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Horizon highlights – 6.27.08

By / June 27, 2008

Our weekly roundup of must-read stories covers harnessing tornadoes for electricity, zen and the art of keeping up with e-mail, and a resistance movement against the Google goliath.

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If you think I missed a great story, feel free to post your links as a comment down below – that way, other readers can enjoy them as well. Let’s kick it off:

SpaceCan the Martian arctic support extreme life?
"Bizarre microbes flourish in the most punishing environments on Earth from the bone-dry Atacama Desert in Chile to the boiling hot springs of Yellowstone National Park to the sunless sea bottom vents in the Pacific. Could such exotic life emerge in the frigid arctic plains of Mars?" [Via AP]

Bubble 2.0Can social-networking sites make money?
“It's a model that stirs memories of the first Internet bubble: Build the user base and hope the money comes – from an IPO, a buyout, or ads. At this point, KickApps does not reveal revenue figures, or even what kind of a cut it is taking from the ads. That, too, brings back memories: staying mum about revenue was always a sign that there wasn't much to talk about.” [Via Technology Review]
From the Monitor archiveOnline social networks try to play nice with others: "Imagine a Web where your profile comes with you. Rather than manage contact info, friend lists, and descriptions of yourself across several websites, you’d maintain an overarching account that would be open to whomever you like."

The resistanceStopping Google
"Google's influence grows, a number of scholars and programmers have begun to argue that the company is acquiring too much power over our lives – invading our privacy, shaping our preferences, and controlling how we learn about and understand the world around us. To counter its pervasive effects, they are developing strategies to push back against Google, dilute its growing dominance of the information sphere, and make it more publicly accountable. The solutions range from programs one can install on one's computer to proposed laws forcing Google to reveal parts of its proprietary search algorithm." [Via Boston Globe]

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