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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bravo to the UCLA Trio Who Can Aid Your Country's Liberation - Their High School Science Project (Hypercities Egypt) Gets an "A" Plus!


Okay, so UCLA is not a high school, but hey it's where I went right after 12th grade so close enough.  What can be accomplished by putting 3 intelligent heads together during a time of crisis can be extraordinary.  And that's what happened last week during the Egyptian democratic uprising on the other side of the world, with the work and collaboration between two university faculty members and a graduate student on Westwood's sprawling school campus.

Not only did they create a program and website to instantly capture the tens of thousands of tweets that resulted from the protests over the last few weeks but also put into a play an application that can be utilized for future events and benefit millions.  Think of it as combination of Dennis Crowley's Foursquare location identification software blended with Twitter's microblogging capabilities. 

It gives the masses a much more succint snapshot of the events taking place, and provides  an immediacy and objectivity like nothing else before.  When you see the tweets from a location perspective, it allows you to have a better representation and a higher context of the situation.  As one person noted, "we were able to capture not what people were saying about Egypt, but what people were saying IN Egypt.

It's friggin amazing what effect technology (built in only 5 days for that matter!) can help us do in times of struggle and what more we can expect in the future.  Hats off to these High School honor students!!

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