Social media in general has been light for me personally in the last few weeks and some of the reason for that is a project I have been working on at work that is about to be released. The other reason that I have been absent from social media (once again, on a personal level) is just general social media burnout. I think I am seeing the trend of early adoption leading to either disillusionment and/or fatigue leading to selective utility. I try everything for awhile and then some just dissolve from novelty to lack of use. I have been experimenting a bit recently with bringing all these loose ends together (via Posterous and other social media streams), but am not yet satisfied with the result. More on that later.

The project I have been working on is dedicated to global biodiversity and plant science. And botanists. Oodles of these botanists are now descending on Antananarivo, Madagascar for the 2010 AETFAT Botanical Congress. Rather than clumsily try to explain what AETFAT is and why it is so important, I leave with you text from their site:

"The "Association pour l'Etude Taxonomique de la Flore d'Afrique Tropicale" or "Association for the Taxonomic Study of the Flora of Tropical Africa" (AETFAT) was established at the botanical institute of the Université Libre de Bruxelles in 1951. It was intended as a platform for contact between colonial botanists working on African regional floras in Paris, London, Lisbon, Brussels etc. to report and publish their findings.

The AETFAT Congress is the main meeting place for those scientists studying the vegetation and the taxonomy of the wild plant and fungal species of Tropical Africa. The meetings are held every 3 years and have been held in Oxford, Paris, Lisbon, Uppsala, Geneva, Las Palmas, St. Louis, Hamburg, Wageningen and Meise. The first meeting to be held in Africa was in Pretoria in 1982, then in Zomba in 1991, in Harare in 1997, in Addis Ababa in 2003 and Yaoundé in 2007. The 19th AETFAT Congress will be held in Antananarivo, Madagascar from April 25 to may 1st 2010.

The AETFAT Congress addresses floristics, systematics, phytogeography and conservation of the flora of Africa. The emphasis is on floristics and systematics as this gives the base-line information for any biodiversity research. The flora of Africa is still incomplete; during the AETFAT congress an important topic is always the progress on the major regional floras such as Flora of Tropical East Africa, Flora Zambesiaca, Flore du Cameroun, Flora of Ethiopia, Flora of Somalia, Flora of Central Africa, etc. AETFAT also addresses the important issues of conservation and sustainable use of plants, and making available the knowledge and information on African plants to all interested in Africa and elsewhere. AETFAT remains a dynamic organization and without having a very formal structure, continues to be a portal for the exchange and information on African botany. There are now more than 1000 members in the AETFAT who are based in different institutions, in Africa and all over the world. "

So there you have it. I am especially interested in global biodiversity and the sustainable use of plants. The environment itself is available here, the Twitter account is here, the Flickr account is here, and the blog will soon be available here. Give me enough time and I will make you a believer in the wonderful world of plants and biodiversity. Amazing stuff and that is high praise coming from a guy who generally dislikes the great outdoors unless I am racing past it on my bicycle.

Posted via email from michaelgallagher’s posterous

By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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