virtual activism interviewed in second life

As Executive Director of Virtual Activism, I was interviewed on SLCN TV for the work I have done in Second Life. The interview discussed Virtual Activism activities in Second Life as well as the creation of a replica of the St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai, which had already been reviewed in the media before. To learn about the interview click here, and to see the interview click on the video below:


human rights in virtual worlds

Nothing wrong with bragging every once in a blue moon, right?

So once again Virtual Activism – my nonprofit organization – is at the forefront of technology in the Arab World. We have been the first to go on the web, we had the first blog in the entire Arab World, the first to have a Wiki, and now the first to be a nonprofit in a virtual world, namely Second Life.

Now I have an Education and Human Rights Center which is part of a sim but hopefully will expand beyond that. Here are some images:

So why is this important? Well the center is expanding into providing a visual tour of human rights violation and providing knowledge and information on human rights abuses worldwide. It will draw heavily on several world reports on human rights as well as on local human rights reports. The visual tour provides an experiential and immersive education to those who will visit it. It will also provide videos and other information on such violations, as well as monthly discussions and meetings. The center is still undergoing construction and I will be announcing meetings shortly.

If you are already on second life, you might want to visit the center at this slurl: Captivating/191/216/21/?title=Odessa Captivating

On the same sim, a little at a distance from the Center is a replica of the St. Catherine’s Monastery from the
Sinai, Egypt.


e-waste dumping in Africa

According to a UN report, an estimated 50 million tons of electronic waste generated globally every year, e-waste and its disposal is a growing problem, and much of it is dumped in Africa [link]. The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is a treaty on waste disposal entered into force in 1992 [link]. It is estimated that

anywhere between 25 to 75 percent of the e-waste that enters Africa, mostly through Mombasa, Lagos and Dar es Salaam ports, is useless.
It is also reported that in Nigeria alone, about 500 containers full of used electronic cargo pass through the Lagos port every month, according to a recent study by Seattle-based Basel Action Network.

encylopedia of life

eol_logo.pngImagine a digital page for every species on the planet. This is what this newly released digital encyclopedia aims at achieving eventually. It is called the Encyclopedia of Life and it is aiming at being a ‘comprehensive, collaborative, ever-growing, and personalized’ encyclopedia. While the project’s information and objectives and plans have been released, the Encyclopedia itself is not yet functional and its fully functional version is expected by mid 2008.

According to its own stated description, the EOL is:

an ecosystem of websites that makes all key information about life on Earth accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world. Our goal is to create a constantly evolving encyclopedia that lives on the Internet, with contributions from scientists and amateurs alike. To transform the science of biology, and inspire a new generation of scientists, by aggregating all known data about every living species. And ultimately, to increase our collective understanding of life on Earth, and safeguard the richest possible spectrum of biodiversity.

I’m not Fake Steve Jobs

Gates and Jobs meet at the All Things Digital Conference May 29-31, 07 and took the stage together [link]. Gates began by clarifying jokingly that he is NOT a fake Steve Jobs. One of the most amusing and revealing things in their talk is how Bill explains, and Jobs acknowledges, that the Apple II  actually used Mircosoft’s Basic to run. Here’s Jobs’ version of the story:

My partner we started out with, this guy named Steve Wozniak. Brilliant, brilliant guy. He writes this BASIC that is, like, the best BASIC on the planet. It does stuff that no other BASIC’s ever done. You don’t have to run it to find your error messages. It finds them when you type it in and stuff. It’s perfect in every way, except for one thing, which is it’s just fixed-point, right? It’s not floating-point.
So we’re getting a lot of input that people want this BASIC to be floating-point. And, like, we’re begging Woz, please, please make this floating point.

We’re begging Woz to make this floating-point and he just never does it. You know, and he wrote it by hand on paper. I mean, you know, he didn’t have an assembler or anything to write it with. It was all just written on paper and he’d type it in. He just never got around to making it floating-point.

So who comes in? Bill Gates comes in and writes the floating point for the Apple II.

Read the transcript or view the video: