ENTRIES TAGGED "science"

Four short links: 16 May 2013

Four short links: 16 May 2013

Internet Filter Creep, Innovating in E-Mail/Gmail, Connected Devices Business Strategy, and Ecology Recapitulates Photography

  1. Australian Filter Scope CreepThe Federal Government has confirmed its financial regulator has started requiring Australian Internet service providers to block websites suspected of providing fraudulent financial opportunities, in a move which appears to also open the door for other government agencies to unilaterally block sites they deem questionable in their own portfolios.
  2. Embedding Actions in Gmail — after years of benign neglect, it’s good to see Gmail worked on again. We’ve said for years that email’s a fertile ground for doing stuff better, and Google seem to have the religion. (see Send Money with Gmail for more).
  3. What Keeps Me Up at Night (Matt Webb) — Matt’s building a business around connected devices. Here he explains why the category could be owned by any of the big players. In times like this I remember Howard Aiken’s advice: Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If it is original you will have to ram it down their throats.
  4. Image Texture Predicts Avian Density and Species Richness (PLOSone) — Surprisingly and interestingly, remotely sensed vegetation structure measures (i.e., image texture) were often better predictors of avian density and species richness than field-measured vegetation structure, and thus show promise as a valuable tool for mapping habitat quality and characterizing biodiversity across broad areas.
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Four short links: 6 May 2013

Four short links: 6 May 2013

Artificial Emotions, 3D Printing Culpability, Mr Zuckerberg Buys Washington, and Pirate Economics

  1. Nautilus — elegantly-designed science web ‘zine. Includes Artificial Emotions on AI, neuro, and psych efforts to recognise and simulate emotions.
  2. A Short Essay on 3D PrintingThis 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)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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Four short links: 2 May 2013

Four short links: 2 May 2013

Infographics Game, Streaming Money, Robot Interviews, and Inefficient Science Funding

  1. Metrico — puzzle game for Playstation centered around infographics (charts and graphs). (via Flowing Data)
  2. The Lease They Can Do (Business Week) — excellent Paul Ford piece on money, law, and music streaming services. So this is not about technology. Nor is it really about music. This is about determining the optimal strategy for mass licensing of digital artifacts.
  3. How Effective Is a Humanoid Robot as a Tool for Interviewing Young Children? (PLosONE) — The results reveal that the children interacted with KASPAR very similar to how they interacted with a human interviewer. The quantitative behaviour analysis reveal that the most notable difference between the interviews with KASPAR and the human were the duration of the interviews, the eye gaze directed towards the different interviewers, and the response time of the interviewers. These results are discussed in light of future work towards developing KASPAR as an ‘interviewer’ for young children in application areas where a robot may have advantages over a human interviewer, e.g. in police, social services, or healthcare applications.
  4. Funding: Australia’s Grant System Wastes Time (Nature, paywalled) — We found that scientists in Australia spent more than five centuries’ worth of time preparing research-grant proposals for consideration by the largest funding scheme of 2012. Because just 20.5% of these applications were successful, the equivalent of some four centuries of effort returned no immediate benefit to researchers.
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White House Science Fair praises future scientists and makers

If we want kids to aspire to become scientists and technologists, celebrate academic achievement like athletics and celebrity.

There are few ways to better judge a nation’s character than to look at how its children are educated. What values do their parents, teachers and mentors demonstrate? What accomplishments are celebrated? In a world where championship sports teams are idolized and superstar athletes are feted by the media, it was gratifying to see science, students and teachers get…
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Four short links: 2 April 2013

Four short links: 2 April 2013

Master Coding, Rethinking Textbooks, Blocking Open Access, VPN from your Pi

  1. Analyzing mbostock’s queue.js — beautiful walkthrough of a small library, showing the how and why of good coding.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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Four short links: 27 March 2013

Four short links: 27 March 2013

Social Science, YAKVS, Open Source Mail, and Tesla Coil and Quadrocopter Fun

  1. The Effect of Group Attachment and Social Position on Prosocial Behavior (PLoSone) — notable, in my mind, for We conducted lab-in-the-field experiments involving 2,597 members of producer organizations in rural Uganda. cf the recently reported “rich are more selfish than poor” findings, which (like a lot of behavioural economics research) studies Berkeley undergrads who weren’t smart enough to figure out what was being studied.
  2. elephanta HTTP key/value store with full-text search and fast queries. Still a work in progress.
  3. geary (IndieGoGo) — a beautiful modern open-source email client. Found this roughly the same time as elasticinbox open source, reliable, distributed, scalable email store. Open source email action starting?
  4. The Faraday Copter (YouTube) — Tesla coil and quadrocopter madness. (via Jeff Jonas)
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Four short links: 26 March 2013

Four short links: 26 March 2013

Patenting Preventing Placebos, Simulating Malaria, Pricing Experiments, and Mining Bitcoin

  1. Patent on Medical Trial Design to Reduce Placebo Effectdrug companies say these failures are happening not because their drugs are ineffective, but because placebos have recently become more effective in clinical trials. [...] The whole idea that placebo effect is getting in the way of producing meaningful results is repugnant, I think, to anyone with scientific training. What’s even more repugnant, however, is that Fava’s group didn’t stop with a mere paper in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. They went on to apply for, and obtain, U.S. patents on SPCD. (via Ben Goldacre)
  2. OpenMalaria (Google Code) — an open source C++ program for simulating malaria epidemiology and the impacts on that epidemiology of interventions against malaria. It is based on microsimulations of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in humans, originally developed for simulating malaria vaccines. (via Victoria Stodden)
  3. Pricing Experiments You Might Not Know But Can Learn From — compendium of ideas and experiments for pricing.
  4. Retrominer — mining Bitcoins on a NES. I’m delighted by the conceit, and noticing that Bitcoin is now sufficiently part of the zeitgeist as to feature in playful hacks.
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Four short links: 25 March 2013

Four short links: 25 March 2013

Analytics vs Learning, Reproducible Science, Ramping up Military Internet Attacks, and Compressed Sensing

  1. Analytics for LearningSince doing good learning analytics is hard, we often do easy learning analytics and pretend that they are good instead. But pretending doesn’t make it so. (via Dan Meyer)
  2. Reproducible Research — a list of links to related work about reproducible research, reproducible research papers, etc. (via Stijn Debrouwere)
  3. Pentagon Deploying 100+ Cyber TeamsThe organization defending military networks — cyber protection forces — will comprise more than 60 teams, a Pentagon official said. The other two organizations — combat mission forces and national mission forces — will conduct offensive operations. I’ll repeat that: offensive operations.
  4. Towards Deterministic Compressed Sensing (PDF) — instead of taking lots of data, compressing by throwing some away, can we only take a few samples and reconstruct the original from that? (more mathematically sound than my handwaving explanation). See also Compressed sensing and big data from the Practical Quant. (via Ben Lorica)
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Four short links: 15 March 2013

Four short links: 15 March 2013

Search Ads Meh, Hacked Website Help, Web Design Sins, and Lazy Correlations

  1. Consumer Heterogeneity and Paid Search Effectiveness: A Large Scale Field Experiment (PDF) — We find that new and infrequent users are positively influenced by ads but that existing loyal users whose purchasing behavior is not influenced by paid search account for most of the advertising expenses, resulting in average returns that are negative. We discuss substitution to other channels and implications for advertising decisions in large firms. eBay-commissioned research, so salt to taste. (via Guardian)
  2. Google’s Help for Hacked Webmasters — what it says.
  3. 14 Lousy Web Design Trends Making a Comeback Thanks to HTML 5 — “mystery meat icons” a pet bugbear of mine.
  4. The Human Microbiome 101 (SlideShare) — SciFoo alum Jonathan Eisen’s talk. Informative, but super-notable for “complexity is astonishing, massive risk for false positive associations”. Remember this the next time your Big Data Scientist (aka kid with R) tells you one surprising variable predicts 66% of anything. I wish I had the audio from this talk!
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Four short links: 13 March 2013

Four short links: 13 March 2013

HTML DRM, Visualizing Medical Sciences, Lifelong Learning, and Hardware Hackery

  1. What Tim Berners-Lee Doesn’t Know About HTML DRM (Guardian) — Cory Doctorow lays it out straight. HTML DRM is a bad idea, no two ways. The future of the Web is the future of the world, because everything we do today involves the net and everything we’ll do tomorrow will require it. Now it proposes to sell out that trust, on the grounds that Big Content will lock up its “content” in Flash if it doesn’t get a veto over Web-innovation. [...] The W3C has a duty to send the DRM-peddlers packing, just as the US courts did in the case of digital TV.
  2. Visualizing the Topical Structure of the Medical Sciences: A Self-Organizing Map Approach (PLOSone) — a high-resolution visualization of the medical knowledge domain using the self-organizing map (SOM) method, based on a corpus of over two million publications.
  3. What Teens Get About The Internet That Parents Don’t (The Atlantic) — the Internet has been a lifeline for self-directed learning and connection to peers. In our research, we found that parents more often than not have a negative view of the role of the Internet in learning, but young people almost always have a positive one. (via Clive Thompson)
  4. Portable C64 — beautiful piece of C64 hardware hacking to embed a screen and battery in it. (via Hackaday)
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