Links for 31Oct08

Exciting new and improved feature on this blog!! Finally, a way to kill more time for you. 🙂

An Interview With E.O. Wilson, the Father of the Encyclopedia of Life. From the NYTimes. (Link thanks to Suhit.)

DR. E.O. WILSON: I’ve been in systematics and the mapping of biological diversity all my life. And a little more than ten years ago, I thought the time had come to undertake a complete mapping of the world’s fauna and flora.

Because remarkably–and this is little known even in the scientific community–we’ve only begun to explore this planet. It was 250 years ago this year that Karl Linneus, the great naturalist in Sweden, began what became the official form of biological classification: two names, like “homo sapiens” for us, and ranging the species in hierarchies according to how much they resemble one another. 250 years ago.

Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality. From Clay Shirkey’s writing on the internet. (Link thanks to Idling Inc.)

Inequality occurs in large and unconstrained social systems for the same reasons stop-and-go traffic occurs on busy roads, not because it is anyone’s goal, but because it is a reliable property that emerges from the normal functioning of the system. The relatively egalitarian distribution of readers in the early years had nothing to do with the nature of weblogs or webloggers. There just weren’t enough blogs to have really unequal distributions. Now there are.

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