- Solar Energy: This is What a Disruptive Technology Looks Like (Brian McConnell) — In 1977, solar cells cost upwards of $70 per Watt of capacity. In 2013, that cost has dropped to $0.74 per Watt, a 100:1 improvement (source: The Economist). On average, solar power improves 14% per year in terms of energy production per dollar invested.
- Process Managers — overview of the tools that keep your software running.
- Bittorrent Sync — Dropbox-like features, BitTorrent under the hood.
Solar Numbers, Process Managers, BitTorrent Sync, and Motherfrickin' Snakes in Your Motherfrickin' Browser
Binary Data Is Back, Scala Data, Visualization Grammar, and Pastebin Monitor
- Capn Proto — open source faster protocol buffers (binary data interchange format and RPC system).
- Saddle — a high performance data manipulation library for Scala.
- Vega — a visualization grammar, a declarative format for creating, saving and sharing visualization designs. (via Flowing Data)
- dumpmon — Twitter bot that monitors paste sites for password dumps and other sensitive information. Source on github, see the announcement for more.
Master Coding, Rethinking Textbooks, Blocking Open Access, VPN from your Pi
- Analyzing mbostock’s queue.js — beautiful walkthrough of a small library, showing the how and why of good coding.
- What Job Would You Hire a Textbook To Do? (Karl Fisch) — notes from a Discovery Education “Beyond the Textbook” event. The issues Karl highlights for textbooks (why digital, etc.) are there for all books as we create this new genre.
- Neutralizing Open Access (Glyn Moody) — the publishers appear to have captured the UK group implementing the UK’s open access policy. At every single step of the way, the RCUK policy has been weakened. From being the best and most progressive in the world, it’s now considerably weaker than policies already in action elsewhere in the world, and hardly represents an increment on their 2006 policy. What’s at stake? Opportunity to do science faster, to provide source access to research for the public, and to redirect back to research the millions of pounds spent on journal subscriptions.
- Turn the Raspberry Pi into a VPN Server (LinuxUser) — One possible scenario for wanting a cheap server that you can leave somewhere is if you have recently moved away from home and would like to be able to easily access all of the devices on the network at home, in a secure manner. This will enable you to send files directly to computers, diagnose problems and other useful things. You’ll also be leaving a powered USB hub connected to the Pi, so that you can tell someone to plug in their flash drive, hard drive etc and put files on it for them. This way, they can simply come and collect it later whenever the transfer has finished.
- Digital Music Consumption on the Internet: Evidence from Clickstream Data (Scribd) — The goal of this paper is to analyze the behavior of digital music consumers on the Internet. Using clickstream data on a panel of more than 16,000 European consumers, we estimate the effects of illegal downloading and legal streaming on the legal purchases of digital music. Our results suggest that Internet users do not view illegal downloading as a substitute to legal digital music. Although positive and signiﬁcant, our estimated elasticities are essentially zero: a 10% increase in clicks on illegal downloading websites leads to a 0.2% increase in clicks on legal purchases websites. Online music streaming services are found to have a somewhat larger (but still small) effect on the purchases of digital sound recordings, suggesting complementarities between these two modes of music consumption. According to our results, a 10% increase in clicks on legal streaming websites lead to up to a 0.7% increase in clicks on legal digital purchases websites. We ﬁnd important cross country difference in these eﬀects. A paper from the EU commission’s in-house science service. (via Don Christie)
- Six Degrees of Francis Bacon — data-driven research into “the early-modern social network”. (via Jonathan Gray)
- Internet Census 2012 — scanning the net via botnet. Appalling how many unsecured devices are directly connected to the net. Also appalling how underused the address space is.
- A Quantitative Literary History of 2,958 Nineteenth-Century British Novels: The Semantic Cohort Method (PDF) — This project was simultaneously an experiment in developing quantitative and computational methods for tracing changes in literary language. We wanted to see how far quantifiable features such as word usage could be pushed toward the investigation of literary history. Could we leverage quantitative methods in ways that respect the nuance and complexity we value in the humanities? To this end, we present a second set of results, the techniques and methodological lessons gained in the course of designing and running this project. Even litcrit becoming a data game.
- Easy6502 — get started writing 6502 assembly language. Fun way to get started with low-level coding.
- How Analytics Really Work at a Small Startup (Pete Warden) — The key for us is that we’re using the information we get primarily for decision-making (should we build out feature X?) rather than optimization (how can we improve feature X?). Nice rundown of tools and systems he uses, with plug for KissMetrics.
Inside the Aaron Swartz Investigation, Multivariate Dataset Exploration, Augmediated Life, and Public Experience
- Life Inside the Aaron Swartz Investigation — do hard things and risk failure. What else are we on this earth for?
- Steve Mann: My Augmediated Life (IEEE) — Until recently, most people tended to regard me and my work with mild curiosity and bemusement. Nobody really thought much about what this technology might mean for society at large. But increasingly, smartphone owners are using various sorts of augmented-reality apps. And just about all mobile-phone users have helped to make video and audio recording capabilities pervasive. Our laws and culture haven’t even caught up with that. Imagine if hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of people had video cameras constantly poised on their heads. If that happens, my experiences should take on new relevance.
- The Google Glass Feature No-One Is Talking About — The most important Google Glass experience is not the user experience – it’s the experience of everyone else. The experience of being a citizen, in public, is about to change.
- The Network of Global Control (PLoS One) — We find that transnational corporations form a giant bow-tie structure and that a large portion of control flows to a small tightly-knit core of financial institutions. [...] From an empirical point of view, a bow-tie structure with a very small and influential core is a new observation in the study of complex networks. We conjecture that it may be present in other types of networks where “rich-get-richer” mechanisms are at work. (via The New Aesthetic)
- Using SimCity to Diagnose My Home Town’s Traffic Problems — no actual diagnosis performed, but the modeling and observations gave insight. I always feel that static visualizations (infographics) are far less useful than an interactive simulation that can give you an intuitive sense of relationships and behaviour. once I’d built East Didsbury, the strip of shops in Northenden stopped making as much money as they once were, and some were even beginning to close down as my time ran out. Walk along Northenden high street, and you’ll know that feeling.
- How the Harlem Shake Went from Viral Sideshow to Global Meme (The Verge) — interesting because again the musician is savvy enough (and has tools and connections) to monetize popularity without trying to own every transaction involving his idea. Baauer and Mad Decent have generally been happy to let a hundred flowers bloom, permitting over 4,000 videos to use an excerpt of the song but quietly adding each of them to YouTube’s Content ID database, asserting copyright over the fan videos and claiming a healthy chunk of the ad revenue for each of them.
Google's Autonomous Cars, DIY BioPrinter, Forms Validation, and Machine Learning Workflow
- Google’s Driverless Car is Worth Trillions (Forbes) — Much of the reporting about Google’s driverless car has mistakenly focused on its science-fiction feel. [...] In fact, the driverless car has broad implications for society, for the economy and for individual businesses. Just in the U.S., the car puts up for grab some $2 trillion a year in revenue and even more market cap. It creates business opportunities that dwarf Google’s current search-based business and unleashes existential challenges to market leaders across numerous industries, including car makers, auto insurers, energy companies and others that share in car-related revenue.
- DIY BioPrinter (Instructables) — Think of it as 3D printing, but with squishier ingredients! How to piggyback on inkjet printer technology to print with your own biomaterials. It’s an exciting time for biohackery: FOO Ewan Birney is kicking ass and taking names, he was just involved in a project storing and retrieving data from DNA.
- ADAMS — open sourced workflow tool for machine learning, from the excellent people at Waikato who brought you WEKA. ADAMS = Advanced Data mining And Machine learning System.
- Bruce Sterling Interview — It changed my work profoundly when I realized I could talk to a global audience on the Internet, although I was legally limited from doing that by national publishing systems. The lack of any global book market has much reduced my interest in publishing books. National systems don’t “publish” me, but rather conceal me. This especially happens to writers outside the Anglophone market, but I know a lot of them, and I’ve become sensitized to their issues. It’s one of the general issues of globalization.
- bAdmin — database of default usernames and passwords for popular software. (via Reddit /r/netsec)
- Just Post It: The Lesson from Two Cases of Fabricated Data Detected by Statistics Alone (Uri Simonsohn) — I argue that requiring authors to post the raw data supporting their published results has, among many other benefits, that of making fraud much less likely to go undetected. I illustrate this point by describing two cases of fraud I identified exclusively through statistical analysis of reported means and standard deviations. Analyses of the raw data behind these provided invaluable confirmation of the initial suspicions, ruling out benign explanations (e.g., reporting errors, unusual distributions), identifying additional signs of fabrication, and also ruling out one of the suspected fraudster’s explanations for his anomalous results. (via The Atlantic)
Building DroneNet, Manufacturing Help, Native Mobile Look, and Libre 3D Printing
- DroneNet: How to Build It (John Robb) — It’s possible to break the FAA’s “line of sight” rules regarding drones right now and get away with it to enable fast decentralized growth. This strategy works. e.g. PayPal flagrantly broke banking laws and regulations in order to out-compete a field of competitors that decided to follow the law. (via Daniel Bachhuber)
- How to Make a BOM (Bunnie Huang) — yet more very useful howto information for people looking into Chinese (or other) manufacturing.
- Junior — A front-end framework for building HTML5 mobile apps with a native look and feel.
- LulzBot — robust 3D printer, with full specs for making your own. (via BoingBoing)