Robots run amok

Interesting story of the life webcast of the Hugo Awards being blocked by copyright enforcement bots. Short version: the live webcast included clips of the television episodes up for best script (as award ceremonies do) and UStream’s bots for detecting copyrighted work spotted it and blocked the entire rest of the broadcast. The article points out that not only is that fair use but, the clips were provided by the copyright holders who were happy the content was being promoted as award winning. The whole thing is reminiscent of NASA’s footage of the Curiosity landing being removed from NASA’s YouTube … Continue reading Robots run amok

Not so fast, Google…

Interesting to see that in light of concerns, Yale has delayed their switch to Gmail to allow additional conversation. The article from the Yale Daily News brings up some interesting points I hadn’t thought of about outsourcing academic email to Google, including the fact that much student data might then be stored in servers overseas, and apparently Google will not disclose specifically which countries students’ email might end up stored in (and thus, which country’s laws may govern access to students’ email).

Barbara Liskov Rules!

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, wherein we are encouraged to weblog about the work done by women in the sciences! If you don’t know much about Ada Lovelace, this video, albeit for kids, about Ada’s life and accomplishments is a decent short biography. Or, you know, try Wikipedia ;) Why do people still care? Because the Bayer Facts of Science Education survey out this month of women and underrepresented minorities in the sciences (particularly chemistry fields) says that 66% felt that stereotypes that women and/or minorities do not do math and science contribute to their underrepresentation. School science classes was … Continue reading Barbara Liskov Rules!

Never admit you like Star Wars

I really enjoyed this article about how little information is needed to personally identify you. The answer is, a lot less than you might think, and using more benign information than you might imagine. 1990 census data showed that 87% of people in the US could be identified based on their zip code, gender and date of birth. I found their results on movie preferences even more interesting: “Knowing just a little about a subscriber–say, six to eight movie preferences, the type of thing you might post on a social-networking site–the researchers found that they could pick out your anonymous … Continue reading Never admit you like Star Wars

The Megastore killed the Traveliing Salesman

I spent a fair bit of time not only reading the content of this weblog post applying Traveling Salesman to the transportation of produce, but also the extensive comments. The idea is that one hears people say that locally grown produce has less of an environmental impact, but when you consider the transportation of food for all people, you probably ought to be minimizing the fuel spent across the entire community, which may not be the same as minimizing the fuel spent to get food to a single individual. Essentially – that distribution centers add fuel efficiency. I think it … Continue reading The Megastore killed the Traveliing Salesman

My Body My Data

Medical databases are one of the huge trends in IT right now, and there are a lot of people looking at how to make national, integrated personal medical information databases a reality. There are also a lot of people looking at the special requirements for accuracy and privacy when building such databases. I like this person’s comments, from a patient’s perspective, on the importance of sharing ownership of the records with the patient. The comments were triggered by someone commenting that they signed up for Google Health and found it to be a combination of inaccurate and with troubling omissions … Continue reading My Body My Data

But can I trade my morning coffee for a dinner glass of wine?

I find this visualization of how the choices we make can reduce water consumption odd, if not downright problematic in places. The graphic seems to be an odd mix of “here are some things that you might do” with a tinge of “here is your complete usage in a day” – if it was the former, why would they include flushing the toilet and washing your hands twice. But if it is the later, well, they are suggesting you need only do those things twice in an entire day – this seems improbable and/or unhygienic. But it is the assessment … Continue reading But can I trade my morning coffee for a dinner glass of wine?

Rise of the Machines

Before the election falls entirely out of memory, I wanted to note this interview with Dr. Barbara Simons of the Advisory Board of the Federal Election Assistance Commission about how eVoting went this election cycle. You get a nice summary of the role of the advisory board and the efforts underway to try to ensure reliable voting. Perhaps the most interesting quote was with respect to the composition of the advisory board: I was appointed by Senator Harry Reid to one of the four seats on the Election Assistance – on the Board of Advisors which are designated for technologists. … Continue reading Rise of the Machines

So much fun I might start doing the off years

As promised, I spent part of Tuesday wandering around my local area taking some photos documenting the election. I’ve put together a representative sample in this year’s election photo collection. It was interesting to note that while I went to many of the same places that I did in 2004, I came across fewer demonstrations or evidence of particular political stances this time around, besides the expected yard signs. The sentiment out there was more one of “make sure you vote”.

But what if it starts swinging independent?

I somehow have the feeling the internet is going to be rife with election-related fun today. I won’t have time for a good websurf until later because I’m trying to get to the polls to vote before class, but this caught my eye: string red and blue lights up around your house for your election party and use this python script to scape CNN’s election results and indicate how the election is trending to change which lights are on so your lightly reflects the trending of the election. Your house will start out purple and end up…. well, slightly less … Continue reading But what if it starts swinging independent?