# ENTRIES TAGGED "society"

## Four short links: 7 June 2013

### Open Source BigTable, Robots Lost, Changing the World, Secrecy Binge

1. Accumulo — NSA’s BigTable implementation, released as an Apache project.
2. How the Robots Lost (Business Week) — the decline of high-frequency trading profits (basically, markets worked and imbalances in speed and knowledge have been corrected). Notable for the regulators getting access to the technology that the traders had: Last fall the SEC said it would pay Tradeworx, a high-frequency trading firm, $2.5 million to use its data collection system as the basic platform for a new surveillance operation. Code-named Midas (Market Information Data Analytics System), it scours the market for data from all 13 public exchanges. Midas went live in February. The SEC can now detect anomalous situations in the market, such as a trader spamming an exchange with thousands of fake orders, before they show up on blogs like Nanex and ZeroHedge. If Midas sees something odd, Berman’s team can look at trading data on a deeper level, millisecond by millisecond. 3. PRISM: Surprised? (Danny O’Brien) — I really don’t agree with the people who think “We don’t have the collective will”, as though there’s some magical way things got done in the past when everyone was in accord and surprised all the time. It’s always hard work to change the world. Endless, dull hard work. Ten years later, when you’ve freed the slaves or beat the Nazis everyone is like “WHY CAN’T IT BE AS EASY TO CHANGE THIS AS THAT WAS, BACK IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS. I GUESS WE’RE ALL JUST SHEEPLE THESE DAYS.” 4. What We Don’t Know About Spying on Citizens is Scarier Than What We Do Know (Bruce Schneier) — The U.S. government is on a secrecy binge. It overclassifies more information than ever. And we learn, again and again, that our government regularly classifies things not because they need to be secret, but because their release would be embarrassing. Open source BigTable implementation: free. Data gathering operation around it:$20M/year. Irony in having the extent of authoritarian Big Brother government secrecy questioned just as a whistleblower’s military trial is held “off the record”: priceless.
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## Magic

### Is it in the bits or atoms?

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. – Arthur C. Clarke I spent Wednesday at Penn Medicine’s Connected Health event in Philadelphia. We saw an array of technologies that wouldn’t even have been imaginable when I came into this world. Mobile telepresence systems, tele surgery, the ability to remotely detect depression with merely a phone and its analysis, real-time remote…
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## Four short links: 26 November 2012

### Drone Burnout, Middle-Class IoT, ePUB Interactive Fiction, and Minecraft Booming

1. High Levels of Burnout in US Drone Pilots (NPR) — 17 percent of active duty drone pilots surveyed are thought to be “clinically distressed.” The Air Force says this means the pilots’ stress level has crossed a threshold where it’s now affecting the pilots’ work and family. A large majority of the pilots said they’re not getting any counseling for their stress. (via Beta Knowledge)
2. The Internet of Middle-Class Things (Russell Davies) — my mind keeps returning to this: you know, commercially, that a technology has succeeded when it’s used for inane middle-class tasks.
3. First Draft of the Revolution (Liza Daly) — interactive fiction, playable on the web and as epub book. Very nice use of the technology!
4. Minecraft for Raspberry Pi — see also Minecraft augmented reality for iOS. Minecraft is Lego for kids, and it can be a gateway drug to coding.
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## Four short links: 29 August 2012

### NeoVictorian Computing, Participatory Budgeting, Micro Thrusters, and Geopositioning Accuracy

1. NeoVictorian Computing (Mark Bernstein) — read this! I think we all woke up one day to find ourselves living in the software factory. The floor is hard, from time to time it gets very cold at night, and they say the factory is going to close and move somewhere else. [...] The Arts & Crafts movement failed in consumer goods, but it could succeed in software. (via James Governor)
2. Participatory Budgetingresearch shows participation is more effective than penalties in taxation compliance. Participation is more effective than penalties in almost everything.
3. MIT-Developed Microthrustersa flat, compact square — much like a computer chip — covered with 500 microscopic tips that, when stimulated with voltage, emit tiny beams of ions. Together, the array of spiky tips creates a small puff of charged particles that can help propel a shoebox-sized satellite forward. You say satellite, but it’s only a matter of time until this powers a DIY RC rocket with a camera payload. (via Hacker News)
4. Yelp Checkins to Measure Geopositioning Accuracy Across PhonesBy analyzing millions of data points, we can easily see how, on average, different platforms perform. iPhones consistently have the most accurate positioning, with a fairly small accuracy radius. Android phones are often inaccurate, but reliably reported that inaccuracy. And finally, iPods using Wi-Fi positioning proved the least accurate and usually reported incorrect accuracy radii.
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## Three kinds of big data

### Looking ahead at big data's role in enterprise business intelligence, civil engineering, and customer relationship optimization.

In the past couple of years, marketers and pundits have spent a lot of time labeling everything ”big data.” The reasoning goes something like this: Everything is on the Internet. The Internet has a lot of data. Therefore, everything is big data. When you…

## Steve Jobs, the Unabomber, and America's love/hate relationship with technology

### Technological schizophrenia is an American tradition.

Steve Jobs and Ted Kaczynski represent the extreme poles of a deep-seated ambivalence in our attitudes toward technology. It's an ambivalence that's been a part of American history, and part of the American psyche, since the beginning.

## Four short links: 10 August 2011

### Gamification is Bullshit, Design for Impact, Public Domain, and Network Analysis

1. Gamification is Bullshit (Ian Bogost) — [G]amification is marketing bullshit, invented by consultants as a means to capture the wild, coveted beast that is videogames and to domesticate it for use in the grey, hopeless wasteland of big business, where bullshit already reigns anyway. Bullshitters are many things, but they are not stupid. The rhetorical power of the word “gamification” is enormous, and it does precisely what the bullshitters want: it takes games—a mysterious, magical, powerful medium that has captured the attention of millions of people—and it makes them accessible in the context of contemporary business.
2. Design for (Real) Social Impact (Vimeo) — single best talk I’ve seen on making philanthropy effective. (via Rowan Simpson)
3. The Public Domain Review — an online weekly journal dedicated to treasures that have entered the public domain and articles on them. The home page currently features: Boris Karloff in “Last of the Mohicans”, the Boston Revolution in psychotherapy, “Was Charles Darwin an Atheist?”, the Orson Welles audio show, “100 Years of The Secret Garden”, a feature on a 1300 year old illustrated work on the Book of Revelations, and more.
4. SNAP — the Stanford Network Analysis Platform, a library for network and graph analysis. (via Joshua Schachter)
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## The role of the Internet as a platform for collective action grows

### A new Pew survey emphasizes the Internet's importance in civil society.

A new survey released released this week by the Pew Research Center's Internet and Life Project shed new light on the role of the Internet as a platform for collective action. A panel at the State of the Internet Conference discussed the findings, driving home the increasing integration of our online and offline lives.