Critters Political

You need to thin the forests to find the trees

Japanese whale researchers recently discovered a new species of baleen whale, which they have named Balaenoptera omurai. It’s not unusual to discover new species of animals, but not ones this large – about 12 meters long. Big as a bus, in other words.

This is going to impact on whale hunting, as it should. What may have been a larger population of one whale could end up being small populations of several different kinds of whale. What delicious irony that the whales killed for Japanese research could eventually lead to the end of whales killed for Japanese commerce.

Rumor has it that George Bush heralded the news of this large discovery with relief. Sources close to the President reported him as saying, “See? It took scientists two hundred years to find this whale, and its as big as a bus. A bus! And if the Japanese hadn’t been allowed to kill all those whales, we’d never have known this species exists.”

“Now you know why we haven’t found any WMD. We need to kill more Iraqi.”

Just Shelley

Wanna chocolate?

Many thanks for the kind words about my birthday.

My roommate took me out for an Italian dinner that would violate every aspect of an Atkins diet. We had bruschetta for an appetizer, home made garlic breadsticks with the dinner, which happened to be chicken, artichoke, sun dried tomato, and shitake mushroom sauteed in garlic and virgin olive oil, served with smoked cheese, and tossed with pasta. It was beyond good.

For dessert? Godiva chocolates, baby. First class, all the way.

Following Loren’s good advice in comments yesterday, I went for a vigorous four mile walk today, burning off some of the goodies. I can’t believe how much better I feel lately. I feel like a new woman, rested and healthy and ready for trouble. Tomorrow we’re expecting 75 degree weather, this weekend snow, so you can imagine what I’ll be doing tomorrow.

(If you guessed working on the computer and writing to this weblog, you’re ill. Get help.)

Speaking of weblogging, I managed to get the Practical RDF weblog up and running, Mirror Self is running with about half of the photo weblogs, but the For Poets sites are just not importing well. Two imported, one failed during import, and one is generating build errors when I try to rebuild the pages. Normally when I move a Movable Type weblog, I’ll do a dump of the SQL and copy the files. However, with the weblog split, I wanted to start clean. I have things to do, though, so I’m not going to screw with it much longer. Luckily none of the sites is big and I can just copy the posts, though I’ll lose the comments.

Friday I finish moving the rest of the sites: LorenMichael, and Malcolm. Good. Once we’re moved, all tucked in with our favorite blankies and hot cocoa, we can return to telling each other our favorite bedtime stories.



PostCon – generating RDF/XML files

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Now that the Burningbird Network sites are getting back into the groove, time to bring this weblog back online.

I’ve incorporated bits and pieces of the PostCon throughout this system. However, none of the implementations are a blinding flash or a deafening roar. And I’m not picking a fight with anyone about it, so I imagine rolling out this technology won’t generate a lot of conversation.

The first implementation of PostCon for my system was to create the RDF files containing information about individual weblog posts for Burningbird. These files were created automatically using a Movable Type template, and you can see an example of one of the files here. It should be valid RDF/XML, and features the PostCon vocabulary. Information recorded includes:

  • Weblog posting author and creation date
  • URL of current location, as well as articles that link this posting, and other articles that are linked by this posting – its location within a hierarchy of links
  • The resources the posting is dependent on. By this I mean, what format is the file, what style sheets are required by it, and any logos.
  • The status of the posting (valid, active, relevant)
  • Title and abstract and history of the page – including a historical entry representing the fact that the resource was renamed with a reorganization of the web sites

The template used to generate these files can be seen in this exercise is to demonstrate that it does not require huge investments in time or energy in order to record intelligent metadata about a resource in a machine-accessible standard format. One argument against the semantic web, generally, and RDF specifically is that both add to the complexity of a process and are beyond the average person. Well, with PostCon and Movable Type, all the average person needs do is spend about a half an hour understanding the vocabulary, and about another half an hour to modify the template file to output what they want their files to show.

The second component is a PHP-based page that processes this information into human readable form, which is then attacked to a ‘meta’ link within each page. I’ll demonstrate this in the next posting.

(Speaking of RDF programming, I noticed a new review of the book out at Amazon. The problem with book reviews of this nature is that someone can put up a review that says the book is outdated because it covers the previous version of Jena, when Jena coverage is only one aspect of the book, and I spent time updating the examples for Jena 2.0 here in this site. This review also doesn’t take into account rewriting the book four times over two years keeping it in synch with the RDF specs. Grr.)