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more updates

August 31st, 2006

We’ve been seeing a nice increase on traffic here at oklo.org as the Sky and Telescope and American Scientist articles show up in mailboxes and on newstands. If you’re new to the site, welcome aboard, and please read the last several posts. They give a brief overview of the Systemic Project, and tell you what you need to start fitting systems.

As you may have noticed, we’re hard at work improving the usability of the site. Stefano, in particular, has done an amazing amount of work on the back-end over the past several days. It really is taking shape as a genuine research environment, and we absolutely are urging you to try it out while we’re putting the definitive users manual together. You can’t break anything, and if you post questions, we’ll make sure they get answered on a timely basis.

A few news items:

(1) There are two separate channels for registration on systemic. The first, accessed through the “login” tab on the site header above, is part of the WordPress package that runs the oklo blog. Registration on the blog allows you to comment on the oklo.org posts. The second, accessed through the “backend” tab on the site header, gives you access to the collaborative php-based environment that constitutes the systemic backend. You can register for either or both, and you don’t need to give your real name or any real-world identifying information other than an e-mail address.

(2) We’ve been working to design the first systemic challenge radial velocity data set, which will be released on Monday September 4th. The user who finds the fit with a reduced chi-square closest to unity will win a $149 Sky Atlas from Sky and Telescope. Both professional and amateur planet hunters are encouraged to participate, but given the groundswell of activity that we’re seeing on the systemic back-end, and given the console’s ability to carry out self-consistent fits, the smart money is on an amateur winner.

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