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PROGRESS

PROGRESS FOR THE WORLD

Progress can be measured by an overall improvement in the human condition. Progress can be measured by a better quality of life for all humans. Progress can be measured by food, education, health, safety, clean drinking water, civility, and prosperity for all human inhabitants of Earth. Progress can be measured by individual liberties within the rule of just law, which includes the freedom of political, economic, and religious expression without recourse to hatred, violence, and killing of those whose expressions you do not agree.

The Isley Brothers once wondered when would there be a "Harvest For The World". I find myself now wondering when will there be "Progress for the World." The time has come for humans to progress. The time has come for humans to elevate their collective consciousness to the next level. The time has come for a new, different, and better daily reality to reign on Earth.



MACRO (SOCIETAL/GLOBAL-LEVEL) PROGRESS

At the macro or societal/global level, one indicator of progress today is the movement to develop the so-called Semantic Web. For those who are familiar with the behind-the-scenes or programming aspects of the World Wide Web, the World Wide Web is driven by the language of HTML (HyperText Markup Language). In turn, HTML is augmented by ancillary technologies such as CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), JavaScript, and other assorted programming tools such as XML technologies, .NET, and Java. HTML presents information to users in the form of websites. In turn, humans view, use, and interact with the content on websites. The chief presentation conduit for HTML is websites displayed on computers, tablets, smartphones, eReaders, and other assorted smart devices.

To make the World Wide Web smarter, the goal is to overlay the World Wide Web with another behind-the-scene but universally interpreted language known as RDF (Resource Description Framework). In turn, RDF is expected to more precisely define or describe everything on the World Wide Web in a machine-friendly manner. RDF is augmented by ancillary technologies such as schemas (e.g., Resource Description Framework Schema or RFDS) and ontologies (e.g., Web Ontology Language or OWL) and other assorted programming tools such as XML technologies, .NET, and Java. RDF is designed to present information in a manner that is easy for computers to read, understand, and manipulate. The chief presentation conduit for RDF, too, is websites displayed on computers, tablets, smartphones, eReaders and other assorted smart devices (such as televisions, refrigerators, automobiles, and so forth).

What is the Semantic Web and how does it work? The story of the Semantic Web begins with Sir Tim Berners-Lee who invented the World Wide Web. Sir Tim Berners-Lee also envisions the creation of the Semantic Web. In many respects, Sir Tim Berners-Lee can be viewed as a modern-day Sir Isaac Newton. It is a delight, indeed, for contemporary humans to have a Sir Isaac Newton, of sorts, walking among them. Isn't that neat? I think that it's pretty neat.

To say that Sir Tim Berner-Lee's creation of the World Wide Web has had, and continues to have, a profound and transformative impact on human society and human development would be an understatement. Sir Tim Berner-Lee's contribution to human progress is indisputable and ongoing.

Watch (Tim Berners Lee and the World Wide Web)




Watch (NBR | The Creator of the Internet | PBS)




Watch (Dom Joly - Sir Tim Berners-Lee)




Watch (Gov 2.0 Expo 2010: Tim Berners-Lee, "Open, Linked Data for a Global Community")


What Is the Semantic Web?

This website first visited the topic of the Semantic Web on its "Open Earth" page. The Semantic Web is a sort of web backend world that is inhabited by programmers and developers. Programmers and developers compose metadata to make devices smart. The format of the composition is specific and specialized such that smart devices would be able to find, interpret, manipulate, and organize the underlying meaning of data. The goal of the Semantic Web is to deliver a more enriching and rewarding experience to the end users of smart devices.

Watch (The Semantic Web and Drupal, Part 1)




Watch (The Semantic Web - An Overview)




Watch (What Is an Ontology)


How the Semantic Web Works

The Semantic Web works somewhat like the engine in an automobile. You, the driver of the automobile, might know little to nothing about how its engine works. You simply want to experience a safe, relaxed, and enjoyable trip while driving the automobile. It is the manufacturer's or the mechanic's duty to make sure that the automobile's engine performs flawlessly. Similarly, users of the Semantic Web do not see its programming dimensions. It is the duty of those who create semantic tools and those who develop websites to ensure that all of the semantic elements are in place and are working seamlessly behind the scenes of websites.

To simplify, assume that everything on the World Wide Web could be categorized as possessing one of four traits. That is to say, everything would be categorized or described as being a person (e.g., individual), place (e.g., geographic location or physical address), thing (e.g., event, application, document, picture, song, animal, plant etc.), or idea (e.g., freedom, democracy, or rights etc.). Each category would be given an identification number (known as a URI). Each category would be given a definition. The identification number (URI) would be linked to the definition by a particular identifying action, activity, or trait. An endless number of related or interconnected relationships would exist both within a category and between categories.

Using myself as an example, assume that I uploaded metadata to a website that categorized me as a person. Assume that I used a Friend of a Friend (FOAF) entry to describe myself. In describing myself, I might include descriptions of my place of baptism (New Mt. Zion Church), my first place of employment (Delta-Democrat Times newspaper), and my first college attended (MVSU). Also, assume that the New Mt. Zion Church, the Delta-Democrat Times, and MVSU also uploaded wholly independent metadata to the World Wide Web about its former and current members. Somewhere within that metadata, New Mt. Zion might identify me as a former member of the church and the year of my baptism. The Delta-Democrat Times might identify me as a former employee of the company, the years of my employment, and my job titles. MVSU might identify me as a former student, the years of my attendance, the date of my graduation, and my graduation rank or grade point average.

In theory, for anyone who wanted to know anything about me, the Semantic Web would be crawled by a spider to yield an answer. The descriptions in my metadata file (i.e., my FOAF entry) of my roles at the New Mt. Zion M.B. Church, the Delta-Democrat Times newspaper, and MVSU should mirror the descriptions of me in the independently created metadata files of the New Mt. Zion M.B. Church, the Delta-Democrat Times newspaper, and MVSU. Not only should their descriptions of me mirror my FOAF's descriptions of my roles at those institutions but also the relevant parts of their independently created metadata files would be linked to my FOAF entry by the smart device. Based on your query or search terms, the spider would be smart enough to crawl the Semantic Web and locate, link, assemble, and present to the user precise and complete descriptions of me in one neat, presentable package.

Let there be no illusions about it. There is a steep learning curve to master various a href="http://www.cambridgesemantics.com/semantic-university/about-semantic-university" target="_blank" title="About Semantic University | Cambridge Semantics">Semantic Web technologies albeit some out-of-the box software and cloud solutions do exist to make the learning chore easier and quicker to accomplish. Much like the case with mastering XML and its ancillary technologies (namely, DTD, XSD, XSL, XPATH, XQUERY, and so forth), it could take several years to fully master RDF and all of its ancillary technologies. RDF, XML, and so forth, are ideal candidates for a curriculum of study in school or college.

How the World Wide Web and the Semantic Web Compare

How do the World Wide Web and the Semantic Web compare to each other? Both the World Wide Web and the Semantic Web are concerned with retrieving and presenting useful information to users. Information can be retrieved and presented in several ways. You can retrieve information by randomly surfing or browsing the web. You can perform web searches to retrieve information. You can perform specific web queries to retrieve information. You can use a proprietary web application that is designed to explore a specific subject or topic.

The following table illustrates how the World Wide Web (HTML) and the Semantic Web (RDF) compare. It shows how each accomplishes the tasks of surfing, searching, querying, applying, and presenting useful information on the web.

THE WORLD WIDE WEB AND THE SEMANTIC WEB COMPARED
Navigating the Web The Traditional World Wide Web The Emerging Semantic Web
Browsing Internet Explorer
Firefox
Safari
Chrome
Opera
...and others
SView RDF Browser
LodLive RDF Browser
Disco RDF Browser
Example:
Edward Bruessard
URI: http://bruessard.com/foaf.rdf#bruessard

See Also:
Profile

Searching Google
Bing
Yahoo!
Sindice Semantic Search
Swoogle Semantic Search
Watson Semantic Search
Querying Google Advanced Search
Virtuoso SPARQL Query Editor
Applications Google Public Data Explorer
DMOZ - Computers: Internet: On the Web: Web Applications
Applications | Data.gov
Apps | data.gov.uk
Featured Community Apps | Open Government Data (OGD) Platform India


The following videos depict some practical uses of linked (Semantic Web) data in everyday life.

Watch [Applied Innovations (Semantic Web Technologies in Practical Use)]




Watch (Tim Berners-Lee: The year open data went worldwide)




Watch (Semantic Web Real Time Emergency Response)


Some of my linked data wish lists include a mashup that shows in detail the sources of funding and the recipients of campaign spending for any given candidate for elective office; a mashup that shows how the final price of gasoline at the pump is determined; and, a mashup that shows how hospital bills are computed.

How You Can Contribute to the Semantic Web

How can you participate in the Semantic Web? What role can you play? Perhaps the easiest way for individuals to participate is through a website. If you own a website or if a website contains information about you, then it would be incumbent upon the owner of the website to code semantic metadata into the website. One popular way for individuals to easily insert a piece of semantic metadata into a website is by creating a wikidata entry of yourself. Another way for individuals to insert a piece of semantic metadata into a website is by using the FOAF approach. For those who are a bit more technically savvy about developing websites, another way to contribute to the Semantic Web is to use existing linked data repositories (such as public repositories like Data.gov) to build new and interesting web applications. Tools such as Schema Creator offer a different approach for website developers to insert semantic data into websites.

Typically, website developers (and not you) would be responsible for coding semantic metadata into a website. One of the biggest challenges facing the Semantic Web is finding efficient and expedient ways of transforming all existing website data into the machine-readable RDF format. Without such a machine-readable data transformation of the World Wide Web, the Semantic Web of data wouldn't truly be a web of everything.

In the short term, private corporations and organizations are likely to transform their in-house data-processing chores into a machine-readable format, but such data will only be available to members of the corporation or members of the organization to view and use. To be sure, while many private companies and government agencies possess a lot of data about their clients, patients, members, and customers, in reality, privacy laws prohibit them from placing identifiable personal data on the World Wide Web. As these corporations and organizations enhance their public websites, their enhanced websites likely will embrace and incorporate semantic metadata.

Of course, one downside or negative angle to the Semantic Web is the possibility of fraudulent semantic data entering into the data stream due to the mischievous behavior of some individuals or entities. The reason for the negativity is because anybody can create any type of description of anything or anybody and place it on the World Wide Web. If the description of a person, place, thing, or idea is false but is captured by the Semantic Web and someone links to it, then the integrity of the underlying data would be compromised. Semantic Web data would become suspected of being unreliable. New rumors and gossip can be uploaded to the World Wide Web just as quickly as old ones can be removed or discredited. The scenario of combating false and malicious data on the Semantic Web would be akin to anti-virus companies endlessly trying to keep pace with the new viruses and malware that are constantly being created and spread over the World Wide Web.

Another downside to the Semantic Web is the fact that some humans do not wish to be identified or found. Other humans have things in their past that they would rather escape or forget. They would prefer not to reveal these past things to others. How would the preferences of these humans be honored if the data exists? Should their preferences be honored?

Compared to the World Wide Web, keep in mind that the Semantic Web remains in its infancy stage of development. Participation in the Semantic Web is not yet widespread. There are still kinks in the system. One notable kink in the system, for some, would be the SPAQRL queries. Compared to the current SPARQL query approach, end users would need a much more user-friendly way to query the Semantic Web and yet still receive precise query results. Some sort of graphical interface or smart form might be preferable to the existing SPAQRL query interface. Being in its infancy stage of development, the Semantic Web of the future quite likely will look and work very differently from the Semantic Web of today.

Watch (Web 3.0, by Kate Ray, NYU Journalism Graduate)



MICRO (INDIVIDUAL/HOUSEHOLD-LEVEL) PROGRESS

Any discussion about progress also must include a discussion about individual self-improvement, which reflects progress at the micro level. Not only does self-improvement mean acquiring the skills and knowledge required to get a good job and to live a prosperous life but also self-improvement means exhibiting decorum, self-discipline, respect for others (regardless of their race, color, creed, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, age, disability, national origin, socioeconomic birth status, political ideology, and so forth), respect for the property of others, respect for human life, and respect for the rule of just law in daily life.

For there is a time to have fun and there is a time to get serious about one's future well-being. Don't get too busy or too preoccupied with having all kinds of fun to the point that you lose sight of the future. By the same token, don't get too serious about work to the point that you forget to enjoy your brief tenure on Earth. It is a balancing act to manage both work and play as you travel down the road of life.

Choice and Opportunity

The following links are provided to assist students. The purpose of these links is to help students stay focused on a successful career path. Success in school or receiving a diploma means individual progress. Success in a career (preferably of your choosing) means individual fulfillment. Success in personal finance means individual prosperity. The "Prosperity for All" and "The Good Life" pages of this website introduced some of these personal finance principles.

Success in School:
  1. Dropout Prevention : What Works Clearinghouse
  2. Search Model Programs Database | National Dropout Prevention Center/Network
Selecting a Career:
  1. K-12 : Student Resources : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  2. My Next Move
  3. Home : Occupational Outlook Handbook : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  4. Vault.com - Get the Inside Scoop on Companies, Schools, Internships, Jobs and More.
Preparing for College:
  1. Prepare for College | Federal Student Aid
  2. College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics



Watch (Beauty of Mathematics)





Watch (Motivation for Success)




Listen to (Willie Hutch featuring The Temptations - Inside You)




Listen to (Earth, Wind & Fire, Be Ever Wonderful)




Listen to (Earth, Wind & Fire, All About Love)




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Intellectual Property Disclosures: All videos and songs (as well as many of the images) referenced or spotlighted throughout this website are the legal and intellectual properties of others. All content and opinions on this website () are those of the author (Edward Bruessard) exclusively and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the contributors, creators, owners, and distributors of these referenced videos, songs, and images. The author holds no legal interest or financial stake in any of these referenced videos, songs, and images. The contributors, creators, owners, and distributors of these referenced videos, songs, and images played no role at all regarding the appearance of said videos, songs, and images throughout this website; they had no clue that this website would be spotlighting their works.


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