Living By Numbers – by Ron Gutman

Posted: May 18th, 2011 | Comments Off
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Damon Horowitz on Responbility with Data

Posted: May 16th, 2011 | Comments Off
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Brian Krejcarek Measures His Every Action

Posted: May 16th, 2011 | Comments Off
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Ruth Kaiser on Smiling

Posted: May 16th, 2011 | Comments Off
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TweetDreams: Turn on Your Phones

Posted: May 16th, 2011 | Comments Off
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Patrick Meier on Using Maps to Change the World

Posted: May 16th, 2011 | Comments Off

Patrick Meier
 
 
How to change the world by using maps. Patrick Meier speaks – @patrickmeier
 
 

He launched a live crisis map immediately after the earthquake hit Haiti. It was one of the most useful data points during the crisis according to FEMA.
 
 
With content from twitter, facebook and mainstream media Patrick and his friends from Fletcher brought this map to life.
 
 
In Syria, Egypt, Lebanon activists are using maps to report activity. Patrick and his friends created Airwolf to help activists change the world, one map at a time.
 
-Post by Julian Marcelleus Jordan


Chris Anderson on How Observations Change Behavior

Posted: May 16th, 2011 | Comments Off

Chris Anderson

His first point – observations change behavior.
 
 
He reminds us all of The Hawthorne Effect – the act of observing your actions will encourage you to improve. In other words, being aware of what we do and the consequences of what we do, helps us make wiser decisions. Observation is a powerful incentive to improve performance.
 
 

His second Idea – Sensors make observations automatic and real time.
 
 
He speaks about the “control movement” of the 1940′s and 50′s. A picture of a Governor is shown. A Governor was an early an automatic device, an engine, that had its own a feedback loop (it was a closed loop system, a phrase we always use today). Closed looped systems use censors to monitor their action and then the conversation between these sensors and actuators allows for modulation.

 
 
Today we live in a sea of sensors. One example is the accelerometer. A 3-axis accelerometer only cost about $2 and you can find them in most of our smart phones. We carry this sensor around with us an they give us the power (whether we realize it our not) to measure the world around us.

 
 
A Third element – the notion of sharing. Community based efforts can be used to improve the quality of life. When you link people they have powerful network effects, have huge influences on one another, because we can what other think of us.

 
 
Chris applies these concepts to his own life. For example, he tracks and monitors his workout activity, his sleep . . . his family even monitors their weight together. Tracking choices and consequences . . . We all emit “data exhaust”: a pulse, temperature, brains waves. Previously this was “terra incognita” but now we can start to measure and use this data to break through the noise and learn more about new ways, hopefully better ways, to live our lives.
 
 
– Post by Julian Marcelleus Jordan


Tim O’Reilly on Rearing a Well-Rounded Internet

Posted: May 15th, 2011 | Comments Off

Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, Inc., corrected a widely held myth: that artificial intelligence is separate from our own intelligence.

“The extraordinary convergence between computing and human potential is taking us toward a global brain,” and intelligence is largely driven by data that we type or input into the cloud. Yet, when we talk about global consciousness we land on really trivial stuff like orange being the universal color for decaf coffee.

Computers harness our intelligence and soon they’ll collect data without our typed inputs. The smarter the algorithm and the better computers can collect data, the better off we will be (if this sounds like a technopositivist position, you’re quite right).

But our algorithms mirror our vices and virtues. So computing should not advance unchecked. If we think of this global brain as a child, which it is, the question should not be what can it do, but how should we nurture it and what should we be teaching it?

What should we be teaching the global brain? How can we direct it to solve the most important problem facing humanity?

- Post by Steph Beer.


Sinan Aral on How to Make Data Contagious

Posted: May 15th, 2011 | Comments Off

Tweet contagion and even the spread of crazy dance moves is not easily understood because of reflection problem (birds of a feather…) and the tricky causation vs. correlation question.

Pure data makes it hard to suss out why we choose to be friends with certain people and why we listen to or follow some but not others. Network data serves us better as we try to answer these questions as they relate to social and marketing questions.

Sinan Aral, social network analysis prof at NYU Stern School of Business and MIT, created a platform to study how products to go viral. He learned a that few simple features can increase product adoption by a whole lot – namely, those that allow users to invite others to use the product or participate in some way with the idea they are conveying.

Personal invitations are critical for spreading an idea – much more than passive awareness (like wearing the tee shirt) – because it creates more stickiness. People who invite others are more likely to return to the product or event or idea, and their friends are too.

- Post by Steph Beer.


Jennifer Pahlka on the Lives that Data Lead

Posted: May 15th, 2011 | Comments Off

Privilege is a matter of access to information, and that’s true for people as well as data. There are “haves” and “have-nots” in the data world too, says Jennifer Pahlka (who founded a nonprofit Code for America for data, err, people).

Lucky data has friends that they mashup with, they get noticed, they live in well-structured databases with APIs.

Poor data is stuck on paper or a personal drive.

Government can work more effectively if we liberate the data and use it to improve our lives. There are a lot of people in government who are ready to change, but they need help. Code for America aims to make things like tax preparation as easy as visiting the ATM.

- Post by Steph Beer.