- Delicious Links Clustered and Stacked (Matt Biddulph) — six years of his delicious links, k-means clustered by tag and graphed. The clusters are interesting, but I wonder whether Matt can identify significant life/work events by the spikes in the graph.
- Open Data and the Voluntary Sector (OKFN) — Open data will give charities new ways to find and share information on the need of their beneficiaries – who needs their services most and where they are located. The sharing of information will be key to this – it’s not just about using data that the government has opened up, but also opening your own data.
- Cognitive and Behavioral Challenges in Responding to Climate Change — At the deepest level, large scale environmental problems such as global warming threaten people’s sense of the continuity of life – what sociologist Anthony Giddens calls ontological security. Ignoring the obvious can, however, be a lot of work. Both the reasons for and process of denial are socially organized; that is to say, both cognition and denial are socially structured. Denial is socially organized because societies develop and reinforce a whole repertoire of techniques or “tools” for ignoring disturbing problems. Fascinating paper. (via Jez)
- Blueprints — provides a collection of interfaces and implementations to common, complex data structures. Blueprints contains a property graph model its implementations for TinkerGraph, Neo4j, and SAIL. Also, it contains an object document model and implementations for TinkerDoc, CouchDB, and MongoDB. In short, Blueprints provides a one stop shop for implemented interfaces to help developers create software without being tied to particular underlying data management systems.
"climate change" entries
Delicious Graphs, Charities and Data, Climate Psychology, Data Structure Portability
I was struck the other day by an article in the New York Times that describes the different approaches of the US and China to Afghanistan, in which the US shoulders the burden of war, while China reaps the benefits of commerce. As we head into the second decade of the 21st century, we as a nation, we as a world need to make good choices about where we invest our time, our resources, and our ingenuity. It’s the job of our leaders to make choices that give us leverage, that is, that create multiplier effects on our efforts. I’d love to see, in this New Year, this new decade, deeper thinking about the society we want to build, and what kind of policies will encourage the market to make the right choices. And I’d love to hear your thoughts about policy choices that might encourage 21st century industries here in America and around the world.
Today is Blog Action Day 2009. This is an annual event, held every October 15, with a goal of encouraging an outpouring of simultaneous comment on an important issue calling for global action. This year, the designated subject is climate change. Back in January, I wrote a blog post summarizing my position on climate change. Entitled Pascal’s Wager and Climate Change, the post makes the argument that even if you’re a skeptic about climate change or humanity’s role in causing it, the risks of ignoring the issue are great, and the benefits from addressing it are significant even if scientists are completely wrong about the causes.
Flood Maps, Govt Permalinks, Ops, and Security
- Flood Maps — what the world will look like when the oceans rise. Interactive, so you can dial up your preferred level of environmental horror. (via Hans Nowak)
- Citability — making government accessible, reliable, and transparent with advanced permalinks, as Government websites are ever changing and cannot be cited. Content changes without notice or accountability.
- Bootstrapping EC2 Images as Puppet Clients — This is a post on how to get to the point of using Puppet in an EC2 environment, by automatically configuring EC2 instances as Puppet clients once they’re launched. I’ve been learning that if you’re using a cloud hosting service, you need an automated admin tool. (via Grig Gheorghiu). See also the APT repository for Chef.
- USB Snoop Stick — Trojan in a convenient form factor, malware on a stick, back doors in your pocket … and best of all, it’s sold to consumers.
- Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation Sets Up Its Own BitTorrent Tracker — the money shot is not that they’re using the same code as Pirate Bay, it’s “By using BitTorrent we can reach our audience with full quality media files. Experience from our early tests show that if we’re the best provider of our own content we also gain control of it.”. Finally, a broadcaster realizing that they have to jump into the conversation with customers even though they don’t know how it ends. (via BoingBoing)
- Sita Sings The Blues Released — release of the movie that was mired in copyright strife, now freed under Creative Commons Attribute And No Damn DRM licensing. It still is copyright-entangled: some of the songs in the movie are restricted and if you want to reuse the songs in your reuse of the movie then you’ll have to wrangle with the copyright overlords.
- Crisis of Credit Explained in Infographics — a great 10m movie explaining the whole disaster from cash to crash, with an infographic-meets-Flash-game feel to it. This is the future of educational films. I’ve embedded it below. (via Flowing Data)
- Cowpox Smallpox — very clear essay from Maciej Ceglowski about how the economic dramas and the climate dramas challenge our democracy in the same way. You might know Maciej from Argentina on two steaks a day or Dabblers and Blowhards. Complexity as a result of feedback loops caught my eye, as that’s part of the talk I gave at Webstock, “Better Stronger Failures”: “Feedback loops in the financial world are even worse, since the entities being modeled are aware of their behavior – and aware of the models being used to study them. Investors form strategies based not just on market conditions, but on their perceptions of others’ perceptions of market conditions, and so on in a hall of mirrors effect. Any algorithm that can reliably predict the behavior of a financial market will be used by participants in that market to earn money, altering the system in a way that leaves you right back where you started. In this sense our ability to model economics will always be worse than our understanding of the weather, since we don’t have to worry about a raindrop anticipating that it will hit the ground before it even forms, and taking steps to change the outcome.”
Data, climate change, and location:
- Details on Yahoo’s Distributed Database (Greg Linden) — summary of Yahoo!’s PNUTS, “a massively parallel and geographically distributed database system for Yahoo!’s web applications.” Greg keeps up with the papers from the search engine companies, and the insights he offers are great. For example, “Second, as figures 3 and 4 show, the average latency of requests to their database seems quite high, roughly 100 ms. This is high enough that web applications probably would incur too much total latency if they made a few requests serially (e.g. ask for some data, then, depending on what the data looks like, ask for some other data). That seems like a problem.”.
- Google Latitude — app and service for mobile phones (G1, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Symbian) and desktops, where your location is tracked and displayed on a map which you can share with your friends. Interesting use of the map to get some Dodgeball-like functionality, but without programmatic access it’s less functional than FireEagle. I’m still not sure I really understand the use cases for this, and assume that over time it will evolve into something more practical.
- Without Hot Air — the full text of an excellent book on global warming is available. Well written and well thought. I look forward to the inevitable flood of foot-stamping carbon polluters harrumphing about flawed science and the inevitable final triumph of the flat earth geocentric cosmology.
- Is Big Data at a Tipping Point? — Tim pointed me to this a while ago, but I don’t think he’s blogged about it. Thesis is that as more and more open data gets out there, it’ll eventually be cross-related into something big and useful. The author asks how close we are to that. If the premise is true (and I’m not sure I buy the phase change metaphor), I think we’re definitely not going to be saying within 12 months “remember when we didn’t have enough useful plentiful accurate mashable data? thank goodness those days are past!”.
We are entering an new era of seismic change in policy, business, society, technology, finance and our environment, on a scale and speed substantially greater than previous revolutions. More than ever, we need to create space for learning, communication and understanding.
One of my favorite sessions at the recent Web 2.0 summit was Tim's half-hour conversation with Shai Agassi, the CEO of Better Place. Better Place aims to make electric cars widespread ("the electric car as the de facto standard") by addressing major issues that have held back electric vehicles: affordability and convenience. In a relaxed conversation with Tim, Shai described…