Motherboard: The Pentagon Has the Worst PowerPoint Slides You’ve Ever Seen. The Pentagon isn’t just America’s military brain—it’s also a vast bureaucracy filled with middle managers and that means it’s churning out lots of presentations. Bureaucratic presentations means PowerPoint, the universally loathed presentation software, and no one gives a [bleepy] PowerPoint quite like the US military. The Internet Archive—the site that catalogs the world’s digital detritus—has scooped up hundreds of publicly available military PowerPoints and preserved them for public consumption.” The original quote was not bleeped.
TWEAKS AND UPDATES
TechCrunch: Facebook’s plan to unite AR, VR and News Feed with 3D posts. “What if you could digitally sculpt a 3D object and share it on Facebook, play with it in virtual reality or insert it into your world with augmented reality? Facebook is polishing up stages one and two today after debuting posts of interactive 3D models in News Feed in October that you can move and spin around.”
YouTube: It’s time to turn up the music: Watch The BRITs LIVE with Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Stormzy, and Justin Timberlake on YouTube. “Do you remember the BRITs, where Ed Sheeran famously brought Stormzy out to perform, Adele showed us that she doesn’t like being rushed, and Ginger Spice unveiled her iconic Union Jack dress? It’s almost time for the action to begin again as the excitement of The BRIT Awards 2018 is almost upon us. What memorable pop culture moments will this year bring? We’re letting you in on all the fun as we’re streaming the BRITs right here live for the fifth year running. ”
From Amit Agarwal: Perform Text Analysis with IBM Watson and Google Docs. “Google, Microsoft, IBM and Amazon have made it easier for developers to add human cognitive capabilities (also known as artificial intelligence) within their own applications. You need not be a machine learning expert to build a computer program that can recognize objects in photographs, or one that transforms human speech to textor even a chatbot that converses with people in natural language.”
This is good! A walkthrough of the thought process that turns a pile of data into an information visualization. From Duke University Libraries: Can’t we just make a Venn diagram?. “When I’m teaching effective visualization principles, one of the most instructive processes is critiquing published visualizations and reviewing reworks done by professionals…. What we don’t usually get to see is the progression of an individual visualization throughout the design process, from data through rough drafts to final product. I thought it might be instructive to walk through an example from one of my recent consults. Some of the details have been changed because the work is unpublished and the jargon doesn’t help the story.”
AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD
Vanity Fair: “Just An Ass-Backward Tech Company”: How Twitter Lost The Internet War. “Del Harvey, Twitter’s resident troll hunter, has a fitting, if unusual, backstory for somebody in charge of policing one of the Internet’s most ungovernable platforms. As a teenager, she spent a summer as a lifeguard at a state mental institution; at 21, she began volunteering for Perverted Justice, a vigilante group that lures pedophiles into online chat rooms and exposes their identities. When the group partnered with NBC in 2004 to launch To Catch a Predator, Harvey posed as a child to help put pedophiles in jail. In 2008, she joined Twitter, then a small status-updating service whose 140-character quirk was based on the amount of alphanumerics that could be contained on a flip-phone screen. She was employee No. 25, and her job was to combat spam accounts.”
New York Times Magazine: The Case Against Google. “Google has succeeded where Genghis Khan, communism and Esperanto all failed: It dominates the globe. Though estimates vary by region, the company now accounts for an estimated 87 percent of online searches worldwide. It processes trillions of queries each year, which works out to at least 5.5 billion a day, 63,000 a second. So odds are good that sometime in the last week, or last hour, or last 10 minutes, you’ve used Google to answer a nagging question or to look up a minor fact, and barely paused to consider how near-magical it is that almost any bit of knowledge can be delivered to you faster than you can type the request. If you’re old enough to remember the internet before 1998, when Google was founded, you’ll recall what it was like when searching online involved AltaVista or Lycos and consistently delivered a healthy dose of spam or porn. (Pity the early web enthusiasts who innocently asked Jeeves about ‘amateurs’ or ‘steel.’)” It wasn’t quite that bad.
Hit 92.9: ACCC To Investigate Facebook And Google Following Privacy Concerns. “Do you know just how much personal information you’re handing over to Facebook and Google? You may be surprised, according to the ACCC. The consumer watchdog has been asked to look into whether the tech giants are collecting information in a transparent way.” The ACCC in this case is the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
RESEARCH & OPINION
My Sunshine Coast: ‘Doctor Google’ could help curb melanoma. “Scientists have found a surprising link between internet searches about melanoma and the number of officially confirmed cases. A team from the University of the Sunshine Coast, QUT and Cancer Council Queensland compared Queensland internet search data on Google with officially diagnosed cancers from the Queensland Council Registry.”
Politico: Facebook’s next project: American inequality. “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is quietly cracking open his company’s vast trove of user data for a study on economic inequality in the U.S. — the latest sign of his efforts to reckon with divisions in American society that the social network is accused of making worse.”
Phys .org: Researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected. “Studying data from Twitter, University of Illinois researchers found that less people tweet per capita from larger cities than in smaller ones, indicating an unexpected trend that has implications in understanding urban pace of life. They identified that while there are less people tweeting, there are a group of people who tweet prolifically. This suggests there is a concentrated core of more active users that may serve as information broadcasters for larger cities.”
OTHER THINGS I THINK ARE COOL
Cornell: Scientists, wildlife DJ, hip-hop archivists create ‘BeastBox’. “Musicians have long drawn inspiration from nature, but a new online game is taking that connection one step further. ‘Beastbox’ takes sound clips from real wild animals, transforms them into loops, and allows users to mix and match them into an endless variety of beats, breaks and drops. Along the way, players learn about the animals and the ecosystems they belong to.” Good morning, Internet…
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