Four short links: 7 December 2011

Free Service Isn't Sustainable, Big Data, Crowdsourced Historic Science, and Cognitive Biases

  1. Don’t Be a Free User (Maciej Ceglowski) — pay for your free services, else they’ll go away.
  2. Katta — Lucene for massive data sets in the cloud. (via Pete Warden)
  3. Old Weather — crowdsourced transcription of old nautical journals to yield historical information for climate researchers. (via National Digital Forum)
  4. Siddhartha Mukherjee Talks About Cancer (Guardian) — fascinating profile of the author of a “biography of cancer”. Touches on the cognitive biases we’re all prone to, and their damaging effects on patients. Mukherjee cites a study which found that women with breast cancer recalled eating a high-fat diet, whereas women without cancer did not. But the very same study had asked both sets of women about their diets long before any of them developed cancer, and the diet of those who now had breast cancer had been no more fatty than the rest (via Courtney Johnston)
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  • I loved your article — Don’t Be A Free User. It is like everything else in life — too many people, friends especially, want you to do something for them for free. They are the ones making the money and don’t want to pay you. Why is that? Am I suppose to not get paid? It’s time for us to start supporting the people that put out the “free” software if it is beneficial to us and if we use it.