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Four short links: 7 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 7, 2014

Can We Design Systems to Automate Ethics — code in self-driving cars will implement a solution to the trolley problem. But which solution? My First Post on Medium (Andy Baio) — one or two glitches but otherwise fine demonstration of …

Four short links: 17 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 17, 2014

De-Design the Web — quiz, can you recognise common websites from just their wireframes? For the non-designer (like myself) it’s a potent reminder of the power of design. Design’s front of mind as we chew on the Internet of Affordances. …

Four short links: 18 February 2014

By Nat Torkington
February 18, 2014

Offensive Computer Security — 2014 class notes, lectures, etc. from FSU. All CC-licensed. Twitter I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down (Quinn Norton) — The net doesn’t make social problems. It amplifies them until they can’t be ignored. And …

Four short links: 30 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 30, 2014

$200k of Spaceships Destroyed (The Verge) — More than 2,200 of the game’s players, members of EVE’s largest alliances, came together to shoot each other out of the sky. The resultant damage was valued at more than $200,000 of real-world …

Four short links: 6 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 6, 2013

Society of Mind — Marvin Minsky’s book now Creative-Commons licensed. Collaboration, Stars, and the Changing Organization of Science: Evidence from Evolutionary Biology — The concentration of research output is declining at the department level but increasing at the individual level. …

Four short links: 19 August 2013

By Nat Torkington
August 19, 2013

choir.io explained (Alex Dong) — Sound is the perfect medium for wearable computers to talk back to us. Sound has a dozen of properties that we can tune to convey different level of emotions and intrusivenesses. Different sound packs would …

Four short links: 6 August 2013

By Nat Torkington
August 5, 2013

White Hat’s Dilemma (Google Docs) — amazeballs preso with lots of tough ethical questions for people in the computer field. Chinese Hacking Team Caught Taking Over Decoy Water Plant (MIT Tech Review) — Wilhoit went on to show evidence that …

Four short links: 29 July 2013

By Nat Torkington
July 27, 2013

Applied Practical Cryptography — technical but readable article with lots of delicious lines. They’re a little magical, in the same sense that ABS brakes were magical in the 1970s and Cloud applications share metal with strangers, and thus attackers, who …

Four short links: 15 April 2013

By Nat Torkington
April 15, 2013

Know Your HTTP Posters (GitHub) — A0-posters about the HTTP protocol. Crowdserfing — when a large corp uses crowd-sourced volunteering for its own financial gain, without giving back. It offends my sense of reciprocity as well, but nobody is coerced …

Untangling algorithmic illusions from reality in big data

By Alex Howard
March 6, 2013

Microsoft principal researcher Kate Crawford (@katecrawford) gave a strong talk at last week’s Strata Conference in Santa Clara, Calif. about the limits of big data. She pointed out potential biases in data collection, questioned who may be excluded from it, …

Untangling algorithmic illusions from reality in big data

By Alex Howard
March 4, 2013

Microsoft principal researcher Kate Crawford (@katecrawford) gave a strong talk at last week’s Strata Conference in Santa Clara, Calif. about the limits of big data. She pointed out potential biases in data collection, questioned who may be excluded from it, …

Looking at the many faces and forms of data journalism

By Alex Howard
February 7, 2013

Over the past year, I’ve been investigating data journalism. In that work, I’ve found no better source for understanding the who, where, what, how and why of what’s happening in this area than the journalists who are using and even …

Strata Week: What to do with Obama’s election tech — open source vs mothballs

By Jenn Webb
January 25, 2013

A cloudy future for Obama’s election code A battle is brewing between politicians and the dream team of programmers that helped Obama win the nerdiest election ever. Ben Popper reports at The Verge that the programmers who worked on the …

Four short links: 22 January 2013

By Nat Torkington
January 22, 2013

Design Like Nobody’s Patenting Anything (Wired) — profile of Maker favourites Sparkfun. Instead of relying on patents for protection, the team prefers to outrace other entrants in the field. “The open source model just forces us to innovate,” says Boudreaux. …

Four short links: 16 January 2013

By Nat Torkington
January 16, 2013

Things Users Don’t Care About (Pete Warden) — every day we relearn these lessons. How great it will be once all their friends are on it. Tracer FIRE 5 — online workshop and game that teaches network security. [A] week-long …

Approaching ethics and big data

By Ann Spencer
December 10, 2012

The other day I clicked on a message posted to the O’Reilly editors’ email list and the message text filled up almost the entire monitor screen. I must admit that I thought “Am I going to require another caffeine hit …

Four short links: 28 November 2012

By Nat Torkington
November 28, 2012

Moral Machines — it will no longer be optional for machines to have ethical systems. Your car is speeding along a bridge at fifty miles per hour when errant school bus carrying forty innocent children crosses its path. Should your …

Strata Week: Data mining for votes

By Jenn Webb
October 19, 2012

Here are a few stories from the data space that caught my attention this week. Presidential candidates are mining your data Data is playing an unprecedented role in the US presidential election this year. The two presidential campaigns have access …

New ethics for a new world

By Alistair Croll
October 15, 2012

Since the first of our ancestors chipped stone into weapon, technology has divided us. Seldom more than today, however: a connected, always-on society promises health, wisdom, and efficiency even as it threatens an end to privacy and the rise of …

New ethics for a new world

By Alistair Croll
October 15, 2012

Since the first of our ancestors chipped stone into weapon, technology has divided us. Seldom more than today, however: a connected, always-on society promises health, wisdom, and efficiency even as it threatens an end to privacy and the rise of …

Top Stories: June 11-15, 2012

Top Stories: June 11-15, 2012
By Mac Slocum
June 15, 2012

This week on O'Reilly: Josh Marinacci predicted that 90% of computer users will rely on mobile, but 10% will still need desktops; the authors of "Ethics of Big Data" explored data's trickiest issues; and Narrative Science CTO Kris Hammond discussed narrative's role in data analytics.

Big ethics for big data

By Howard Wen
June 11, 2012

"Ethics of Big Data" authors Kord Davis and Doug Patterson explore ownership, anonymization, privacy, and ways to evaluate and establish ethical data practices within an organization.

Big ethics for big data

Big ethics for big data
By Howard Wen
June 11, 2012

"Ethics of Big Data" authors Kord Davis and Doug Patterson explore ownership, anonymization, privacy, and ways to evaluate and establish ethical data practices within an organization.

Publishing News: Tor sets content free

By Jenn Webb
April 27, 2012

Macmillan's imprints under publisher Tom Doherty Associates will be DRM-free come July, Harvard opens access to its data and research, and Felix Salmon suggests the NYT sell its scoops to hedge funds.

Publishing News: Tor sets content free

Publishing News: Tor sets content free
By Jenn Webb
April 27, 2012

Macmillan's imprints under publisher Tom Doherty Associates will be DRM-free come July, Harvard opens access to its data and research, and Felix Salmon suggests the NYT sell its scoops to hedge funds.

Automated science, deep data and the paradox of information

By Bradley Voytek
March 30, 2012

Bradley Voytek: "Our goal as data scientists should be to distill the essence of the data into something that tells as true a story as possible while being as simple as possible to understand."

Automated science, deep data and the paradox of information

Automated science, deep data and the paradox of information
By Bradley Voytek
March 30, 2012

Bradley Voytek: "Our goal as data scientists should be to distill the essence of the data into something that tells as true a story as possible while being as simple as possible to understand."

Four short links: 19 March 2012

By Nat Torkington
March 19, 2012

Examining His Own Body (Science Now) -- Stanford prof. has sequenced his DNA and is now getting massively Quantified Self on his metabolism, infections, etc. This caught my eye: George Church, who has pioneered DNA sequencing technology and runs the Personal Genome Project* at Harvard Medical School in Boston that enrolls people willing to share genomic and medical information...

Four short links: 18 January 2012

By Nat Torkington
January 18, 2012

Many Core Processors -- not the first time I've heard nondeterministic computing discussed as a solution to some of our parallel-programming travails. Can't imagine what a pleasure it is to debug. Pinterest Cloned -- it's not the pilfering of the idea that offends my sensibilities, it's the blatant clone of every aspect of the UI. I never thought much...

If your data practices were made public, would you be nervous?

If your data practices were made public, would you be nervous?
By Audrey Watters
November 1, 2011

Solon Barocas, a doctoral student at New York University, discusses consumer perceptions of data mining and how companies and data scientists can shape data mining's reputation.

If your data practices were made public, would you be nervous?

By Audrey Watters
November 1, 2011

Solon Barocas, a doctoral student at New York University, discusses consumer perceptions of data mining and how companies and data scientists can shape data mining's reputation.

Four short links: 6 July 2011

By Nat Torkington
July 6, 2011

China Wants to Buy Facebook (Forbes) -- Beijing approached a fund that buys stock from former Facebook employees to see if it could assemble a stake large enough "to matter." This has implications for Facebook entering China. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is reportedly "wary about the compromises Facebook would have to make to do business there." If she...

Four short links: 1 July 2010

By Nat Torkington
July 1, 2010

Conflict Minerals and Blood Tech (Joey Devilla) -- electronic components have a human and environmental cost. I remember Saul Griffith asking me, "do you want to kill gorillas or dolphins?" for one component. Now we can add child militias and horrific rape to the list. (via Simon Willison) Meteor -- an open source HTTP server that serves streaming data...

Four short links: 2 June 2010

By Nat Torkington
June 2, 2010

Wikileaks Launched on Stolen Documents (Wired) -- Wired claims the first set of documents was obtained by running a Tor node that users connected to ("exit node") and saving the plaintext that was sent to the users, without their knowledge. Reminds me of the adage that nothing big in Silicon Valley starts without being some degree of evil first:...

Four short links: 6 May 2010

By Nat Torkington
May 6, 2010

Ethics and Economics -- This paper looks at the evidence that suggests that ethical behaviour is good for the economy. FCC to Regulate Broadband -- Two FCC officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will announce Thursday that the commission considers broadband service a hybrid between an information service and a utility and...

Four short links: 21 April 2010

By Nat Torkington
April 21, 2010

Akihabara -- toolkit for writing 8-bit style games in Javascript using HTML5. (via waxy) Google Government Requests Tool --moving services into the cloud loses you control and privacy (see my presentation on the subject), and one way is by making your mail/browser history/etc. easier for law enforcement to get their hands on. There's new moral ground here for service...

Four short links: 18 December 2009

By Nat Torkington
December 18, 2009

In Character -- a journal that addresses a different virtue each quarter. I've been thinking of practical philosophy a lot, lately, as we see ever-more-dodgy behaviour. (via bengebre on Delicious) Lessons from Parallelizing Matrix Multiplication -- a reminder why low-level knowledge of your platform matters, and why motivating examples should be carefully chosen. MathJax -- MathJax is an open...

Blogging on the QT

By Kurt Cagle
September 4, 2008

To me, though this is one of the journalistic quandaries of the twenty-first century. Where is the dividing line between news and opinion, between the article and the blog, because objective reporting and subjective editorializing? Is one better than the other? Is one more ethical than the other?


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