Links for 20th October 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Exclusive: U.S. Spies Buy Stake in Firm That Monitors Blogs, Tweets

    "In-Q-Tel says it wants Visible to keep track of foreign social media, and give spooks “early-warning detection on how issues are playing internationally,” spokesperson Donald Tighe tells Danger Room.

    Of course, such a tool can also be pointed inward, at domestic bloggers or tweeters. Visible already keeps tabs on web 2.0 sites for Dell, AT&T and Verizon. For Microsoft, the company is monitoring the buzz on its Windows 7 rollout. For Spam-maker Hormel, Visible is tracking animal-right activists’ online campaigns against the company."

    Tagged with: social-mediamonitoringprivacysurveillancegovernmentCIAespionagescrapingpublic

  2. Smart Rat ‘Hobbie-J’ Produced By Over-expressing A Gene That Helps Brain Cells Communicate

    "Scientists found that Hobbie-J consistently outperformed the normal Long Evans rat even in more complex situations that require association, such as working their way through a water maze after most of the designated directional cues and the landing point were removed. "It's like taking Michael Jordan and making him a super Michael Jordan,"[…]

    But even a super rat has its limits. For example with one test, the rats had to learn to alternate between right and left paths to get a chocolate reward. Both did well when they only had to wait a minute to repeat the task, after three minutes only Hobbie-J could remember and after five minutes, they both forgot. "We can never turn it into a mathematician. They are rats, after all," Dr. Tsien says, noting that when it comes to truly complex thinking and memory, the size of the brain really does matter."

    Tagged with: animalintelligencegeneticexpressionratupliftcognition

  3. Where Advertisers Can Connect with Athletes

    "Brand Affinity’s goal is to automate the process by which marketers offer contracts to athletes, along with the process by which ads featuring those endorsers are created and produced. The Web site promises that those transactions will take no more than 96 hours.

    It provides “a quick turnaround for something that would normally take months,” Mr. Brees said. “A company can contact a player, come to an agreement and the next day the ads could be up.”

    That fast pace, said Brian Bos, senior vice president and convergence director at Team Detroit — the alliance of WPP agencies that work for Ford Motor — “reduces risk and provides flexibility, because you’re not tied into long-term deals.”" Will fit in well with a world where one's time in the spotlight may be very short and bright…

    Tagged with: marketingadvertisingbrandingcelebrityathleteendorsementbrokerage

  4. Paper Nets

    "Here’s a possibility to turn around in your head: print isn’t dying, so much as it’s becoming much less interesting and useful. Buying a magazine that’s two-thirds ads is not interesting, nor it is often terribly useful. Buying a magazine that’s two months behind the internet is neither interesting nor useful. Buying a magazine that is simply shitfuck ugly is neither interesting nor useful. Buying a magazine so bereft of content that it doesn’t outlive a single sitting on the bog is neither interesting nor useful. Right there, I’ve tagged a lot of magazines on your local newsagent’s shelf. But that does not eliminate all magazines.

    If the magazine is dying, but there is yet this lovely and efficient service that lets you make your own magazines, perhaps the onus is there to rethink what the magazine does and can do. I mean, think about that for a minute: your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to re-invent the magazine."

    Tagged with: Warren-Ellisinternetmediapublishingmagazinesinnovationmagcloudnewspaperclub

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