- How The Internet Gets Inside Us (The New Yorker) — at any given moment, our most complicated machine will be taken as a model of human intelligence, and whatever media kids favor will be identified as the cause of our stupidity. When there were automatic looms, the mind was like an automatic loom; and, since young people in the loom period liked novels, it was the cheap novel that was degrading our minds. When there were telephone exchanges, the mind was like a telephone exchange, and, in the same period, since the nickelodeon reigned, moving pictures were making us dumb. When mainframe computers arrived and television was what kids liked, the mind was like a mainframe and television was the engine of our idiocy. Some machine is always showing us Mind; some entertainment derived from the machine is always showing us Non-Mind. (via Tom Armitage)
- SWFScan — Windows-only Flash decompiler to find hardcoded credentials, keys, and URLs. (via Mauricio Freitas)
- Paranga — haptic interface for flipping through an ebook. (via Ben Bashford)
- Facebook Gives Politico Deep Access to Users Political Sentiments (All Things D) — Facebook will analyse all public and private updates that mention candidates and an exclusive partner will “use” the results. Remember, if you’re not paying for it then you’re the product and not the customer.
ENTRIES TAGGED "culture"
Internet in Culture, Flash Security Tool, Haptic E-Books, and Facebook Mining Private Updates
Smart Meter Snitches, Company Culture, Text Classification, and Live Face Substitution
- Smart Hacking for Privacy — can mine smart power meter data (or even snoop it) to learn what’s on the TV. Wow. (You can also watch the talk). (via Rob Inskeep)
- Conditioning Company Culture (Bryce Roberts) — a short read but thought-provoking. It’s easy to create mindless mantras, but I’ve seen the technique that Bryce describes and (when done well) it’s highly effective.
- hydrat (Google Code) — a declarative framework for text classification tasks.
- Dynamic Face Substitution (FlowingData) — Kyle McDonald and Arturo Castro play around with a face tracker and color interpolation to replace their own faces, in real-time, with celebrities such as that of Brad Pitt and Paris Hilton. Awesome. And creepy. Amen.
Hedonometrics and Twitter, Pricing Experiments, Crowdsourcing App Dev, and Flashcard Library
- Temporal Patterns of Happiness and Information in a Global Social Network: Hedonometrics and Twitter (PLOSone) — Tweets involving the ‘fake news’ comedian Stephen Colbert are both happier and of a higher information level than those concerning his senior colleague Jon Stewart. By contrast, tweets mentioning Glenn Beck are lower in happiness than both Colbert and Stewart but comparable to Colbert in information content.
- Pricing Experiments You Can Learn From — revealing the data from experiments which showed how to drive people towards higher prices.
- 10 Things I Learned at CrowdConf 2011 (Crowdflower) — Using his newly released crowdsourcing platform Coffee & Power, Philip [Rosedale] developed his entire company infrastructure and platform through a globally distributed workforce. 288 contributors in 127 locations worked together to get this startup off the ground in a whole new way. The Coffee & Power platform was built in 1,700 commits ranging from $6 quality checks all the way up to full source-code editing. One element of this process was developing the Hudat iPhone app. In less than a month for $2,485, the Coffee & Power community got this mobile app up and running.
- Andi — AGPL3-licensed spaced repetition flashcard system. (via Jack Kinsella)
Crypography Illustrated, Hollywood Futures, Machine Learning Mastery, and Analytics Assumptions
- An Illustrated Guide to Crypographic Hashes — exactly what it says: learn how hashing works and how you’d use it for passwords, digital signatures, etc.
- The Age of Fanfiction — We live in a time where copyright means very little to younger people, and it’s not just because they want free movies or free music. More than that, they want to be able to play with the amazing toys that they’ve been given by filmmakers and comic book writers and TV creators, and they want to do so without the constraints that copyright creates. Eloquent and thoughtful piece on what this means for Hollywood and how “the Age of Fanfiction is reflected in what Hollywood’s making. (via Sacha Judd)
- How Khan Academy is Using Machine Learning to Assess Student Mastery — it is bloody hard to know when a student has mastered a subject, both for real live teachers and for roboteachers like Khan Academy. This is a detailed discussion of a change in assessment within Khan Academy. if we define proficiency as your chance of getting the next problem correct being above a certain threshold, then the streak becomes a poor binary classifier. Experiments conducted on our data showed a significant difference between students who take, say, 30 problems to get a streak vs. 10 problems right off the bat — the former group was much more likely to miss the next problem after a break than the latter.
- In Which I Declare Four Things My Probability Class is Not About — a reminder of the assumptions we make when we use numerical analysis to understand a problem.
University Relevance, Free as in Dom, Patent Trolls, and Facebook Teams
- Questioning University — my take on the issue of whether a university education (particularly CS) is still relevant or whether kids should go straight to startups. So what do I tell my kids? Should I urge them to go to university? Should I tell them to jack it all in and run off and join a startup? This is what’s occupying my mind now.
- Still Cripped by Free (Simon Phipps) — the freedoms of free and open software (the ability to use it for whatever you want, to improve it or give it to others who can then improve it) represent creative and financial independence. Fifteen years after open source and business really started to get dirty with each other, the misunderstanding is still widespread that it’s about price. Simon has a clear and robust essay about the latest UK procurement guidelines to show why price can be subverted in a way that freedom cannot.
- The Private and Social Costs of Patent Trolls — Using stock market event studies around patent lawsuit filings, we find that NPE lawsuits are associated with half a trillion dollars of lost wealth to defendants from 1990 through 2010, mostly from technology companies. Moreover, very little of this loss represents a transfer to small inventors. Instead, it implies reduced innovation incentives. (via BoingBoing)
- Facebook’s Teams and Use of Data — great talk by Adam Mosseri of Facebook, where he covers the composition of teams at Facebook, how they use data to make decisions, and when they don’t use data to make decisions. (via Bryce Roberts)
Technological schizophrenia is an American tradition.
Steve Jobs and Ted Kaczynski represent the extreme poles of a deep-seated ambivalence in our attitudes toward technology. It's an ambivalence that's been a part of American history, and part of the American psyche, since the beginning.
- CanvasMol — molecular visualization in HTML5. (via Aimee Whitcroft)
- Docvert 1.5 — new version of the code to convert Office files to DocBook and HTML.
- Seven Important Digitization Projects in the Humanities (BrainPickings) — check out The Republic of Letters from Stanford, a very nifty visualization of relationships between Enlightenment thinkers. It has a pretty demo.
Illusions, Crowdsourcing, Translations, and Favourite Numbers
- Illusion Contest — every year they run an open contest for optical illusions. Every year new perceptual illusions are discovered, exploiting hitherto unresearched areas of our brain’s functioning.
- Citizen Science Alliance — the team behind GalaxyZoo, who help other researchers in need of crowdsourcing support.
- Ancient Lives — crowdsourced translation and reconstruction of ancient papyri from Oxyrhyncus, already found new gospels (in which the number of the beast is 616, not 666).
- Favourite Number — tell a story about your favourite number. Alex Bellos is behind it, and talked about the great stories he’s collected so far. Contribute now, watch this space to learn more about the stories.
Personal Video, Open Source Sensors, Bad Science No Biscuit, and Playing the Odds
- Skate Through NYC With A GoPro — this is the first I’ve seen of the GoPro cameras, which are two dimensions of clever. First, it’s video instrumentation for activities where we haven’t had this before. Second, it’s clever specialization of the Flip-style solid-state recording videocameras. (via Infovore)
- Pulse Sensor — open source heart rate sensor project on Kickstarter. DIY hardware has made the quantified self phenomenon possible; look for many more gadgets that build your personal data cloud. (via Brady Forrest)
- Science’s Bad Ideas (Peter Griffin) — a recap of a lecture by Lord Robert Winston where he the dark side of science and catalogues numerous instances where scientific progress has been accompanied by unforeseen consequences, ethical atrocities and detrimental impacts on society. [...] The overall message is that science can’t remain aloof from society, that scientists must engage and better understand the needs and concerns of society as they introduce new technologies that could bring about profound changes.
- A Game With a Windfall For a Knowing Few — gambling is a tax on bad math, but poorly designed games sometimes rewards those who are good at math. Because of a quirk in the rules, when the jackpot reaches roughly $2 million and no one wins, payoffs for smaller prizes swell dramatically, which statisticians say practically assures a profit to anyone who buys at least $100,000 worth of tickets. During these brief periods – “rolldown weeks’’ in gambling parlance – a tiny group of savvy bettors, among them highly trained computer scientists from MIT and Northeastern University, virtually take over the game. Just three groups, including the Selbees, claimed 1,105 of the 1,605 winning Cash WinFall tickets statewide after the rolldown week in May, according to lottery records. (via Hacker News)