World Without Oil – serious games and online social networking

World Without Oil is an online project that is a little hard to describe…part serious game, part collaborative storytelling, part social network, part multimedia experience… get the picture. Basically, World Without Oil is based on the premise that “There’s an oil shock going on. It started April 30, 2007. The world oil supply is falling short of demand – by 1.5% at first, but it’s expected to increase to 3% or more throughout 2007.” So, the organizers of the project have set up an alternative reality serious gamethrough the World Without Oil website, where participants are invited to share their stories of how the simulated “oil shock” impacts their lives and experiences. These contributions can be in any media form, from audio messages, to video, to blogs and other text. You can look at and listen to some of the contributions that ahve already been submitted.

The idea is to have a record of the real impact of events on peoples’ lives, in addition to information from other sources such as governments or traditional media. The “game” idea is not necessarily easily explained on the website, but the notion of using collaborative social media to document events that can have a profound effect on our lives.

If you’re still not quite clear, head over to the World Without Oil website and definitely take a look or even join in. As the Internet and social media continue to play a larger role in our lives, we are like ly to see more efforts like this to harness the power of collaborative problem-solving.

Via Tech_Space

National Biomass and Carbon Dataset

The Woods Hole Research Center has just completed a 2-year pilot phase for its National Biomass and Carbon Dataset 2000 (NBCD2000), a GIS data for the continental United States that will provide a “baseline data set for the assessment of the carbon stock in U.S. forest vegetation and will improve current methods of determining carbon flux between vegetation and the atmosphere.” This dataset will be especially helpful for researchers looking at issues related to greenhouse gas levels and climate change among other topics.

Based on year 2000 data, the NBCD2000 was derived from a number of base data sets provided by the USGS and others, including Shuttle Radar Topography Mission topography data, the National Elevation Dataset, the National Land Cover Database 2001, US Forest Service forest inventory data. The pilot phase mapped 5 of the 66 defined mapping zones within the US, with the remainder of the project commencing today and scheduled for completion in 2009. The NBCD2000 data will be made available for download via the USGS Seamless Data Distribution System.

Via ScienceDaily