- HyperLapse — this won the Internet for April. Everyone else can go home. Check out this unbelievable video and source is available.
- Housing Simulator — NZ’s largest city is consulting on its growth plan, and includes a simulator so you can decide where the growth to house the hundreds of thousands of predicted residents will come from. Reminds me of NPR’s Budget Hero. Notice that none of the levers control immigration or city taxes to make different cities attractive or unattractive. Growth is a given and you’re left trying to figure out which green fields to pave.
- Converting To and From Google Map Tile Coordinates in PostGIS (Pete Warden) — Google Maps’ system of power-of-two tiles has become a defacto standard, widely used by all sorts of web mapping software. I’ve found it handy to use as a caching scheme for our data, but the PostGIS calls to use it were getting pretty messy, so I wrapped them up in a few functions. Code on github.
- So You Want to Build A Connected Sensor Device? (Google Doc) — The purpose of this document is to provide an overview of infrastructure, options, and tradeoffs for the parts of the data ecosystem that deal with generating, storing, transmitting, and sharing data. In addition to providing an overview, the goal is to learn what the pain points are, so we can address them. This is a collaborative document drafted for the purpose of discussion and contribution at Sensored Meetup #10. (via Rachel Kalmar)
ENTRIES TAGGED "policy"
Street View Tiles Hacks, Policy Simulation, Map Tile Toolbox, and Connected Sensor Device HowTo
Hi-Res Long-Distance, Robot Ants, Data Liberation, and Network Neutrality
- Millimetre-Accuracy 3D Imaging From 1km Away (The Register) — With further development, Heriot-Watt University Research Fellow Aongus McCarthy says, the system could end up both portable and with a range of up to 10 Km. See the paper for the full story.
- Robot Ants With Pheromones of Light (PLoS Comp Biol) — see also the video. (via IEEE Spectrum’s AI blog)
- tabula — open source tool for liberating data tables trapped inside PDF files. (via Source)
- There’s No Economic Imperative to Reconsider an Open Internet (SSRN) — The debate on the neutrality of Internet access isn’t new, and if its intensity varies over time, it has for a long while tainted the relationship between Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Online Service Providers (OSPs). This paper explores the economic relationship between these two types of players, examines in laymen’s terms how the traffic can be routed efficiently and the associated cost of that routing. The paper then assesses various arguments in support of net discrimination to conclude that there is no threat to the internet economy such that reconsidering something as precious as an open internet would be necessary. (via Hamish MacEwan)
Gadgets Over Time, Telco Evil, Open Source Savings, and Plus-Sized Husky Tablet
- Electronic Gadgets in the NZ Consumer Price Index — your CPI is just as bizarre, trust me. (via Julie Starr)
- Captive Audience: Telecom Industry and Monopoly in the New Gilded Age (Amazon) — Foo camper and former Washington insider, now truth-teller about broken telco industry in the US. From Time’s review of the book and interview with her: Meanwhile, Comcast has sharply reduced its capital expenditures, which have now fallen to 14% of revenues from over 35% a decade ago, even as it enjoys a whopping 95% profit margin on its broadband service. “They’re not expanding and they’re not enhancing their service,” Crawford says. “They’ve done their investment, now they’re just harvesting.” Not surprisingly, Comcast’s stock price increased over 50% in the last year, and nearly 200% over the last four years. “Shareholders are doing well,” Crawford says. “The rest of the country, not so great.”
- Barclays Cut Software Expenditure 90% With Open Source (The Inquirer) — “We’ve been making significant savings in our technology platform by doing a lot of the work in-house to develop and launch our own applications rapidly,” he said. “It means we can write new applications once and then develop them using an open source model, rather than rewriting them again for legacy systems.” (via The Linux Foundation)
- Lenovo Has a 27″ Tablet Due This Summer — USD1700 and I want one. The label “tablet” is a tough pill to swallow (ho ho) but it’d make an awesome table. That you could never put anything on. Hmm.
Policy recommendations to get the engines of democracy firing on all cylinders.
Randomized Trials for Policy, Crowdfunding Equity, Safe DIYBio, and Easy Unique Experiences
- Test, Learn, Adapt (PDF) — UK Cabinet Office paper on randomised trials for public policy. Ben Goldacre cowrote.
- UK EscapeTheCity Raises GBP600k in Crowd Equity — took just eight days, using the Crowdcube platform for equity-based crowd investment.
- DIY Bio SOPs — CC-licensed set of standard operating procedures for a bio lab. These are the SOPs that I provided to the Irish EPA as part of my “Consent Conditions” for “Contained Use of Class 1 Genetically Modified Microorganisms”. (via Alison Marigold)
- Shuffling Cards — shuffle a deck of cards until it’s randomised. That order of cards probably hasn’t ever been seen before in the history of mankind.
CAPTCHA Commerce, Tech Policy, Mobile Data, London Event
- Virtual Sweatshops Defeat CAPTCHAs — I knew there was an industry around solving CAPTCHAs (to spam comments on blogs, sign up for millions of gmail accounts, etc.) but this is the first time I’ve seen how much you can be paid for it: employees can expect to earn between $0.35 to $1 for every thousand CAPTCHAs they solve [...] Most of our staff is from China, India, Pakistan and Vietnam. (via BoingBoing)
- Lockdown — transcription of Cory Doctorow’s excellent talk, “The Coming War on General-Purpose Computation”. The entertainment industry is just the first belligerents to take up arms, and we tend to think of them as particularly successful. [...] But the reality is that copyright legislation gets as far as it does precisely because it’s not taken seriously by politicians. [...] Regardless of whether you think these are real problems or hysterical fears, they are, nevertheless, the political currency of lobbies and interest groups far more influential than Hollywood and big content. Every one of them will arrive at the same place: “Can’t you just make us a general-purpose computer that runs all the programs, except the ones that scare and anger us? Can’t you just make us an Internet that transmits any message over any protocol between any two points, unless it upsets us?”
- Mobile Data Consumption Numbers (Luke Wroblewski) — the most eye-catching statistic is 1% of bandwidth consumers account for half of all wireless traffic worldwide in the World. The top 10% of users are consuming 90% of wireless bandwidth. In my land of pay-through-the-nose-for-a-modicum-of-mobile-bandwidth, this was also of note: Voice recognition software Siri has prompted owners of the iPhone 4S to use almost twice as much data as iPhone 4 users.
- Monkigras — event in London that looks interesting. The Redmonk chaps are fellow travellers on the O’Reilly storytelling path: they see many of the same interesting trends as we do, and their speakers cover everything from platform services to open source, startups, and alpha geeks (Biddulph, I’m looking at you). And, also, beer.
Crowdsourced Economics, Education Gold, Meme Analytics, Hacktivism
- Billion Prices Project — rather than wait for official inflation figures, the BPP from MIT scans online retailer prices from around the planet. (via The Economist)
- Readings in Education — Dan Meyer has linked to some of the best papers he’s been reading at grad school. If you have opinions about education, or are thinking of doing something to “fix education”, you have to read Public Goods, Private Goods (PDF). It brilliantly, concisely, and clearly sums up the reason that conversations about education are so broken. The other papers Dan linked to are equally wow. Another paper (PDF) on the difference in mindsets between educational researcher and practicing teacher says: The initial [teacher] impulse is still to intervene and ﬁx the problem, or critique the actions of the teacher who made the mistake. It also often leads students to frame their own research around educational success stories. The idea is to pick an intervention that promises to improve education—a new teaching technique, curriculum approach, instructional technology, reform effort, or administrative structure—and study it in practice. The desired outcome is that the intervention works rather well, and the function of the study is to document this and suggest how the approach could be improved in the future. This often leads to an approach to scholarship (and eventually to a kind of scholarly literature) that is relentlessly, unrealistically, sometimes comically optimistic—one that suggests that there is an implementable answer to every educational problem and that help is always on the way. He could be writing about every educational startup.
- Truthy — a research project that helps you understand how memes spread online. With our images and statistics, you can help identify misuse of Twitter. (via Pete Warden)
- Hackers Are Being Radicalised By Government Policy (Guardian) — As long as it seems that direct action is more effective than democratic engagement, it’s clear that the former will appear a more attractive option to many. The official line that the internet is a dangerous territory to be subdued is responsible for an alarming radicalisation. This is not just an issue for the tabloids’ oddballs and nerds, it’s an issue for everyone who believes in the fundamental importance of freedom. The Internet uprising is not causing bad regulation; bad regulation caused the Internet uprising. (via Gabriella Coleman)
Data Sets, Data-driven Policy, Task Queues, and 8-Bit Browser
- DSPL: DataSet Publishing Language (Google Code) — a representation language for the data and metadata of datasets. Datasets described in this format can be processed by Google and visualized in the Google Public Data Explorer. XML metadata on CSV, geo-enabled, with linkable data. (via Michal Migurski on Delicious)
- Why is Evidence So Hard for Politicians — Ben Goldacre nails how politicians go about “evidence-based policy making”: So the Minister has cherry picked only the good findings, from only one report, while ignoring the peer-reviewed literature. Most crucially, he cherry-picks findings he likes whilst explicitly claiming that he is fairly citing the totality of the evidence from a thorough analysis. I can produce good evidence that I have a magical two-headed coin, if I simply disregard all the throws where it comes out tails.
- Celery: Distributed Task Queue — asynchronous task queue/job queue based on distributed message passing. It is focused on real-time operation, but supports scheduling as well. MIT-style licensed, written in Python, RabbitMQ is the recommended message broker. (via Joshua Schachter on Delicious)
- pixelfari — Safari hacked to look like it’s running on an 8-bit computer. This sense of playfulness with the medium is something I love about the best coders. They think “ha, wouldn’t it be funny if …” and then can make it happen.
Stemming Demo, Mapping Service, Value of Data, and The Magic of the Valley
- Demo of Stemming Algorithms — type in text and see what it looks like when stemmed with different algorithms provided by NLTK. (via zelandiya on Twitter)
- Crowdmap — hosted Ushahidi. (via dvansickle on Twitter)
- Opinions vs Data — talks about the usability of a new gmail UI element, but notable for this quote from Jakob Nielsen: In my two examples, the probability of making the right design decision was vastly improved when given the tiniest amount of empirical data. (via mcannonbrookes on Twitter)
- The Next Silicon Valley — long and detailed list of the many forces contributing to Silicon Valley’s success as tech hub, arguing that the valley’s position is path-dependent and can simply be grown ab initio in some aspiring nation’s co-prosperity zone of policy whim. (via imran and timoreilly on Twitter)
Scientific Literacy, Load Balancing, Indoors Geolocation, and iPhone Security
- The Myth of Scientific Literacy — I’d love it if there was a simple course we could send our elected officials on which would guarantee future science policy would be reliably high quality. Being educated in science (or even “about science”) isn’t going to do it. It’s social connections that will. We need to keep our elected officials honest, constantly check they are applying the evidence we want them to, in the ways we want them to. And if the scientific community want to be listened to, they need to work to build connections. Get political and scientific communities overlapping, embed scientists in policy institutions (and vice versa), get MP’s constituents onside to help foster the sorts of public pressure you want to see: build trust so scientists become people MPs want to be briefed by. (via foe on Twitter)
- Three Papers on Load Balancing (Alex Popescu) — three papers on distributed hash tables.
- Meridian — iPhone app that does in-building location, sample app is the AMNH Explorer which shows you maps of where you are. Uses wifi-based positioning. (via raffi on Twitter)
- Fixing What Apple Won’t — the jailbreakers are releasing security patches for systems that Apple have abandoned. (via ardgedee on Twitter)