Linked Literature, Linked TV – Everything Looks like a Graph

Ben Fry in ‘Visualizing Data‘: Graphs can be a powerful way to represent relationships between data, but they are also a very abstract concept, which means that they run the danger of meaning something only to the creator of the graph. Often, simply showing the structure of the data says very little about what it actually […]

A Penny for your thoughts: New Year wishes from mechanical turkers

I wanted to learn more about Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service (wikipedia), and perhaps also figure out how I feel about it. Named after a historical faked chess-playing machine, it uses the Web to allow people around the world to work on short low-pay ‘micro-tasks’. It’s a disturbing capitalist fantasy come true, echoing Frederick Taylor’s ‘Scientific […]

Twitter Iran RT chaos

From Twitter in the last few minutes, a chaos of echo’d posts about army moves. Just a few excerpts here by copy/paste, mostly without the all-important timestamps. Without tools to trace reports to their source, to claims about their source from credible intermediaries, or evidence, this isn’t directly useful. Even grassroots journalists needs evidence. I […]

Problem statement

A Pew Research Center survey released a few days ago found that only half of Americans correctly know that Mr. Obama is a Christian. Meanwhile, 13 percent of registered voters say that he is a Muslim, compared with 12 percent in June and 10 percent in March. More ominously, a rising share — now 16 […]

Inevitable Nipple Analogy

“A genetic theory of homosexuality.” by William Saletan in yesterday’s Slate suggests an inevitable analogy. The article reports on recent work (pdf) addressing the ‘if homosexuality is genetic, why hasn’t it died out?’ debate, which suggests that the ‘gene for male homosexuality persists because it promotes—and is passed down through—high rates of procreation among gay […]

Journals of Negative Results

Via the INDUCTIVE mailing list, I learned of the Journal of Interesting Negative Results in Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning It is becoming more and more obvious that the research community in general, and those who work NLP and ML in particular, are biased towards publishing successful ideas and experiments. Insofar as both our […]

Nokiana: the one about the CIA, Syria, and the N95

Matt Kane resurfaced on Bristol‘s underscore mailing list  with this intriguing snippet, after some travels around the middle-east: ” … discovered N95s (not mine) cannot be taken into Syria”. I asked for the backstory, which goes like this: Quite a palaver. Got the train from Istanbul to Syria (amazing trip!). At the border they didn’t […]

Obama

I was really very impressed by Obama’s speech this week. And somewhat suprised to hear a major US politician speak on complex, subtle issues in thoughtful, nuanced terms. For non USAmericans, I think it’s often hard to empathise with US-style patriotism; in particular, the seeming impossibility of seeing the US as anything other than a […]

Language Expertise in FOAF: Speaks, Reads, Writes revisited

Stephanie Booth asks:  I vaguely remember somebody telling me about some emerging “standard” (too big a word) for encoding language skills. Or was it a dream? That would’ve been me, showing markup from the FOAFX beta from Paola Di Maio and friends, which explores the extension of FOAF with expertise information. This is part of […]

Apparently the UK government are revisiting the idea of net censorship, in the context of anti-terrorism. UK Home Secretary Jacqui Smith as reported in the “Guardian, Government targets extremist websites“: Speaking to the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme before her speech, Smith said there were specific examples of websites that “clearly fall under the category […]

Open social networks: bring back Iran

Three years ago, we lost Iran from Internet community. I simplify somewhat, but forgivably. Many Iranian ISPs cut off access to blogs and social networking sites, on government order. At the time, Iran was one of the most active nations on Orkut; and Orkut was the network of choice, faster than the then-fading Friendster, but […]