Four short links: 17 May 2010

MapReduce and Hadoop Papers, Privacy Problems, School Data, and Crowdsourcing Info

  1. MapReduce and Hadoop Algorithms in Academic Papers — a collection of such papers, interesting for those who wrangle big data. (via tlockney on delicious)
  2. Facebook and Radical Transparency: A Rant (danah boyd) — well-argued and well-written piece about what is becoming the tech issue of the year. The key to addressing this problem is not to say “public or private?” but to ask how we can make certain people are 1) informed; 2) have the right to chose; and 3) are consenting without being deceived. I’d be a whole lot less pissed off if people had to opt-in in December. Or if they could’ve retained the right to keep their friends lists, affiliations, interests, likes, and other content as private as they had when they first opted into Facebook. Slowly disintegrating the social context without choice isn’t consent; it’s trickery.
  3. Schooloscope — interesting new Berg project to help parents make sense of the long and complex reports on British schools produced by the relevant government department. Notable for what it doesn’t do (leaderboards), and what it does (the face visualisations). See Matt Webb’s description.
  4. Expert Labs Grand Challenges First Results — they gathered the results of the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s call for “Grand Challenges in science and technology that could yield significant breakthroughs in the future”. Interesting for all who planning crowdsourcing efforts because there’s a detailed and thoughtful summation of lessons learned. And even those in the science and technology communities who might have ready responses would have to acclimate to the huge new idea of being asked for their feedback, as well as the big new idea that they could give feedback using common social networking tools. If there is an area for improvement in our efforts, this is clearly an important one to focus on. Even relatively minor variables like the time of day when a social networking prompt is sent can have significant impact on results, both in terms of the quality of responses, as well as the speed with which they responses are submitted. More significantly, the terse wording and distracted attention environment of social networks can amplify ambiguities in a prompt.
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