Tuesday, September 27, 2005

....more light!

1832...to be precisely, March, 22. 1832.
In Weimar (Germany, dukedom of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer, poet, savant, philosopher, humanist, and statesman, faces his last hours here on earth. When finaly taking his last breath, as legend has it, after an incredibly productive span of life he speakes the famous last words: "..... more light!" ("...mehr Licht!"<- in german). For more than a century scientists were debating about the meaning of these words (..or if they have been spoken at all). Did Goethe want to have the window shutters opened to have more light in the room..... or was he referring to some more philosophical topic in a metaphoric way, meaning to bring more light into the darkness of his (or better our collective) wisdom. Some are even joking that - as Goethe was hessian by birth - he started to say some sentence in hessian dialect, meaning as much as "one is lying in a very uncomfortable way here" ("Mer licht hier so schlecht"<-in hessian).

Ambiguity is a property of human language. Together with a lack of reference, sometimes it is impossible to derive (or even to guess) the meaning of words. One of the topics I'm dealing with ist semantic annotation of information. The transition from the world wide web of today to the semantic web of the near future will be one of the most important steps in technology....maybe with unimagined effects and unforseen side-effects. Therefore, the name of this Blog was chosen .... to bring "more light" into the information universe of the www.

....and of course to talk about life, the universe, and everything that matters....