"funny" entries

Four short links: 7 March 2013

Four short links: 7 March 2013

Drug Interactions from Search History, Web Satire, Visible Peer Review, and Rights-based Copyright

  1. Pharmacovigilance — Signals from The Crowd (PDF) — in the NY Times’ words: Using automated software tools to examine queries by 6 million Internet users taken from Web search logs in 2010, the researchers looked for searches relating to an antidepressant, paroxetine, and a cholestorol lowering drug, pravastatin. They were able to find evidence that the combination of the two drugs caused high blood sugar. (via New York Times)
  2. The World Wide Web is Moving to AOL — best satire you’ll read this month.
  3. Review History for Perceptual elements in Penn & Teller’s “Cups and Balls” magic trick — PeerJ makes peer review history available for the articles it publishes. Not only does this build reputation for peer reviewers who want it, but it is also a wonderful insight into how paranoid science must be to defend against mistakes in data interpretation. (The finished paper is fun, too)
  4. A New Basis for CopyrightNZ’s most technically-literate judge floats an idea for how copyright might be reimagined in a more useful way for the modern age by considering it in terms of human rights. Perhaps there should be consideration of a new copyright model that recognises content user rights against a backdrop of the right to receive and impart information and a truly balanced approach to information and expression that recognises that ideas expressed are building blocks for new ideas. Underpinning this must be a recognition on the part of content owners that the properties of new technologies dictate our responses, our behaviours, our values and our ways of thinking. These should not be seen as a threat but an opportunity. It cannot be a one-way street with traffic heading only in the direction dictated by content owners.
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Four short links: 14 November 2012

Four short links: 14 November 2012

Win95 Tips, Obama's Big Data, Aggregate Statistics, and Foxconn Robots

  1. Windows 95 Tips — hilarious tumblr showing the dark side of life through Windows 95 UI tips. (via Juha Saarinen)
  2. Everything We Know About Obama’s Big Data Operation (Pro Publica) — “White suburban women? They’re not all the same. The Latino community is very diverse with very different interests,” Dan Wagner, the campaign’s chief analytics officer, told The Los Angeles Times. “What the data permits you to do is figure out that diversity.”
  3. cube (GitHub) — time-series data collection and analysis. Cube lets you compute aggregate statistics post hoc. It also enables richer analysis, such as quantiles and histograms of arbitrary event sets. Cube is built on MongoDB and available under the Apache License on GitHub.
  4. 1M Robots to Replace 1M Human Jobs at Foxconn (Singularity Hub) — Foxconn plant opening, making manufacturing robots, and they appear to be dogfooding by using them in other plants. $25k each, 10k+ made, and fits into the pattern: the number of operational robots in China increased by 42 percent from 2010 to 2011.
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Four short links: 25 January 2012

Four short links: 25 January 2012

Mobile v Web, Great Privacy Policy, Libraries Now, and Google's Social Strategy

  1. Mobile Overtaking Web — provocatively packaged extrapolations of ComScore and similar numbers to conclude that Americans spend more time interacting with mobile apps than with web sites. I’m sure you could beat an iPhone developer to death with the error bars.
  2. Best Privacy Policy Ever — satiric privacy policy from a Firefox plugin.
  3. The Time for Libraries is Now — forceful presentation on the need for librarians (aka “information professionals”) in an age of excess information.
  4. Google 2011 vs Microsoft 1995 (Nelson Minar) — interesting analysis which prompted Andy Baio‘s comment Google will be in trouble if their strategy succeeds, or if it doesn’t.
Comments: 2
Four short links: 5 October 2011

Four short links: 5 October 2011

Privacy Plugins, Dodgy SSL Spotter, Glowing Rectangles, and Huckory Hadoop

  1. Ghostery — a browser plugin to block trackers, web bugs, dodgy scripts, ads, and anything else you care to remove from your browsing experience. It looks like a very well done adblocker, but it’s done (a) closed-source and (b) for-profit. Blocking trackers is something every browser *should* do, but because browser makers make (or hope to make) money from ads, they don’t. In theory, Mozilla should do it. Even if they were to take up the mantle, though, they’re unlikely to make anything for IE or Chrome. So it’s in the hands of companies with inarticulate business models. (via Andy Baio)
  2. Perspectives — Firefox plugin that lets you know when you’ve encountered an SSL certificate that’s different from the ones that other Perspectives users see (e.g., you’re being man-in-the-middled by Iran). (via Francois Marier)
  3. Always Connected — “I’ve got a full day of staring at glowing rectangles ahead of me! Better get started …”. I have made mornings and evenings backlight-free zones in an effort to carve out some of the day free of glowing rectangles. (I do still read myself to sleep on the Kindle, though, but it’s not backlit)
  4. Is Teaching MapReduce Healthy for Students?Google’s narrow MapReduce API conflates logical semantics (define a function over all items in a collection) with an expensive physical implementation (utilize a parallel barrier). As it happens, many common cluster-wide operations over a collection of items do not require a barrier even though they may require all-to-all communication. But there’s no way to tell the API whether a particular Reduce method has that property, so the runtime always does the most expensive thing imaginable in distributed coordination: global synchronization. Detailed and interesting criticism of whether Hadoop is the BASIC of parallel tools. (via Pete Warden)
Comments: 3
Four short links: 3 October 2011

Four short links: 3 October 2011

Mozilla Security Guidelines, Javascript Scroller, Botnet Techniques, and Password Humour

  1. Mozilla’s Secure Coding Guidelines — the Mozilla recommendations for web application security. See also OWASP, Google’s Browser Security Handbook and Google’s course.
  2. Scroller — MIT-licensed Javascript library for accelerated panning and zooming, from Zynga. (via Hacker News)
  3. How Fast-Flux Service Networks Operate — explanation of a technique used by botnets and other malware hordes to make it hard to figure out on which machines the services are actually running. For an example, see The Inside Story of the Kelihos Botnet Takedown.
  4. Log In — clever humour built out of password dialog boxes.
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Four short links: 30 September 2011

Four short links: 30 September 2011

Fingerprinting Cameras, Stopping Spambots, Generic Infographics, and Open Source Healthcare Records

  1. Fingerprinting Cameras Through Sensor Noise — using the pattern of noise consistent between images taken from the same camera to uniquely identify the device. (via Pete Warden)
  2. Stopping Bots with Hashes and Honeypots (Ned Batchelder) — solid techniques for preventing spambots. (via Andy Baio)
  3. Most Popular Infographics Generalized (Flowing Data) — it’s only funny because it’s true.
  4. London Hospital to Deploy Open Source Record System — hot on the heels of the NHS canning a failed expensive development of electronic health records. (via Glyn Moody)
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Four short links: 22 September 2011

Four short links: 22 September 2011

Feedback, Open Source Marketing, Programming in the Browser, and Twitter's Open Source Realtime Engine

  1. Implicit and Explicit Feedback — for preferences and recommendations, implicit signals (what people clicked on and actually listened to) turn out to be strongly correlated with what they would say if you asked. (via Greg Linden)
  2. Pivoting to Monetize Mobile Hyperlocal Social Gamification by Going Viral — Schuyler Erle’s stellar talk at the open source geospatial tools conference. Video, may cause your sides to ache.
  3. repl.it — browser-based environment for exploring different programming languages from FORTH to Python and Javascript by way of Brainfuck and LOLCODE.
  4. Twitter Storm (GitHub) — distributed realtime computation system, intended for realtime what Hadoop is to batch processing. Interesting because you improve most reporting and control systems when you move them closer to real-time. Eclipse-licensed open source.
Comment: 1