Your Brain on Code, Internet of Compromised Things, Waiting for Wearables, and A/B Illusions
- Understanding Understanding Source Code with Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (PDF) — we observed 17 participants inside an fMRI scanner while they were comprehending short source-code snippets, which we contrasted with locating syntax error. We found a clear, distinct activation pattern of five brain regions, which are related to working memory, attention, and language processing. I’m wary of fMRI studies but welcome more studies that try to identify what we do when we code. (Or, in this case, identify syntax errors—if they wanted to observe real programming, they’d watch subjects creating syntax errors) (via Slashdot)
- Oobleck Security (O’Reilly Radar) — if you missed or skimmed this, go back and reread it. The future will be defined by the objects that turn on us. 50s scifi was so close but instead of human-shaped positronic robots, it’ll be our cars, HVAC systems, light bulbs, and TVs. Reminds me of the excellent Old Paint by Megan Lindholm.
- Google Readying Android Watch — just as Samsung moves away from Android for smart watches and I buy me and my wife a Pebble watch each for our anniversary. Watches are in the same space as Goggles and other wearables: solutions hunting for a problem, a use case, a killer tap. “OK Google, show me offers from brands I love near me” isn’t it (and is a low-lying operating system function anyway, not a userland command).
- Most Winning A/B Test Results are Illusory (PDF) — Statisticians have known for almost a hundred years how to ensure that experimenters don’t get misled by their experiments [...] I’ll show how these methods ensure equally robust results when applied to A/B testing.
Practical Typography, Bluetooth Locators, Web Credibility, and Vision Training App
- Practical Typography — informative and elegant.
- Nokia Treasure Tag — Bluetooth-chatty locators for keyrings, wallets, etc.
- Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility — signals for those looking to identify dodgy content, as well as hygiene factors for those looking to provide it.
- App Trains You to See Farther (Popular Mechanics) — UltimEyes exercises the visual cortex, the part of our brain that controls vision. Brain researchers have discovered that the visual cortex breaks down the incoming information from our eyes into fuzzy patterns called Gabor stimuli. The theory behind UltimEyes is that by directly confronting the eyes with Gabor stimuli, you can train your brain to process them more efficiently—which, over time, improves your brain’s ability to create clear vision at farther distances. The app shows you ever fuzzier and fainter Gabor stimuli.
Slippy History, TPP Comic, SynBio Barriers, and 3D City Viz
- 1746 Slippy Map of London — very nice use of Google Maps to recontextualise historic maps. (via USvTh3m)
- TPP Comic — the comic explaining TPP that you’ve been waiting for. (via BoingBoing)
- Synthetic Biology Investor’s Lament — some hypotheses about why synbio is so slow to fire.
- vizcities — open source 3D (OpenGL) city and data visualisation platform, using open data.
Offensive Security, Sage-Quitting, Ethics Risks, and War Stories
- Offensive Computer Security — 2014 class notes, lectures, etc. from FSU. All CC-licensed.
- Twitter I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down (Quinn Norton) — The net doesn’t make social problems. It amplifies them until they can’t be ignored. And many other words of wisdom. When you eruditely stop using a service, that’s called sage-quitting.
- Inside Google’s Mysterious Ethics Board (Forbes) — nails the three risk to Google’s AI ethics board: (a) compliance-focus, (b) internally-staffed, and (c) only for show.
- 10 Things We Forgot to Monitor — devops war stories explaining ten things that bitly now monitors.
Bitcoin Analysis, 3D Crime Scenes, 3D Display, and Cloud API
- Bitcoin: Understanding and Assessing Potential Opportunities (Slideshare) — VC deck on Bitcoin market and opportunities, long-term and short-term. Interesting lens on the development and gaps.
- Queensland Police Map Crime Scenes with 3D Scanner (ComputerWorld) — can’t wait for the 3D printed merchandise from famous trials.
- Atheer Labs — An immersive 3D display, over a million apps, sub-mm 3D hand interaction, all in 75 grams.
- libcloud — Python library for interacting with many of the popular cloud service providers using a unified API.
Open Web Ranking, Quantified Self Gadgets, Armband Input, and Bitcoin Exchanges Threatened
- The Common Crawl WWW Ranking — open data, open methodology, behind an open ranking of the top sites on the web. Preprint paper available. (via Slashdot)
- Felton’s Sensors (Quartz) — inside the gadgets Nicholas Felton uses to quantify himself.
- Myo Armband (IEEE Spectrum) — armband input device with eight EMG (electromyography) muscle activity sensors along with a nine-axis inertial measurement unit (that’s three axes each for accelerometer, gyro, and magnetometer), meaning that you get forearm gesture sensing along with relative motion sensing (as opposed to absolute position). The EMG sensors pick up on the electrical potential generated by muscle cells, and with the Myo on your forearm, the sensors can read all of the muscles that control your fingers, letting them spy on finger position as well as grip strength.
- Bitcoin Exchanges Under Massive and Concerted Attack — he who lives by the network dies by the network. a DDoS attack is taking Bitcoin’s transaction malleability problem and applying it to many transactions in the network, simultaneously. “So as transactions are being created, malformed/parallel transactions are also being created so as to create a fog of confusion over the entire network, which then affects almost every single implementation out there,” he added. Antonopoulos went on to say that Blockchain.info’s implementation is not affected, but some exchanges have been affected – their internal accounting systems are gradually going out of sync with the network.
- China’s $122BB Boom in Shadow Banking is Happening on Phones (Quartz) — Tencent’s recently launched online money market fund (MMF), Licai Tong, drew in 10 billion yuan ($1.7 billion) in just six days in the last week of January.
- The Weight of Rain — lovely talk about the thought processes behind coming up with a truly insightful visualisation.
- Data on Video Streaming Starting to Emerge (Giga Om) — M-Lab, which gathers broadband performance data and distributes that data to the FCC, has uncovered significant slowdowns in throughput on Comcast, Time Warner Cable and AT&T. Such slowdowns could be indicative of deliberate actions taken at interconnection points by ISPs.
Sterling Zings, Android Swings, Data Blings, and Visualized Things.
- Bruce Sterling at transmediale 2014 (YouTube) — “if it works, it’s already obsolete.” Sterling does a great job of capturing the current time: spies in your Internet, lost trust with the BigCos, the impermanence of status quo, the need to create. (via BoingBoing)
- No-one Should Fork Android (Ars Technica) — this article is bang on. Google Mobile Services (the Play functionality) is closed-source, what makes Android more than a bare-metal OS, and is where G is focusing its development. Google’s Android team treats openness like a bug and routes around it.
- Data Pipelines (Hakkalabs) — interesting overview of the data pipelines of Stripe, Tapad, Etsy, and Square.
- Visualising Salesforce Data in Minecraft — would almost make me look forward to using Salesforce. Almost.