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Biweekly links for 12/18/2009

by Michael Nielsen on December 18, 2009
  • Shtetl-Optimized » Blog Archive » Hopefully my last D-Wave post ever
    • Scott, in full ironic mode, proposes a crowdsourcing project that could really take off: “Yes. I concede! D-Wave wins, and I hereby retire as skeptic. So the next time they announce something, there’s no need to ask me for my reaction. I’ll be too busy tending to my own project, codenamed ARGHH@home, which consists of banging my head against a brick wall.”
  • A guide to the day of big data : Nature
    • Review of “The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery”
  • Doron Zeilberger’s course on Experimental Mathematics
    • This looks very interesting, especially since Zeilberger has co-authored several short notes with his computer, Shalosh B. Ekhad; indeed, recently Shalosh has struck out on his or her (?) own, with a number of sole author publications.
  • Avatar and the camera
    • Nice short article explaining how the new cameras used to film Avatar extend the “cinematic language of the lens”.
  • The Great Beyond: Flu database row escalates
    • Remarkable wrangling over databases containing genetic information about influenza.
  • Amazon EC2 Spot Instances – And Now How Much Would You Pay?
    • Amazon has created a market in computing power. Questions to ponder: how would you improve the market?
  • Another Privacy Misstep from Facebook | Freedom to Tinker
    • “Viewed through this lens, Facebook’s business dilemma is clear. The company is sitting on an ever-growing treasure trove of information about users. Methods for monetizing this information are many and obvious, but virtually all of them require either telling users’ stories to third parties, or modifying users’ stories — steps that would break users’ mental model of Facebook, triggering more outrage.

      The challenge is finding a structure that allows the company to explore new business opportunities, while at the same time securing truly informed consent from the user community. Some kind of customer advisory board seems like an obvious approach. But how would the members be chosen? And how much information and power would they get? This isn’t easy to do. But the current approach isn’t working either. If your business is based on user buy-in to an online community, then you have to give that community some kind of voice — you have to make it a community that users want to inhabit.

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