Oct 16, 2014
Based on Facebook and Twitter chatter, it can seem like Ebola is everywhere. Following the first diagnosis of an Ebola case in the United States on Sept. 30, mentions of the virus on Twitter leapt from about 100 per minute to more than 6,000. Cautious health officials have tested potential cases in Newark, Miami Beach and Washington D.C., sparking more worry. Though the patients all tested negative, some people are still tweeting as if the disease is running rampant in these cities. In Iowa the Department of Public Health was forced to issue a statement dispelling social media rumors that Ebola had arrived in the state. Meanwhile there have been a constant stream of posts saying that Ebola can be spread through the air, water, or food, which are all inaccurate claims.
Research scientists who study how we communicate on social networks have a name for these people: the “infected.”
Aug 28, 2013
Sentiment in New York City: A High Resolution Spatial and Temporal View
Karla Z. Bertrand, Maya Bialik, Kawandeep Virdee, Andreas Gros, Yaneer Bar-Yam
http://arxiv.org/abs/1308.5010v1 (link to PDF full text)
Measuring public sentiment is a key task for researchers and policymakers alike. The explosion of available social media data allows for a more time-sensitive and geographically specific analysis than ever before. In this paper we analyze data from the micro-blogging site Twitter and generate a sentiment map of New York City. We develop a classifier specifically tuned for 140-character Twitter messages, or tweets, using key words, phrases and emoticons to determine the mood of each tweet. This method, combined with geotagging provided by users, enables us to gauge public sentiment on extremely fine-grained spatial and temporal scales. We find that public mood is generally highest in public parks and lowest at transportation hubs, and locate other areas of strong sentiment such as cemeteries, medical centers, a jail, and a sewage facility. Sentiment progressively improves with proximity to Times Square. Periodic patterns of sentiment fluctuate on both a daily and a weekly scale: more positive tweets are posted on weekends than on weekdays, with a daily peak in sentiment around midnight and a nadir between 9:00 a.m. and noon.
Nov 02, 2012
Gaggioli A., Riva G., Milani L., Mazzoni E.
Apr 04, 2012
Although the service provides a plenty of interesting and useful features (including customizable author profile pages, a visual explorer, open API and many others), I don't like AT ALL the fact that it publishes an author's profile, including publication's profile and list, without asking the permission to do that (as Google Scholar does).
But what is even worse, is that the data published are, in most cases, incomplete or incorrect (or at least, they seemed incorrect for most of the authors that I included in my search). And this is not limited to the list of the list of publications (which could be understandable) but it also affects the calculation of the H-index (which measures both the productivity and impact of a scholar, based on the set of the author's most cited papers and the number of citations that they have received in other publications).
Since in the last few years the H-index has become critical to measure researcher's importance, displaying an inaccurate value of this index on a author's profile is NOT appropriate. While Microsoft may object that its service is open for users to edit the content (actually, the Help Center informs that "If you find any wrong or out-of-date information about author profile, publication profile or author publication list, you can make corrections or updates directly online") my point is that you CANNOT FORCE someone to correct otherwise potentially wrong data concerning scientific productivity.
One could even suspect that Microsoft purposefully underestimates the H-index to encourage users to join the service in order to edit their data. I do not think that this is the case, but at the same time, I cannot exclude this possibility.
Anyway, these are my two cents and I welcome your comments.
p.s. Interested in other Science 2.0 topics? Join us on Linkedin
Mar 31, 2012
BlogSpirit has developed a nice app that allows posting from the iPad/iPhone.
I am just trying it out.
If you are able to read this post, well, it does work (btw, this is Matilde)
Dec 19, 2011
MIT announced today online learning initiative called MITx that will offer a portfolio of free selected MIT courses starting in Spring 2012 through an online interactive learning platform, with online laboratories.
MIT expects that MITx will eventually host a virtual community of millions of learners around the world.
May 21, 2011
Recently, I came across an intriguing book that brings a new, thought-provoking perspective on how the Internet is shaping our lives and culture. The title of the book is You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto and the author is Jaron Lanier, a computer scientist and musician who is best known for his pioneering work in the field of virtual reality.
The leitmotiv of the book can be summarized in a single question: are new technologies really playing an empowering role, by increasing people’s creativity, control, and freedom? As can be expected from the title, the author’s answer is more negative than positive. To construct his argument, Lanier starts from the observation that the evolution of computing is not as free of constraints as one might assume.
As a key example, the author describes the evolution of MIDI, a protocol for composing and playing music on computers. This format emerged in the early 1980s and was immediately recognized as an empowering tool for musicians. However, as more and more people adopted it, it became a rigid standard that limited the expressive potential of artists because, as Lanier points out, it ‘‘could only describe the tile mosaic world of the keyboardist, not the watercolor world of the violin.’’ For the author, this lock-in effect can be seen in other fields of information technology. For example, certain features that were included in the early versions of the UNIX operating system are now deeply embedded in the software and cannot be modified, even if they are considered obsolete or inappropriate. Once an approach becomes standard, it tends to inhibit other solutions, thereby limiting the potential for creativity.
Lanier goes on to demystify some of today’s most popular Internet buzzwords, such as ‘‘Web 2.0,’’ ‘‘Open Culture,’’ ‘‘Mash-Ups,’’ and ‘‘Wisdom of Crowds.’’ He maintains that these trendy notions are ultimately pointing to a new form of ‘‘digital collectivism,’’ which rather than encouraging individual inventiveness, promotes mediocrity and homologation. By allowing everyone to offer up their opinion and ideas, the social web is melting into an indistinct pool of information, a vast gray zone where it is increasingly difficult to find quality or meaningful content. This observation leads the author to the counterintuitive conclusion that the introduction of boundaries is sometimes useful (if not even necessary) to achieve originality and excellence.
Another issue raised by Lanier concerns the risk of de-humanization and de-individualization associated with online social networks. He describes the early Web as a space full of ‘‘flavours and colours’’ where each Web site was different from the others and contributed to the diversity of the Internet landscape. But with the advent of Facebook and other similar sites, this richness was lost because people started creating their personal web pages using predefined templates. On the one hand, this formalism has allowed anyone to create, publish, and share content online easily (blog, video, music, etc.). On the other hand, it has reduced the potential for individuals to express their uniqueness.
Lanier reminds us of the importance of putting the human being, and not the machine, at the center of concerns for technology and innovation. For this goal to be achieved, it is not enough to develop usable and accessible tools; it is also necessary to emphasize the uniqueness of experience. This humanist faith leads the author to criticize the idea of technological Singularity, popularized by recognized experts such as Ray Kurzweil, Vernor Vinge, and Kevin Kelly. This concept holds that exponential increase in computing power and communication networks, combined with the rapid advances in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics, may lead to the emergence of a super-intelligent organism (the ‘‘Singularity’’), which could eventually develop intentional agency and subordinate the human race. Lanier’s opposition to this idea is based on the conviction that the ‘‘human factor’’ will continue to play an essential role in the evolution of technology. The author believes that computers will never be able to replace the uniqueness of humans nor replicate the complexity of their experience. Further, he considers the concept of technological Singularity culturally dangerous because it enforces the idea of an inevitable superiority of machines over humans: ‘‘People degrade themselves in order to make machines seem smart all the time,’’ writes Lanier.
However, Lanier is genuinely admired by the potential of the Internet and new technologies. This iswhy he calls for a new ‘‘technological humanism’’ able to contrast the overarching vision of digital collectivism and empower creative selfexpression. As a key illustration, the author describes the unique combination of idealism, technical skills, and imaginative talent that, in the 1980s, lead a small group of programmers to conceive the vision of virtual reality. This powerful new paradigm in human–computer interaction inspired in the following decades a number of innovative applications in industry, education, and medicine.
Beside the nostalgic remembrances of the heroic times of Silicon Valley and the sophisticated overtone of some terms (e.g., ‘‘numinous neoteny’’), the book written by Lanier conveys a clear message and deserves the attention of all who are interested in the relationship between humans and technology. The idea that technological innovation should be informed by human values and experience is not new, but Lanier brings it out vividly in detail and with a number of persuasive examples.
More to explore
- Jaron Lanier’s homepage: The official website of Jaron Lanier, which with its old-fashion style recaptures the freshness and simplicity of the early Internet. The website features biographical information about the author and includes links to a number of Lanier’s articles and commentaries on a number of different technology-related topics.
- Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence: Launched in 2001, Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence explores the forecasts and insights on accelerating change described in Ray Kurzweil’s books, with updates about breakthroughs in science and technology.
- Singularity University: Singularity University is an interdisciplinary university founded by Ray Kurzweil and other renowned experts in technology with the support of a number of sponsors (including Google), whose mission is “to stimulate groundbreaking, disruptive thinking and solutions aimed at solving some of the planet’s most pressing challenges”. Singularity University is based at the NASA Ames campus in Silicon Valley.
- Humanity+: Humanity+ is a non-profit organization dedicated to “the ethical use of technology to extend human capabilities and transcend the legacy of the human condition”. The mission of the organization is to support discussion and public awareness about emerging technologies, as well as to propose solutions for potential problems related to these technologies. The website includes plenty of resources about transhumanism topics and news about upcoming seminars and conferences.
Dec 27, 2010
From Mauro Cherubini's Moleskine
Zilok is a startup that offers an interesting service: peer to peer renting.
How it works? Users post possessions they are willing to rent out, along with a price. The web site processes the fee, track the reputation of your renting partner and issues insurance for the item.
Dec 08, 2009
The world's first robot with its own Facebook page (and that can use its information in conversations with "friends") has been developed by Nikolaos Mavridis and collaborators from the Interactive Robots and Media Lab at the United Arab Emirates University.
The main hypothesis of the FaceBots project is that long-term human robot interaction will benefit by reference to "shared memories" and "events relevant to shared friends" in human-robot dialogues.
More to explore:
N. Mavridis, W. Kazmi and P. Toulis, "Friends with Faces: How Social Networks Can Enhance Face Recognition and Vice Versa", contributed book chapter to Computational Social Networks Analysis: Trends, Tools and Research Advances, Springer Verlag, 2009. pdf
N. Mavridis, W. Kazmi, P. Toulis, C. Ben-AbdelKader, "On the synergies between online social networking, Face Recognition, and Interactive Robotics", CaSoN 2009. pdf
N. Mavridis, C. Datta et al, "Facebots: Social robots utilizing and publishing social information in Facebook", IEEE HRI 2009. pdf
Apr 16, 2009
According to Steven Johnson, this is what the future news ecosystem will look like.
Well, it makes sense, right?
Jul 23, 2008
Web GIS in practice VI: a demo "playlist" of geo-mashups for public health neogeographers.
Int J Health Geogr. 2008 Jul 18;7(1):38
Authors: Kamel Boulos MN, Scotch M, Cheung KH, Burden D
ABSTRACT: 'Mashup' was originally used to describe the mixing together of musical tracks to create a new piece of music. The term now refers to Web sites or services that weave data from different sources into a new data source or service. Using a musical metaphor that builds on the origin of the word 'mashup', this paper presents a demonstration "playlist" of four geo-mashup vignettes that make use of a range of Web 2.0, Semantic Web, and 3-D Internet methods, with outputs/end-user interfaces spanning the flat Web (two-dimensional -- 2-D maps), a three-dimensional -- 3-D mirror world (Google Earth) and a 3-D virtual world (Second Life (R)). The four geo-mashup "songs" in this "playlist" are: 'Web 2.0 and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) for infectious disease surveillance', 'Web 2.0 and GIS for molecular epidemiology', 'Semantic Web for GIS mashup', and 'From Yahoo! Pipes to 3-D, avatar-inhabited geo-mashups'. It is hoped that this showcase of examples and ideas, and the pointers we are providing to the many online tools that are freely available today for creating, sharing and reusing geo-mashups with minimal or no coding, will ultimately spark the imagination of many public health practitioners and stimulate them to start exploring the use of these methods and tools in their day-to-day practice. The paper also discusses how today's Web is rapidly evolving into a much more intensely immersive, mixed-reality and ubiquitous socio-experiential Metaverse that is heavily interconnected through various kinds of user-created mashups.
Apr 10, 2008
a worth-reading article by Rheingold about the role of social media in supporting civic engagement
Abstract. Teaching young people how to use digital media to convey their public voices could connect youthful interest in identity exploration and social interaction with direct experiences of civic engagement. Learning to use blogs (“web logs,” web pages that are regularly updated with links and opinion), wikis (web pages that non-programmers can edit easily), podcasts (digital radio productions distributed through the Internet), and digital video as media of self-expression, with an emphasis on “public voice,” should be considered a pillar—not just a component—of twenty-first-century civic curriculum. Participatory media that enable young people to create as well as consume media are popular among high school and college students. Introducing the use of these media in the context of the public sphere is an appropriate intervention for educators because the rhetoric of democratic participation is not necessarily learnable by self-guided point-and-click experimentation. The participatory characteristics of online digital media are described, examples briefly cited, the connection between individual expression and public opinion discussed, and specific exercises for developing a public voice through blogs, wikis, and podcasts are suggested. A companion wiki provides an open-ended collection of resources for educators: https://www.socialtext.net/medialiteracy.
Mar 10, 2008
Kluster is a platform for crowdsourcing and then organizing and putting to use skills, energy and availability on projects and initiatives. From the ReadWriteWeb review:
Crowdsourcing firm Kluster officially launched yesterday at the TED conference, which is underway this week in Monterey, California. Founder Ben Kaufman, who bankrolled the company in part with money from the sale of his last company Mophie, has organized a gimmick over the course of the TED conference he hopes will prove Kluster’s worth. Kaufman intends to let TED attendees — and users from around the world — design a completely new product over the course of 72 hours.
The idea behind Kluster is that a group of passionate people working together can come up with better solutions for any decision-making problem than a single person. Whether that is planning an event, designing a new logo, or creating a new product, Kluster believes their system can.
[ Snip … ]
The Kluster system works by breaking down products into manageable chunks. For each chunk (or "phase"), people submit what are called "sparks." Sparks are proposed solutions for that phase. For each spark, other participants can submit "amps" — which are improvements to that idea. Users also assign "watts" to sparks and amps they like. Watts work kind of like investments. You accrue points based on participation and other factors, and can invest those points (watts) in ideas you like.
Then an algorithm that takes into account "each user’s successes, failures, reputation, areas of expertise, and overall history" goes to work to determine which sparks are the best. Companies interested in using the Kluster system, put up cash prizes that are doled out along the way (at the completion of each phase).
Dec 22, 2007
Neulio is a video education site where anyone can create lessons for free. Lessons created can be in video or quiz format. Create a profile, and you’ll be able to access, share, and create lessons, though lessons are also available for non-members as well. Neulio will keep track of the recent lessons you’ve viewed, but there doesn’t appear to be an option for saving lessons in any way associated to your account (i.e. favorites folder, etc.). You can send lessons to friends, social bookmarking sites, rate them and leave comments.
Dec 16, 2007
Aug 07, 2007
mates is a location-based social networking system in the form of a robust web service, or Relationship Engine, and an optional rich media client application, or Relationship Space Navigator.
from the project's website:
Our objective in creating mates has been to build an open infrastructure to introduce and connect individuals based on the intersection of physical location and other properties they might have in common.
mates is different than the wide range of existing social networking and instant messaging applications. We strive to create an open infrastructure that will allow existing software to harness the power of location based social networking
The current version of mates is geared towards the academic community, focusing on course registration and academic interests. This set of properties could easily be extended to encompass professional or social environments with hooks into LDAP directories or existing social networking applications. and a platform on top of which other new, powerful applications can be developed.
Apr 01, 2007
Re-blogged from InfoAesthetics
a web-based application prototype that allows participants to provide direct responses to current issues facing their governments on a selection of social scales (e.g. housing, health, immigration, social rights). the "Waterfall" interfaces visualizes the issues, votes & opinions of participants, with size depending on importance. "Where in the World" aligns contributing authors with their geographical location. "In Context" displays issues in a quantative by a matrix of horizontal stacked bar graphs.
Feb 17, 2007
From MIT's Technology Review:
The emergence of the Internet as a social environment led us to come up with a service where people could first report the scope of a tsunami or a wildfire or even an E. coli attack," says Ben Schneiderman, a computer scientist at the University of Maryland and a coauthor of the report. Schneiderman got the idea when he typed 911 into Google and was unable to find any useful information. "There was no service that would provide information or assistance during Katrina-like events." The system is not strictly an online analog of 911 or other emergency-reporting services, says Schneiderman. "We think it may be helpful in advance of emergencies, during emergencies, and during rebuilding and restoration afterwards."
Murray Turoff, of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, says that "what most people don't seem to understand is that the real first responders in disasters are the people in the community." Turoff, who developed the first emergency computer network for the U.S. Office of Emergency Preparedness in 1971, says that the government still has not taken steps to ensure that relief efforts are properly coordinated. "All these organizations need to be able to talk laterally," he says.
Jennifer Preece, an expert in human-computer interactions at the University of Maryland and a coauthor of the study, says that for 911.gov to be successful, it will have to draw in volunteers from other communities and be integrated with existing social-networking sites. If the government backs the site, she says, it, too, could have the clout to draw in users. She points out that during Katrina, many people found their information by heading to local libraries. "Why did they go there? These are established and trusted communities that they know about.
Jan 31, 2007
IBM (Quote) launched a new social computing site today called Many Eyes, which allows users to upload very large data sets, choose different visual representations for the data sets, and engage in an online discussion of what the data reveals. Each visualization will allow for an active discussion to take place and become a common area to share ideas, add insight and understand the visualization in a group setting.
an attempt to learn whether the principles of crowd-sourcing can be applied to the analysis of visualized data, in the hopes of generating broader and deeper analysis of data.
(source: Internet News)
Jan 25, 2007
Re-blogged from Networked Performance
Information about the community as a commons and about commons in the community can be useful for promoting a sense of shared fate and shared identity. In addition, as mobility increases, information about how a community moves into, out of, and through its spaces (such as public commons) can be a useful source of community feedback. A new project at the University of Michigan investigates using public displays to understand and represent community dynamics and preferences:
Prospero is an infrastructure to enable public displays to reflect evolving public participation. The objectives of the Prospero project arise from two primary motivations: one descriptive, the other normative. First, technologies that foster cooperation enhance our relationship to our surroundings. Many of these technologies incorporate user feedback in real-time.
Second, our team members believe that a society in which collective decision-making is based on participatory democracy and public resources should be allocated not by top-down or centrally-controlled mechanisms, but on the basis of the expressed desires and needs of participants. As cooperation increases, we have seen a resurgence of "the commons," i.e. that public sphere in which community values are expressed.
In our project, we shall explore this theme through its instantiation in the specific domain area of public displays. In much of modern life, public spaces, public media and public art are designed to send us messages that we passively receive, process and absorb. However, we believe that in a democracy, citizens must actively shape the public sphere. This necessitates "talking back" to the elements that constitute the public sphere. Public displays, that is, displays located in public spaces and accessible to a public, constitute an increasingly important element of the public sphere. We will develop an infrastructure for community-aware public displays that are controlled by users' expressed needs and preferences; we see our endeavor as part of an ongoing, democratic reclaiming, by citizens, of control over an increasing number of aspects of the public sphere in general.Thus, by making a public display that is attentive to its community of users, a Visual Commons, it becomes possible for the community to escape the present hegemony of one-way communication, or "broadcast," of generic information (such as the time, or stock prices) or the barrage of mass-media advertising (such as occurs in New York City's Times Square). In effect, dynamic processing of community feedback regarding the contents of the display enables it to become more than just a billboard.