Researchers Use Instagram Data to Predict Next Top Model

Indiana University Bloomington is using Instagram to make predictions about the next top model. Fashion model. Not train model or anything like that. “Researchers at Indiana University have predicted the popularity of new faces to the world of modeling with over 80 percent accuracy using advanced computational methods and data from Instagram. To conduct their analysis, IU scientists gathered statistics on 400 fashion models from the Fashion Model Directory, a major database of professional female fashion models, tracking hair and eye color; height; hip, waist, dress and shoes size; modeling agency; and runways walked.”

How Americans Use Twitter for News

The Knight Foundation did some research into how Americans use Twitter for news. “In order to better understand how Americans are engaging with news on Twitter, we built a small but representative sample of 176 Twitter users from an earlier national survey of 3,212 Americans conducted by Pew Research Center in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. We then analyzed the Twitter activity of these users, with their explicit permission.”

Google Training AI to Detect Pedestrians

It’s not as entertaining as Deep Dream, but Google is training its AI to detect pedestrians. Quickly. “We present a new real-time approach to object detection that exploits the efficiency of cascade classifiers with the accuracy of deep neural networks. Deep networks have been shown to excel at classification tasks, and their ability to operate on raw pixel input without the need to design special features is very appealing. However, deep nets are notoriously slow at inference time. In this paper, we propose an approach that cascades deep nets and fast features, that is both extremely fast and extremely accurate.”

Nature Publishes Survey Results on Open Access Publishing

Nature has published the results of a survey on open access publishing. “A survey of 22,000 academic researchers by Nature Publishing Group (NPG) and Palgrave Macmillan has found that a decreasing number of authors are concerned about perceptions of the quality of open access publications. In 2014, 40% of scientists who had not published open access in the last three years said ‘I am concerned about perceptions of the quality of OA publications.’ But this year, only 27% said they were concerned. In the humanities, business and social sciences (HSS), the drop was more marked; from 54% in 2014 to 41% in 2015. Nonetheless, concerns about perceptions of the quality of OA publications is still the leading factor in authors choosing not to publish OA.”

Using Google Glass for Toxicology Consults

Google Glass, Medical: using Google Glass for toxicology consults. “In the study, emergency medicine residents at UMass Memorial Medical Center performed 18 toxicology consults with Google Glass. ER physicians wearing Google Glass evaluated the patients at bedside while a secure video feed was sent to the toxicology supervising consultant. The supervising consultant then guided the resident through text messages displayed on the Glass. Consultants also obtained static photos of medication bottles, electrocardiograms (EKG) and other pertinent information at the discretion of the supervisor. This was done in addition to the standard verbal consult available to residents. Consulting toxicologists reported being more confident in diagnosing poisonings using Google Glass. Additional data collected showed that the use of Google Glass also changed management of patient care in more than half of the cases seen. Specifically, six of those patients received antidotes they otherwise would not have. Overall, 89 percent of the cases […]

How We Laugh on Facebook

Facebook has done some research on how we express laughter on the social network. “It transpires that 15 percent of people expressed some form of written laughter in a comment or original post during the last week of May. And while your specific friend-demographics will dictate what you see most often, Facebook’s numbers reveal that ‘haha’ is, on average, the most common expression of mirth, by a majority of 51.4 percent. “

Do Facebook Likes Predict the Impact of Scientific Research?

Do Facebook likes predict the impact of scientific research? “Due to the increasing amount of scientific work and the typical delays in publication, promptly assessing the impact of scholarly work is a huge challenge. To meet this challenge, one solution may be to create and discover innovative indicators. The goal of this paper is to investigate whether Facebook likes for unpublished manuscripts that are uploaded to the Internet could be used as an early indicator of the future impact of the scientific work. To address our research question, we compared Facebook likes for manuscripts uploaded to the Harvard Business School website (Study 1) and the bioRxiv website (Study 2) with traditional impact indicators (journal article citations, Impact Factor, Immediacy Index) for those manuscripts that have been published as a journal article.” The whole paper is available at the link.

Do Search Engine Rankings Influence How People Will Vote?

Do Internet search engines influence elections? Holy cow, this just gets scarier and scarier. “In a third experiment, the team tested its hypothesis in a real, ongoing election: the 2014 general election in India. After recruiting a sample of 2150 undecided Indian voters, the researchers repeated the original experiment, replacing the Australian candidates with the three Indian politicians who were actually running at the time. The results of the real world trial were slightly less dramatic—an outcome that researchers attribute to voters’ higher familiarity with the candidates. But merely changing which candidate appeared higher in the results still increased the number of undecided Indian voters who would vote for that candidate by 12% or more compared with controls. And once again, awareness of the manipulation enhanced the effect.” You do not want to hear my rant on ballot access. But man oh man, do I have a rant on ballot […]

Most Popular Programming Languages of 2015

ProgrammableWeb: The most popular programming languages of 2015. “The Top 10 ranking was calculated with help from computational journalist Nick Diakopoulos. The system was based on weighting and the combination of 12 metrics from 10 data sources, including the IEEE Xplore digital library, GitHub, and CareerBuilder, to determine the popularity of languages from an initial list of 48.” R was #6!

Yes, There Is Google+ Love Out There

In the interest of fairness, Some Google+ love. “None of my real-life friends use it, and my grandma definitely doesn’t share any memes there. In fact, a lot of my online friends don’t have Google+ accounts, and those that do don’t use use them. Who says Google+ has to be Facebook, though? There is a select group of people that I follow — about 1,000, actually — that use Google+ every single day. I interact with dozens of posts every day, I share a fair number of my own, and I’ve met some amazing people.” Better hope there are a lot of amazing people out there, or Google will cut your service off at the knees (COUGH Google Reader COUGH).

Opinion: Google Should Buy Twitter

More opinion: Google should buy Twitter. I’m kind of ambivalent about Google buying Twitter, but I would a thousand times more want Google to buy Twitter than Apple. Apple would ruin it. Here’s a weird one: what if Amazon bought Twitter and put it under the same operational aegis as the Washington Post?

Josh Bernoff: Making Twitter Relevant

From Josh Bernoff: Making Twitter relevant. If you’re into Twitter speculation, as I am, this is a fun article. “Whoever runs Twitter must face the same problem: Twitter isn’t relevant. It’s no fun to read, and nobody clicks. This is the root of both the user problem and the advertising revenue problem. So I set out to answer one question: what would get people to participate in Twitter? I would like to optimize the three things that make Facebook so successful and engaging: Conversations, sharing, and click-throughs to Web content.” (And making nice with third-party developers so you can have plenty of tools to do all of the above.)