / 18
Vısual Arts / 22
Musıc / 40
Theatre and Performıng Arts / 62
Fılm Documentary Anımatıon / 76
Tradıtıonal Arts / 84
Internatıonal Relatıons / 92
Urban Culture / 108
Educatıon / 120
Lıterature / 126
Cultural Herıtage and Museums / 136
Urban Implementatıons / 150
Urban Projects / 166
Marıtıme / 184
Corporate Relatıons / 190
Promotıon / 198
Parallel Actıvıtıes Supported by Istanbul 2010 / 210
The second publication is the Istanbul 2010 Magazine (49 pages, 14 Mbytes of PDF):
10 Cultural and art events calendar
14 Private museums
20 Interview HAYAT‹ YAZICI, Minister of State:
“2010 is the year in which change begins”

28 Yenikap›: Istanbul 8,500 years ago
Discovering the future in the trails of the past
Tsunami and pickle effect
36 An ArcheoPark in Küçükyal›
40 Sur-i Sultani will be protected
The Story of the Strategic Plan for Sur-i Sultani
44 First city museum to be founded on the Islands
46 Interview ‹LBER ORTAYLI, President of Topkap› Palace Museum “2,000 Years of Common Heritage”

50 Interview
"Istanbul will be a stage for arts and life to act upon"
54 Interview PAUL MCMILLEN and HAKKI MISIRLIO⁄LU, creative directors of Istanbul 2010 ECOC Agency's domestic and international promotional campaings
60 Literature
40 books, 40 authors, 40 districts: “‹stanbulum”
64 Art is Everywhere!

Works and Lives in Istanbul
Portable Arts
Photography Parade
Kad›rga Art Production Centre
70 Cinema
1001 Istanbuls in My Binocular
Cinema Lies as the Heart of Istanbul
At›f Y›lmaz Studio
74 European Culture Award goes to “41º-29º ‹stanbul Network”
75 Istanbul’s Century-Long Transformation: 1910-2010 exhibition
76 Istanbul on the stage!
First Istanbul International Opera Festival
Seond Istanbul International Ballet Competition
Dance, theatre, music: Barbarossa
80 Classical Turkish Music is being archived
82 Inspired
84 Symbols of the City
90 Books and CDs on Istanbul
92 Leaving trails behind
EU Culture Capital is a well deserved honour, but curious as:
  1. There are three such capitals for 2010: the other two are Essen in Germany and Pécs in Hungary
  2. Istanbul is not a member of the EU
  3. Only half of Istanbul is geographically in Europe, the other half is in Asia.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

EU Project Missing the Point on Open Access to Publications

The European Commission has a project looking at the use of public domain content. Those involved in higher education in the EU can take part in a Survey on the Use of public domain works in higher education (those outside the EU can still get a report on the survey results by entering their email address). However, a flaw in the design of the study by Rightscom may result in it harming open access projects in Europe. The problem seems to be that the EU project assumes that free material is mostly about dusty old books where the copyright has expired. There is a danger this will be a self fulfilling prophecy: the surveys will find little new material because the survey specifically exclude such material and the conclusion will be that open access material is of little value.

One problem I can see with the survey is the definition used: "By public domain we mean material that is not or is no longer protected by intellectual property rights and includes resources which can be freely accessed and used and re-used by all." (from the survey preface). This definition would exclude all creative commons materials and most other open source licences. It would exclude the GNU Free Documentation Licence, of the Wikipedia, and the Wikiversity. It would exclude the training materials I provide free online from my ANU courses, the materials provided now by MIT Open Courseware and Standford University. Also the new research papers from the Australian Computer Society Digital Library and the International Federation for Information Processing Digital Library. All of these provide some form of free use, but are still protected by intellectual property rights.

The Economic and Social Impact of the Public Domain Project Announcement mentions Creative Commons and the GNU Free Documentation Licence, but apparently as an afterthought. Those of a suspicious mind might think that the project has been deliberately designed this way so as to minimise the
size, value and usage of public domain content found in Europe, as a way to protect the financial interests of the commercial publishing industry. However, it seems more likely that the flawed methodology is due to a failure by those designing the project and the study to understand the nature of open access.

The designers of the project appear to see the main way people can gain free access to materials is where the copyright has expired. New open access materials where they are designed this way from the start appear to have been added as a minor consideration. Perhaps in some disciplines, such as history and literature, access to old materials could be of great value. However, being able to access the latest research and educational material through open access licences is likely to be of more value for most areas of research and education. The EU should revise the project definition to place the priority on new work and ask the researchers conducting the higher education study to revise their survey. If there is no change, then there is a danger the results, by excluding most new open access material, will falsely report there is little public domain material and it is of little value.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Mediterranean Tsunami Warning System Needed

After the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami the United Nations coordinated the establishment of an Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System. Less well known (and less well established) is the North Eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and connected Seas Tsunami Warning System (NEAMTWS). The need for such a facility became more urgent with recent research from the University of Cambridge showing that Tsunami in the Mediterranean of the magnitude of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami are far more frequent than previously thought.

The NEAMTWS is intended to alert Europe, North African and Middle Eastern countries. As with the Indian Ocean system, there is an email list provided by UNESCO which can be subscribed to for receiving warnings. However, given the small size of areas such as the Mediterranean, the warning time for a Tsunami could be very short and faster means of communication should be used by government and official emergency management organizations.

There appears to be a dangerious lack of progress with the NEAMTWS . The latest meeting was 21 – 23 November 2007. The meeting was to consider Version 3.2 of the implementation plan (summary appended). However, all the meeting report says is: "Please check back here in the next few days for the meeting summary report.".

The plan appears to be a well researched, but it is no substitute for action. Professionals involved, including ICT professionals, need to keep in mind that failure to act on such a clear and present danger is unethical, and may in addition expose them to civil and criminal prosecution in the event of a disaster.

The complex system of regional, national and local systems does not make for an effective system and may need to be rethought. A system which sends warnings directly from those detecting them, to the citizens may be better. The bureaucrats and politicians who would object to this need to keep in mind they may face a lynch mob in the event of large loss of life.

This Implementation Plan for the North-East Atlantic, the Mediterranean and Connected Seas Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (NEAMTWS) specifies detailed requirements of the design and implementation of the tsunami warning and mitigation system for the North-East Atlantic, the Mediterranean and Connected Seas. Following its initial phase, the warning system is intended to apply to other marine-related hazards in addition to tsunamis, in particular storm surges, both causing i.e coastal inundation. As the requirements are developing and therefore still are subject to changes or modifications, and as the implementation will progress, this Implementation Plan is a dynamic document. In constant use and development, it will only represent the status of the system at a specific time of viewing. As a living document it will be available on the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) web site and subsequent versions will be distributed at Intergovernmental Coordination Group (ICG)/NEAMTWS meetings.

The Implementation Plan is structured to reflect the ICG and its Working Groups, WG 1 (Hazard Assessment, Risk and Modelling), WG 2 (Seismic and Geophysical Measurements), WG 3 (Sea Level Data Collection and Exchange, including Offshore Tsunami Detection and Instruments), and WG 4 (Advisory, Mitigation and Public Awareness).

After a status summary, details are condensed in Action Plans for all components of the system. Capacity building is explicitly addressed to highlight the importance of training and extend the basis of the people involved in operating the system at all levels. Reflecting the work as its progresses there are parts that are not yet as detailed as required.

The Implementation Plan is only one of the documents that describe the NEAMTWS and help in managing it. Others are, or will be available.

The NEAMTWS is a complex operation owned and operated by Member States through their designated agencies. Besides the national functions these agencies serve as conduits for information within the system that is amongst all participating partners. These are further augmented into international, mostly regional, functions that serve an agreed regional ensemble of member states. These functions need particular attention for the system to perform as a whole.

The performance of the NEAMTWS depends on the implementation of all its components, their sustained operation and the adherence to agreed common principles of operation, interaction and data policy. This performance needs to be monitored in order to improve the NEAMTWS, identify deficiencies and suggest remedial action. A real test of the NEAMTWS may happen only rarely. But it will then highlight the credibility of the system and all its participating partners. The public will only judge the performance or the success of the system from the impact, the loss of lives and the damages that occurred.

The timely and appropriate implementation of the NEAMTWS is crucial to its success. Recent events have shown that time to prepare, implement and train is short as the events are unpredictable. In its implementation priorities, requirements and details will change or have to be adapted. Member States are therefore asked to prioritize details they feel need special attention on both the national and international level. They also are invited to provide guidance as to further developing governance mechanisms for the NEAMTWS.

From: Implementation Plan, North-East Atlantic, the Mediterranean and Connected Seas Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System, NEAMTWS,
Version 3.2, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Technical Series 73, 24 July 2007

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Web Accessibility for the Ageing in Europe

The World Wide Web Consortium have a project on web accessibility for the ageing (WAI-AGE). This is based in France and funded by the European Commission. So far they do not appear to have produced much, but Andrew Arch, who was previously at Vision Australia, has gone over to joint the team, so we might see some results in the next few months.

In terms of teaching web designers about the needs of the elderly, perhaps we need an online equivalent to some of the teaching aids used for physical designers. These consist of goggles to simulate limited vision, thick gloves to give limited hand movement and the like. Perhaps we could have a web service which would blur the text and images of a selected web site, to make them harder to see and reduce the size of the links, to make it harder to select. It might also run the text of the web site through a language translator twice to make it more difficult to understand and simulate intellectual impairments.

The project was planned during 2005 and 2006 and officially started in January 2007.. W3C/ERCIM is the primary partner. The project runs for 36 months and has 5 main objectives for increasing the accessibility of the Web for those with accessibility needs related to ageing within European Union Member States:

  • to inform the development of extensions on WAI guidelines and supplemental educational materials which can better promote and meet the needs of people who have accessibility needs related to ageing, with particular relevance to the needs of the elderly in Europe;
  • to better inform the ongoing work of W3C/WAI with regard to the needs of the elderly, and to create an ongoing dialog between ageing communities and disability communities, and other stakeholder groups on the needs of people who have accessibility needs related to ageing;
  • to provide educational resources focused towards industry implementors, including developers of mainstream technologies, assistive technologies, and Web designers and developers, through reviewing and revising existing WAI educational resources, and developing new educational resources which support the promotion and implementation of Web accessibility solutions for people with accessibility needs due to ageing;
  • to provide educational resources focused towards organizations representing and serving ageing communities, and towards individuals with accessibility needs related to ageing, through reviewing and revising existing WAI educational resources and to develop new educational resources which support promotion and implementation of Web accessibility solutions for people with accessibility needs due to ageing;
  • to promote increased harmonisation of Web accessibility standards so as to further build a unified market for technology developers and expedite the production of Web accessibility solutions, through promoting ongoing dialog between organisations representing the needs of the ageing community, and educating standards organisations and policy makers on commonalities between the needs of people with disabilities and people with accessibility needs due to ageing. ...
From: WAI-AGE Project Reference, W3C, 2007/09/21 10:44:31

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Monday, December 04, 2006

IT Innovation Seminar, 6 December, Canberra

Innovation Seminar Series

The Challenges of Research in ICT: What can we learn from the Past – with a focus on the case of INRIA, France
Speaker: Professor Alain Bensoussan
Distinguished Research Professor of Operations Management, Director of the International Center for Decision and Risk Analysis (ICDRiA), University of Texas
Time/Date: 10:30 – 12:00 pm, Wednesday, 6 December, 2006
Location: The Australian National University, Theatre 1, Ground Floor, HW Arndt Bldg #25 (off Kingsley St), Canberra
Cost: No charge
RSVP: Dora Gava 02 6125 3664 Dora.gava(a)
Professor Alain Bensoussan (Fellow, IEEE) Distinguished Research Professor in Operations Management, School of Management, and Director of the International Center for Risk and Decision Analysis from 1969 to 2004, President of INRIA (National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control) from 1984 to 1996, President of CNES (the French Space Agency) from 1996 to 2003, and Chairman of Council of the European Space Agency from 1999 to 2002. He is a member of the French Academy of Sciences, the French Academy of Technology, the International Academy of Astronautics, and the Academia Europae. He has been awarded the NASA Public Service Medal, the Von Humboldt Prize, Legion d’Honneur of France, and Bundesverdienstkreuz of Germany.

Further information at: INRIA

This seminar is sponsored by:
National Centre for Information Systems Research
College of Business & Economics, ANU, Canberra
ps: Who said IT is not as hard as "rocket science? ;-)

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