- What Facebook Knows (MIT Tech Review) — Analyzing the 69 billion friend connections among those 721 million people showed that the world is smaller than we thought: four intermediary friends are usually enough to introduce anyone to a random stranger. and our close friends strongly sway which information we share, but overall their impact is dwarfed by the collective influence of numerous more distant contacts—what sociologists call “weak ties.” It is our diverse collection of weak ties that most powerfully determines what information we’re exposed to.
- Human Microbiome Mapped (The Scientist) — the Human Microbiome Project sequenced DNA of bacterial samples collected from 242 healthy volunteers. 3.5 terabytes of data, all accessible through public databases. One fascinating finding: Although each body part is characterised by some signature microbial groups, no species was universally present across every volunteer. “One of the HMP’s original mandates was to define the core microbiome, or the bugs that everyone shares,” said Huttenhower. “It looks like there really aren’t any.”
- Kids Today Not Inattentive (Neuroskeptic) — There’s no evidence that children today are less attentive or more distractible than kids in the past, according to research just published by a team of Pennsylvania psychologists. (via Ed Yong)
- Teaching Makematics at ITP (Greg Borenstein) — Computer vision algorithms, machine learning techniques, and 3D topology are becoming vital prerequisites to doing daily work in creative fields from interactive art to generative graphics, data visualization, and digital fabrication. If they don’t grapple with these subjects themselves, artists are forced to wait for others to digest this new knowledge before they can work with it.
ENTRIES TAGGED "culture"
Facebook Sociology, Microbiome Mapping, Attention Surplus Disorder, and Makematics
Street View, Cultural Defects, Console Habits, and Science Videos
- StreetView: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing (Adrian Holovaty) — Now, I’m realizing the biggest Street View data coup of all: those vehicles are gathering the ultimate training set for driverless cars.
- Racist Culture is a Factory Defect (Anil Dash) — so true.
- From Game Console to TV (Luke Wroblewski) — Microsoft’s Xbox video game console is now used more for watching movies and TV shows and listening to music online than playing video games online.
- Internet Everywhere — video replay from the World Science Festival.
Objectivist C, Robotrading, Meme Culture, and Mobile-controlled Peripherals
- Objectivist C — very clever. In Objectivist-C, each program is free to acquire as many resources as it can, without interference from the operating system. (via Tim O’Reilly)
- Zynga and Facebook Stock Oddities (The Atlantic) — signs of robotrading, a reminder that we’re surrounded by algorithms and only notice them when they go awry.
- The Final ROFLcon and Mobile’s Impact on Internet Culture (Andy Baio) — These days, memes spread faster and wider than ever, with social networks acting as the fuel for mass distribution. But it’s possible we may see less mutation and remixing in the near future. As Internet usage shifts from desktops and laptops to mobile devices and tablets, the ability to mutate memes in a meaningful way becomes harder.
- Oh Mi Bod — I was impressed to learn that one can buy vibrators that can be controlled from an iPhone. Insert iBone joke here. (via Cary Gibson)
Flipping the Medical Classroom, Inclusion Haters, Information Leveling, and Ars Longa Vita Brevis
- Stanford Med School Contemplates Flipped Classroom — the real challenge isn’t sending kids home with videos to watch, it’s using tools like OceanBrowser to keep on top of what they’re doing. Few profs at universities have cared whether students learned or not.
- Inclusive Tech Companies Win The Talent War (Gina Trapani) — she speaks the truth, and gently. The original CNN story flushed out an incredible number of vitriolic commenters apparently lacking the gene for irony.
- Buyers and Sellers Guide to Web Design and Development Firms (Lance Wiggs) — great idea, particularly “how to be a good client”. There are plenty of dodgy web shops, but more projects fail because of the clients than many would like to admit.
- What Does It Mean to Say That Something Causes 16% of Cancers? (Discover Magazine) — hey, all you infographic jockeys with your aspirations to add Data Scientist to your business card: read this and realize how hard it is to make sense of a lot of numbers and then communicate that sense. Data Science isn’t about Hadoop any more than Accounting is about columns. Both try to tell a story (the original meaning of your company’s “accounts”) and what counts is the informed, disciplined, honest effort of knowing that your story is honest.
History of Keys, Open Standards, Values, and A Technology Stagnation
- The History of Key Design (Slate) — fascinating and educational. I loved the detector lock, which shows you how many times it has been used. Would be lovely to see on my Google account. (via Dave Pell)
- Why Telcos Don’t Grok Open Standards (Simon Phipps) — Their history is of participants in a market where a legally-constituted cartel of suppliers commission specifications for key shared standards. Technologists contribute freely on the expectation they will recoup their costs through royalties for licensing the patents on their contributions. [...] Since every participant usually ends up having at least some ideas accepted, most participants in the process have some claims on each standard, with the result that net royalties payable between the participants may not be the relative burden they appear if taken in isolation. But it does mean that late entrants to the market can face an insurmountable cost barrier.
- The Next Big Thing (Umair Haque) — Umair frequently skirts the boundaries of Deepak Choprah-esque vacuous self-help, but I applaud his constant challenge to know your values and live truthfully by them. Hence here’s a minor challenge. Unless you want to spend your valuable life painstakingly eking out barely better solutions to problems we’ve already solved which give us answers that fail to matter in the enduring terms of the questions which do, consider the following: If we’re going to reboot our institutions, rethink our way of work, life, and play, then what are we going to redesign them for?
- The Jig Is Iup (The Atlantic) — The thing about the advertising model is that it gets people thinking small, lean. Get four college kids in a room, fuel them with pizza, and see what thing they can crank out that their friends might like. Yay! Great! But you know what? They keep tossing out products that look pretty much like what you’d get if you took a homogenous group of young guys in any other endeavor: Cheap, fun, and about as worldchanging as creating a new variation on beer pong. A different angle than Umair, but a challenge to think beyond building another declining value acquisition for your own personal benefit.
Elective Dickery, Probabilistic Data Analysis, Data Cleaning, and SSL Security
- Punting on SxSW (Brad Feld) — I came across this old post and thought: if you can make money by being a dick, or make money by being a caring family person, why would you choose to be a dick? As far as I can tell, being a dick is optional. Brogrammers, take note. Be more like Brad Feld, who prioritises his family and acts accordingly.
- Probabilistic Structures for Data Mining — readable introduction to useful algorithms and datastructures showing their performance, reliability, and resources trade-off. (via Hacker News)
- Many HTTPS Servers are Insecure — 75% still vulnerable to the BEAST attack.
CS for Kids, Pwn in a Box, Mobile Companions, and 8-bit Linux
- Why Our Kids Should Be Taught To Code (Guardian) — if we don’t act now we will be short-changing our children. [...] their world will be also shaped and configured by networked computing and if they don’t have a deeper understanding of this stuff then they will effectively be intellectually crippled. They will grow up as passive consumers of closed devices and services, leading lives that are increasingly circumscribed by technologies created by elites working for huge corporations such as Google, Facebook and the like. We will, in effect, be breeding generations of hamsters for the glittering wheels of cages built by Mark Zuckerberg and his kind. (via Karl von Randow)
- The Pwn Plug — $770 gets you a wall-wart full of network attack tools and wifi for remote access. Plug and Pwn. (via Ars Technica)
- Mobile Phone as Companion Species (Matt Jones) — They see the world differently to us, picking up on things we miss. They adapt to us, our routines. They look to us for attention, guidance and sustenance. We imagine what they are thinking, and vice-versa.
- 8-Bit Linux — Ubuntu 9 ported to an 6.5KHz 8-bit CPU (running a 32-bit emulator because Linux itself requires at least a 32-bit system). Takes 2 hours to boot up the kernel, four more to get to a login prompt. Moore’s Law for the win: I’ve seen more than 1000x improvement in speed from my first computer (1MHz C64) to current (1.7GHz i5). (via Slashdot)
Caching Pages, Node NLP, Digital Native are Clueless, and Wal-Mart Loves Your Calendar
- Cache Them If You Can (Steve Souders) — the percentage of resources that are cacheable has increased 4% during the past year. Over that same time the number of requests per page has increased 12% and total transfer size has increased 24%.
- How Millennials Search — Statistically significant findings suggest that millennial generation Web searchers proceed erratically through an information search process, make only a limited attempt to evaluate the quality or validity of information gathered, and may perform some level of ‘backfilling’ or adding sources to a research project before final submission of the work. Never let old people tell you that “digital natives” actually know what they’re doing.
- Walmart Buys A Facebook App for Calendar Access (Ars Technica) — The Social Calendar app and its file of 110 million birthdays and other events, acquired from Newput Corp., will give Walmart the ability to expand its efforts to dig deeper into the lives of customers. Interesting to think that by buying a well-loved app, a company could get access to your Facebook details whether you Like them or not.