By JOHN ELIGON
The impending arrival of Google’s new Internet service highlighted a racial divide, spurring a push to expand Web access in poorer, mostly black neighborhoods.
Google Takes High-Speed Internet, TV to Kansas City
Google will begin offering high-speed Internet and TV service in the Kansas City area later this year, thrusting the Web-search giant into competition with telecom companies.
約20年前 我造訪過Kansas 市 並有機會訪問 著名的 The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art ( is an art museum in Kansas City, Missouri,...)
Kansas City Library Parking Garage Transformed Into Giant BooksJuly 6th, 2012 by Amir
Located in the heart of Kansas City, this project represents one of the pioneer projects behind the revitalization of Downtown KC. The iconic book bindings clad the outside of the parking structure for the new downtown library and help solidify the building as the cornerstone to the new Library District. Designed by Dimensional Innovations, local residents got to vote on which books would appear on the libraries facade. (via)
Google Fiber: Can ultra-fast internet change a city?
Google is installing super-fast fibre optic internet service in Kansas City. Will it usher in a new era in industry and society - or just enable faster web browsing and media downloads?For technology consultant Bret Rhodus, Google's newest venture is an amazing business opportunity.
"This can be a game-changer," he says. "The opportunity for entrepreneurs is significant."
For art supply clerk Danni Parelman, however, it's just a chance to download more music.
The California internet giant has begun installing fibre optic cable that will give Kansas City residents download speeds of up to 1Gbps - about 100 times faster than the broadband internet service currently available to most Americans.
In dozens of interviews in the streets, shops, offices and cafes of Kansas City - a metropolitan area that straddles the Kansas-Missouri state line - residents and business people agreed that the project would be great for the town.
Analysts say the project, called Google Fiber, is the future of the web.
But the speed will be so much faster than what is currently available that even people familiar with the concept have a hard time imagining how it will affect industries and lives.
Although the seeds of the internet germinated in US Department of Defense laboratories and many of the most innovative internet companies are based in the US, Americans have far slower internet than residents of many other industrialised nations.
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Google Fiber details
- In March, Google chose the Kansas City metropolitan area from more than 1,100 cities and towns that requested the service
- Google crews have begun hanging fibre lines from utility poles in selected neighbourhoods
- The service will launch in residential neighbourhoods only - no commercial districts - the first half of 2012
- About two million people live in the Kansas City metropolitan area, but Google has not said how many will have access to the service
- Google has not said how much the monthly service will cost, but says it will be "competitive"
The average broadband internet speed across the US is 12.84 Mbps, according to Netindex.com. That makes the US 31st in the world (the UK is 32nd with 12.4 Mbps speed).The ultra-high-speed unleashed by the fibre optic technology is a natural progression in the development of America's telecommunications infrastructure, says Aaron Deacon, a member of the board of the Social Media Club of Kansas City and a technology marketing consultant.
"This is the way the world is heading," he says.
"There are other places around the world that have this kind of connectivity, but around the US adoption has been pretty slow."
But what will be super-fast internet's affect on the town in practical terms?
At first, the ultra-high-speed could simply mean people use the same web sites and internet services they already do, just faster.
"People say, 'oh it's going to just be faster YouTube'. It's sort of a joke," says Mr Deacon.
"But actually to have fast YouTube and videos with no buffering, and instantaneous downloading of feature movies, is a pretty significant change in the way that video can work."
The high speed will enable small businesses and home-office workers to have high-definition video conferencing without the hiccups, lag-time, and buffering slogs frequently suffered with cable or DSL broadbased.
It will allow greater use of cloud computing by small businesses, for example by allowing them to keep customer databases and accounting systems online instead of in costly local servers.
"Once business people can collaborate and work together and they don't have to worry about lag times - when you're not frustrated with the limitations of internet speeds - things really start jiving and amazing things get done," says Dave Greenbaum owner of a Kansas City computer repair company, who predicts a burst of small business innovation.
Aside from the expected boon to businesses, analysts predict almost every aspect of people's personal lives could be affected.
Having affordable super-fast internet in the home will enable faster and more efficient telecommuting, which could take cars off the roads, analysts say.
Holograms and MRIs
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Average broadband download speeds, in Mbps
- South Korea: 32.96
- Lithuania: 31.78
- Latvia: 26.78
- Sweden: 25.26
- Romania: 24.80
- Netherlands: 24.61
- Singapore: 22.84
- Bulgaria: 22.26
- US: 12.76
- UK: 12.44
Doctors and hospitals will more easily be able to transmit data-heavy medical images like MRI scans. Businesses or local governments could install "dumb terminals" - computers with little more than a screen, keyboard, mouse and internet connection - across the city.Communities could establish shared music, film and e-book libraries. High definition - even holographic - video conferencing could enable greater participation in local government: "Town hall in the home" is one catchphrase. Public safety could be improved by higher definition CCTV and video emergency calling.
Elsewhere in the US, an electric power firm in Chattanooga, Tennessee now offers 1Gbps internet to its customers - the broadest community-wide rollout of fiber optic connectivity in the nation.
But with its high cost for residential customers - about $350 (£223) a month - only nine have signed up, says EPB's spokeswoman Danna Bailey.
"It's not going to happen overnight," she says.
"It's a bit of a curiosity."
And in Britain, BT says it will begin offering 300Mbps - less than one-third of Google Fiber's advertised speed - in 2013.
Shift to wifi
Despite the overwhelming enthusiasm in Kansas City for Google Fiber, people familiar with it warn of potential pitfalls.
"Being the first for a new infrastructure is kind of a double-edged sword," Mr Deacon says.
"It can be a really great thing, and it can build a leadership position around that, but you're also sort of a guinea pig, so if you're not smart about how you use that opportunity you can be the bad example that somebody else learns from."
Since Google first announced plans to install the fibre network in 2010, internet users' attention has shifted away from desktop internet to mobile internet, as consumers spend more and more time on smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices, says Ed Malecki, a professor of geography at Ohio State University who studies technology and economic development.
As mobile providers tighten up on cellular data use, consumers will have greater need for high-speed wifi where ever they go in their home towns, he says.
"If Google wants to make super-fast community wifi, fine," he says. Google fiber is "not going to help anybody unless it's translated into wifi."
Meanwhile, Ms Bailey of EPB notes past world-changing technologies took years to have a broader impact.
"When electric power first became widely available in homes, it was a more convenient, somewhat novel alternative to the oil lamp for lighting," she says.
"At that time, it would have taken an incredible visionary to predict what kind of an impact electric power would have on business and ultimately quality of life."
Chinese Art CollectionSince it opened in 1933, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has actively collected, preserved, studied and exhibited works of Chinese art. Even before the Museum was built, its benefactors planned to include in it the first major gallery in America devoted solely to Chinese art. As early as 1930, the focus was to build a collection that would represent China’s highest achievements in every medium and from every historical period. As a result, the Chinese collection is one of the finest in the world.
With more than 7,500 works of high quality, the Chinese collection comprises masterpieces from every historical stage and in every medium of China’s artistic activity – from Neolithic times to the 20th century.
Read more about the Chinese Collection
The collection of Chinese paintings is one of the best outside Asia particularly in the rarest and desirable period of early Chinese landscapes, the 10th through 13th centuries C.E. The richness of nature’s nuances can be seen in Xu Daoning’s Fisherman’s Evening Song, arguably the greatest surviving Northern Song landscape handscroll. Later period works include exceptional Ming and Qing paintings, such as Shitao’s A Landscape Album for Liu Shitou (K'u-kua miao-t'i).
As a pioneer in collecting Ming furniture, the Museum’s collection is virtually unrivaled outside of China. The comprehensive ceramics collection spans 5,000 years and includes both sculptures and wares that chronicle the great epochs of Chinese ceramic innovations.
Buddhist sculpture and wall paintings range from the Northern Dynasties to the Qing period and offer some of the best examples of Buddhist art in the west. A jewel of the Museum is the Chinese Temple Gallery (Gallery 230). Among Buddhist statues exhibited here is an 11th/12th-century C.E. polychrome wooden Avalokiteshvara, Seated Gaunyin Bodhisattva, internationally heralded as the finest sculpture of its kind outside China.
In Kansas City, an Arts Center Makes a Debut
Steve Hebert for The New York Times
Published: September 15, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As arts organizations from one coast to the other wrestle with cuts in grants and declines in ticket sales, an ambitious new performing arts center in the middle of the country is defying the trend.
The building, people here say, reflects the willingness of Kansas City residents to open their wallets if it means raising the national profile of the city’s arts scene.
The opening, which will include a performance by Plácido Domingo, has captured attention elsewhere, too, given these lean times. Michael M. Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, said the Kansas City structure, with an 1,800-seat theater for the ballet and opera companies and a 1,600-seat concert hall for the symphony, reflected an investment unseen of late in far larger cities.
“At a time when the arts are really challenged to find private funding, and when certainly governments are cutting back funding, to have a city that to most of the rest of the country isn’t known as the arts capital of America put such much emphasis on funding the arts is really unusual,” said Mr. Kaiser, who once led the ballet company here.
The project was seeded more than a decade ago with more than $100 million from the Kauffman family, one of a handful of wealthy local families who continue to exert considerable sway in the affairs of the city.
Though the donations slowed during the recession — 24 of 25 gifts of more than $1 million came before the downturn — community members would occasionally call to reiterate their support. “They would say, ‘I want to give but I have to wait and see,’ ” said Jane Chu, president of the center.
At one point, project leaders considered abandoning plans for two stages in favor of a single, multipurpose theater more common to a city this size, but decided that would compromise too much.
Instead the slowdown left its mark on the building’s final touches — modest ones that allowed it to come in on budget. “We really cut back on frivolous spending and streamlined it immensely,” said Julia I. Kauffman, who has led the project since the death of her mother, who first proposed the building.
Though the center was conceived in something of a boom period for such facilities, only a few such centers have opened in recent years.
“During the recession we saw a slowdown in capital campaigns,” said Randy I. Cohen, vice president of research and policy for Americans for the Arts, a national group. “Either they’ve taken longer, or they’ve been put on hold.”
Putting up the building during hard times without public help — though the city paid for the $47 million parking lot on the grounds — is a point of pride in a city that celebrates its routine standing near the top of lists of most philanthropic cities.
The building has also renewed hopes for a downtown that remains sleepy despite extensive redevelopment, including a new arena.
“This has been a very supportive arts community for a long time,” said Jeffrey J. Bentley, executive director of the ballet company, which just relocated into a $32 million building near the center. “But this is a coming-of-age moment for Kansas City.”
One worry for any new cultural facility now: Will the seats be filled for ballet, opera and symphony performances, or will there be an economic tug toward more lucrative shows? Center leaders say the early results seem promising. The pricey opening gala, with tickets starting at $500, is sold out. Already, they say, season subscriptions have increased substantially.