Monday, July 28, 2014

Book on "Livestock Handling & Transport": A well-accepted gift!

Being a regular Twitter user (both for personal and for professional purposes; I manage the Agro-Know Twitter account apart from mine), I came across a tweet from @Cabi_News about a competition that was running:

I  happened to have heard of Dr. Temple Grandin, Professor of Animal Sciences at the Colorado State University due to her work related to autism (but she seems to be of many talents, as many autistic persons I know), and so I had some (small) previous information about her and it was easy for me to get the correct answer; it seems that I was the first one to respond, so I was informed that I was the winner of a signed copy of Dr. Grandin's book titled "Livestock Handling and Transport". Being an agronomist myself, I still keep an interest for purely agricultural topics despite my professional involvement in other aspects of agriculture (e.g. agricultural digital repositories, agricultural bibliographic resources, etc.), so I found myself interested in the topic of the book, which by the way is published by CABI.

It seems that people at CABI did their best in order for me to receive the book as soon as possible and indeed I received it today, only a few days after we exchanged some messages about the delivery of the book! What a wonderful prize; a high quality publication on glossy paper, about the proper, fair and humane management of livestock of various types. There are chapter contributions from several authors, a fact that makes the book really interesting.

Wonderful gift from CABI and Dr. Temple Grandin

I am really looking forward to start reading it and I will do my best to find some time to review it as well (as long as I first find the time to read it though!). Until then, you can find additional information about the book at Amazon.

Friday, July 4, 2014

SemaGrow 2nd Hackathon - Introductory Course

It seems like it has been ages since I last participated in an event; in fact it has been only one month since my participation in the "Agriculture for Life, Life for Agriculture" International Conference. This time I was invited to give a presentation on Agricultural and Food Safety Data in the context of the 2nd SemaGrow Hackathon. The Hackathon was organized by Agro-Know, a partner of the SemaGrow project, and hosted by the Institute of Informatics and Telecommunications (also a partner of the SemaGrow project) of NCSR Demokritos, and took place between 4-7/7/2014 (the full program is available here). There is also some information about the Hackathon at the Agro-Know wiki.

The Hackathon was conveniently collocated with the International Research-Centered Summer School in Cognitive Systems and Interactive Robotics, Data and Content Analysis (IRSS 2014), a fact that allowed the participation of a high number of people with technical background and skills. It was attended by about 40 people from various countries all over the world. My involvement was focused only on the first, introductory day of the event but I am sure that there will be a number of interesting outcomes coming out of the hackathon.

My presentation was mostly based on existing material, reusing slides from presentations prepared by Nikos and Giannis for related purposes; I just had to update some parts and slightly adapt it in order to meet the requirements of the specific audience. Despite the fact that I know the subject pretty well (I have been working with agricultural data and data sources for the last 4-5 years), it did not make sense to me to leave these nice slides aside and prepare something from scratch. It seems that the presentation was well-accepted by the participants, as I received some nice feedback and it managed to raise some interest, leading to interesting discussions with some of them.

You can find some photos from the 1st day of the Hackathon here.