The Remixing Dilemma — summary of research on remixed projects, finding that (1) Projects with moderate amounts of code are remixed more often than either very simple or very complex projects. (2) Projects by more prominent creators are more generative. (3) Remixes are more likely to attract remixers than de novo projects.
Scratch 2.0 — my favourite first programming language for kids and adults, now in the browser! Downloadable version for offline use coming soon. See the overview for what’s new.
State Dept Takedown on 3D-Printed Gun (Forbes) — The government says it wants to review the files for compliance with arms export control laws known as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR. By uploading the weapons files to the Internet and allowing them to be downloaded abroad, the letter implies Wilson’s high-tech gun group may have violated those export controls.
Data Science of the Facebook World (Stephen Wolfram) — More than a million people have now used our Wolfram|Alpha Personal Analytics for Facebook. And as part of our latest update, in addition to collecting some anonymized statistics, we launched a Data Donor program that allows people to contribute detailed data to us for research purposes. A few weeks ago we decided to start analyzing all this data… (via Phil Earnhardt)
Nautilus — elegantly-designed science web ‘zine. Includes Artificial Emotions on AI, neuro, and psych efforts to recognise and simulate emotions.
A Short Essay on 3D Printing — This hands-off approach to culpability cannot last long. If you design something to go into someone’s bathroom, it will make it’s way into their childs mouth. If someone buys, downloads and prints a case for their OUYA and they suffer an electric shock as a result, who is to blame? If a person replaces their phone case with a 3D printed one, and it doesn’t survive a drop to the floor, what then? We need to create a new chain of responsiblity for this emerging, and potentially very profitable business. (via Near Future Laboratory)
Zuckerberg’s FWD.us PAC (Anil Dash) — One of Mark Zuckerberg’s most famous mottos is “Move fast and break things.” When it comes to policy impacting the lives of millions of people around the world, there couldn’t be a worse slogan. Let’s see if we can get FWD.us to be as accountable to the technology industry as it purports to be, since they will undoubtedly claim to have the grassroots support of our community regardless of whether that’s true or not.
Pirate Economics — four dimensions of pirate institutions. Not BitTorrent pirates, but Berbers and arr-harr-avast-ye-swabbers nautical pirates. Pirate crews not only elected their captains on the basis of universal pirate suffrage, but they also regularly deposed them by democratic elections if they were not satisfied with their performance. Like the Berbers, or the US constitution, pirates didn’t just rely on democratic elections to keep their leaders under check. Though the captain of the ship was in charge of battle and strategy, pirate crews also used a separate democratic election to elect the ship’s quartermaster who was in charge of allocating booty, adjudicating disputes and administering discipline. Thus they had a nascent form of separation of powers.
The Engagement Cliff — Gallup surveyed nearly 500,000 students in grades five through 12 from more than 1,700 public schools in 37 states in 2012 and found that by the time students get to high school only about 4 in 10 qualify as engaged.
SSL/TLS Deployment Best Practices — clear and concise instructions to help overworked administrators and programmers spend the minimum time possible to obtain a secure site or web application. In pursue of clarity, we sacrifice completeness, foregoing certain advanced topics. The focus is on advice that is practical and easy to understand.
Most GitHub Projects Not Open-Source Licensed (The Register) — 1,692,135 code repositories scanned, 219,326 (14.9%) percent had a file in their top-level directories that identified any kind of license at all. Of those, 28 per cent only announced their licenses in a README file, as opposed to recommended filenames such as LICENSE or COPYING. MIT license overwhelmingly popular compared to the different reciprocal (GPL-like) ones.
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)
Our Weirdness is Free (Gabriella Coleman) — Often lacking an overarching strategy, Anonymous operates tactically, along the lines proposed by the French Jesuit thinker Michel de Certeau. “Because it does not have a place, a tactic depends on time—it is always on the watch for opportunities that must be seized ‘on the wing,’” he writes in The Practice of Everyday Life (1980). “Whatever it wins, it does not keep. It must constantly manipulate events in order to turn them into ‘opportunities.’ The weak must continually turn to their own ends forces alien to them.” (via Jonas Kubilius)
NewsBlur (GitHub) — one of the many trending repos in the wake of the announcement of Google Reader’s case of terminal lack of relevance to Google+. See also Tiny Tiny RSS, FastLadder, and a million repos empty but for “TODO” files listing the almighty RSS reading features yet to be added to the empty file. Also found: this obsessive guide to Reader’s history.
The Pentester’s Guide to Akamai (PDF) — This paper summarizes the findings from NCC’s research into Akamai while providing advice to
companies wish to gain the maximum security when leveraging their solutions.
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)
A New Basis for Copyright — NZ’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.
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.
CA Assembly Bill No. 292 — This bill would provide that the full text of the California Code of Regulations shall bear an open access creative commons attribution license, allowing any individual, at no cost, to use, distribute, and create derivative works based on the material for either commercial or noncommercial purposes. (via BoingBoing)
The Inside Story of PACER (Ars Technica) — PACER has become a cash cow for the judicial branch, generating $100 million in profits the court has plowed into non-PACER IT projects. (via BoingBoing)
Manipulating Memory for Fun and Profit (PDF) — It is a common belief that RAM loses its content as soon as the power is down. This is wrong, RAM is not immediately erased. It may take up to several minutes in a standard environment, even if the RAM is removed from the computer. And it may last much longer if you cool the DRAM chips. With a simple dusty spraying at -50°C, your RAM data can survive more that 10 minutes. If you cool the chips at -196°C with liquid nitrogen, data are held for several hours without any power.
FISA Amendment Hits Non-Citizens — FISAAA essentially makes it lawful for the US to conduct purely political surveillance on foreigners’ data accessible in US Cloud providers. […] [A] US judiciary subcommittee on FISAAA in 2008 stated that the Fourth Amendment has no relevance to non-US persons. Americans, think about how you’d feel keeping your email, CRM, accounts, and presentations on Russian or Chinese servers given the trust you have in those regimes. That’s how the rest of the world feels about American-provided services. Which jurisdiction isn’t constantly into invasive snooping, yet still has great bandwidth?
Tim Berners-Lee Opposes Government Snooping — “The whole thing seems to me fraught with massive dangers and I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he said in reply to a question about the Australian government’s data retention plan.
Google’s Approach to Government Requests for Information (Google Blog) — they’ve raised the dialogue about civil liberties by being so open about the requests for information they receive. Telcos and banks still regard these requests as a dirty secret that can’t be talked about, whereas Google gets headlines in NPR and CBS for it.
Open Internet Tools Project — supports and incubates a collection of free and open source projects that enable anonymous, secure, reliable, and unrestricted communication on the Internet. Its goal is to enable people to talk directly to each other without being censored, surveilled or restricted.
Design Like Nobody’s Patenting Anything (Wired) — profile of Maker favourites Sparkfun. Instead of relying on patents for protection, the team prefers to outrace other entrants in the field. “The open source model just forces us to innovate,” says Boudreaux. “When we release something, we’ve got to be thinking about the next rev. We’re doing engineering and innovating and it’s what we wanna be doing and what we do well.”
Agree to Agree — why I respect my friend David Wheeler: his Design Scene app, which features daily design inspiration, obtains prior written permission to feature the sites because doing so is not only making things legally crystal clear, but also makes his intentions clear to the sites he’s linking to. He’s shared the simple license they request.
The Coming Fight Between Druids and Engineers (The Edge) — We live in a time when the loneliest place in any debate is the middle, and the argument over technology’s role in our future is no exception. The relentless onslaught of novelties technological and otherwise is tilting individuals and institutions alike towards becoming Engineers or Druids. It is a pressure we must resist, for to be either a Druid or an Engineer is to be a fool. Druids can’t revive the past, and Engineers cannot build technologies that do not carry hidden trouble. (via Beta Knowledge)
Reimagining Math Textbooks (Dan Meyer) — love this outline of how a textbook could meaningfully interact with students, rather than being recorded lectures or PDF versions of cyclostyled notes and multichoice tests. Rather than using a generic example to illustrate a mathematical concept, we use the example you created. We talk about its perimeter. We talk about its area. The diagrams in the margins change. The text in the textbook changes.Check it out — they actually built it!