- As We May Think (Vannevar Bush) — incredibly prescient piece he wrote for The Atlantic in 1945.
- Transparency and Topic Models (YouTube) — a talk from DataGotham 2012, by Hanna Wallach. She uses latent Dirichlet allocation topic models to mine text data in declassified documents where the metadata are useless. She’s working on predicting classification durations (AWESOME!). (via Matt Biddulph)
- Slippy Map of the Ancient World — this. is. so. cool!
- Technology in the NFL — X2IMPACT’s Concussion Management System (CMS) is a great example of this trend. CMS, when combined with a digital mouth guard, also made by X2, enables coaches to see head impact data in real-time and asses concussions through monitoring the accelerometers in a players mouth guard. That data helps teams to decide whether to keep a player on the field or take them off for their own safety. Insert referee joke here.
ENTRIES TAGGED "history"
Vannevar Bush, Topic Transparency, Ancient Maps, and Concussion Sensors
- /r/Scholar — Reddit board for tracking down research articles of interest.
- The Rapture of the Nerds (Charlie Stoss, Cory Doctorow) — this is the HTML version of the book, which is also available for purchase, and is released under a CC-A-NC-ND license.
- Conversations Network Closes Down — The remaining assets of the Conversations Network (cash and intellectual property) will be acquired by the Internet Archive, another U.S. 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All existing programs will be moved to the Internet Archive where the world will be able to continue to listen to them for free. (via Jon Udell)
Collections, Games, Accessibility, and Science
- GS-Collections (GitHub) — Goldman Sachs open-sourced (Apache-licensed) their Java collection library, full of lambda goodness. No report on whether it requires a 750G bailout.
- Learning ZIL — old manual for the interactive fiction programming language that Zork and other Infocom games were written in. Virtual machines on a Z80 processor? They were hardcore before your time.
- NZ Government Web Toolkit — information and guides on accessibility standards.
- Workshop on Research and Resource Commons in Scientific Research: Final Report — This diverse group discussed the current state of policy and technology as it relates to a scientific research commons, and identified key opportunities and challenges, as well as next steps, for the scientific community in general and Creative Commons in particular. Wilbanks describes as, “Sort of a wrapup after seven years of SC.” (via John Wilbanks)
Decoding ToS, Impact Factors are Nonsense, Crappy Open Source Code, and Data Mining History
- TOS;DR — terms of service rendered comprehensible. “Make the hard stuff easy” is a great template for good ideas, and this just nails it.
- Sick of Impact Factors — typically only 15% of the papers in a journal account for half the total citations. Therefore only this minority of the articles has more than the average number of citations denoted by the journal impact factor. Take a moment to think about what that means: the vast majority of the journal’s papers — fully 85% — have fewer citations than the average. The impact factor is a statistically indefensible indicator of journal performance; it flatters to deceive, distributing credit that has been earned by only a small fraction of its published papers. (via Sci Blogs)
- A Generation Lost in the Bazaar (ACM) — Today’s Unix/Posix-like operating systems, even including IBM’s z/OS mainframe version, as seen with 1980 eyes are identical; yet the 31,085 lines of configure for libtool still check if and exist, even though the Unixen, which lacked them, had neither sufficient memory to execute libtool nor disks big enough for its 16-MB source code. [...] That is the sorry reality of the bazaar Raymond praised in his book: a pile of old festering hacks, endlessly copied and pasted by a clueless generation of IT “professionals” who wouldn’t recognize sound IT architecture if you hit them over the head with it. It is hard to believe today, but under this embarrassing mess lies the ruins of the beautiful cathedral of Unix, deservedly famous for its simplicity of design, its economy of features, and its elegance of execution. (Sic transit gloria mundi, etc.)
- History as Science (Nature) — Turchin and his allies contend that the time is ripe to revisit general laws, thanks to tools such as nonlinear mathematics, simulations that can model the interactions of thousands or millions of individuals at once, and informatics technologies for gathering and analysing huge databases of historical information.
NeoVictorian Computing, Participatory Budgeting, Micro Thrusters, and Geopositioning Accuracy
- NeoVictorian Computing (Mark Bernstein) — read this! I think we all woke up one day to find ourselves living in the software factory. The floor is hard, from time to time it gets very cold at night, and they say the factory is going to close and move somewhere else. [...] The Arts & Crafts movement failed in consumer goods, but it could succeed in software. (via James Governor)
- Participatory Budgeting — research shows participation is more effective than penalties in taxation compliance. Participation is more effective than penalties in almost everything.
- MIT-Developed Microthrusters — a flat, compact square — much like a computer chip — covered with 500 microscopic tips that, when stimulated with voltage, emit tiny beams of ions. Together, the array of spiky tips creates a small puff of charged particles that can help propel a shoebox-sized satellite forward. You say satellite, but it’s only a matter of time until this powers a DIY RC rocket with a camera payload. (via Hacker News)
- Yelp Checkins to Measure Geopositioning Accuracy Across Phones — By analyzing millions of data points, we can easily see how, on average, different platforms perform. iPhones consistently have the most accurate positioning, with a fairly small accuracy radius. Android phones are often inaccurate, but reliably reported that inaccuracy. And finally, iPods using Wi-Fi positioning proved the least accurate and usually reported incorrect accuracy radii.
Economics of Innovation, Bio Imagery, Open Source EEG for Smartphone, and Feynman Bio
- Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy (Amazon) — soon-to-be-released book by Bill Janeway, of Warburg-Pincus (and the O’Reilly board). People raved about his session at scifoo. I’m bummed I missed it, but I’ll console myself with his book.
- Cell Image Library — a freely accessible, easy-to-search, public repository of reviewed and annotated images, videos, and animations of cells from a variety of organisms, showcasing cell architecture, intracellular functionalities, and both normal and abnormal processes. The purpose of this database is to advance research, education, and training, with the ultimate goal of improving human health. And an excellent source of desktop images.
- Smartphone EEG Scanner — unusually, there’s no Kickstarter project for an iPhone version. (Designs and software are open source)
- Feynman — excellent graphic novel bio of Feynman, covering the science as well as the personality. Easy to read and very enjoyable.
Future Money, 7-Way Venn, Senate-Shackled Open Source, and Code Quality
- A Brief History of Money (IEEE) — money is fragmenting, moving from a shared delusion to a just-in-time collusion. Understand its past to understand its future. The Lydian system’s breakthrough was the standardized metal coin. Made of a gold-silver alloy called electrum, one coin was exactly like another—unlike, say, cattle. Also unlike cattle, the coins didn’t age or die or otherwise change over time. And they were much easier to carry around. Other kingdoms followed Lydia’s example, and coins became ubiquitous throughout the Mediterranean, with kingdoms stamping their insignia on the coins they minted. This had a dual effect: It facilitated the flow of trade, and it established the authority of the state. Money and power are intertwined. With Anonymous popup-tent power structures and uncertainty over the meaning of “state” in the age of the Internet, we’re waiting for the money flip. Paypal was step 1. Bitcoin was step 2. What next?
- 7-Way Venn Diagram (Information is Beautiful) — yes, this is made of awesome.
- Senate Are Dicks to Open Source (Wired) — In a bill recently introduced on Capitol Hill, the committee questions whether Accumulo runs afoul of a government policy that prevents federal agencies from building their own software when they have access to commercial alternatives. The bill could ban the Department of Defense from using the NSA’s database — and it could force the NSA to meld the project’s security tools with other open source projects that mimic Google’s BigTable. Because software development is best governed by politicians. FFS.
- Open Source at NetFlix — we’ve observed that the peer pressure from “Social Coding” has driven engineers to make sure code is clean and well structured, documentation is useful and up to date. What we’ve learned is that a component may be “Good enough for running in production, but not good enough for Github”. This quote is gold. (via Matt Asay)
Talkative Virus Writer, QR Codes, Digital Reconstruction, and Renewable Energy
- Researcher Chats To Hacker Who Created The Virus He’s Researching — Chicken: I didn’t know you can see my screen. Hacker: I would like to see your face, but what a pity you don’t have a camera.
- Economist on QR Codes — Three-quarters of American online retailers surveyed by Forrester, a research firm, use them. In April nearly 20% of smartphone users in America scanned one, up from 14% in May last year.
- Reconstructing the Ruins of Warsaw — what an amazing accomplishment!
- The Great German Energy Experiment (Technology Review) — political will: the risk and the successes. Certainly a huge gulf between Germany and America in where they are, and political will to be more renewable.
Canada Shoots Self In Brain, Voracious Mobile Phone, Using Tech in Education, and Mac Tool
- Canada Wages War on Knowledge — Library and Archives Canada is ending acquisitions, not digitizing material, dispersing its collection to underfunded private and public collections around Canada, and providing little in the way of access to the scraps they did keep. Apparently Canada has been overrun by Huns and Vandals. Imminent sack of Toronto predicted. (via BoingBoing)
- Cyberpunk Dress Code (BoingBoing) — what caught my eye was how many gadgets have been subsumed into the mobile phone.
- Brief Intro to TPCK and SAMR (PDF) — slides from a workshop framing technology in education. SAMR particularly good: technology first Substitutes, then Augments (substitutes and improves), then Modifies (changing the task), and then finally Redefines (makes entirely new tasks possible).
- Virtual CDRW — awesome Mac tool: gives you a fake CD/RW drive so when you have to play the burn/rip game to get music out of DRM, you don’t have to waste plastic.