Tweeting About Bad Weather Might Help Your Commute

Winter is coming. And Twitter might be able to make the commute easier. “Go ahead, rant about the snow on Twitter. It can ease traffic on slippery, congested roads. That’s the crux of a University at Buffalo study which examined how weather-related tweets can be analyzed to bolster computer models that, among other things, recommend safe driving speeds and which roads motorists should avoid during inclement weather.”

Marissa Mayer Pile-On Continues at the NYT

The Marissa Mayer pile-on continues, now at the New York Times. “The larger story of Ms. Mayer’s tenure at Yahoo is one of a transformation so modest it borders on stasis. Over all, Yahoo remains much the same business it was three years ago. It is a far-flung collection of news, entertainment and communications destinations supported by ads. Ms. Mayer was hired to build something novel. Instead, at best, she appears to be building a better Yahoo — with debatable results.”

Mayan Language and Creative Commons

Great find on Academia.edu: The “Open Science” Strategy of the Project “Text Database and Dictionary of Classic Mayan”. “The following article presents and explains the publication and knowledge transfer strategy of the research project Text Database and Dictionary of Classic Mayan. The project’s goal is to make accessible in a database the epigraphic contents and object biographies of all extant hieroglyphic texts with the aid of digital technology. On the basis of resultant object and text database, a comprehensive dictionary of the Classic Mayan language will be compiled near the end of the project run-time.” There is also a conference poster available.

South China Morning Post: “China must unblock Google Scholar”

From the South China Morning Post: China must unblock Google Scholar and keep the internet open for its researchers . “It is no secret that Beijing and Google are not the best of friends, which is why it has a diminished presence in China. Of course, it is not the only victim of the Great Firewall. Wikipedia, YouTube and a host of other Western media sites are also blocked. However, Google Scholar is a benign site. The vast majority of links it generates are to scientific articles, such as medical studies. It appears to generate little if any revenue, so blocking it does not hurt Google’s bottom line. The most it appears to do for Google is create goodwill towards its brand.” Thanks to Aaron Tay for the heads-up.

Google Looks for Popular Thanksgiving Recipes

Theoretically Google did some research and came up for the most “searched-for” Thanksgiving recipe for each state (Leaving out obvious stuff like turkey and looking for recipes unique to each state.) I say “theoretically” because North Carolina’s is “pig-pickin’ cake,” which just seems out there. My guess for NC would have been something like Japanese fruit pie (which I had for dessert tonight, and it was so rich I couldn’t finish one piece!) You can read more about Japanese fruit pie here.

Researchers Working on a Way for Disabled People to Control Google Glass

Researchers are working on a way for disabled people to control Google Glass. “The silent speech system makes use of a magnetic tongue-control system similar to that previously used by paralysed patients to control wheelchairs, as well as ear pieces that use infrared light to map how the shape of the ear canal changes when a person utters a particular word, as each word in the English vocabulary manipulates the ear canal in a different way.”

How Reddit Talks

I love studies which focus on language. How Reddit talks. “To get a sense of the language used on Reddit, we parsed every comment from late 2007 through August 2015 and built the tool above, which enables you to search for a word or phrase to see how its popularity has changed over time.”

Research: Twitter is a Useful Big Data Firehose

Research: Twitter is a useful data firehose. “…scientists are finding that Twitter data—especially when combined with other real-time data streams like environmental sensors or data from fitness apps—also have the potential to provide early warnings about chronic disease, emergencies, adverse drug reactions, or even safety problems like prescription drug misuse.”

Researchers Discover Patterns In How Researchers Lie About Their Data

Interesting: Stanford researchers have discovered patterns in the way researchers lie about their data. “Even the best poker players have ‘tells’ that give away when they’re bluffing with a weak hand. Scientists who commit fraud have similar, but even more subtle, tells, and a pair of Stanford researchers have cracked the writing patterns of scientists who attempt to pass along falsified data.”

Analyzing the Images of Political Campaigns

Interesting work from Fusion: analyzing the images of political campaigns. “The Political Image Machine is our attempt to capture and classify this visual pageantry as it unfolds across the internet. The machine methodically captures every image—almost 70,000 at this writing—posted by every Republican and Democratic presidential candidate on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”

Twitter As Pyramid Scheme

From The Guardian: Twitter is teetering because it has turned into one big pyramid scheme. “So you’re being followed by 2,000 or 20,000 people – now what? Experience teaches me that genuinely tending to the tweets of more than 200 people becomes impractical (and unenjoyable) unless you treat it as part of your profession. What this implies is a law of diminishing returns, with everyone sending out tweets few people have the time or energy to read or act upon. Essentially, Twitter, like the economy it is part of, is eating itself: it has become a social pyramid scheme whose enormous strengths are undermined by its own – our own – market-derived metrics, which tell us nothing about the quality of the experience.”