First Website Ever Made in US Brought to Light in Digital Archaeology Find

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Digital archaeology that has revealed the earliest signs of web-life in America.¬†Stanford Libraries has brought to light the first websites ever uploaded in the US–genealogically part Euro-descendant, part US original. The pages are now available for browsing, and Stanford Wayback, a customized platform for accessing archived web assets, provides a third dimension for viewing the internet, allowing users to see and navigate the web as it has changed over time and to look back in time at code written by the earliest “WWW Wizards.”

“A handful of staff at SLAC who worked on the early web fortuitously saved the files, along with their timestamps,” said Nicholas Taylor, web archiving service manager for Stanford Libraries.

The earliest site dates back to Dec. 6, 1991–a month in which no-fly zones were being set up in Iraq after the Gulf War, the Ukrainian people voted for independence from the Soviet Union and the Cold War ended, Hezbollite¬†(Shiite Muslim) militants released their last US hostages, and Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston won at the 2nd annual Billboard Music Awards.

The sites were installed on the first server outside of Europe, which was installed by physicist Paul Kunz between Dec. 6 and Dec. 12.

First Website Ever Made in US Brought to Light in Digital Archaeology FindTaylor told The Speaker how in launching the Stanford Web Archive Portal, once they learned of the existence of the earliest US websites, this seemed the most intriguing choice.

“A major focus for Stanford University Libraries’ web archiving effort is preserving Stanford University’s institutional legacy. We thought that the SLAC earliest websites would be the most broadly interesting historical web content related to the University with which to launch the Stanford Web Archive Portal. That is to say, we didn’t explicitly set out to track down the oldest US website, per se, but became quickly interested once we learned about it.”

The lineage of the earliest US sites is a part European descendant-part original strain, Taylor told us.

“They’re necessarily derivative, in some sense; what made the Web was adherence to a common set of conventions (e.g., the syntax for a hyperlink). The SLAC ‘WWW Wizards’ built the first US website based upon the conventions formulated by Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the world’s first website at CERN. In another sense, the first U.S. website was entirely home-grown, built foremost to serve the research needs of the SLAC research community.”

Taylor elaborated on this piece of digital archaeology was undertaken.

First Website Ever Made in US Brought to Light in Digital Archaeology Find“You might say that there were two major digital archaeology efforts. One, SLAC’s previous recovery and preservation of the original website files, and two, Stanford University Libraries’ much subsequent restoration of access to the websites in their original temporal context, via the the Stanford Web Archive Portal.

We have the early sites back online today because of SLAC staff foresight.

“Essentially, SLAC staff that were involved with the early websites and, later, staff in the SLAC Archives and History Office had the wherewithal to retrieve, set aside, and document the files constituting the earliest websites,” said Taylor.

The sites were saved with their timesstamps, which are associated with the first version of a website, as well as subsequent versions.

“The original timestamps were preserved as part of the SLAC backup system for those servers and are a critical piece of context in understanding the restored content.

“We’re accustomed to thinking about the Web in two dimensions–i.e., as a flat plane that we navigate spatially. Web archives and the Memento protocol, in particular, offer the prospect of adding a third dimension to the Web–allowing users to see how it has changed over time and seamlessly navigate to archived versions of resources that have since disappeared.”

First Website Ever Made in US Brought to Light in Digital Archaeology FindTaylor commented on the nature of investigating the origins of the digital realm, and noted that we are close enough in time to still touch its ancestry.

“A last note about ‘digital archaeology,'” said Taylor, “unlike much archaeology, our digital archaeology effort had the benefit of being able to confer directly with the individuals who created these artifacts.”

Taylor encouraged everyone to support and celebrate the efforts of this “memory institution,” and take a look at our digital past in the artifacts they have recently preserved.

Stanford Wayback is part of the Libraries’ web archiving initiative, which aims to collect, preserve and provide access to web content that is at risk of being updated, replaced or lost.

By Andy Stern

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Possible new law of nature on the way

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The world of physics is excited about strong but early evidence about the behavior of muons, paricles identical to electrons only 200x more massive (heavier), which once born take 2.2 microseconds to decay into an electron, and which spin like tops. In a new, extremely precise measurement, they were made to wobble using magnetic fields but they unexpectedly wobbled quite significantly faster than the Standard Model suggests they would. They might spin so fast due to an unknown force caused by an unknown particle, and this is what is so exciting.

“We found that a muon … is not in agreement with our current best theory of physics at the subatomic level, and … it potentially points to a future with new laws, new particles and new forces in physics which we haven’t seen to date,” said Professor Mark Lancaster at U of Manchester.

“The main goal of the experiment is to make the measurement and compare with the theory, and if they disagree then it’s telling us that there’s something in nature which is not in the theory,” explained James Mott at Fermilab.

The four known forces of nature (gravity, electricity, two nuclear forces: strong and weak interactions) have left scientists without an answer for some observed phenomena, such as the speed at which galaxies spin (faster than the best model suggests). Therefore, they continue to search for glitches in their already-tight models which might point them things they don’t yet know about.

The most recent work was done at Fermilab (Muon g-2 experiment), but a similar experiment was already done earlier at the Large Hadron Collider. These tools accelerate particles in large rings at close to the speed of light.

The evidence needs more tests for greater certainty, particularly to rule out the possibility of a systematic error, and particularly with a new, independent experiment, but physicists will be chasing this line of experiment eagerly.

“This is outstanding confirmation of experimental technique, and very, very suggestive of the possibility of new physics,” noted scientist David Hertzon of U of Washington.

By the editors

#AnomalousMagneticDipoleMomentOfTheMuon #QuantumElectrodynamics

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People in Kachin state demonstrate against China

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YANGON, Myanmar – The people in the Pharkant area of Kachin state demonstrated against China this week, drawing a cross on the Chinese flag and burning a picture of Myanmar’s military leader Min Aung Hlaing.

“China stands with the military leader,” shouted the demonstrators.

By Htay Win
Photo credit Aye Yarwaddy

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Myanmar military council arrests the artist Zarganar

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YANGON, Myanmar – The artist Zarganar was arrested by the Myanmar military council from his home in Tarmwe township, Yangon this morning.

Zarganar is not only a director but also a comedian famous for political jokes since the 1988 democratic revolution.

Zarganar was arrested by the Myanmar military many times before 2010.

By Htay Win
Photo credit Zarganar page

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Kayin IDPs struggle to get for food

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YANGON, Myanmar – Kayin internally displaced people are desperate for food, clothing and shelter, hiding in the forest from the air strikes of the Myanmar military.

The IDPs fled to neighboring Thailand, but Thai government turned them back. However, Wednesday morning the Thai government opened Maeseli jetty in Maehaungsaung district to sending rations and medicines over the border to Kayin state, according to a Thai media.

By Htay Win

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Twenty Myanmar celebrities charged with incitement

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YANGON, Myanmar -They were charged under the country’s media law with inciting government employees to join the popular civil disobedience movement (CDM) through social media.

Celebrities took part in the NLD election campaigns and are thought to have played a large part in influencing the public, particularly Myanmar’s youth, to vote for Aung San Suu Kyi.

By Htay Win
Photo credit Myanmar celebrity

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