I joined the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) well over 3 years ago with a very specific mission and mandate: to develop and deploy next generation humanitarian technologies. So I built the Institute’s Social Innovation Program from the ground up and recruited the majority of the full-time experts (scientists, engineers, research assistants, interns & project manager) who have become integral to the Program’s success.
To help citizens navigate their way towards informed choices amidst the flood of political messaging, we will be building on journalism partnerships to present digital library reference pages for political ads. Our journalism launch partners include Politifact, FactCheck.org and the Center for Public Integrity.
Below is a brilliant essay that shows how cartographic hallucinogenics can capture one’s Orientation and create an incestuously amplifying* decision cycle that disconnects a “policy” maker from real world. * Note to new readers: For an explanation of how “incestuous amplification” operates to disconnect a decision maker from the exigencies of the real world read my essay, Incestuous Amplification and the Madness of King George.
I was browsing LinkedIn a little while ago and I noticed the Data Science Central group. One of my contacts had shared something from it and the charter looked interesting, so I clicked ‘join’.
Data Science Central is the industry’s online resource for big data practitioners. From Analytics to Data Integration to Visualization, the Data Science Central approach is to provide a community experience that includes a robust editorial platform, social interaction, forum-based technical support, the latest in technology, tools and trends –and industry job opportunities.
This got me a notice that I’d have to sign up for DataScienceCentral‘s website. This isn’t that unusual, I got a similar pitch from Rapid7 a few days ago, and this led to fresh installs of Nessus and Metasploit, neither of which I’d touched in several years. Once I signed up for the site it wanted me to make a profile. I used to be really resistant to this sort of thing, but this is an undeniable trend in professional networking sites.
My profile URL included my account name, NealRauhauser, and it was very straightforward. I poked around for a few minutes and I found there are 21 members per page, 559 total pages, and the nearly 12,000 professional profile URLs are embedded in these pages. I opened a shell, wrote a little script, and if my math is right by around 21:30 eastern I will have them all, but at a fetch rate that won’t cause their server to melt down.
I’ll have to parse them and then decide what to do with the resulting URLs. I could feed them to OpenCalais or Alchemy via Maltego, but 12,000 at once would swamp those Named Entity Recognition services from the perspective of Maltego’s public transform servers, and probably overrun my computer’s memory in the process.
I did a trial run with the first seven featured members …
By Joe McKendrick | March 19, 2013, 4:00 AM PDT 0Comments
Businesses may be seeking to compete on analytics, but it’s often difficult for business decision-makers to get their heads around data.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Tom Davenport, visiting professor at Harvard University and co-author of the seminal work Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning, about the difficulties of converting to an analytics-driven culture. Davenport, who is also co-founder and research director of the International Institute for Analytics, and a senior advisor to Deloitte Analytics, is working on a new book, dicussing on how analytics need to be better communicated to business decision-makers. He shared some of the thinking behind his forthcoming work:
Q: BI and analytics vendors have been coming out with all sorts of graphic tools — dashboards, balanced scorecards and so on — for years. Do we need more than a nice splashy presentation on the tool to communicate analytics?
TD: We’ve all grown up on pie charts and bar charts or whatever, but there are probably at least tens, if not hundreds of alternative approaches to visual analytics. Narratives are a pretty good way to convey information in the past, so maybe we should be converting our data and analysis into stories. People are starting to do that more. Most analysts were unfortunately not trained in how you communicate effectively about analytics, so we’ve got a long way to go in terms of doing a better job of that.
Q: More and more data is flowing through enterprises. Is it a challenge to get C-level executives interested in turning this data into analytics?
TD: Not for all applications. Because increasingly people are feeding data into computers and the results go into another computer, and the decisions are getting more automated. Any time you have a human involved, it’s important to try to help them extricate the meaning of the data and analysis. And there a variety of ways to do that. Historically, we haven’t been too terribly good at it, the quantitative people among us.
This post is by Dr Katherine Firth who works in Academic Skills at the University of Melbourne, with a particular interest in research student literacies. Basically, Katherine is a Thesis Whisperer, like me. Unlike me, Katherine is still an active researcher in her field of 20th-century poetry. Over coffee Katherine told me about the ‘Cornell Method’ and kindly agreed to write a post. I found it enlightening, I hope you do too.
I take a lot of notes. Even when I was doing my PhD and I was taking thousands of pages of notes, I took them by hand. I tried using a computer, but there are so many things that are really hard to do on screen (drawing an arrow to make a connection between points, for example) that are really quick on paper. Also, you only need one hand to write notes, but two hands to type. And that free hand comes in useful for holding open books, grasping coffee cups, or stuffing your face with Gummi bears.
. . . . .
Firstly, the template gives you less space to write notes. You aren’t supposed to record everything you see, or even everything that is interesting. Having fewer lines to write notes encourages you to be selective—just to chose the quotes or paraphrases or details you expect to include in your thesis. It’s so liberating. And it’s so quick. In under an hour, I went from opening the book for the first time to producing the notes in Figure 2.
Secondly, the template gives you a bigger margin than in a usual ruled note book. This is where you put key words, identify themes, or recurrent patterns. This is great to helping you to analyse what you’re putting down, and to find the relevant quote when you go back to it. It also helps you to stay on track. You can check: ‘are my key words the same as the ones in my research question / thesis title?’
But thirdly, and most valuably, the template gives you a big space at the bottom to write sentences that summarise the page. That is, you start writing your critical response on the notes themselves.
We always have a map problem…I know you have known this for yrs and yrs and been the single voice in the map wilderness calling out….I wonder who got all those old Soviet maps after the fall…..we have never solved this problem…we just think we have. yes…No…?
As FEMA, firemen, police and the National Guard wade into the devastation visited upon us by Hurricane Sandy, many of them are using maps and other information made available to them by intelligence agencies.
While intelligence analysts and their technical specialists usually spend their time targeting bad guys and helping troops plan to get them, some of them have gotten the rare and welcome chance to help their own countrymen at home several times since Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans.
The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency provides most of the support to civil authorities during disasters. It takes photos, infrared and other data from satellites and airplanes and builds them into remarkably detailed and accurate maps.
Mindmapping is a very serious and well researched subject, or art … or something . Whatever it is a map of the mind is definately something to be valued and this ‘instructionalicious’ guide is no exception. Allow this infographic to simultaneously blow and map your mind.
Phi Beta Iota: Tens of billions of dollars are being spent on covert surveillance including the recording of all emails, telephone conversations, and other forms of exchange, but most of this is not being processed. Worse, it is not being processed toward making sense in the public interest. It is one thing to focus on the needle in the haystack threat warning. It is quite another to focus on harnessing the distributed intelligence of the public. That will be the next big leap for “national intelligence.”
Flash floods in Beijing have killed over 70 people and forced the evacuation of more than 50,000 after destroying over 8,000 homes and causing $1.6 billion in damages. In total, some 1.5 million people have been affected by the floods after Beijing recorded the heaviest rainfall the city has seen in more than 60 years.
The heavy rains began on July 21. Within hours, users of the Guokr.com social network launched a campaign to create a live crisis map of the flood’s impact using Google Maps. According to TechPresident, “the result was not only more accurate than the government output—it was available almost a day earlier. According to People’s Daily Online, these crowd-sourced maps were widely circulated on Weibo [China’s version of Twitter] the Monday and Tuesday after the flooding.” The crowdsourced, citizen-generated flood map of Beijing is available here and looks like this:
Before Gutenberg, a book cost about as much as a small house. As a result, only kings and bishops could afford to own a book of their own.
This naturally led to the creation of shared books, of libraries where scholars (everyone else was too busy not starving) could come to read books that they didn’t have to own. The library as warehouse for books worth sharing.
Only after that did we invent the librarian.
The librarian isn’t a clerk who happens to work at a library. A librarian is a data hound, a guide, a sherpa and a teacher. The librarian is the interface between reams of data and the untrained but motivated user.
After Gutenberg, books got a lot cheaper. More individuals built their own collections. At the same time, though, the number of titles exploded, and the demand for libraries did as well. We definitely needed a warehouse to store all this bounty, and more than ever we needed a librarian to help us find what we needed. The library is a house for the librarian.