MIT’s open access research and other open scholarly resources

31 08 2009

MIT has done it again. After the MIT courseware and open source courses online, now it has created a space for researchers on Dspace which was “built to save, share, and search MIT’s digital research materials”. It even has theses collections. That is a fantastic resource.

Here are some more resources:

  • Sofia from Gavilan College
  • Connexions: where you can gather modules and compile a course. It also has open textbooks.
  • Merlot: a repository of materials, animation, research and everything you need to build a course
  • Open Michigan

Publishing venues and open online journals:


yamli:a new Arabic search engine with a twist

7 07 2009

I found this fascinating because it is finally an attempt at using proper Arabic content. Yamli is a new Arabic search engine. When I typed my name in English, it actually immediately translated it into Arabic as I was writing. I then tried to type a whole English transliterated sentence and Yamli immediately changed the lettering from English to Arabic as I was typing. This is what Yamli calls the ‘smart keyboard‘, and I must say it is quite smart. I am impressed.


The search engine itself has a very unique and different interface that I also found quite interesting.

Yamli was created by two Lebanese men, Habib Haddad and  Imad Jureidini, and the idea came during the most recent war on Lebanon in 2006. Yamli’s definition of itself is that it “is a search engine focused on providing more relevant search results for an Arabic query by expanding it to its most frequently used Latin representations.”

The word Yamli itself comes from the Arabic to dictate – or, as Yamli itself says “The word Yamli is inspired by the Arabic verb “يُملي” which comes from the noun “إملاء” referring to dictation or transcription of spoken text.” One can even embed Yamli in their website through the Yamli API.

Job well done and I look forward to how this will develop further.


worst places to be bloggers

16 06 2009

Worst countries to be a blogger in: CPJ announced its worst ten countries for bloggers… and guess how many are in the Middle East?

Relying on a mix of detentions, regulations, and intimidation, authorities in Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Egypt have emerged as the leading online oppressors in the Middle East and North Africa. link

Nice. Congrats Middle East, you broke a record. Again.

virtual activism interviewed in second life

10 06 2009

As Executive Director of Virtual Activism, I was interviewed on SLCN TV for the work I have done in Second Life. The interview discussed Virtual Activism activities in Second Life as well as the creation of a replica of the St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai, which had already been reviewed in the media before. To learn about the interview click here, and to see the interview click on the video below:

human rights in virtual worlds

3 06 2008

Nothing wrong with bragging every once in a blue moon, right?

So once again Virtual Activism – my nonprofit organization – is at the forefront of technology in the Arab World. We have been the first to go on the web, we had the first blog in the entire Arab World, the first to have a Wiki, and now the first to be a nonprofit in a virtual world, namely Second Life.

Now I have an Education and Human Rights Center which is part of a sim but hopefully will expand beyond that. Here are some images:

So why is this important? Well the center is expanding into providing a visual tour of human rights violation and providing knowledge and information on human rights abuses worldwide. It will draw heavily on several world reports on human rights as well as on local human rights reports. The visual tour provides an experiential and immersive education to those who will visit it. It will also provide videos and other information on such violations, as well as monthly discussions and meetings. The center is still undergoing construction and I will be announcing meetings shortly.

If you are already on second life, you might want to visit the center at this slurl: Captivating/191/216/21/?title=Odessa Captivating

On the same sim, a little at a distance from the Center is a replica of the St. Catherine’s Monastery from the
Sinai, Egypt.


e-waste dumping in Africa

16 06 2007

According to a UN report, an estimated 50 million tons of electronic waste generated globally every year, e-waste and its disposal is a growing problem, and much of it is dumped in Africa [link]. The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is a treaty on waste disposal entered into force in 1992 [link]. It is estimated that

anywhere between 25 to 75 percent of the e-waste that enters Africa, mostly through Mombasa, Lagos and Dar es Salaam ports, is useless.
It is also reported that in Nigeria alone, about 500 containers full of used electronic cargo pass through the Lagos port every month, according to a recent study by Seattle-based Basel Action Network.

encylopedia of life

15 06 2007

eol_logo.pngImagine a digital page for every species on the planet. This is what this newly released digital encyclopedia aims at achieving eventually. It is called the Encyclopedia of Life and it is aiming at being a ‘comprehensive, collaborative, ever-growing, and personalized’ encyclopedia. While the project’s information and objectives and plans have been released, the Encyclopedia itself is not yet functional and its fully functional version is expected by mid 2008.

According to its own stated description, the EOL is:

an ecosystem of websites that makes all key information about life on Earth accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world. Our goal is to create a constantly evolving encyclopedia that lives on the Internet, with contributions from scientists and amateurs alike. To transform the science of biology, and inspire a new generation of scientists, by aggregating all known data about every living species. And ultimately, to increase our collective understanding of life on Earth, and safeguard the richest possible spectrum of biodiversity.