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September 06 2012

Four short links: 6 September 2012

  1. ENCODE Project — International project (headed by Ewan Birney of BioPerl fame) doxes the human genome, bigtime. See the Nature piece, and Ed Yong’s explanation of the awesome for more. Not only did they release the data, but also the software, including a custom VM.
  2. 5 Ways You Don’t Realize Movies Are Controlling Your Brain — this! is! awesome!
  3. RC Grasshoppers — not a band name, an Israeli research project funded by the US Army, to remotely-control insects in flight. Instead of building a tiny plane whose dimensions would be measured in centimeters, the researchers are taking advantage of 300 million years of evolution.
  4. enquire.js — small Javascript library for building responsive websites. (via Darren Wood)

June 18 2012

Four short links: 18 June 2012

  1. What Facebook Knows (MIT Tech Review) -- Analyzing the 69 billion friend connections among those 721 million people showed that the world is smaller than we thought: four intermediary friends are usually enough to introduce anyone to a random stranger. and our close friends strongly sway which information we share, but overall their impact is dwarfed by the collective influence of numerous more distant contacts—what sociologists call "weak ties." It is our diverse collection of weak ties that most powerfully determines what information we're exposed to.
  2. Human Microbiome Mapped (The Scientist) -- the Human Microbiome Project sequenced DNA of bacterial samples collected from 242 healthy volunteers. 3.5 terabytes of data, all accessible through public databases. One fascinating finding: Although each body part is characterised by some signature microbial groups, no species was universally present across every volunteer. "One of the HMP's original mandates was to define the core microbiome, or the bugs that everyone shares," said Huttenhower. "It looks like there really aren't any."
  3. Kids Today Not Inattentive (Neuroskeptic) -- There's no evidence that children today are less attentive or more distractible than kids in the past, according to research just published by a team of Pennsylvania psychologists. (via Ed Yong)
  4. Teaching Makematics at ITP (Greg Borenstein) -- Computer vision algorithms, machine learning techniques, and 3D topology are becoming vital prerequisites to doing daily work in creative fields from interactive art to generative graphics, data visualization, and digital fabrication. If they don’t grapple with these subjects themselves, artists are forced to wait for others to digest this new knowledge before they can work with it.

June 01 2012

Four short links: 1 June 2012

  1. BeWell App (Google Play) -- continuously tracks user behaviors along three key health dimensions without requiring any user input — the user simply downloads the app and uses the phone as usual. Finally, someone tracking my behaviour for my own good.
  2. Met 3D -- the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts its first 3d printing and scanning hackathon. [O]n June 1 and 2, approximately twenty-five digital artists and programmers will gather at the Met to experiment with the latest 3-D scanning and replicating technologies. Their aim will be to use the Museum's vast encyclopedic collections as a departure point for the creation of new work. THIS. IS. AWESOME. (via Alison Marigold)
  3. The Perfected Self (The Atlantic) -- everything you knew about B. F. Skinner was wrong, and you should know about him because you're using his techniques to lose weight, stop smoking, and do your homework. (via Erica Lloyd)
  4. Google Blockly -- (Google Code) A web-based, graphical programming language. Users can drag blocks together to build an application. No typing required. Open sourced.

May 17 2012

Four short links: 17 May 2012

  1. The Mythology of Big Data (PDF) -- slides from a Strata keynote by Mark R. Madsen. A lovely explanation of the social impediments to the rational use of data. (via Hamish MacEwan)
  2. Scamworld -- amazing deconstruction of the online "get rich quick" scam business. (via Andy Baio)
  3. Ceres: Solving Complex Problems with Computing Muscle -- Johnny Lee Chung explains the (computer vision) uses of the open source Ceres Non-Linear Least Squares Solver library from Google.
  4. How to Start a Think Tank (Guardian) -- The answer to the looming crisis of legitimacy we're facing is greater openness - not just regarding who met who at what Christmas party, but on the substance of policy. The best way to re-engage people in politics is to change how politics works - in the case of our project, to develop a more direct way for the people who use and provide public and voluntary services to create better social policy. Hear, hear. People seize on the little stuff because you haven't given them a way to focus something big with you.

April 26 2012

Four short links: 26 April 2012

  1. Apollo Software -- amazing collection of source code to the software behind the Apollo mission. And memos, and quick references, and operations plans, and .... Just another reminder that the software itself is generally dwarfed by its operation.
  2. flickrapi.js (Github) -- Aaron Straup Cope's Javascript library for Flickr.
  3. t (Github) -- command-line power-tool for Twitter.
  4. Habits of Mind (PDF) -- Much more important than specific mathematical results are the habits of mind used by the people who create those results,and we envision a curriculum that elevates the methods by which mathematics is created,the techniques used by researchers,to a status equal to that enjoyed by the results of that research. Loved it: talks about the habits and mindsets of mathematicians, rather than the set of algorithms and postulates students must be able to recall. (via Dan Meyer)

April 12 2012

Four short links: 12 April 2012

  1. Big Data in Finance (PDF, 9M) -- Algo trading systems have begun to resemble an arms race. Competition, data, and the race for real-time.
  2. A Parent's Guide to 21st Century Learning (Edutopia, free registration required to download) -- What should collaboration, creativity, communication, and critical thinking look like in a modern classroom? How can parents help educators accomplish their goals? We hope this guide helps bring more parents into the conversation about improving education. (via Derek Wenmoth)
  3. Chess Intelligence and Winning -- survey of IQ gaps between contestants needed to win competitions. We could view cops and killers as being involved in a grim contest. In the USA around 65% of all murders are solved. That converts to an average “murder” ELO rating difference between police and murderers of 108 ELO points. It is also known that the mean IQs of murderers and policemen are 87 and 102, respectively. So successfully solving murders is a puzzle then the “a” coefficient is 0.041, and each IQ point difference is worth 7.2 ELO points. I suspect this is masturbatory math extrapolation rather than anything significant or predictive, but the cops-vs-robbers IQ contest was an interesting angle. (via Dr Data's Blog)
  4. Etsy Hacker Grants: Supporting Women in Technology -- Today, in conjunction with Hacker School, Etsy is announcing a new scholarship and sponsorship program for women in technology: we’ll be hosting the summer 2012 session of Hacker School in the Etsy headquarters, and we’re providing ten Etsy Hacker Grants of $5,000 each — a total of $50,000 — to women who want to join but need financial support to do so. Our goal is to bring 20 women to New York to participate, and we hope this will be the first of many steps to encourage more women into engineering at Etsy and across the industry.

Reposted bydatenwolf datenwolf

December 15 2011

Four short links: 15 December 2011

  1. Donate to the Ada Initiative -- they're fundraising for their 2012 activities which include events, activities, and resources for women in open technology and culture. They've got my money.
  2. The Anosognosic's Dilemma -- first part of a series on how the worst kind of ignorance is about your own failings. Even if you are just the most honest, impartial person that you could be, you would still have a problem—namely, when your knowledge or expertise is imperfect, you really don't know it. Left to your own devices, you just don't know it. We're not very good at knowing what we don't know.
  3. Values are Features (Clay Johnson) -- Google is actively investing in social and philanthropic causes, from combating human trafficking to open government. Yet it stands head and shoulders above other technology companies, and the biggest (Apple) is last in line. I just don't see most people buying a crapper product without egregiously broken values; unless Apple is conducting human sacrifices at the Cupertino campus and it ends up on 20/20, most everyone will be happy to keep buying their iStuff.
  4. Apps Are Too Much Like 1990s CDROMs and Not Enough Like The Web (Scott Hanselman) -- as a user, more and more, I want to Go Somewhere and get functionality as opposed to Bring Something To Me to get functionality. Managing apps, updates and storage is as pointless as my managing my [tamagotchi].

December 08 2011

Four short links: 8 December 2011

  1. Temporal Patterns of Happiness and Information in a Global Social Network: Hedonometrics and Twitter (PLOSone) -- Tweets involving the ‘fake news’ comedian Stephen Colbert are both happier and of a higher information level than those concerning his senior colleague Jon Stewart. By contrast, tweets mentioning Glenn Beck are lower in happiness than both Colbert and Stewart but comparable to Colbert in information content.
  2. Pricing Experiments You Can Learn From -- revealing the data from experiments which showed how to drive people towards higher prices.
  3. 10 Things I Learned at CrowdConf 2011 (Crowdflower) -- Using his newly released crowdsourcing platform Coffee & Power, Philip [Rosedale] developed his entire company infrastructure and platform through a globally distributed workforce. 288 contributors in 127 locations worked together to get this startup off the ground in a whole new way. The Coffee & Power platform was built in 1,700 commits ranging from $6 quality checks all the way up to full source-code editing. One element of this process was developing the Hudat iPhone app. In less than a month for $2,485, the Coffee & Power community got this mobile app up and running.
  4. Andi -- AGPL3-licensed spaced repetition flashcard system. (via Jack Kinsella)

December 07 2011

Four short links: 7 December 2011

  1. Don't Be a Free User (Maciej Ceglowski) -- pay for your free services, else they'll go away.
  2. Katta -- Lucene for massive data sets in the cloud. (via Pete Warden)
  3. Old Weather -- crowdsourced transcription of old nautical journals to yield historical information for climate researchers. (via National Digital Forum)
  4. Siddhartha Mukherjee Talks About Cancer (Guardian) -- fascinating profile of the author of a "biography of cancer". Touches on the cognitive biases we're all prone to, and their damaging effects on patients. Mukherjee cites a study which found that women with breast cancer recalled eating a high-fat diet, whereas women without cancer did not. But the very same study had asked both sets of women about their diets long before any of them developed cancer, and the diet of those who now had breast cancer had been no more fatty than the rest (via Courtney Johnston)

December 06 2011

Four short links: 6 December 2011

  1. How to Dispel Your Illusions (NY Review of Books) -- Freeman Dyson writing about Daniel Kahneman's latest book. Only by understanding our cognitive illusions can we hope to transcend them.
  2. Appify-UI (github) -- Create the simplest possible Mac OS X apps. Uses HTML5 for the UI. Supports scripting with anything and everything. (via Hacker News)
  3. Translation Memory (Etsy) -- using Lucene/SOLR to help automate the translation of their UI. (via Twitter)
  4. Automatically Tagging Entities with Descriptive Phrases (PDF) -- Microsoft Research paper on automated tagging. Under the hood it uses Map/Reduce and the Microsoft Dryad framework. (via Ben Lorica)

November 24 2011

Four short links: 24 November 2011

  1. Libraries: Where It All Went Wrong -- I was asked to provocatively help focus librarians on the opportunities offered to libraries in the Internet age. If I ask you to talk about your collections, I know that you will glow as you describe the amazing treasures you have. When you go for money for digitization projects, you talk up the incredible cultural value. ANZAC! Constitution! Treaties! Development of a nation! But then if I look at the results of those digitization projects, I find the shittiest websites on the planet. It’s like a gallery spent all its money buying art and then just stuck the paintings in supermarket bags and leaned them against the wall. CC-BY-SA licensed, available in nicely-formatted A4 and Letter versions.
  2. Green Array Chips -- 144 cores on a single chip, $20 per chip in batches of 10. From the creator of Forth, Chuck Moore. (via Hacker News)
  3. The Atlantic's Online Revenue Exceeds Print -- doesn't say how, other than "growth" (instead of the decline of print). (via Andy Baio)
  4. On the Perpetuation of Ignorance (PDF) -- ignorance about an issue leads to dependence leads to government trust leads to avoidance of information about that issue. Again I say to Gov 2.0 advocates that simply making data available doesn't generate a motivated, engaged, change-making citizenry. (via Roger Dennis)

November 11 2011

Four short links: 11 November 2011

  1. Nudge Policies Are Another Name for Coercion (New Scientist) -- This points to the key problem with "nudge" style paternalism: presuming that technocrats understand what ordinary people want better than the people themselves. There is no reason to think technocrats know better, especially since Thaler and Sunstein offer no means for ordinary people to comment on, let alone correct, the technocrats' prescriptions. This leaves the technocrats with no systematic way of detecting their own errors, correcting them, or learning from them. And technocracy is bound to blunder, especially when it is not democratically accountable. Take heed, all you Gov 2.0 wouldbe-hackers. (via BoingBoing)
  2. Country Selector -- turns a dropdown into an autocomplete field where available. Very nice! (via Chris Shiflett)
  3. Ebook Users Wanted -- Pew Internet & American Life project looking at ebooks, looking for people who use ebooks and tablet readers in libraries.
  4. The Public Library, Complete Reimagined (KQED) -- the Fayetteville public library is putting in a fab lab. [L]ibraries aren’t just about books. They are about free access to information and to technology — and not just to reading books or using computers, but actually building and making things. (via BoingBoing)

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