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New York's Natural History Museum Pioneers Use of Internet2
April 17, 2002 11:32 AM   Subscribe

New York's Natural History Museum Pioneers Use of Internet2 "Sebastien Lepine, a post-doctoral fellow at the museum, had figured that it would take him a year, using the commercial Internet, to finish downloading two 360-degree digital sky surveys for his study of fast-moving stars. But that was before the museum connected to Abilene." This indication of how the "commmercial Internet" has become so clogged with crap annoys me intensely. Particularly when the article points out just a few of the research projects that need high bandwidth.
posted by elgoose (13 comments total)

 
In my work, we have delivered science programming from a marine research lab in Florida to elementary and middle schools students in the mid-West via I2. Typically we do this over 3 ISDN's at 384 Kbps, but I2 lets us get up to 768 Kpbs. It is nice doing videoconferencing at those speeds.
posted by piskycritters at 11:45 AM on April 17, 2002


Mordecai-Mark Mac Low sounds like the worst rap name ever.
posted by yerfatma at 11:54 AM on April 17, 2002


Yet an old fashioned T1 is 1.54 mbs, pisky. These guys are getting 200+ mbs with their I2. Is your job saving money going with a slow I2 connection?
posted by skallas at 11:56 AM on April 17, 2002


Sebastien Lepine had figured that it would take him a year, using the commercial Internet, to finish downloading two 360-degree digital sky surveys for his study of fast-moving stars... The museum had two T1 lines, one of which was used 100 percent 24 hours a day, seven days a week ferrying Mr. Lepine's data from the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore...

A year of T1-speed downloading : 6 terabytes
Distance from New York to Baltimore : 200 miles
Transit time to and from: 7 hours
U-haul rental: $60
Gasoline: $35
McD's Value Meal: $4.99

Getting your data overnight and not wasting a year's worth of Internet bandwith by getting someone to drive a truckload of DVD's to your location: Priceless
posted by Humberto at 1:45 PM on April 17, 2002


Seriously, what the hell?? These people are spoiled by the internet. I can carry in my two arms a good exobyte or so.
posted by Settle at 1:51 PM on April 17, 2002


Here I am in the home if I2 and I have seen no benefits at all, as far as I know. How much wider (not really "faster") is I2 than the standard "commercial internet", anyway? In my experience the last mile, from my local router to my desktop, is the choke point, and that's not going to change, is it?

(Exobytes? Give us yottabytes!)
posted by rodii at 1:55 PM on April 17, 2002


I was at a talk about digital sky surveys. One method they were considering for dispensing data is where you mail them a hard drive, they mail it back to you full of data, then in the future, if someone wants that data, the survey may refer them to you.
posted by badstone at 2:03 PM on April 17, 2002


rodii, the point of I2 is to bring back the benefits of the onetime ARPAnet/NSFnet backbone to research institutions. It's not for the average desktop.

In the old days, there were USENET nodes that got their updates via tape. Later on you could get monthly CDs of most of it. (That someone saved such a collection is one reason Google was eventually able to incorporate it into Dejagoogle.) There was even a period where it was beamed out of a satellite continuously -- all you needed to do was buy a rooftop dish, pay a setup fee, and bingo, free USENET (going in).

I2 is much like that -- the largest expense is going to be the upgrade process itself. And there are going to be programs, like the Space Telescope Science Institute, that are going to want to underwrite that.
posted by dhartung at 3:23 PM on April 17, 2002


I wish that original article had actually mentioned real data sizes. While a new faster 'net sounds great, it seems like kind of a dumb way to transfer star data from 1950. Surely FedEx delivers to the Natural History Museum?
posted by bcwinters at 3:24 PM on April 17, 2002


What about the flip side to this coin? NOT the individual researcher who deals in googlebytes to determine the molecules in the feet of those pinhead-standing angels; but the millions of ordinary mortals, from elementary school kids to housewives researching breast cancer because she felt a lump?

The "ordinary", slow Internet is giving this latter group an increase by *factors* the amount of scientific information that was earlier available to them. How much more can they do with their info?

I see a future of an "Internet III", reserved for a very interactive, multimedia CURRICULUM of education that totally changes what school teachers do; where the worst educational sin is to "waste a student's time." Where fiber optics carry information to school servers from regional hubs, then fiber optics again to the classrooms themselves.

Students working at their own pace, motivated by their computers to optimize (interesting word, that) their own education, so that not a single hour of their school day is spent twiddling their thumbs while their teacher or other students are getting their acts together.

Not just a few "extracurricular" studies, but DOZENS. Students leaving *elementary* school with not only the three R's MASTERED, but speaking three LANGUAGES proficiently, typing, knowing basic repair of electrical systems, plumbing, personal economics, safety, biology, chemistry, political science, US *and* world history, geography, mathmatics at the high secondary-school level. The list is endless of what CAN be. A complete and total upgrade of the educational system making us look like illiterate dolts by comparison.

Why the heck not?
posted by kablam at 4:13 PM on April 17, 2002


Why the heck not?
Get in line - people say the same thing for each new media technology. Everyone knows the quotes that were made about TV.

A hell of a lot is enabled by technology, and technologists certainly love to point that out, but when it comes to actually doing something they all run for cover when they find out
- it's not easy
- it's not fun
- you don't make money from it

Meanwhile, real education research goes on...
posted by badstone at 4:26 PM on April 17, 2002


This indication of how the "commmercial Internet" has become so clogged with crap annoys me intensely.

What? This has nothing to do with the fact that Internet is "clogged with crap" as it does with the fact the i2 is insanely fast. The regular internet is throttled by the fact that you, and probably just about all the content you want is sitting on 10/100 or a modem, not with the internal bandwidth.
posted by delmoi at 5:23 PM on April 17, 2002


Dan, spare me the lecture. I work down the street from the old NSFNet NOC, at the research institution where I2 was pioneered, in a heavily-wired engineering school, and know a number of people involved in the development of both NSFNet and I2. I'm aware of what I2 is for. My point is that no one I know has seen any tangible benefit, very much unlike NSFNet; so far, I have just seen hype about certain privileged high-profile projects.
posted by rodii at 10:30 AM on April 18, 2002


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