Karen Coyle on information linking

Just stumbled across this, after meeting Karen Coyle here at DC2008. A nice account of why we might care about linking information (and linking data):

Much like people, the real meaningfulness of information is how it interacts with others of its kind. Information that is alone or out of context is inert and cannot reach its potential. Usability is the key to information value, but usability can rarely be applied to any individual information unit. When libraries buy or gather bits of information in the form of books or journals or web sites, they do so with the express goal of making all of the information in their collection usable in the context of the library. A modern scientific treatise should be bolstered by the classical thinking that made it possible. Works promoting one political or moral point of view should sit on the shelf beside those promoting the opposite view. There are millions of invisible hyperlinks between these works that can be discovered by alert readers following Myst-like clues buried deep in the texts.

Meanwhile, Cat’s Cradle and Bokononism are now on my reading list…

YouTube/Viacom privacy followup (and what Google should do)

A brief update on the YouTube/Viacom privacy disaster.

From Ellen Nakashima in the Washington Post:

Yesterday, lawyers for Google said they would not appeal the ruling. They sent Viacom a letter requesting that the company allow YouTube to redact user names and IP addresses from the data.

“We are pleased the court put some limits on discovery, including refusing to allow Viacom to access users’ private videos and our search technology,” Google senior litigation counsel Catherine Lacavera said in a statement. “We are disappointed the court granted Viacom’s overreaching demand for viewing history. We will ask Viacom to respect users’ privacy and allow us to anonymize the logs before producing them under the court’s order.”

I’m pleased to read that Google are trying to keep identifying information out of this (vast) dataset.

Viacom claim to want this data to “measure the popularity of copyrighted video against non-copyrighted video” (in the words of the Washington Post article; I don’t have a direct quote handy).

If that is the case, I suggest their needs could be met with a practical compromise. Google should make a public domain data dump summarising the (already public) favouriting history of each video (with or without reference to users, whose identifiers could be scrambled/obscured). This addresses directly the Viacom demand while sticking to the principle of relying on the public record to answer Viacom’s query. Only if the public record is incapable of answering Viacom’s (seemingly reasonable) request should users private behaviour logs be even considered. Google should also make use of their own Social Graph API to determine how many YouTube usernames are already associated in the public Web with other potentially identifying profile information; those usernames at least should not be handed over without at least some obfuscation.

If we know which YouTube videos are copyrighted (and Viacom owned). And we know how long they’ve been online, and which ones have been publicly flagged as ‘favourites’ by YouTube users, we have a massively rich dataset. I’d like to see that avenue of enquiry thoroughly exhausted before this goes any further.

Nearby in the Web: Danny Weitzner has blogged further thoughts on all this, including a pointer to a recent paper on information accountability, suggesting a possible shift of emphasis from who can access information, to the acceptable uses to which it may be put.

The forgotten poetry of Michel Thomas


like that, that way
 it is like that
 it is not like that
 it is not possible for me that way
 it is not possible for me like that
 I'm sorry
 I'm sorry, but
 I'm sorry but it is not very comfortable for me that way
 I'm sorry but it is not acceptable for me that way
 it is very remarkable
to go
 to come
 to go
 will you go eat with me
 where do you want to go
 where do you want to go eat
 tonight, this evening
 it is for tonight
 it is for me
 it is for tonight
 where do you want to go eat tonight
 to have dinner
 where do you want to have dinner tonight?
 do you want to come have dinner with me tonight?

(further excerpts)

it is acceptable for you
 is it acceptable for you?
 isn't it acceptable for you?
why isn't it acceptable for you?
 like that, that way
 it is like that
 it is not like that
 it is not possible that way
 it is not acceptable for me that way
 why isn't it acceptable for you that way?
 I'm sorry
 it is very urgent
 I need it now, it is very urgent
 I have
 I have it
 I don't have it
 you have
 what do you have?
 what do you have for me now?
 I have
 I have it
 I don't have it
 you have
 what do you have?
 I have it
 you have
 you have it
 do you have it?
 you don't have it
 don't you have it?
 don't you have it for me now?
 why don't you have it for me now, because I need it now
 I want
 I want it
 I want it now
 I don't want it
 I want
 you want
 I want
you want
 what do you want?
 I want it
 I don't want it
 you want
 you want it
 do you want it?
 why don't you want it that way?
 to know
 I want to know
 I don't want to know
 I want to know why you don't have it for me now
 I can
 you can
 to do, to make
 to do like that
 what do you want to do now?
 to do, to make
 to eat
 I want something
 I have something for you
 I want to eat
 I want to eat something now
 I have
 I am hungry
 I want to eat something now because I am hungry
 what do you want to eat?
 I am hungry
 you are hungry
 are you hungry?
 are you hungry? do you want to eat something now?
 why don't you want to eat?
 it is not necessary for me now because I don't need it
I'm sorry, but I don't have it and I don't want it because I don't need it now

Cult advertising

Well shame on YouTube, and presumably shame on UMG too. I was innocently going about my mullet-research business just now, watching a Billy Ray Cyrus on YouTube, when I get a big animated advert for the world’s most slicky advertised cult. It seems YouTube and the content owner have reached an understanding, since the video was posted to the universalmusicgroup channel. Whoever runs their ad targetting engine should think about exclusions for cults. I don’t want to see their culty fibs when I’m watching Billy Ray! Now if you want to read up on their pitch to be a religion, here’s the link. And here’s another.

Scientology advertising

So I’m wondering if UMG mind that their branded content is being used as inventory for a cult to advertise over…?

Longhaired nearsighted monster with a guitar

A Monkees spooky-special on Joost. (Seems to be globally available except USA).

see also – http://www.joost.com/halloween/

IMDB – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0650671/

Trivia – http://monkeestv2.tripod.com/season1/monster.html

Joost thumbnail

Monkees, The – Episode 18 – I Was a Teenage Monster (Digital Continuous Edit) from the album Episode 18 – I Was a Teenage Monster
Joost™ the best of tv and the internet

Nuke Em High

Shadow trade and industry secretary Alan Duncan said: “Whatever the rhetoric, there is nothing in this White Paper that will guarantee that a single nuclear power station will be built.”

“Business will only invest in nuclear power if it knows its costs – it needs certainty about carbon, decommissioning, and waste.”


“Clean, safe and efficient…”

Joost thumbnail

From Joost : Class of Nuke Em High

Readin’, writin’ and radiation! When the nuclear power plant next door springs a leak, the students of Tromaville High begin mutating into psycho-punk freaks! Featuring an appearance by the Smithereens!Joostâ„¢ the best of tv and the internet