ITS Weekly - 7 April 2017

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Headline of the Week: Neuroscience of Wine and ACM Turing Award for Inventor of World Wide Web      

Here’s a fun and true information “web” story leading to the quintessential “web” celebration story capped with a challenge for all of us.

I had an open hour at the end of the day on Tuesday and I was thinking forward to an ITS Weekly headline. Earlier in the day Patty and I were discussing when we might publish our (near) weekly newsletter to work around an important personal commitment. I shared I didn’t have an idea just yet.

A Luther graduate friend a year behind me shared an NPR article on the neurobiology of wine tasting on Facebook. I love tasting wine so I clicked through. The article is a short interview with author and Yale neuroscientist Gordon Shepherd about biological functions that a wine taster brings to wine tasting. This is to be contrasted with what the wine brings to the tasting experience. The article is short and interesting and included a reference to his recent book Neuroenology: How the Brain Creates the Taste of Wine. Wine lover’s enjoy!

As I’m going back and forth exploring the book on Amazon and the NPR article thinking there must be an ITS Weekly headline in this interesting mix, I see another NPR article referenced in the margin. It’s an interview with Tim Berners-Lee. Tim is thought of as a father of the Web. He was expressing concerns about the disappointing gap between what he’d imagined the Web could become and what it had become.

I met Tim Berners-Lee in graduate school. Turns out he is friends with a Rochester family whose son and my son played football together as little kids. I attended a lecture of his on the Semantic Web and had been requested to bring the greetings from Rochester. The Internet frenzy was full underway and the “bubble” was just about as big as it could get prior to popping in March, 2000. I have continued to follow his semantic web work.

In the first paragraph of the article I discovery he was just recently awarded the ACM Turing Award for his inventing the World Wide Web, the first web browser, and the fundamental protocols and algorithms allowing the Web to scale. I have my CS140 students read the original EF Codd papers about relational database technology including the paper associated with Codd winning the ACM Turing Award in 1981. I describe it to my students as the Nobel Prize for Computer Science. It’s a big deal.

In the NPR article Tim talks about how things have turned out differently. Where he’d hope silos would be broken down with the free flow of information he sees how silos have been constructed contributing negatively to society. The article reports Berners-Lee doesn't believe the Web's current challenges can be fixed by tech experts alone. He says, "It's only gonna happen because lots of people care about it very much, and it's not just people writing code; it's people writing laws, teachers, people in the street," he says.’

Free flow of good information. Fewer silos. I see this as good work for all of us.

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Suggested Reading/Viewing/Listening:

Inventor of World Wide Web Receives ACM A.M. Turing Award

The Father Of The Web Is Worried About How Ugly It's Become

The Taste Of Wine Isn't All In Your Head, But Your Brain Sure Helps

Neuroenology: How the Brain Creates the Taste of Wine

ITS Blog Highlights from the Week

The following articles are sampled from those available on the ITS Blog:

Notes from ITS Council

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