Links for 23rd September 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Will information transparency turn us into dullards?

    "I realised the other day that this is what's happened to me. Everything I produce, however private or NDA'd, is filtered through the voice in my head, whispering, "how would I feel if this got online?" Because a slip of the email or a misplaced YouSendIt and it could easily happen. And, mostly, that's good; it keeps the bullshit to minimum-required levels. It's a reality we're all going to have to get used to. It's sensible to assume that everything you think is private might one day be read.

    […] if we're afraid to be slightly different people in private, we'll end up with a world of well-trained Michael Owens; sincere, good-looking people with no dark side, no sins, no doubts. Media training has driven the personality out of sport – I wonder if constant, enforced openness will drive it out of everything else?"

    Tagged with: transparencyfuturismculturecommunicationcharacterinternet

  2. Researchers describe txt sp3ak as "brain workout" for kids

    ""Kids who are good spellers [academically] are good spellers in instant messaging," Varnhagen said. "And kids who are poor spellers in English class are poor spellers in instant messaging."

    This was the general result across the entire sample, though there were apparently some differences that came down over gender lines. The report notes that girls tended to use text speak more than boys, "who preferred to express themselves through repeated use of punctuation." (!?!?!?!?!) Additionally, boys who frequently used text speak and abbreviations were less likely to be good spellers, while the opposite was true of girls—girls who used more abbreviations tended to be better spellers than girls who did not. This could be an indication that girls who use abbreviations have a better understanding of the language and how it relates to "normal" spelling."

    Tagged with: childreneducationliteracyspellingSMStxt-spkabbreviationsresearchlanguage

  3. Netflix Prize 2: (Privacy) Apocalypse Now?

    ""Researchers have known for more than a decade that gender plus ZIP code plus birthdate uniquely identifies a significant percentage of Americans," he wrote in a blog entry. "True, Netflix plans to release age not birthdate, but simple arithmetic shows that for many people in the country, gender plus ZIP code plus age will narrow their private movie preferences down to at most a few hundred people. Netflix needs to understand the concept of 'information entropy': even if it is not revealing information tied to a single person, it is revealing information tied to so few that we should consider this a privacy breach."

    Because Netflix already knows about the privacy implications of its data releases, it can't simply claim ignorance, and in Ohm's view the company might well be liable for damages."

    Tagged with: privacyanonymizeddataanalysisNetflixprizesocilamedia

  4. Video games need a more diverse cast of characters

    "Williams and his team found that male characters are "vastly more likely to appear" in games than females. They made up 85 per cent of characters, compared to 51 per cent of the real population.

    Compared to the real population, African Americans were under-represented by 13 per cent and Hispanic/Latino people by 78 per cent. Asians were over-represented by 25 per cent and white people by 7 per cent.

    Despite being made by and for very different people, the results are very similar to studies of TV characters." Unsurprising. Still needs fixing, though.

    Tagged with: computergamecharacterdemographicracegenderrepresentationresearchstatistics

  5. Rock Concert Photography – 9 Tips on How to Get The Shot

    "Much of what I’ve seen written on concert photography centers on gear and the technical aspects of shooting (there are a number of good tips on this site). Of course, gear and technical know-how are important, and I’ll touch on a couple of salient points. But there are other equally important, more esoteric concepts at the heart of stage photography." No kidding.

    Tagged with: musicconcertphotographytutorialscamerasettingsexposurelighting

  6. Inside the Apocalyptic Soviet Doomsday Machine

    "So why was the US not informed about Perimeter? Kremlinologists have long noted the Soviet military's extreme penchant for secrecy, but surely that couldn't fully explain what appears to be a self-defeating strategic error of extraordinary magnitude.

    The silence can be attributed partly to fears that the US would figure out how to disable the system. But the principal reason is more complicated and surprising. According to both Yarynich and Zheleznyakov, Perimeter was never meant as a traditional doomsday machine. The Soviets had taken game theory one step further than Kubrick, Szilard, and everyone else: They built a system to deter themselves."

    Tagged with: SovietRussiaCold-Warnucleardeterrentmilitaryhistorydead-handPerimetersystem

  7. Ego City: Cities organized like human brains

    "Just as advanced mammalian brains require a robust neural network to achieve richer and more complex thought, large cities require advanced highways and transportation systems to allow larger and more productive populations. The new study unearthed a striking similarity in how larger brains and cities deal with the difficult problem of maintaining sufficient interconnectedness.

    "Natural selection has passively guided the evolution of mammalian brains throughout time, just as politicians and entrepreneurs have indirectly shaped the organization of cities large and small," said Mark Changizi, a neurobiology expert and assistant professor in the Department of Cognitive Science at Rensselaer, who led the study. "It seems both of these invisible hands have arrived at a similar conclusion: brains and cities, as they grow larger, have to be similarly densely interconnected to function optimally.""

    Tagged with: braincitiesurbanismconnectivityscalestructureorganisation

  8. Problem solved: GRIP seems to randomly crash

    "It turns out that there is a buffer overflow that manifests itself when the genre of the music is set to something “nonstandard”, so, as a workaround, I have to check and sometimes set the genre on CDs to “Alternative” or another “standard” genre." That's been bugging me for weeks; nice to find an easy fix.

    Tagged with: LinuxUbuntuGRIPCDrippingsoftwarecrashbuffer-overflowgenre

Leave a Reply