Using ChronoZoom to build a comprehensive timeline of climate change in the cloud


A professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, explores the history of climate change in depth in his graduate-level Earth System Science class. To help students visualize events through the ages, he is developing a comprehensive history of climate change by using ChronoZoom, an open-source community project dedicated to visualizing the history of everything.
Building a historical view of climate change
Each year, Jeff Dozier, professor of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, teaches a course in Earth System Science to between 80 and 100 incoming graduate students. Among the issues he teaches: climate record and how the Earth’s climate has changed through the ages—and what drivers are behind those changes.
Covering millions of years’ worth of warming trends within a class term is a challenge; managing the massive volumes of data, charts, videos, illustrations, and other support materials is even more daunting. Dozier needed a way to pull together his materials into an accessible—and manageable—manner.
He found the solution in the award-winning ChronoZoom tool.
ChronoZoom allows users to navigate through "time," beginning with the Big Bang up until present day events. Users can zoom in rapidly from one time period to another, moving through history as quickly or slowly as they desire. In 2013, a third-party authoring tool was built into ChronoZoom, enabling the academic community to share information via data, tours, and insights, so it can be easily visualized and navigated through Deep Zoom functionality.
Visual aids can have a particularly powerful impact when discussing climate change. Dozier is developing a history of the Earth that illustrates changes in climate from the beginning of the planet through modern day. The source materials include images, diagrams, graphs, and time-lapse movies that illustrate changes in the environment. Dozier plans to use the timeline as a teaching aid in his Earth System Science class.
“ChronoZoom has been easy to master and use,” Dozier notes. “You don’t need any sort of client-side application except a browser. All the data is stored on someone else’s machine. The processing is done in the cloud [through Windows Azure], not on your own computer. And the only thing that really shows up on your own computer is the results.” Moreover, thanks to the power of Windows Azure, the tool has the flexibility to scale up and down, enabling users to zoom in on a particular segment in time or zoom out to review climate change from the beginning of recorded history through today. Plus, content developers can share their presentations or timelines with others by simply sharing a link or posting it to a social media site.
Make your mark on history
ChronoZoom has already been used to illustrate the history of the Earth and explore the impact of climate change on the planet through the ages. There are many unexplored possibilities, however. The tool scales up and down, meaning any project can benefit—whether it’s the history of the world or just a review of the last few weeks. Dozier is hopeful others will use ChronoZoom to tell their stories by uploading their own data, images, and text to the cloud and using those materials in the classroom.

smarthomeauthentication managed solution

Making mobile phones the authentication hubs for smart homes

By Derek Major as written on
Each year, the National Institute of Standards and Technology funds pilot projects to advance the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. The pilots address barriers to the identity ecosystem and seed the marketplace with “NSTIC-aligned” solutions to enhance privacy, security and convenience in online transactions.
This year, Galois, a computer science research and development company, received a $1.86 million grant to build a user-centric personal data storage system that enables next-generation IoT capabilities without sacrificing privacy. As part of the pilot, Galois will work with partners to integrate its secure system into an Internet of Things-enabled smart home and develop just-in-time transit ticketing on smart phones.
Galois’ authentication and mobile security subsidiary, Tozny, serves as the technical lead for the pilot programs and will build the data storage and sharing platform by tackling one of the weakest links in cybersecurity today: the password. Tozny’s solution replaces the username and password with something people use for almost everything: the smartphone, or wearable device.
Tozny is working with IOTAS, a developer of a home automation platform that integrates preinstalled hardware (light switches, outlets and sensors) with software to create a unique experience in which users learn from and interact with their homes.
Together, the companies are working to help users to log in to the IoT management console installed in their apartments without a password. Tozny is providing cryptographic authentication that is based on mobile phones.
“This is actually a really good idea because people who have tried to deploy authentication devices for smart homes have had a lot of trouble getting them to work, and they’re kind of expensive,” said Isaac Potoczny-Jones, computer security research lead at Galois.“Since a mobile phone can do cryptography, and because we can build beautiful and easy-to-use interfaces on mobile phones, we decided that that would be a much better way to log into a lot of systems -- and it’s easier to use than passwords,” Potoczny-Jones said.
IOTAS is already operating a smart-home pilot in apartment units in Portland, Ore., and San Francisco. IOTAS and Tozny will work to add transparent but privacy-preserving authentication and encryption to this pilot.

Secure mobile transit ticketing

GlobeSherpa, an Oregon-based company that provides a secure mobile ticketing platform for transit systems, is working with Tozny to develop a password-free authentication system that allows users to buy and display tickets on their mobile phones.
“With this you can use your phone to both buy and display tickets, and you don’t have to interface with these often-broken vending machines,” Potoczny-Jones said.
SRI International is also contributing to this project with a biometric authentication solution that will use a person’s walking gait as the biometric. This technology will work with the bus platform to ensure that the person holding the phone and showing the ticket is who he says he is.
“You’re walking up to the bus platform, get your phone, buy your ticket, and the phone has already has a pretty high confidence that you are who you claim to be because it was just observing your walking pattern,” Potoczny-Jones said. “It’s passive, it’s behind the scenes and it’s extremely fast and accurate as well.”
“Anything that you collect that’s behind the scenes or passive needs to have really strong privacy controls built into it,” Potoczny-Jones said. “So we’re very happy with the way these technologies are coming together to provide secure login, privacy controls and really advanced biometric technology.”

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