Archive by Author | plerudulier

The Limits of Big Data: A Review of Social Physics by Alex Pentland [technologyreview.com]

In 1969, Playboy published a long, freewheeling interview with Marshall McLuhan in which the media theorist and sixties icon sketched a portrait of the future that was at once seductive and repellent. Noting the ability of digital computers to analyze data and communicate messages, he predicted that the machines eventually would be deployed to fine-tune society’s workings. “The computer can be used to direct a network of global thermostats to pattern life in ways that will optimize human awareness,” he said. “Already, it’s technologically feasible to employ the computer to program societies in beneficial ways.” He acknowledged that such centralized control raised the specter of “brainwashing, or far worse,” but he stressed that “the programming of societies could actually be conducted quite constructively and humanistically.”

via The Limits of Big Data: A Review of Social Physics by Alex Pentland | MIT Technology Review.

Inventive Games That Teach Kids About Empathy and Social Skills [blogs.kqed.org/mindshift]

Play is nothing if not social. Games organize play, allowing us to wrangle and experiment with the world. When we play games, more often than not, it’s us under the microscope.

Video games, however, have been a bit of an aberration in the history of play and games. Many of them have been solitary experiences. That’s changing, though. We’re in the midst of a multiplayer video game renaissance that’s bringing people together. Equally exciting is the trend in design toward video games that build social skills and encourage players to reflect on themselves and their relationships. Here are a few games that do just that.

via Inventive Games That Teach Kids About Empathy and Social Skills | MindShift.

I Know Where You Were Last Summer: London’s public bike data is telling everyone where you’ve been [vartree.blogspot.co.uk]

This article is about a publicly available dataset of bicycle journey data that contains enough information to track the movements of individual cyclists across London, for a six month period just over a year ago.

I’ll also explore how this dataset could be linked with other datasets to identify the actual people who made each of these journeys, and the privacy concerns this kind of linking raises.

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that there is a publicly available Transport For London dataset that contains records of bike journeys for London’s bicycle hire scheme. What may surprise you is that this record includes unique customer identifiers, as well as the location and date/time for the start and end of each journey. The public dataset currently covers a period of six months between 2012 and 2013.

What are the consequences of this? It means that someone who has access to the data can extract and analyse the journeys made by individual cyclists within London during that time, and with a little effort, it’s possible to find the actual people who have made the journeys.

via The Variable Tree: I Know Where You Were Last Summer: London’s public bike data is telling everyone where you’ve been.

The Story of the “Migrant Mother” [pbs.org]

As the United States sank into the Great Depression, a photographer named Dorothea Lange turned her attention away from studio and portrait work toward the suffering she was seeing around her. After taking a job as a photographer for the Resettlement Administration, a New Deal agency tasked with helping poor families relocate, Lange one day found herself in Nipomo, California, at a campsite full of out-of-work pea pickers. The crop had been destroyed by freezing rain; there was nothing to pick. Lange approached one of the idle pickers, a woman sitting in a tent, surrounded by her seven children, and asked if she could photograph them.

via The Story of the “Migrant Mother” | Follow the Stories | Antiques Roadshow | PBS.

A print newspaper generated by robots: Is this the future of media or just a sideshow?

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Originally posted on Gigaom:

What if you could pick up a printed newspaper, but instead of a handful of stories hand-picked by a secret cabal of senior editors in a dingy newsroom somewhere, it had pieces that were selected based on what was being shared — either by your social network or by users of Facebook, Twitter etc. as a whole? Would you read it? More importantly, would you pay for it?

You can’t buy one of those yet, but The Guardian (see disclosure below) is bringing an experimental print version it has been working on to the United States for the first time: a printed paper that is generated entirely — or almost entirely — by algorithms based on social-sharing activity and other user behavior by the paper’s readers. Is this a glimpse into the future of newspapers?

According to Digiday, the Guardian‘s offering — known as #Open001 — is being rolled…

View original 730 more words

Statue Of A Homeless Jesus Startles A Wealthy Community [npr.org]

A new religious statue in the town of Davidson, N.C., is unlike anything you might see in church.

The statue depicts Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church installed the homeless Jesus statue on its property in the middle of an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept townhomes.

Jesus is huddled under a blanket with his face and hands obscured; only the crucifixion wounds on his uncovered feet give him away.

The reaction was immediate. Some loved it; some didn’t.

“One woman from the neighborhood actually called police the first time she drove by,” says David Boraks, editor of DavidsonNews.net. “She thought it was an actual homeless person.”

via Statue Of A Homeless Jesus Startles A Wealthy Community : NPR.

No Laptops, No Wi-Fi: How One Cafe Fired Up Sales [npr.org]

Customers chat, read the paper and order sandwiches and espresso drinks at the counter of August First Bakery & Cafe in Burlington, Vt., but there’s something different here. Where there used to be the familiar glow of laptop screens and the clicking of keyboards, now the devices are banned.

“I was here working on my laptop when I looked over and saw that there’s a sign that says ‘laptop-free,’ ” says Luna Colt, a senior at the University of Vermont.

During a recent visit, Colt is shocked that using her computer is against the rules.

“My friend and I started talking about it because we’re both on screens,” Colt says. “Then I said, ‘Should I go up there and apologize?’ “

When owner Jodi Whalen first opened four years ago, she initially offered free Wi-Fi to customers. Students like Colt flocked to the business and started typing away — and staying. All day.

“We saw a lot of customers come in, look for a table, not be able to find one and leave,” Whalen says. “It was money flowing out the door for us.”

via No Laptops, No Wi-Fi: How One Cafe Fired Up Sales : All Tech Considered : NPR.

Dropbox: Ok, now we’re really serious about the enterprise and collaboration

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plerudulier:

I doubt this will make enterprises reconsider and open up to Dropbox.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Dropbox has rewritten its popular namesake file-share application to be more enterprise friendly. The goal here to reassure businesses that Dropbox for Business is indeed to be trusted with corporate content and, oh by the way, get more companies to buy it as a result.

“We rebuilt all of Dropbox to give everyone two Dropboxes; one personal with your password your contacts, and a second company Dropbox accessible to you but managed by company. But you don’t want it to be klugey and hard to go back and forth. Most of us have one phone so we had to reengineer our interfaces,” said Ilya Fushman, director of product, mobile and business for the San Francisco-based company, ahead of an event in the city designed to highlight the new features.

Before, if Jane Doe had her personal Dropbox on her device and wanted to sign into the old Dropbox for Business, she really couldn’t do so without…

View original 433 more words

When the Workforce Is Given the Chance to Readjust [talentculture.com]

“Did you ever see the film where the man is given spectacles, that make the world look upside down. He falls about the place but in time he somehow readjusts. And when they take the glasses off, the eyes he’s always had see sky below him, and he falls again…ah, but you hold that thought, and I’ll hold that thought…” –Ben Folds

That’s when I asked the analyst in the room what she thought. The fact that companies go from a centralized to decentralized to outsourced to resourced talent strategy; one that impacts how often they review and retool their talent technology ecosystem, every couple of years.

via When the Workforce Is Given the Chance to Readjust – TalentCulture.

Isaac Asimov on the Thrill of Lifelong Learning, Science vs. Religion, and the Role of Science Fiction in Advancing Society [brainpickings.org]

saac Asimov was an extraordinary mind and spirit — the author of more than 400 science and science fiction books and a tireless advocate of space exploration, he also took great joy in the humanities (and once annotated Lord Byron’s epic poem “Don Juan”), championed humanism over religion, and celebrated the human spirit itself (he even wrote young Carl Sagan fan mail). Like many of the best science fiction writers, he was as exceptional at predicting the future as he was at illuminating some of the most timeless predicaments of the human condition. In a 1988 interview with Bill Moyers, found in Bill Moyers: A World of Ideas (public library) — the same remarkable tome that gave us philosopher Martha Nussbaum on how to live with our human fragility — Asimov explores several subjects that still stir enormous cultural concern and friction. With his characteristic eloquence and sensitivity to the various dimensions of these issues, he presages computer-powered lifelong learning and online education decades before it existed, weighs the question of how authors will make a living in a world of free information, bemoans the extant attempts of religious fundamentalism to drown out science and rational thought, and considers the role of science fiction as a beacon of the future.

via Isaac Asimov on the Thrill of Lifelong Learning, Science vs. Religion, and the Role of Science Fiction in Advancing Society | Brain Pickings.

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