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The Semantic web evolves as web architects attempt to become visible to search engines and web searchers attempt to find information. One of the tools for connectivity involves clusters, clouds or groups of words. A useful datamodel concept is the synset1, a word grouping that uses the same word in different groupings according to different meanings of the word as synonym, antonym etc.

While reading my morning news via iGoogle .rss feeds, I came across the “Alberta Oil Blog, one of three blogs listed by the CBC Blog Watch2 sidebar on its own September 25th article entitled “Albertans invited to give feedback on royalty review.”

Alberta Oil Blog describes itself as,

“Have you heard Alberta has oil a lot of it and people are getting rich, the environment is getting thrashed, the big city centers are growing too fast all because of the black gold. How long will it last? What will Calgary look like in 20 years? This blog will be about Alberta Oil and everything in between just as the title says.”

As I clicked backwards on various views of the Alberta Oil Blog including the source, I realized that this site does not reveal either its author or any link to an organization. It is a brand new blog that was just uploaded a few days ago, on September 22. However, it does have a healthy list of GoogleAds which link to oil industry jobs, investment news, etc. Each click is only worth a dime to the site author so the ads are not a direct link to instant wealth. The key words as listed in page source are oil sands, tar sands, alberta oil, calgary, oil rig jobs while the categories as listed on blog: Calgary, Ed.Stelmach, Environment, Fort.McMurray, Iran, Iraq, Oil, Oil.Sands, Our.Fair.Share.Report, Peak.Oil, Pipeline, Royalties, Stock Prices, Stocks, Suncor, Uncategorized, US.Imperialism, Videos, War, Wealth. CBC lists it as Alberta Oil Blog — Industry News, Information and Discussion, its source lists it as “News and information about the Alberta Oil industry.”

Is is because of computer-generated or author-generated synsets that the results take on an ironic postmodern schizophrenic feel combining Jon Stewart clips, Naomi Klein and anti-imperialism with advertisements for jobs on the tar sands and lucrative energy stock investments.

Footnotes

1. “Introduction to the WordNet datamodel: “The core concept in WordNet is the synset. A synset groups words with a synonymous meaning, such as {car, auto, automobile, machine, motorcar}. Another sense of the word “car” is recorded in the synset {car, railcar, railway car, railroad car}. Although both synsets contain the word “car”, they are different entities in WordNet because they have a different meaning. More precisely: a synset contains one or more word senses and each word sense belongs to exactly one synset. In turn, each word sense has exactly one word that represents it lexically, and one word can be related to one or more word senses. There are four disjoint kinds of synset, containing either nouns, verbs, adjectives or adverbs. There is one more specific kind of adjective called an adjective satellite. Furthermore, WordNet defines seventeen relations, of which ten between synsets (hyponymy, entailment, similarity, member meronymy, substance meronymy, part meronymy, classification, cause, verb grouping, attribute) and five between word senses (derivational relatedness, antonymy, see also, participle, pertains to). The remaining relations are “gloss” (between a synset and a sentence), and “frame” (between a synset and a verb construction pattern). There is also a more specific kind of word. Collocations are indicated by hyphens or underscores (an underscore stands for a space character), e.g. mix-up and eye_contact (Van Assem, Mark; Gangemi, Aldo; Schreiber, Guus. 2006).”

2. The others are The Stride Protocol and merismus

Bibliography and Webliography

Alberta Oil Blog. 2007. Admission by Government that Alberta Royalty Review Flawed?” albertaoilblog.com September 26. http://albertaoilblog.com/2007/09/26/admission-by-government-that-alberta-royalty-review-flawed /

Alberta Oil Blog. 2007. Cost of Freedom.” albertaoilblog.com September 26. http://albertaoilblog.com/2007/09/26/cost-of-freedom/

Alberta Oil Blog. 2007. Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. is becoming an Oil Sands Player.” albertaoilblog.com September 25. http://albertaoilblog.com/2007/09/25/abu-dhabi-national-energy-co-is-becoming-an-oil-sands-player /

Alberta Oil Blog. 2007. We have oil America so protect us.” albertaoilblog.com September 24.

Alberta Oil Blog. 2007. Alberta second-highest share of the country’s wealthiest people.” albertaoilblog.com September 24. http://albertaoilblog.com/2007/09/24/alberta-second-highest-share-of-the-countrys-wealthiest-people/

Alberta Oil Blog. 2007. Alberta’s Royalty Report, “Our Fair Share” albertaoilblog.com September 23.

Alberta Oil Blog. 2007. Oil Sands stocks a good buy right now.” albertaoilblog.com September 23.

Alberta Oil Blog. 2007. Oil Royalties debate sweeps Alberta.” albertaoilblog.com September 23.

Alberta Oil Blog. 2007. “Suncor Pumps H2S into the Environment.” albertaoilblog.com September 22.

Alberta Oil Blog. 2007. “On the Map with Avi Lewis: Alberta Oil Sands” albertaoilblog.com September 22.

CBC. 2007. “Albertans invited to give feedback on royalty review.” September 25. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2007/09/25/review-review.html

Van Assem, Mark; Gangemi, Aldo; Schreiber, Guus. 2006. “RDF/OWL Representation of WordNet:W3C Working Draft.” June 19. http://www.w3.org/TR/wordnet-rdf/

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Synset, Semantic Web, CBC and Alberta Oil” >> Google Docs. September 25. http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddp3qxmz_377d75hkf

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Synset, Semantic Web, CBC and Alberta Oil” >> Speechless. September 25.


September 2007

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Google Docs:

Accountability for Reasonableness,

Metadata is data about data that is at a higher level of abstraction than the data it is describing.

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. Folksonomies: September 26, 2007 >> Speechless, Papergirls, Delicious http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddp3qxmz_373dpjdn7


The industrial-size cries of the young heron reminded me of scenes from Jurassic Park. Their loud squawking can be heard long before you can see them.  The activity in the nest is so aggressive and loud you would think an eagle was attacking. The huge nests balance on the tops of alder trees.  This active rookery of about 50 nests is situated at c. 48°44’21.80″N, 123°37’38.78″W.  On June 17, 2007 the young were visible with the naked eye. They are awkward and seem to be over-sized for their nests which sway as they fight over food that the adult heron bring.

As we chatted we could see a steady stream of herons flying back and forth between the food sources at low tide on the Cowichan Bay estuary and the rookery at the edge of the ravine that cuts deeply behind Pritchard Road. Dell Bumstead’s mature, magical garden is at the end of Pritchard just on the edge of the ravine. Dell remembers when one flock of seventy heron flew over her garden c. 1997.


Louise was breathless with excitement and it didn’t help that Reba was pulling at the leash. As usual I was on my knees pulling out Swamp grass and clover from around the heather. She was so proud of her beautiful Labrador Retriever who had just found a trail hidden among the overgrown bushes at the end of an empty lot off Wilmot Road. It was just a few minutes from our hill-side homes overlooking Cowichan Bay. The lot was not really empty as it was completely overgrown with clover, daisies, Swamp grass, wild blackberries and dozens of other plants many of which I had been battling as weeds for the last 18 months in the garden. Here they flourished and were stunningly beautiful swaying in the breeze.

Suddenly the quiet was broken with industrial size squawking. It reminded me of the sound of raptors in Jurassic Park. As we zigzagged through patches of thorny plants we could see huge heron nests that seemed to be balanced precariously atop Alder trees that were too thin and fragile for this weight and responsibility. The loud squawking seemed to increase and decrease in lulls which I thought at first was due to our arrival or maybe even an attack of an eagle. But as I stood silently watching I could see the adult herons incessantly leaving the nests and returning with food for their offspring. The young were rowdy and ungainly and the branches thrashed as they competed for food. One graceless young heron perched precariously on a branch that bent and swayed under his weight.

All around us underfoot were trunks of trees cut long ago to clear the land to the edge of this ravine tucked in behind Pritchard. The ravine meanders with branches leading into Cowichan Bay estuary somewhere near Wessex Inn.

Roger Tory Peterson1 reminded us that the majority of flowers that grow in vacant lots and along roads in North America are aliens. Hundreds of wayside plants came from Europe. Some came from gardens but most came unseen as seeds mixed in with shipments from across the sea. The first known station for a foreign plant is often at seaports or along a railroad track. In the prairies certain flowers came at first to airfields. In 1968 Peterson had already noticed that the best place to find remnants of the disappearing prairie flowers was along the railroad right-of-way. Roadsides are relatively poor because of mowing and plant-spraying operations. Even coastal marshes have lost their flowers through ditching and draining (1986:x11).

Flowers are rooted to earth, often separated by broad barriers of unsuitable environment from other ‘stations’ of their own species. “Therefore over the centuries, subtle differences have often developed with strains that are so marked that botanists have given them varietal names. Others are ignored because they would overburden an already complex taxonomy. Or a flower, from the same seed, may be depauperate in a sterile soil or where lack of competition has favoured it in some way. Familiar flowers than can look unfamiliar. Some hybridize (Peterson 1968:xii).”

“What of the future of rare native wildflowers? Because of the attrition of habitat, some are in a precarious position. Bogs along the southern margins of glaciated country are becoming fewer and orchids requiring bog conditions are harder to find. When a forest has been cut, its shade-loving orchids may also disappear, and half a century or more may pass before succession makes the forest suitable again for them. How can they return? […] Can seeds remain viable in the soil for half a century or more, until succession renders their habitat suitable again? We know little about this (Peterson 1968:xii).”

We entered the trail that Reba had shown us and there was a third space of semi-tropical rain forest. This hidden treasure is tucked away in the village of Cowichan Bay. A small stream, that dries up in the summer, winds through this hidden ravine. It is a corridor of towering douglas fir, cedar trees and arbutus trees with dense foliage that is tucked in between developed areas on either side. Sword and maiden-hair ferns and a wide diversity of wildflowers grow in the cool, moist mini-ecosystem. A few villagers have maintained a trail with an almost invisible entrance at the end of a clearing on Wilmot. I am not sure that it is precisely located on the Flickr map but the coordinates are (48°44’23.86″N, 123°37’39.45″ W).

This is linked to my Flickr and to my Google Earth Community and will be linked to Youtube, Facebook and Google Video.

Notes
1. I usually try to separate my own phrasing from that of an author whose works I am citing. In this case these words are a blend of direct quotations from Peterson’s Introduction and my own editing to shorten and summarize. His phrases and wording are so exact, poetic and appropriate that I wanted to enhance their metaphorical quality by keeping them intact. If I included all the “” the result would be too cumbersome.

Bibliography

Peterson, Roger Tory. 1968. “Introduction.” in Peterson, Roger Tory, McKenny, Margaret. 1968. A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and North-central North America: A Visual Approach. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Peterson, Roger Tory. 1968. “Survival.” in Peterson, Roger Tory, McKenny, Margaret. 1968. A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and North-central North America: A Visual Approach. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
p. xii.

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Taxonomy, empty lots, roadsides.” >> Speechless. June 18.

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Taxonomy, empty lots, roadsides.” http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddp3qxmz_304fp4w32 June 18.