- Post Lingo — automatically transcribe incoming emails from foreign tongues. (via Brian McConnell)
- All Briefs Should Now Be in Comic Book Form — does wonders for mass audience acceptance of the arguments. (via Andy Lester)
- Magic Carpet Can Detect and Predict Falls (BBC) — Beneath the carpet is a mesh of optical fibres that detect and plot movement as pressure bends them, changing the light detected at the carpet’s edges. These deflected light patterns help electronics “learn” walking patterns and detect if they are deteriorating, for instance in the elderly. Neat use for fibre optics! (via Sara Winge)
- Travelling the Silk Road (PDF) — A measurement analysis of a large anonymous online marketplace [...] A relatively small “core” of about 60 sellers has been present throughout our measurement interval, while the majority of sellers leaves (or goes “underground”) within a couple of weeks of their ﬁrst appearance. We evaluate the total revenue made by all sellers to approximately USD 1.9 million per month; this corresponds to about USD 143,000 per month in commissions perceived by the Silk Road operators. (via Robert O’Brien)
ENTRIES TAGGED "law"
Post in Translation, Comic Briefs, Fibre Optics, and Silk Road Financials
Bypassing Oversight, Gantt Charts, Startup Ideas, and Learning C
- The Disturbing, Unchecked Rise of the Administrative Subpoena (Wired) — With a federal official’s signature, banks, hospitals, bookstores, telecommunications companies and even utilities and internet service providers — virtually all businesses — are required to hand over sensitive data on individuals or corporations, as long as a government agent declares the information is relevant to an investigation. Low barrier to obtain one, no oversight–the officials aren’t required to keep track of the subpoenas they issue!
- Black Swan Farming (Paul Graham) — The first time Peter Thiel spoke at YC he drew a Venn diagram that illustrates the situation perfectly. He drew two intersecting circles, one labelled “seems like a bad idea” and the other “is a good idea.” The intersection is the sweet spot for startups.
- Learning C with GDB (Hacker School) — hells yes.
- Visual Strategies — book of useful tips for improving visualisations, described as “a useful Tufte”. (via NY Times)
- Copyright Enforcement Bots Killed Hugo Streaming (io9) — automated content policing ‘bots killed the live stream, and uStream wouldn’t bring it back. This is the problem with automated enforcement: bots can’t tell all permitted uses, let alone fair use.
- High Resolution 3D Printer — 5m/s at micrometer precision. Looking forward to my nanoscale RepRap.
Edu Tech, Harnessing Audiences, ALL CAPS, and Effective Meetings
- The Seductive Allure of Edu-Tech Reform (Chris Lehmann) — While it may be seductive to think that rooms of children on computers, each following some computerized instruction at their pace, monitored by school aides, with a handful of teachers around when things get particularly tough is a solution to both the educational and fiscal crisis we find ourselves, we need to understand that it’s fools gold we would be chasing.
- human.io — write microapps, tasks for people to do. This is a simple way to allow a publisher to turn a passive audience into a mobile army of participants. This allows publishers to easily create missions and activities to get people involved more directly than just reading stuff on a screen. If Twitter is HTML, then Human.io is CGI. (via Joshua Schachter)
- Why Contracts Have UPPER CASE PARAGRAPHS — fascinating! (via Anil Dash)
- Designing Meetings to Work (Luke Wroblewski) — notes from Kevin Hoffman’s talk. Doing something is better than seeing something, which is better than hearing something. THIS.
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.
Hawaii's new law cuts through health care complexity. It's a move that should be lauded and copied.
UK Copyright Modernisation, Lessons from Cisco's Evil, Automation, and Kinect Tool
- HM Government Consultation on Modernising Copyright (PDF) — from all appearances, the UK Govt is prepared to be progressive and tech-savvy in considering updates to copyright law. Proof of the pudding is in the eating (i.e., wait and see whether the process is coopted by maximalists) but an optimistic start.
- Cisco Provides a Lesson (Eric Raymond) — This is why anyone who makes excuses for closed source in network-facing software is not just a fool deluded by shiny marketing but a malignant idiot whose complicity with what those vendors do will injure his neighbors as well as himself. [...] If you don’t own it, it will surely own you.
- Automate or Perish (Technology Review) — As the MIT economist David Autor has argued, the job market is being “hollowed out.” [...] Any work that is repetitive or fairly well structured is open to full or partial automation. Being human confers less and less of an advantage these days.
- Kinectable Pipe (Github) — command-line tool that writes skeleton data (as reported by Kinect) to stdout as text. Because Kinect programming is a pain in the neck, and by trivializing the device’s output into a simple text format, it becomes infinitely easier to digest in the scripting language of your choice.
Artist Nina Paley on pushing the boundaries of copyright.
"Sita Sings the Blues" creator Nina Paley explains her "intellectual disobedience" stance on copyright and notes that current copyright laws are "completely out of touch with human behavior."
Buffett Lessons, Crypto Startup, HTTP 451, and Fixing Academic Publishing
- Warren Buffett Lessons — nice anthology of quotes, reordered into almost a narrative on different topics. (via Rowan Simpson)
- Silent Circle — Phil Zimmermann’s new startup, encrypting phone calls for iPhone and Android for $20/month. “I’m not going to apologize for the cost,” Zimmermann told CNET, adding that the final price has not been set. “This is not Facebook. Our customers are customers. They’re not products. They’re not part of the inventory.” (via CNET)
- New HTTP Code for “Legally Restricted” — it’s status code 451.
- PeerJ — changing the business model for academic publishing: instead of charging you each time you publish, we ask for a single one off payment, giving you the lifetime right to publish articles with us, and to make those articles freely available. Lifetime plans start at just $99. O’Reilly a happy investor.
Three Strikes, Cloud Sovereignty, Flipped Classroom, and Open Tactical Playbook
- How’s That Three Strikes Thing Working Out? (Paul Brislen) — The rights holders in New Zealand put together an ad campaign based on the destruction of value of New Zealand content, yet it hasn’t defended a single New Zealand artist.
- USTR Telling You Where To Stick Your Data — A number of US companies had expressed concerns that various departments in the Australian Government, namely, the Department of Defence, The National Archives of Australia, the Department of Finance and Deregulation, the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) and the State of Victoria’s Privacy Commissioner had been sending negative messages about cloud providers based outside the country, implying that “hosting data overseas, including in the United States, by definition entails greater risk and unduly exposes consumers to their data being scrutinised by foreign governments”. Negative message, but a true one. (via Slashdot)
- On Flipping the Classroom (Wired) — Moving a lecture online changes where that information is consumed, not necessarily the degree of student engagement or its effectiveness. Curricula provider Mathalicious critiqued Khan Academy as “one of the most dangerous phenomena in education today.” Hear, hear. Praise Khan for the feedback it provides teachers on where their kids are at, but even in Stanford’s trials in schools they find kids use the videos as absolute last resort for learning something.
- What Simon Wardley Is Up To (Google Plus) — I’m researching and writing a tactical playbook for competition in an open world based upon concepts of evolution, value chain and ecosystems using techniques such as choke points, barriers, tower and moat, ILC, inertia, economic phases (build, peace, war), new organisational methods etc etc. WANT. (Apologies, don’t know if O’Reilly is publishing this or not–I’m arm’s length from the publishing side of things)