Can Anything Stop Google From Dominating Information?

July 30 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future
Category: The Web   Year: General   Rating: 6 Hot

The internet community is abuzz with the latest Google gossip. No, not the prediction that they’ll make their Gmail storage space unlimited for their upcoming anniversary. And no, not Cuil, the latest search engine designed by former Google employees which professes to kill Google (so far, all they’ve managed to do is crash their server over and over). The real news is the release of Google Knol, a social media site that will possibly siphon large amounts of traffic away from information powerhouse Wikipedia.

Knol is, much like Wikipedia, a place on the Internet to share information for free in article form. The key difference is that whereas Wikipedia has articles written and edited by anyone who visits the site, Knol has articles written by industry professionals. In the words of Cedric Dupont on the Google Blog, “Knols are authoritative articles about specific topics, written by people who know about those subjects.” In other words, an article about hearts is written by a cardiologist, not the mass public. Although still in Beta testing, Knol has already published hundreds of articles from astronomers, doctors, chefs, professors, and even linguists. Google is even trying to coin the word knol into Internet vocabulary, defining it as a “unit of knowledge”.

Another interesting feature of Knol is that authors are allowed, and indeed encouraged, to claim their writing as their own legal property. Furthermore, this means these authors can choose to receive revenue from their content by placing Google ads on the articles’ landing page. Google writes “If an author chooses to include ads, Google will provide the author with a revenue share from the proceeds of those ad placements.” An interesting incentive for writers, but so far most of the articles have no ads. Possibly in keeping with the freedom of Wikipedia, most authors might not want their work tainted by gross auto-generated ads.

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The Great Lunar War of 2023-2024: Helium-3, Surface Area & Solar Supremacy

October 16 2008 / by Alvis Brigis
Category: Energy   Year: Beyond   Rating: 2

A soft future fiction scenario.

By 2020 space had become an unexpectedly crowded place. Catalyzed by evolutionary shuttle design systems, increasingly capable robotics, and super-efficient solar cell technology, mankind’s Space Reach had expanded considerably. Orbital tourism had exploded, asteroid mining efforts were in their early stages, extra-terrestrial solar harvesting had become the new rage and the race to dominate the extensive lunar Helium 3 reserves (a critical step toward the seemingly inevitable construction of a Dyson Sphere) was on.

On April 1, 2021 the first lunar construction bots, assembled in orbit using scattered material from the McMullen Asteroid Incident of 2018, and sent forth by private company LunaFacia, parachuted to down to the moon. - Sure, it’s impossible due to lack of atmosphere, but please suspend your disbelief for the moment. ;)

Controlled by a mix of on-board AI algorithms and remote instruction from “pilots” orbiting the moon in private spacecraft, the multitude of Lunar Bots quickly deployed arrays of fold-out solar cells across the surface of the four major Helium-3 sites. It soon became clear that LunaFacia, a Chinese-funded venture, was systematically laying down the infrastructure for an extensive mining and nuclear energy operation.

Of course, the play to dominate lunar Helium-3 did not sit well with the United States and the Russian Federation, the #2 and #3 world economies, and so they formalized the secret Greiner-Blashinsky Lunar Surface Pact and commenced collaborative construction of a similar solar droid army.

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