A neural network has been taught how to judge your selfie. “Creator Andrej Karpathy, who previously worked with Google Research on its learning algorithm program DeepMind, fed the program with more than five million photos tagged #selfie before purging it down to around two million self-portraits worth using. The network was then programmed to determine whether or not a selfie was a good one by analyzing social signals such as likes and shares for the photo.” I think I’ve taken one selfie in my life and that was when I was a teenager. It was not called a selfie, then, however, it was called Tara being stupid with a camera.
The philosophical problems of our age: How do you, in compliance with Creative Commons, attribute a 3D-printed item? “For the original works that CC was primarily designed for, this attribution requirement was fairly straightforward…If you use a CC-licensed image in a blog post, put a credit below the image or at the end of the post. If you use a CC-licensed song as the soundtrack to your video, add the credit at the end. In most of the digital world, there is often plenty of space for attribution metadata. As is often the case, this relatively straightforward system gets a bit more complicated when it comes into the world of 3D printing. As long as we stay digital, adding attribution to a 3D file can be simple. Once that digital file becomes physical, attribution can get a lot harder.”
From PC Magazine Sustaining the 9/11 Digital Archive. “In a previous column on data visualizations I explored the formative role institutional machinery—tenure, university centers and institutes, and government grants and fellowships—plays in the production of digital projects. In this column, I consider the processes that sustain those projects. Using the case study of the September 11 Digital Archive, I want to suggest that treating digital projects as finished products presents three problems. First, it promotes an unreasonable estimation of the cost of digital projects; second, it devalues the labor required to maintain resources; and third, it elides the unique risks electronic materials face.”
Interesting: Using Google Street View to assess the engineering impact of natural disasters. “The research, published in the Institution of Civil Engineers’ (ICE) journal Civil Engineering, studied images taken before and after the 2011 Japan earthquake to assess the impacts on buildings from the devastating T?hoku tsunami, which hit the east coast of Honshu, Japan.”
Google is working on a system to determine whether someone in a car is a passenger or a driver. “The system detects if you’re a driver by your location in the vehicle and motion detection. If your smartwatch detects that you’re turning a steering wheel or shifting gears, it can disable certain distracting notifications. Keeping your eyes on the road instead of your watch. Android Auto is another way that Google is attempting to make gadgets safer on the road. When your phone is connected to Android Auto you can’t pick it up and try to use it while driving.”
Interesting article from The Scientist: an algorithm for discovering and studying negative citations. “During the course of their careers, many scientists criticize the work of others—pointing out flaws, inconsistencies, or contradictions—in the literature. This is part of scientific progress. A proof-of-concept study now describes a research tool for recognizing these so-called negative citations, making it possible to contextualize and study them on a larger scale than possible before.”
Looks like Google/Alphabet’s getting deeper into life science and biomedicine. “[Jessica] Mega’s decision to move in March to Google was one in a string of announcements by top-flight scientists and physicians who are enlisting in the mission, and pioneering a new type of career path in the process. Although academic researchers from fields such as computer science and engineering have led innovative Google projects (such as the Internet-connected eyewear known as Glass), Google and other technology companies are increasingly recruiting life scientists as Silicon Valley broadens its reach into health care.”
Mmkay. Apparenly using Snapchat makes you happier than using Facebook. “Snapchat interactions are associated with more positive emotions than Facebook and other social technologies, the researchers say. Simultaneously, Snapchat interactions are viewed as less ‘supportive’ than other types of interaction, including Twitter, texting, email, calling and face-to-face.”
Data wonks, you will love this breakdown of where Google’s searches are coming from. “Amit Singhal, Google’s head of search, let slip a couple of interesting statistics at the Re/Code conference – none more so than that more than half of all searches incoming to Google each month are from mobile. (That excludes tablets.) This averages out to less than one search per smartphone per day. We’ll see why in a bit.”
Google Glass is alive and well and being used a lot in industry and medicine. It might be able to help kids with autism. “For [Catalin] Voss, [Dennis] Wall, and their colleague Nick Haber, a graduate student in mathematics, the idea is that their Glass software will help autistic children recognize and understand facial expressions and, through them, emotions. It operates like a game or, as Voss calls it, an ‘interactive learning experience.’ Through the Google Glass eyewear, children are asked to, say, find someone who is happy; when they look at someone who is smiling, the app recognizes this and awards ‘points.’”
Because of Twitter, scientists can predict earthquakes in 29 seconds. “In 2014, the USGS was alerted to the earthquake in Napa, California in 29 seconds using Twitter data, the company said on its blog post. This data also allows the USGS to improve their own detection system and acts as a secondary check, so if a sensor detects an earthquake in a densely populated area but no-one is tweeting about it, then the USGS knows it’s a false alarm.”
Google Books may not be that great for research. “By not taking into account the relative popularity of texts, Google Books leaves itself open to disproportionate influence from less widely recognized sources. ‘It’s as if you’re giving every work in a library the same weight,’ [Peter] Dodds said. When an author publishes numerous books about a single character, for example, that character’s name may appear to be far more central to an era’s discourse than it actually was. Dodds pointed me to the example of Star Trek novelizations, which made names like Spock appear with improbable frequency. By contrast, Dodds noted, a long-standing best-seller like A Tale of Two Cities has trouble making a dent at all, even in eras when everyone was reading it.” I know that sometimes things evolve to different uses, but is this why Google Books was started in the first place?
Great read: Museums as 21st century databases. “It is important to remember that museums have always been databases. From the founding of the first museum, our goal has been to take items that are culturally significant and protect them, catalog them, research them, and love them. We treat our collections not as objects stored on a shelf, but rather as the physical embodiment of a vast repository of data describing our cultures and our histories. In this, museums were ahead of their time. As industry has grown around us, they have begun to realize the value of stored knowledge.”