- Scientists Without Borders — “Mobilizing Science, Improving Lives”. mobilize and coordinate science-based activities that improve quality of life in the developing world. The research community, aid agencies, NGOs, public-private partnerships, and a wide variety of other institutions are already promoting areas such as global health, agricultural progress, and environmental well-being, but current communication gaps restrict their power. Organizations and individuals do not always know about one another’s endeavors, needs, or availability, which limits the ability to forge meaningful connections and harness resources. This situation is especially striking in light of the growing realization that integrated rather than focused approaches are crucial for addressing key challenges such as extreme poverty and the glaring health problems that accompany it. See also Geeks Without Borders, but is there anyone running a program that sends geeks into the field where they’re needed? I know a lot of open source folks who have been volunteering around the world in poor nations, but I haven’t found a site that coordinates this. Can anyone point me to such a thing?
- The Psychology of Being Scammed — UK government report into the psychology of scammers’ victims. Lots of insights into successful scams (parallels drawn to finance or startups left as exercise to reader) and some counter-intuitive findings like Scam victims often have better than average background knowledge in the area of the scam content. For example, it seems that people with experience of playing legitimate prize draws and lotteries are more likely to fall for a scam in this area than people with less knowledge and experience in this field. This also applies to those with some knowledge of investments. Such knowledge can increase rather than decrease the risk of becoming a victim. (via Mind Hacks)
- GPS Accuracy Could Start Dropping In 2010 (Tidbits) — the Air Force has had difficulty launching new satellites. The GAO has calculated – using reliability curves for each operational satellite – that the probability of keeping a 24-satellite constellation in orbit drops below 95 percent in 2010, and could drop as low as 80 percent in 2011 and 2012. (via geowanking)
- Open Database Alliance — an attempt to provide a safe home for MySQL given the Oracle acquisition of Sun. […] a vendor-neutral consortium designed to become the industry hub for the MySQL open source database, including MySQL and derivative code, binaries, training, support, and other enhancements for the MySQL community and partner ecosystem. The Open Database Alliance will comprise a collection of companies working together to provide the software, support and services for MariaDB, an enterprise-grade, community-developed branch of MySQL.
What's bigger than a yottabyte, the role big data will play in health care, and the potential impact of vehicle data.
Here are a few stories from the data space that caught my attention this week.
Bigger and bigger … and bigger … big data
MIT Technology Review’s business editor Jessica Leber reports this week on a conference presentation by MIT’s Andrew McAfee, wherein McAfee predicts data volumes will soon surpass the current upper bounds of metric measurement — the yottabyte. McAfee discussed in his presentation (and on his blog) how we’ve moved through the data measurement eras — terrabyte, petabyte, and soon the zettabyte … leaving us only with the yottabyte for the future. The yottabyte, Leber notes, was the largest scale of measurement scientists could imagine at the 1991 General Conference on Weights and Measures where it was established.
Leber reports that as we head into the zettabyte era, a threshold that Cisco predicts we’ll surpass by the end of 2016, McAfee predicts the General Conference on Weights and Measures will convene before the end of the decade to contemplate yottabyte’s successor. McAfee’s favorite contender prefix, Leder notes, is the “hella.”
Stacey Higginbotham at GigaOm recently covered this issue as well (I reported on it here). She reports that during a recent presentation, Intel’s Shantanu Gupta predicted the next prefixes: brontobytes and gegobytes. Higginbotham notes that the brontobyte is “apparently recognized by some people in the measurement community.”
Your phone can get you to the museum, but it can't guide you to the T-Rex.
The mapping applications built into smartphones are fantastic … until you arrive at your destination. Here, Nick Farina explains how indoor navigation apps can and should work.
MapReduce crunches a million-song dataset, GPS and accident reconstruction, and WWI crowdsourcing.
This week's data stories include a guide to using MapReduce to process the Million Song Dataset, a story about how GPS data can help reconstruct lost memories (and accidents), and evidence that emergency crowdsourcing goes back further than many realize.
Ubiquity, fragility and limited alternatives raise concerns about GPS.
A number of mistaken and intentional misuses of GPS technology have raised concerns among researches and government agencies.
RunKeeper CEO Jason Jacobs on the implications of mobile location technology.
RunKeeper CEO Jason Jacobs discusses the state of mobile location technology and how he sees it evolving in the near future (hint: we may be on the verge of "thoughtful" services).
RFID remains an interesting option to supplement other tracking technologies for indoor applications and situations which are relatively tightly controlled (e.g., teaching/training, museums, entertainment venues, architecture and urban planning). Tracking for consumer AR applications in uncontrolled environments when all the user has is a camera phone remains a very, very challenging area of research and we should expect to continue seeing major developments in this field in the year ahead before it is gradually integrated into our everyday AR applications.
Scientists, Scammers, Satellites, and Safe Havens
[Quinn managed to scoop me blogging about Tony Jebara's presentation! But after I chatted with her, we both agreed that I should continue with my blog post and see if I can augment her post a little.] Tony Jebara's presentation "Mobile Phones Reveal the Behaviors of Places and People" really opened my eyes to what amazing things you can…