Cambridge Planning Board approves new science building at Harvard

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Cambridge Planning Board approves new science building at Harvard

By | December 31, 2018

Monday, February 28, 2005

Cambridge, Massachusetts —The planning board of Cambridge, Massachusetts voted in unanimous approval of Harvard University‘s plan to build a 410,000 ft² (38 090 m²) science center at 24 Oxford Street, according to the local newspapers, the Harvard Crimson and the Cambridge Chronicle. More than half of the space in the building will be constructed underground.

The Northwest Science Building, as it will be called, will house the laboratories of roughly 30 Harvard science faculty members, as well as a chilled water plant and an electrical substation. The building was designed by Craig Hartman, an architect in the San Francisco office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, who also completed Harvard University Master Plan in 2002, according to the firm’s website. Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill also designed such notable buildings as Chicago‘s Sears Tower and the recently completed international terminal at the San Francisco airport.

The vote to approve the plan occurred at the February 15, 2005, meeting of the Cambridge Planning Board at the City Hall Annex, 344 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge. In what the Harvard Crimson called a “departure from the norm,” there were no comments from residents at the hearing. The Crimson reported that the Harvard officials at the meeting took this as “a signal that the community was well-informed about the project prior to the presentation.” The sign advertising the hearing can be seen at right.

In related news, the Director of Urban Design for Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill’s New York office, Vishaan Chakrabarti, will be speaking at the Harvard Graduate School of Design on March 1, 2005.

Canadian annual seal hunt begins amid controversy

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Canadian annual seal hunt begins amid controversy

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, opened the Canadian seal hunt amid protests by animal rights groups, at a time when bans on seal product imports are becoming more prevalent internationally.

Seal hunters along the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence are allowed to catch a maximum of 270,000 Harp Seal pups from a total estimated population of 5.5 million. 8,200 is the allowable catch of Hooded seals from an estimated population of 600,000, and seal hunters may catch 50,000 grey seals from an approximate population of 300,000.

The Harp seal pups may be killed as soon as they have molted their white pelts, which occurs 10 to 21 days after birth.

It is reported that Russia has shut down the seal hunt on its shores. The United States, Netherlands, and Belgium ban the import of seal products. The European Parliament committee has endorsed a ban on seal product imports by the 27 European Union (EU) member states, in the form of a proposed bill that would still allow the Canadian Inuit to trade in seal products for first nation cultural purposes. All members of the EU must approve the bill for it to become law.

“While we are extremely disappointed that the European Parliament has called for a ban of the trade of seal products, our position remains that any ban on a humanely conducted hunt, such as Canada’s, is completely without merit. We will continue to explore all legal and diplomatic options and we will exercise our rights to their fullest extent under international trade laws if and when it becomes necessary and appropriate.”

“Sealing is a significant source of income in many small, isolated coastal communities throughout Atlantic Canada, Quebec and the North, and creates critical employment opportunities for processing plants, as well as fuel, food and equipment suppliers in coastal communities,” said Minister Shea.

“Our government will continue to defend the rights of Canadian sealers to provide a livelihood for their families through our humane, responsible and sustainable hunt,” she said. “It represents as much as 35 per cent of a sealer’s annual income and is important for thousands of families at a time of year when other fishing options are limited at best.”

The first area to open up to the seal hunt was the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where 30 percent of the catch is allowed.

Sixteen observer permits have been issued. “The majority of the observers are people who protest against the seal hunt, but there are journalists and other observers as well. We try to make sure there’s an even proportion of sealing activity and observer activity,” Mr. Jenkins, Department of Fisheries and Oceans spokesman said. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is going to observe and record the commercial seal hunt.

“It’s devastating to be here, to know the commercial seal hunt has started again. It’s clear that a change is on the horizon with the European Parliament voting on a proposal to ban seal-product trade in the EU and many people in the Canadian sealing industry believe that could spell the beginning of the end of the commercial seal hunt,” commented Rebecca Aldworth, director of the Canadian chapter of Humane Society International.

Taiwan’s “Doritos Coolpedia” website announces top “Internet Quote”

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Taiwan’s “Doritos Coolpedia” website announces top “Internet Quote”

By | December 30, 2018

Friday, November 2, 2007

“Among men, La-La; among horses, Red Hare” (In Chinese: ?????????) was recently elected as the “Best Internet Cool Quote”.

Laa-Laa refers to the yellow character from the Teletubbies television series, and Red Hare refers to military general Lü Bu’s horse during China’s Three Kingdoms period.

The quote was given its title after a two-week voting period, that started on October 14 until PepsiCo Taiwan & Doritos announced “Top 10 Internet Cool Quote” on October 31. Voting was on the Doritos Coolpedia website, which started on September 28.

Voting attracted more than 10,000 Internet users from 64 countries participating and electing.

Coolpedia is a portal for teens and young adults to share and contribute their creations, and interact.

At the announcement event was the famous Taiwanese band “MACHI Brothers” (MACHI). Described by Pepsico as a symbol of younger people in the presence of the e-Century in Taiwan, MACHI serves as spokespeople for the website. Members of band dressed in different “Cool Quote T-Shirts” to symbolize the “unlimited creation” of Coolpedia.

On November 1, Coolpedia launched a website for a “Cool Video Award” contest, with the slogan “No pictures, no truth!”. PepsiCo Taiwan has suggested that the site will be a major Web 2.0 site.

2008 YODEX Review: Varied competitions, Vast creations

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2008 YODEX Review: Varied competitions, Vast creations

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Monday, May 26, 2008

The 27th Young Designers’ Exhibition 2008, recognized by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) as the largest show of student creations, recently ended Sunday May 18. It was held at the Taipei World Trade Center. Improvements and expansions were seen with 107 academical and industrial units. Different design competitions participated and showcased their products and also received awards.

It’s no doubt that companies related to design and cultural industries want to discover creative talents from academical units in this exhibition. However, most companies still try to showcase different conceptional and applicative products in order to promote Taiwan’s designs into the world market. A typical example is Fora Series, a photo-voltaic product series by the Tsann Kuen Trans-nation Group.

Before entering into their careers, students participated in this show and showcased varied styles that differ from the usual industrial businesspeople. To get more opportunities and in order to interact with the design and cultural industries, students also participated in vast competitions and tried to get the top places. Some students also tried to design conceptional products in conjunction with industrial designs, especially in some design competitions.

In summary, not only did the 2008 YODEX, have companies which can discover talents and showcase achievements of industrial design in the exhibition, but students can make their stages to showcase excellences from their creations in several competitions related to YODEX.

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Oil spilled after ships collide in Singapore

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Oil spilled after ships collide in Singapore

By | December 28, 2018

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Around 2500 tonnes of oil were spilled into the Strait of Singapore today after two ships collided.

The two ships involved in the collision were the oil tanker MT Bunga Kelana 3 and the bulk ship MV Wally, which collided around thirteen kilometers south of Singapore. The tanker received an estimated ten meter gash on its left side, while the bulk ship sustained only minor damage. After the incident, both ships moved away from the spill and are now anchored.

The oil slick has moved north, and is now now encompassing an estimated four square kilometers around six kilometers south of Singapore. Emergency teams from both Singapore and Malaysia have been mobilized, and around twenty vessels are taking part in the clean-up operations. Both containment booms and chemical dispersants are being used to clean up the oil.

The spill is not expected to have any major effects on shipping; Victor Shum, an official from a consulting firm in Singapore, said that “[i]f it is contained within an oil retaining booms, it may not disrupt shipping traffic. There is no comparison. That one has really no limit at this stage.” Shum also expressed environmental concerns, saying that “certainly the concerns are there. Even if it is contained, it will take some time to clean up.”

No crew members from either of the ships involved were reported to be injured.

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Fujitsu launches cloud website for dog pedometer service

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Fujitsu launches cloud website for dog pedometer service

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Japanese multinational company Fujitsu launched a website for a dog pedometer which allows customers to monitor their dog’s health online. The device measures data while attached to the dog’s collar. Customers are also able to add more data to the website manually, then it displays the complete set of data graphically. Fujitsu launched the website today (Tuesday) and plans to start the sales in Japan tomorrow (Wednesday).

The pedometer is called “Wandant”, from Japanese “Wan” equivalent to “woof”, and the “dant” of “pendant”. The latter refers to the pedometer, because it is attached to a dog collar. The users can transfer data to an Android phone using a touch-card to make it available online.

Fujitsu said Wandant would be the first cloud-based dog health-care service.

The data include walking, temperature, and shaking motion statistics. The users can manually enter additional data such as food quantities, weight, custom notes, and photos.

Fujitsu said, “The data are presented graphically on a custom website that makes trends in the dog’s activities easy to understand at a glance. This helps owners get a stronger sense of their dog’s health, while enabling communication with the dog.”

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CyanogenMod: Open-source smartphone OS goes commercial

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CyanogenMod: Open-source smartphone OS goes commercial

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

File:CyanogenMod Cid.svg

The developers of CyanogenMod, an open source free Android-based operating system for smartphones, announced yesterday their incorporation following a successful venture capital campaign which netted the open-source project a US$7 million nest egg, and plan to roll out a simple installation app on Google Play for their Android firmware.

Android runs nearly 80% of new mobile devices; CyanogenMod operates on at least 7 or 8 million of those. CyanogenMod replaces the read-only-memory image in android devices which have been ‘rooted’ —control acquired of the device’s superuser account— allowing continuing development for, and backporting abilities of new generations of the operating system to, older devices.

Investor Mitch Lasky wrote on his blog “We believe that CM is poised to become one of the largest mobile operating systems in the world.” Benchmark Capital and Redpoint Ventures are part of the capital providers to form Cyanogen Inc.

“The only limitation we have right now is with the number of engineers and designers we currently have. As we hire more people and build this company, we’ll be able to work on so many cool things”, said Koushik ‘koush’ Dutta, who took questions alongside Steve ‘cyanogen’ Kondik and team social media manager Abhisek “ciwrl” Devkota in a Reddit Ask Me Anything event shortly after making the announcement on the CyanogenMod blog. The team of 17, including Boost co-founder Kirt McMaster as CEO, are in Palo Alto, California and Seattle.

Kondik says Cyanogen mod is named after him. “I’m terrible with names, so I just slapped ‘mod’ onto the end of my handle and ran with it”, he explained in the incorporation announcement.

An early question raised in the Reddit event concerned profit-making: “Monetization isn’t an immediate concern and our investors […] feel the same”, said Dutta, adding “Creating disruption in a multibilion dollar market is enough to make any investor raise their eyebrow.” This means CyanogenMod would continue to be free. Follow questions asked if the company was planning to release their own model of android device. “We certainly couldn’t take on the monumental task of building/testing hardware [right now]. Hardware would be one of many potential very long term paths we could take”, said Dutta.

The firm’s first announced step is to improve the process of installing the software on owner’s devices, which Kondik described as “hideous”. A new installer app is planned to be released “in the coming weeks” on Google Play. The installer app will not require rooting the device, instead installing by simply clicking a button.

A further step, broadly described without any details, is a project with an unnamed original equipment manufacturer (OEM). “We have a least one OEM partnership in the works, there will be an announcement next week regarding our plans there”, said Kondik. The team mentioned OEM licensing several times during the Q&A session on Reddit.

In addition to these corporate steps, there were questions regarding the roadmap for development of the ROM, which already has improvements regarding privacy and security over the native android loader. With “plenty of things in the product pipeline already” Dutta lists additional security features, AirPlay mirroring, screen recording, and Voice+ as upcoming. The mood throughout the event was jovial, with humourous questions such as “can you guys PLEASE release a CM build for my toaster? I’m not sure what model it is, but it’s white and I got it at Savers.” Kondik promised “Ship it to me and I’ll duct tape a G1 running CM to it”. Dutta said his “10 of your favorite lines of source code” are “The ones that worked when they shouldn’t have.”

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Israel announces settlement expansion plans

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Israel announces settlement expansion plans

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Israeli Interior Ministry has announced today that 900 new housing units are slated to be built by Israeli officials at the Gilo settlement located in East Jerusalem.

A press release by the Interior Ministry read, “The planning and construction committee has authorised the construction of 900 housing units in the Gilo neighbourhood in Jerusalem.” Annexed after the 1967 war, East Jerusalem is what Palestinians still hope to make the capital of their future state. However, the current Israeli government has made claim to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and will remain as such,” said government spokesman Mark Regev.

Earlier this month the Palestinian Authority insisted that all negotiations with Israel would be put permanently on hold until settlement expansion and home demolitions were halted. The UN reports that 1,500 home demolition orders in East Jerusalem are currently pending in Israeli courts. At least 600 Palestinians have been displaced from their homes in East Jerusalem since the beginning of this year. Nearly 500,000 Israelis live in more than 100 different settlements located in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

U.S envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, asked President Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel settlement expansion plans, however his request went unheeded. Settlement expansion has soured relations between the U.S and Israel, however Israel is still the largest recipient of U.S aid annually. Responding to requests by the U.S government that settlement expansion be halted Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said that he, “strongly objects to the American demand to halt construction in Jerusalem and will allow construction for Jews, Muslims, and Christians in any part of Jerusalem without prejudice. The demand to halt construction by religion is not legal in the United States or in any other free place in the world.”

Under international law building settlements in occupied territory is illegal. The UN has deemed Israeli settlements to be a violation of the Geneva Convention.

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Wikinews interviews Australian Paralympic skiers Toby Kane, Cameron Rahles Rahbula, and Mitchell Gourley

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Wikinews interviews Australian Paralympic skiers Toby Kane, Cameron Rahles Rahbula, and Mitchell Gourley

By | December 27, 2018

Friday, December 14, 2012

Recently, Wikinews sat down with Australian standing Paralympic skiers Toby Kane, Cameron Rahles-Rahbula, and Mitchell Gourley who were in Vail, Colorado for a training camp for the start of this week’s IPC Nor-Am Cup.

((Wikinews)) I’m interviewing Cameron [Rahles-Rahbula] with a hyphenated last name, Mitchell Gourley, [and] Toby Kane. And they’re in Copper Mountain to compete with the IPC NorAm cup.

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Yes.

((WN)) So you guys can qualify for Sochi?

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Not this race, but yeah…
Toby Kane: Any races that we kind of do, I think we can qualify, but technically, for the APC it would have to be a world cup first to qualify.

((WN)) Where’s the world cups?

Toby Kane: We have one this year in Italy, in Sestriere, and one in St Moritz, in Switzerland…
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: and one in Slovenia, in Maribor, and Russia…
Mitchell Gourley: world championships in La Molina in Spain as well, and Russia, the test event is another world cup in Sochi.

((WN)) You guys are all skiers, right?

all (in unison): Yes.

((WN)) None of you, when they said “we’re doing snowboarding”, said “I want to jump ship and do snowboarding”?

Toby Kane: No.
Mitchell Gourley: No.
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: No.

((WN)) You all love the skiing.((WN)) (to Cameron Rahles-Rahbula): What did you do to your chin [which is taped up]?

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: I had a crash last week, and I split my chin open. I kneed myself here, so I had stitches.
Toby Kane: Thirteen stitches.

((WN)) Crashed skiing right?

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Yeah.
Toby Kane: Our physio probably took out five last night.

((WN)) As somebody who knows very little about Paralympic skiing, I have a question having watched it. There seems to be three types skiiers: the ones who are in the monochairs, the ones who are blind, and the ones with amputations and the ones without arms. I’ve had this debate. Who’s the craziest amongst you? The ones who can’t see, the ones with no arms, or the ones on a mono-ski?

Mitchell Gourley: The completely blind people are a little nuts.
Toby Kane: A B1 is, blacked out goggles…
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: … who just follows the sound of their guides. So they’re probably, when it comes to speed events, in terms of fear level, that’s pretty intense.

((WN)) Not having arms, you don’t think, would be scarier?

Mitchell Gourley: No.
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Yeah, but you can see where you are going. When you have to trust the other person in front of you…
Toby Kane: .. you have to be fairly crazy to do downhill in sit skis.
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Those guys, they start crashing, or they have a mistake, they can’t recover in the same way a stand up can, so even though those classes aren’t going as quickly, probably stand ups in general have a bit more control, and to recover.

((WN)) Can you go and tell me your classifications?

Toby Kane: Yeah, we all ski in the standing class. LW6/8-2

((WN)) Like L1…

Mitchell Gourley: These guys are both LW2s because they’ve both got on leg.
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: So we ski with just one leg, with crutches, whereas you’ve got people who’ve got below-knee amputations, they may have a longer stump and they ski with a prosthetic leg. Toby and I have got to legally ski on one ski.
Toby Kane: And what you were referring to before was the three classes of alpine skiing is standing, sitting, and blind.

((WN)) So you’ve all been to Paralympics before?

Toby Kane: Cam’s been to three, I’ve been to two, and Mitch has been to one.

((WN)) And what was your favorite one? Do you have one?

Mitchell Gourley: Vancouver. (laughter)
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Vancouver it would have been.

((WN)) Because you love Canadians?

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: It’s also, obviously, skiing comes down to results. So, I loved Salt Lake City. I was there for experience, that was great. My second one, I had bit of a disaster Paralympics. I didn’t ski too well. Sestriere in 2006. The last one, I was able to come away with a couple of medals, so it was… I enjoyed that obviously. They all had different aspects.

((WN)) How did the ski slopes compare?

Toby Kane: Vancouver, they’re good slopes.
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Salt Lake City, was a little bit flatter. Probably the type of hill… it was still good, it was my first games, I enjoyed it. Yeah, they usually prepare the courses reasonably well, ’cause they’ve got a lot of course workers on the slopes. That has a big influence on condition, not just the actual hill itself. Vancouver was a challenge in the sense that we had terrible weather, terrible conditions and snow, even though it’s a good hill, whereas I think Sestriere we had sunshine virtually every day. So a lot of it comes down to weather as well as the hill, the time of year.

((WN)) In Australia, the big visibility Paralympics are the summer. Do you guys ever feel vaguely — I know it’s the wrong question to ask — but do you ever feel vaguely cheated because you’re doing neglected, you don’t get the attention, the ABC’s like “nah, we don’t want to cover you”?

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: umm…
Toby Kane: Give us the official answer? (laughter, interjections from elsewhere in the room)
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Australia being a summer sport [country], we’re aware that there’s going to be more focus on the summer games and particularly because there’s a larger… there’s more athletes, there more events, there more medals. There will always be more coverage for the summer games. There’s no winter athlete that could walk away with more than five gold medals. There’s not enough events for that. Whereas I think you can get a swimmer who might get eight gold medals. So, it’s a different sort of exposure.
Mitchell Gourley: And realistically, it’s pretty unlikely for anybody in winter sport no matter how good they are, to walk away with more than one or two, just because of the nature of the sport, which is that anyone can crash. You can be a great skier all the year and then crash. [uncertain] can tell you about that in Vancouver. It’s a pretty unpredictable sport.
Toby Kane: The way that our sport moved after Salt Lake City is that instead of Cam and I skiing against each other, and only people with one leg, to being really competitive across those three classes, means that we think that the winter games are really, really competitive. Quite difficult to win a medal. I think, if you took Michael Milton as an example, he won four gold at Salt Lake out of four events. He won one silver in Torino out of four events with the new system, and he compared both events to be equal. So, yeah, I think you’ve got to look at the value of the medals at the winter games now has been quite high.

((WN)) So you guys like the new point system they implemented?

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: There’s always challenges, because you’ve got different classes, and varied conditions, so they try and adapt the times to fit, but it’ll never be something that can be always right, because we’ve got a sport that’s got different conditions, and different locations, as opposed to a swimming pool, where you know you’ve got fifty metres. So that’s something that’ll always be a challenge, but in saying that, it has raised the bar, in terms of the standard of skiing, which is good. From an Australian perspective, not necessarily the public will be aware of that but I think from an international perspective, the skiing has moved into a more professional area, which is good, and I think that it will be the best thing for the sport moving forward.

((WN)) Evan O’Hanlon at the summer games was talking about the disparity problem between able bodied athletes and athletes with disabilities in terms of sponsorship. You guys have no visibility, is that something that you guys sit there going “we should have the same sponsorship as the great Australian skiers”?

Mitchell Gourley: The problem in that is that in our sport we would probably be the most visible alpine skiers from Australia. The able bodied alpine team is pretty average and has been for a few years now, since a couple of guys retired after Vancouver. So we’re probably, while its still very small, it’s a lot less than the summer guys, even the summer Paralympics guys, were are more visible than the Australian alpine team.
Toby Kane: I think a few of us, well Cam and I and I think Mitch is along the same lines, is that we’re not here for a career as an athlete. so I know I haven’t actively a lot of sponsorships. I have a life away from skiing with what I’m doing at the university and I’m here because I really love to do it, and I love to compete, but I’m not overly fussed about the public recognition of it all. I’m more concerned with skiing with our able-bodied counterparts and showing them what we can do.

((WN)) Do you guys get equal treatment? Your share of the same facilities, same trainers, that sort of stuff?

Toby Kane: We train on the same hills.
Mitchell Gourley: And last week we had pretty much the same races as the able-bodied had the week before on the same hills, and what they ski on next week, and we follow on that, so we don’t have to start. But with a hundred of… that’s why I’m a level below world cup for able-bodied skiers, and skiing on the same hill, and running pretty comparable times, and getting a lot of comments from coaches and athletes there. And yeah that’s what we all, I think, strive for. It’s an awkward thing to ever try and illustrate it to the Australian public, ski racing, and let alone Paralympic ski racing, and what we’re doing. So […] we’ve got to accept that we’re not going to get the recognition publicly probably that we may or may not deserve, and we more look towards our peers, whether they’re able bodied or disabled, and if they respect us, if the best able bodied skiers in the world respect what we are doing, and think that we are doing it bloody well, then we can hold our head high and feel really good. Had one of the best slalom skiers in the world walk up to me a few years ago when we were in training, and say “that’s some of the best slalom skiing that I’ve ever seen, wow that’s incredible. One-legged. I couldn’t do that on one leg”. That kind of thing. So that obviously makes us all feel like we’re doing something that while the recognition might not be there from the public, that we feel as though we are doing a really competitive and really difficult sport, and doing it to a really high level.

((WN)) You mentioned Australia being like a country of summer sports. What attracted you to winter sport in the first place?

Mitchell Gourley: I think it’s a better sport. (laughter)
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Australians, considering we don’t have many hills, Australians do love skiing, those that do it. It’s a unique sport in the sense that you get to travel at high speeds, on different mountains all over the world, under your own power, going down a hill at 130 or something k’s an hour, that sort of thing. You don’t get… to me, running up and down a track, or…
Toby Kane: I think to me it’s a fun sport. There aren’t that many sports that people, a lot of people, spend heaps of their own money to go and do, as a pastime. As something that they want to do on the holidays and with their family and all that kind of stuff. It’s kind of cool that that’s what we do. Like, lots of people would spend a sh-tload of money to go skiing, and that’s our sport. Not many people would pay a heap of money to stare at a black line in a pool, or to run around a track against the clock.
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: Yeah, we love it, and that’s why I’ve done it for so many years, because I love the sport. I mean, racing’s one thing but if I didn’t enjoy skiing I wouldn’t be here and there’s not a day when… I mean you have cold days and weather and stuff, but you don’t… for us to get out and get on the hill isn’t a burden I don’t think in the same way as other sports can be.
Toby Kane: I think the change for me — I think I can speak for Cam as well, ’cause he’s been around for a while — the change between racing in so many classes to racing in so few probably kept us around, I think. It made it a lot more competitive; it made it a lot more of a challenge, that previously it wouldn’t have been, and I think if we took an LW2 class right now we’d be getting similar results to what Michael got in Salt Lake City, so, the fact that it did get a lot more competitive is probably why I’ve been here for so long, in the challenge to keep competing and keep improving and keep performing at the highest level.

((WN)) Are there any skiers that you’re looking forward to racing against this week coming up?

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: This week I think Australia has a pretty good, strong team from a standing perspective, so we’re probably racing against each other.

((WN)) So you do not care about the Chileans, or whoever, hanging around?

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: The Canadian and American teams are here, and they’ve got some developing athletes. Probably more the Europeans who are developing who’ve got the highest others skiing in our particular division, and the Americans are very strong with their sit skiers. So this week being just a North American-based race we’ll probably be looking at the other two in terms of racing, but yeah, when we get over to the world cups over in Europe in January, that’s when the whole field’s together, and gives us some idea of what we’re racing against.

((WN)) I feel like we’re almost coming to a close. What do you do outside of skiing? You had some life you said.

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula: I work as a physiotherapist, and I am a family man. Since Vancouver I haven’t skied a huge amount since then. I’ve got a little boy, and so other priorities definitely start to take effect. I think as a skier, it’s a challenge from the travelling perspective when you do have family. I think that’s unlike a lot of summer athletes who have their training base next door. For us, we need to be always on the move, so that’s always one of the challenges with alpine skiing. You get the privilege of travelling but you’re away from your family, so for me, my last year I have focused more on family life and sort of getting back into the skiing this year.

((WN)) What do you do Mitchell?

Mitchell Gourley: I’m still studying. I’m a bit younger than these guys so I’m…

((WN)) Which university?

Mitchell Gourley: I’m at Melbourne University studying. So I’ve got pretty much a year to go now, but that’ll take me two years to do just because of where Sochi is, in March 2014 I’ll cut back this year coming, 2013, and I’ll only do probably about half — I’ll do five subjects as opposed to eight, just because when you’re out travelling during the year and prepping, using your weekend to ski will it getting to you like that. With the schedule, from June to the end September will be pretty much flat skiing. Last time I did that leading into Vancouver, I mean I do that every year but probably a bigger load in the games lead that kind of thing. And I did that in the middle of Year 12 last time, and that was interesting, but now I can actually…

((WN)) You finished your VCEs then?

Mitchell Gourley: I finished that during the…

((WN)) And you did well?

Mitchell Gourley: Yeah, I was happy with how I went, so that was good of me. I moved schools to pursue what I was doing with skiing, to an international school that really helped structure things around me with my environment, and I sort of cut back on subjects and things but managed to make it work those times, but yeah. For me, it’s university for a couple of years, or for a year and a half or so to knock that over. So then I have to think about getting a real job and that’s a scary thought, a real job, or eventually doing further study, based on the Melbourne model, being what it is now that you can’t usually do much with your first degree. (laughter)

((WN)) And Toby, what are..?

Toby Kane: I’m halfway through postgraduate medicine, so I am just trying to balance that and getting in to Russia. And Russia will be my third games, and most probably my last. And then it’ll be the start of my fourth year of medicine so, yeah, I’m a bit like Cam, I’ve skied probably less over the last two years since Vancouver, just with uni and I’m kind of looking forward to putting everything that I’ve got left in me into skiing until Russia.

((WN)) Thank you very, very much. It was much appreciated. ((WN)) Look forward to seeing you guys in Russia!

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An interview with Jimbo Wales/Color-free

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An interview with Jimbo Wales/Color-free

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Just five years ago, when Jimbo Wales founded Wikipedia, the project’s goal of 100,000 articles [1] seemed ambitious. Yet today, the project, now one of the top 25 websites in the world according to Alexa, is nearing closer 1,000,000 articles in English, and 3.5 million articles across all languages. This week, we interviewed Jimbo Wales.

Colored version

Wikinews: Raul654 asks: “Recently, there were revelations about organized attempts by US Congressmen to whitewash their articles. What is your take on this, as well as earlier reports of Corporate astroturfing?”

Jimbo Wales: The question is invalid. There were no revelations of organized attempts by US Congressmen to whitewash their articles. Not any evidence of “corporate astroturfing” of which I am aware. There was evidence that some congressional staffers edited Wikipedia in inappropriate ways. But the internal evidence of the type and style of these edits do not suggest “organized attempts”.

WN: Nichalp asks: “Budget permitting, are there any plans to increase the number of Wikipedia servers, specifically into the less developed countries?”

JW: We are always buying new servers. There are no specific plans to add servers in less developed countries, but we have looked into it as a possibility. We are particularly interested in doing so if it helps increase access and reduce costs for those users.

WN: An anonymous reader asks: “How much of a role do you feel the Wikipedia community (and the communities of its sister projects) should have in the running of the Wikimedia Foundation? Do you see an increasing separation of the organization from the projects? If so, do you regard that as beneficial or a potential problem?”

JW: The community has always been and will always be absolutely crucial to the running of the Wikimedia Foundation. We are increasing the community input and activity in the foundation through a new series of committees to delegate things to community members which have traditionally been handled by me or the Board. I do not see any increasing separation of the organization from the projects, quite the opposite. I consider the increasing integration of the community and the foundation as overwhelmingly beneficial.

WN: ALoan asks: “English Wikipedia is approaching 1 million articles, but less than 1 in a thousand are Featured articles. The list of featured articles English Wikipedia should have has few featured articles, and recent surveys of articles chosen at random show that many articles are poorly written. How can we get from here to an encyclopedia of well-written articles? Or should we not worry too much about coverage and content?”

JW: We should be tightly focused on the quality of our coverage and content. The goal of Wikipedia is to create and distribute a freely licensed high quality encyclopedia. The path to that goal will require us to be flexible and thoughtful. The first steps will come soon with the article review system, which will initially be used simply to gather data. After we have data, we can begin to work on how we will focus our attention to improve quality.

WN: GeorgeStepanek asks: “You’ve said that ‘Wikimedia’s mission is to give the world’s knowledge to every single person on the planet in their own language.’ But very few of the wikipedias in the languages of third-world countries are seeing as much activity as the first-world language wikipedias. Do you have any ideas on how this could be turned around?”

JW: I am a believer in outreach. I would like for the Foundation to raise money specifically to pay one or more minority language co-ordinators. The goal would be to reach out in a more organized way to professors and graduate students and expat communities who have good Internet access, to seed projects for languages where the majority of speakers have poor internet access.

WN: Jacoplane asks: “How do you feel we will be able to reach Wikipedia 1.0? The tools currently available for vetting our articles are crude at best. The Featured article process seems too slow, and the article validation feature seems to have died a quiet death. Are you planning a big push on this front?”

JW: Isn’t that the same question as the quality question? The article validation feature has not died a quiet death at all.

WN: Quadell asks: “Most important decisions on Wikimedia projects are handled with consensus. However, we sometimes have to deal with legal issues, especially related to copyright law. For instance, we as a community may need to decide whether to consider a certain use “fair”, or how to deal with conflicting copyright claims. Dealing with this through consensus is problematic, since we can’t do something illegal even if there is widespread misguided support for it. In general, how can we as a community deal with these issues?”

JW: I don’t think there is any real problem with this. The community is strongly in support of following the law. I don’t know of any particular cases of widespread misguided support for something illegal. In particular cases, there can of course be [dis]agreement, but I have never seen anyone in the community argue that we should not listen to the advice of our legal team.

WN: Raul654 asks: “Where do you see Wikipedia in 10 years?”

JW: I don’t know. My favorite answer to this is to say, the real question is: where will the world be after 10 more years of Wikipedia. 🙂 Seriously, I think we’ll eventually see a tapering off of new article creation in the large language wikipedias as more and more “verifiable” topics are covered. At this point, most changes will be expansions and updates and quality improvements to existing articles. But in 10 years, it seems likely to me that many languages which are now quite small will have very large Wikipedia projects. Our community will continue to become more diverse as more and more people worldwide come online.

WN: Kevin Myers asks: “The values reflected in certain Wikipedia policies (anti-censorship, neutral point-of-view) are problematic in cultures where freedom of expression is limited, as the blocking of Wikipedia in mainland China and arguably the Muhammad cartoons controversy attest. As Wikipedia expands internationally, do you foresee Wikipedia becoming increasingly controversial in countries where “Western values” are seen as a potential threat?”

JW: I don’t think that neutrality and objectivity are really controversial among most people of the world. It is true that the leadership in some places does not value these things, and may actually work against these things, but we can not deviate from our goals to accommodate them.

WN: On a similar topic, Vsion asks: “Are there currently any efforts being undertaken by the Foundation to address the People’s Republic of China’s blocking of Wikipedia or to alleviate its effect?”

JW: Beijing-area Wikipedians are working to have the block lifted. Our position is that the block is in error, even given China’s normal policies. Wikipedia is not propaganda, it is basic information. We expect that the block will be lifted.

WN: David.Monniaux asks: “The Foundation receives daily accusations of libel from semi-well-known people who have an entry on Wikipedia or are mentioned in some Wikipedia entry. What do you propose? Would a strict application of the rule of citing controversial claims suffice, in your opinion?”

JW: Yes. I think that our current systems do a good job of addressing these sorts of complaints, although it is very time-consuming for us here in the office. What really works wonders is a very strict application of the rule of citing controversial claims particularly relating to biographies of living persons. The new policy on biographies of living persons is a very strong step in the right direction.

WN: Tony Sidaway asks: “In the past six weeks the number of userboxes on English Wikipedia has risen from 3500 to 6000 and, despite your appeals for restraint, the number pertaining to political beliefs has risen from 45 to 150. Can the problem of unsuitable userboxes still be resolved by debate?”

JW: My only comment on the userbox situation is that the current situation is not acceptable.

WN: Larsinio asks: “How can Wikipedia effectively explain to the public its open-contribution model without simultaneously worrying the public about inaccurate information?”

JW: I think we do a reasonably good job of that. The best thing is to point to our overall quality while at the same time pointing out that we are currently a work in progress. Over time, this answer will change as we move toward ‘1.0’. At that time, we can point to ‘1.0’ for those who are made nervous by the live editing.

WN: Rob Church asks: “Do you consider the encyclopedia to be ‘finished’? Do you think it ever can be?”

JW: Nothing is ever finished. Human knowledge is always growing.

WN: Raul654 and Pavel Vozenilek both asked, “What kind of cool new features/announcements can we expect to see in the next year or two?”

JW: I think this question is too hard for me to answer. I almost never “announce” anything, and features are developed publicly by the community. I think other people have a better idea than I do what will happen in the next year or two. 🙂 Ask Brion [Vibber].

WN: Celestianpower asks: “If you had not founded Wikipedia, and had just been referred to it by a friend, how active a contributor do you think you would be?”

JW: [I] dream fondly of such a scenario. I might actually get to edit articles then. Instead of spend the morning (this morning) documenting transactions and taking phone calls.

WN: OpenToppedBus asks: “The last fundraising drive was less successful than had been anticipated. Do you see a shortage of money holding back Wikipedia/Wikimedia in the short-to-medium-term, and are there any plans to bring in income from sources other than individual donations?”

JW: The last fundraising drive was more successful than had been anticipated, by a long shot. It was the most successful fund drive in our history. [Regarding a quoted goal of $500,000], Mav wrote something like that somewhere, in a scratchpad kind of way. That number was just a placeholder and had nothing to do with me or the official view of the foundation. He’s apologized repeatedly for it.

WN: Thryduulf asks: “What is your single greatest wish for Wikipedia?”

JW: I would have to just point back to our original goal: a freely licensed high quality encyclopedia for every single person on the planet. That’s what I remain focused on daily.

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews member. See the talk page for more details. Interviews are translated through WORTNET.

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