Boing Boing 

RIP, Project Gutenberg founder Michael Hart

As Mark posted yesterday, Project Gutenberg founder Michael S. Hart, who invented ebooks when he keyed in the text of the Declaration of Independence in 1971, has died. He was 64. He was a copyfighter and a hero of the Internet revolution. Michael honored me by including my books in the Gutenberg archive, and was a challenging and invigorating correspondent.
Michael S. Hart left a major mark on the world. The invention of eBooks was not simply a technological innovation or precursor to the modern information environment. A more correct understanding is that eBooks are an efficient and effective way of unlimited free distribution of literature. Access to eBooks can thus provide opportunity for increased literacy. Literacy, and the ideas contained in literature, creates opportunity.

In July 2011, Michael wrote these words, which summarize his goals and his lasting legacy: “One thing about eBooks that most people haven't thought much is that eBooks are the very first thing that we're all able to have as much as we want other than air. Think about that for a moment and you realize we are in the right job." He had this advice for those seeking to make literature available to all people, especially children:

"Learning is its own reward. Nothing I can say is better than that."

Michael is remembered as a dear friend, who sacrificed personal luxury to fight for literacy, and for preservation of public domain rights and resources, towards the greater good.

E-book pioneer Michael Hart dies

(Image: The Outlaw Michael Hart, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from benchilada's photostream)

RIP, Jack Layton

RIP, Jack Layton, former Toronto councillor and present head of Canada's New Democratic Party. He was as good a politician as Canada ever had, and better than anyone who's been on any of the ballots I've been allowed to tick for many, many years. Layton died from prostate cancer; he announced his prostate cancer diagnosis in February 2010, and stepped down in July. He was 61.
Layton died at his home in Toronto early on Monday surrounded by his wife and children, his family said in a statement.

His left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) surged to become the official opposition for the first time in May's elections.

Jack Layton, Canadian opposition leader, dies aged 61

(Image: Jack Layton, Leaders Tour - Tournée du Chef - Jack Layton, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from mattjiggins's photostream)

RIP Paul Meier, father of the randomized trial

David sez, "Paul Meier, who had an extraordinarily high impact/fame ratio, passed away this weekend. Meier is probably best known for the introduction of randomized trials into the evaluation of medical treatments, though his creation of the Kaplan-Meier Estimator likely had as much of an impact due to its importance in all things actuarial."
As early as the mid-1950s, Dr. Meier was one of the first and most vocal proponents of what is called “randomization.”

Under the protocol, researchers randomly assign one group of patients to receive an experimental treatment and another to receive the standard treatment. In that way, the researchers try to avoid unintentionally skewing the results by choosing, for example, the healthier or younger patients to receive the new treatment.

Paul Meier, Statistician Who Revolutionized Medical Trials, Dies at 87 (Thanks, David (dr at BB))