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Monday, June 1, 2009

Scientists unveil plans for online directory of life on Earth

"Scientists around the world are beginning work on what they hope will be a comprehensive online directory of all life on Earth, built in large part on the efforts of amateur observers.
The directory will be a free resource that everyone — not just those working in the scientific community — can contribute to or use, say the people behind the project. The idea is to link together the efforts of thousands of observers around the world who already log their observations of flora and fauna online into one comprehensive, searchable directory.
Browsers will theoretically be able to search for information ranging from animal gene codes, to changes in global forest cover, to taxonomic data on plants and animals.
Some 400 biologists and technology experts gathered in London, England, on Monday at a three-day conference to announce the establishment of what they call a "macroscopic directory" cataloguing the efforts of "an army of citizen scientists."
Conference participants, including London's Natural History Museum and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, will discuss how they are sharing and aggregating research and data records."

"The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), one of the databases chronicling life on earth, will contribute data to the new directory. Those running EOL — based out of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. — are among the major backers of the project.
"We are creating a virtual observatory for world biodiversity, where environmental observations, specimen data, experimental results, and sophisticated modelling can be done across all levels of biodiversity — from genes to ecosystems," Dr. James Edwards, executive director of EOL, said of the proposed directory."
"Information about the biology and distribution of Earth's species is enormously important to science and our quality of life. And the impact of that information increases tremendously when it is connected and made easily accessible online to all."

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.