- 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.
"data mining" entries
Alyona Medelyan and Anna Divoli on the opportunities in chaotic data.
Alyona Medelyan and Anna Divoli are inventing tools to help companies contend with vast quantities of fuzzy data. They discuss their work and what lies ahead for big data in this interview.
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.
Text Analysis Bundle, Scala Probabilistic Modeling, Game Analytics, and Encouraging Writing
- Pattern — a BSD-licensed bundle of Python tools for data retrieval, text analysis, and data visualization. If you were going to get started with accessible data (Twitter, Google), the fundamentals of analysis (entity extraction, clustering), and some basic visualizations of graph relationships, you could do a lot worse than to start here.
- Factorie (Google Code) — Apache-licensed Scala library for a probabilistic modeling technique successfully applied to […] named entity recognition, entity resolution, relation extraction, parsing, schema matching, ontology alignment, latent-variable generative models, including latent Dirichlet allocation. The state-of-the-art big data analysis tools are increasingly open source, presumably because the value lies in their application not in their existence. This is good news for everyone with a new application.
- Playtomic — analytics as a service for gaming companies to learn what players actually do in their games. There aren’t many fields untouched by analytics.
- Write or Die — iPad app for writers where, if you don’t keep writing, it begins to delete what you wrote earlier. Good for production to deadlines; reflective editing and deep thought not included.
Solon Barocas on data mining's reputation and the ethics of data collection.
Solon Barocas, a doctoral student at New York University, discusses consumer perceptions of data mining and how companies and data scientists can shape data mining's reputation.
OSCon shows that open source health care, although it hasn't broken into the mainstream yet, already inspires a passionate and highly competent community.
Microchip Archaeology, OSM Map Library, Feedback Loops for Public Expenditure, and Mind-reading Big Data
- Digging into Technology’s Past — stories of the amazing work behind the visual 6502 project and how they reconstructed and simulated the legendary 6502 chip. To analyze and then preserve the 6502, James treated it like the site of an excavation. First, he needed to expose the actual chip by removing its packaging of essentially “billiard-ball plastic.” He eroded the casing by squirting it with very hot, concentrated sulfuric acid. After cleaning the chip with an ultrasonic cleaner—much like what’s used for dentures or contact lenses—he could see its top layer.
- Too Many Public Works Built on Rosy Scenarios (Bloomberg) — a feedback loop with real data being built to improve accuracy estimating infrastructure project costs. He would like to see better incentives — punishment for errors, rewards for accuracy — combined with a requirement that forecasts not only consider the expected characteristics of the specific project but, once that calculation is made, adjust the estimate based on an “outside view,” reflecting the cost overruns of similar projects. That way, the “unexpected” problems that happen over and over again would be taken into consideration.
Such scrutiny would, of course, make some projects look much less appealing — which is exactly what has happened in the U.K., where “reference-class forecasting” is now required. “The government stopped a number of projects dead in their tracks when they saw the forecasts,” Flyvbjerg says. “This had never happened before.”
- Neurovigil Gets Cash Injection To Read Your Mind (FastCompany) — “an anonymous American industrialist and technology visionary” put tens of millions into this company, which has hardware to gather mineable data. iBrain promises to open a huge pipeline of data with its powerful but simple brain-reading tech, which is gaining traction thanks to technological advances. But the other half of the potentailly lucrative equation is the ability to analyze the trove of data coming from iBrain. And that’s where NeuroVigil’s SPEARS algorithm enters the picture. Not only is the company simplifying collection of brain data with a device that can be relatively comfortably worn during all sorts of tasks–sleeping, driving, watching advertising–but the combination of iBrain and SPEARS multiplies the efficiency of data analysis. (via Vaughan Bell)
Remote Fingerprint Scans, Playdough Circuits, Update-Sync, and Tweet Failage
- AIRPrint — prototype box scans a fingerprint from six feet away. (via Greg Linden)
- Squishy Circuits — teaching electronic circuits with conductive and insulating playdough. (via Hacker News)
- GraphLab — alternative take on Map-Reduce, called Update-Sync, where tasks run on connected sets of nodes rather than on one node at a time.
- Tower Bridge Closed — the @towerbridge account was a cute hack from Tom Armitage, whereby the public site for the London Tower Bridge was scraped and connected to Twitter, so you would see tweets like “I am closing after the MV Dixie has passed Upstream” and get a feel for the ambient activity in your city. Twitter turned over @towerbridge to the most tediously vomit-in-your-own-mouth-they’re-so-anodyne beige corporate tweets ever (account description: “Leading tourist attraction situated inside Tower Bridge”, sample tweet: “Looking for something to do it the City this weekend, check out http://www.visitthecity.co.uk/ and you’re always welcome at @TowerBridge”) and deleted the past history of tweets. Way to embrace the community of engaged passionate fans, guys! Welcome to Twitter, try not to step in your social media strategy as you cross the threshold–oh no, too late.