Earthquake, google, and more 
本文后来部分发表为 James A. Hendler. & Jie Bao (2008). Why It Matters. IEEE Intelligent Systems, 23(4): 2-3
Below is an email I sent to the group today.
Dear TW friends
You must have already known the huge earthquake occurred on May 12 in
Sichuan, China. It has caused enormous loss of lives: more than 50,000
confirmed death, around 30,000 missing, plus about 300,000 people
injured as of today. The whole nation, as well as Chinese all over the
world including me, are in deep sorrow for the tragedy.
For the memorial of the earthquake victims, on May 19 14:28pm (Beijing
Time), sharply one week after the earthquake, Chinese public held a
moment of silence. People stood silent for three minutes while air
defense, police and fire sirens, and the horns of vehicles, vessels
and trains sounded.
Google China released a traffic curve for the three minutes . At
the deepest point, it dropped to 10% of the normal traffic. At the
time, millions of people stopped their work on computers, stood up and
lowered their heads to observe. The curve clearly conveys a message of
national unity of the Chinese people in a time of calamity. I’m pride
to be a part of the people.
Web plays an important role in the earthquake relief this time.
Messages and information are exchanged on the web much faster than
traditional ways in helping the rescue work. For example, when a girl
heard that army helicopters couldn’t find a landing site around her
home town, she immediately posted a good location on the internet, and
it was replicated thousands time across many sites in just a few
hours, until it reaches the army command. For another example, when
all communication avenues were cut off from the outside world, the
first message from the isolated area was from the website  of the
local government, which was revived by backup power and link; due to
reports from the website, it was decided to use airdrop instead of
land rescue for some area, otherwise it will be too late.
This can still be improved. With semantic web, such information can be
propagated, instead of by human forwarding, by software agents in just
seconds, to the handheld device of the pilot of helicopter. In
earthquake relief, every second saved in knowledge aggregation and
propagation means more hope for lives. I hope this dream of tetherless
world can become true as early as possible.
Thank you for reading this.
|title=Earthquake, google, and more