"climate change" entries

Signals from Strata + Hadoop World in San Jose, CA, 2015

From data-driven government to our age of intelligence, here are key insights from Strata + Hadoop World in San Jose, CA, 2015.

Experts from across the big data world came together for Strata + Hadoop World in San Jose, CA, 2015. We’ve gathered insights from the event below.

U.S. chief data scientist

With a special recorded introduction from President Barack Obama, DJ Patil talks about his new role as the U.S. government’s first ever chief data scientist, the nature of the U.S.’s emerging data-driven government, and defines his mission in leading the data-driven initiative:

“Responsibly unleash the power of data for the benefit of the American public and maximize the nation’s return on its investment in data.”

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Industrial Internet links: NYC Data Week sensors, industrial Internet in transportation, and more

Sensors at NYC Data Week, the industrial Internet in transportation, industrial operating systems, and networked carbon sequestration

By mayoral proclamation this is NYC Data Week, featuring lots of events that bring together innovators who work with data in any capacity. To see the industrial Internet as it’s being approached by entrepreneurs and hackers, be sure to stop by the free Data Sensing Lab in the Rhinelander North room at the Hilton hotel at 6th Avenue and 53rd Street. Participants in the lab work on networked devices–some of which they’re using to measure the environment at the O’Reilly Strata Conference + Hadoop World. They’ll report on what their sensors discovered at the end of the week.

The Internet of Things Moving Us Forward (Digi) — The transportation sector is where just about every American interacts with big machines, whether by driving a car, riding on an airplane or waiting safely at a grade crossing while a train passes by. And it’s in transportation that the typical consumer will feel the first benefits of the industrial Internet. Digi, which provides a pay-per-transaction cloud platform for controlling devices, here takes a look at a handful of ways that connected vehicles are starting to improve the way we get around.

Kaspersky Lab developing its own operating system? (Eugene Kaspersky) — Networked industrial devices have become common enough to get the attention of Kaspersky Lab, Russia’s security giant, which confirmed last week that it’s developing an operating system for industrial control systems. The system is still under development and, as Kaspersky himself notes, will only take final form after it goes through lots of application-specific development. Kaspersky will have plenty of competition from established producers of industrial-control software with large installation bases, so his move seems to anticipate lots of total retrofits of industrial systems in the next several years.

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Four short links: 5 August 2010

Four short links: 5 August 2010

Delicious Graphs, Charities and Data, Climate Psychology, Data Structure Portability

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Cognitive and Behavioral Challenges in Responding to Climate ChangeAt 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)
  4. Blueprintsprovides 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.
Four short links: 5 January 2010

Four short links: 5 January 2010

Computational Advertising, Timing Attacks, Climate Visualized, and Context Assembly

  1. Introduction to Computational Advertising — slides to a Stanford class on a new “scientific discipline” whose central challenge is to find the best ad to present to a user engaged in a given context, such as querying a search engine (“sponsored search”), reading a web page (“content match”), watching a movie, and IM-ing. “Scientific discipline” makes me gag. You could devise algorithms, measure performance, and write papers about the best way to put carrots up your bottom or the best way to pick pockets, but those still aren’t complex enough activities to be trumpeted as “new scientific disciplines”. (Although I do look forward to reading Stanford’s CBUM126, “Introduction to Carrot Stuffing” lecture notes online). (via Greg Linden)
  2. Timing Attack in Google KeyCzar Library — if you compare strings in the naive way, attackers can figure out whether the first bytes they gave you are correct based on the time the comparison takes. When they get the first bytes correct, then they can work on the next, and so on. This is a common mode of information leakage, and reminds me of my revelation when I began to edit security books: “this stuff is hard”. New programmers are not taught to think like attackers, and the only trope of secure programming that they’re taught is “avoid buffer overflows”. (via Simon Willison)
  3. Climate Wizard — explore historical temperature data as well as the various climate models and see what their predictions look like across the United States. (via Sciblogs)
  4. Contextual Clothing for Naked Transparency (Jon Udell) — notable for this: The Net can be an engine for context assembly, a wonderful phrase I picked up years ago from Jack Ozzie. We used to think that the challenge of social software was to amass as many users as quickly as possible, but the far harder problem to solve is how to help those people contribute to something positive. YouTube comments shows that simply having a lot of users doesn’t make something virtuous.

Commerce and the Wealth of Nations

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.

Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change

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.

Four short links: 4 September 2009

Four short links: 4 September 2009

Flood Maps, Govt Permalinks, Ops, and Security

  1. 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)
  2. Citabilitymaking government accessible, reliable, and transparent with advanced permalinks, as Government websites are ever changing and cannot be cited. Content changes without notice or accountability.
  3. Bootstrapping EC2 Images as Puppet ClientsThis 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.
  4. 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.
Four short links: 10 Mar 2009

Four short links: 10 Mar 2009

  1. 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)
  2. 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.
  3. 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)
  4. 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.”

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Four short links: 4 Feb 2009

Four short links: 4 Feb 2009

Data, climate change, and location:

  1. 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.”.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!”.

A Climate of Polarization

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.