After the #trumpwon hashtag topped the Twitter trending charts -- something Trump gleefully noted, saying it proved he'd won the initial debate with Hillary Clinton -- @DustinGiebel's claim that the trend had originated in St Peterburg, Russia (along with an accompanying map, supposedly from Trendsmap) went viral, with more than 15,000 retweets. Read the rest
There are a handful of states that keep records of police force, but they are incomplete records, and they're maintained on paper; contrast that with URSUS, California's new tool that collects every single use of force, storing it in open, transparent free software maintained by Bayes Impact, a nonprofit. Read the rest
Randy Olson, a researcher at University of Pennsylvania Institute for Biomedical Informatics, has taken his genetic algorithm previously used to find Waldo, and has applied it U.S. National Parks. In August, the National Parks Service is celebrating their 100th year, and Olson has calculated the optimal route to hit every single park in one monster road trip.
The trip would take 14,498 miles, which is only 9.29 days of pure driving time with no stops and no sleep. A bit longer if you want to see any of the sights.
A great thing about Olson's posts is he open sourced his original code, so you can dig in and make your own route. Plan your own trip and support his patreon if you want to see more work like this. Read the rest
Artist Dennis Cooper reports that Google shut down his website, without explanation, erasing 12 years of work.
Along with his blog, Google disabled Cooper’s email address, through which most of his correspondence was conducted, he told me via Facebook message. He got no communication from Google about why it decided to kill his email address and blog. Cooper used the blog to post his fiction, research, and visual art, and as Artforum explains, it was also “a platform through which he engaged almost daily with a community of followers and fellow artists.” His latest GIF novel (as the term suggests, a novel constructed with animated GIFs) was also mostly saved to the blog.
“It seems that the only option I have left is to sue Google,” Cooper told Artforum. “This will not be easy for me for the obvious reasons, but I’m not going to just give up ten years of my and others’ work without doing everything possible.”
You're savvy, you know the drill. You don't have to blame the victim, a nontechnical person who had no idea how or why a data host could screw him. Just keep nagging everyone you know to keep multiple backups of everything and to be wary of becoming dependent on specific online services for reaching friends, colleagues, customers, and audiences.
Even people smart to these issues still get suckered, too. For example, consider your "cloud storage". Just as susceptible to Dennis Cooper's experience, which in the coming years many of us will also enjoy. Read the rest
Today a future without schools. Instead of gathering students into a room and teaching them, everybody learns on their own time, on tablets and guided by artificial intelligence.
In this episode we talk to a computer scientist who developed an artificially intelligent TA, folks who build learning apps, and critics who wonder if all the promises being made are too good to be true. What do we gain when we let students choose their own paths? What do we lose when we get rid of schools?
Illustration by Matt Lubchansky.
Today we travel to a future full of spreadsheet approved lives. A future where everything we do is tracked and quantified: calories, air quality, sleep, heart rate, microbes, brain waves, finances, happiness, sadness, menstrual cycles, poops, hopes and dreams. Everything.
This episode is longer than our usual 20 minute jaunts to the future, because the future of quantified self is so huge. We cover everything from biased algorithms, to microbiomes (again), to the future of the calorie, and more.
Nathan Yau created an interactive visualization of Consumer Product Safety Commission data on emergency room visits spurred by product-related injuries. At the top are floor and stair injuries followed by various sports and bed injuries.
At the dawn of the 19th century, naturalist Alexander von Humboldt invented the "thematic map," pioneering infographics through the likes of maps annotated with zoological life, temperature, elevations, and other data meant to present an area's "physical phenomena into one image," according to this profile on Atlas Obscura.
Above, "a plate from Atlas of Alexander von Humboldt's Kosmos, illustrating the composition of the Earth's crust via color-coding."
Below, "a snowflake of clocks illustrates world time zones, with Dresden at the center. "
As Chicago's mayor/kingmaker/kingpin Rahm Emanuel grins at the chorus demanding his resignation for his role in covering up video showing that Chicago PD officers shot a man 16 times, lied about it, and confiscated and destroyed all the evidence they could find, the Five Thirty-Eight blog looks at the data on Chicago's dirtiest cops. Read the rest
No one's sure how the story of suicides increasing during holiday season got started (some researchers think it may have come from It's a Wonderful Life!), but it's not true. Read the rest
A new Pew report analyzing data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors finds that America's middle class has shrunk to the smallest share of the US population for the first time in four decades; while the share of national wealth owned by the middle class has dwindled and the share of wealth controlled by the rich has grown. The number of poor Americans has also grown, as middle class families slip into poverty. Read the rest
The lede and various details in The Best and Worst Places to Grow Up: How Your Area Compares, an article at the New York Times, are rewritten automatically based upon the reader's location.
It's not overly clever. Simple, compelling details are used to frame and contextualize a dry, fact-driven story, and it works very well.
News reports generated by computers from raw data are not new, but they tend to be obvious and a bit daft, like the ersatz commentary in sports video games. This Times piece is a high-quality example of code with an appropriate editorial voice. It needs careful planning and restraint and can't just be glued together from journalistic clichés and data.
(Redditors, however, have managed to trick it into writing some rather daft phrases.)