Joho the BlogJanuary 2012 - Page 2 of 5 - Joho the Blog

January 25, 2012

States banning municipal wifi.

States are being pushed to pass legislation to prevent cities from offering municipal wifi, in order to preserve the current providers’ de facto monopolies. The latest are Georgia and South Carolina, because it would like be um terrible and, er, un-American to let localities experiment and maybe enter into private-public partnerships to speed more even distribution of Net access, or maybe even to view minimal Net access as some sort of public good or, well, do anything that doesn’t first of all maximize the profits of some large companies following a policy that has pushed America way down the global list of broadband access in terms of prices and speeds, because you know the Net is just used for porn and games and stuff and we have to PROTECT THE JOB CREATORS, yeah that’s it.


January 24, 2012

Digital humanities

Skip Walter’s post about his growing acceptance and understanding of the need for digital humanities hits on so many of my intellectual pleasure spots, starting with Russ Ackoff’s knowledge network, and including Kate Hayles and Cathy Davidson, and more and more. (Yes, he mentions “Too Big to Know” in passing, but that’s irrelevant to my reaction.)


[2b2k] Trails of Trust

Panagiotis Takis Metaxas (at the Berkman Center) and Eni Mustafaraj have written a paper called “trails of Trustworthiness in Real-Time Streams” [pdf] about how to support critical thinking about social networking conversations, while maintaining privacy. From the abstract:

When confronted with information that requires fast ac- tion, our system will enable its educated users to evaluate its provenance, its credibility and the independence of the multi- ple sources that may provide this information.

They say the only real hope is to solve the problem within closed streams that provide membership functions because there “it is possible to determine the a priori trustworthiness of a message received,” by evaluating the credibility of users on particular topics. They believe this can be done by watching the actions of users. For example, “In general, the more often a user re-posts messages from a sender, the more trusted the sender becomes.” And: “A message that has been sent by different, independent users has more trustworthiness than one that has been initiated by a single user.”

There’s much more in their paper…

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[2b2k] An exabyte of genomics data

From a post by Derrick Harris at GigaOm:

A fully sequenced human genome results in about 100GB of raw data, although DNAnexus Founder and CEO Andreas Sundquist told me that volume increases to about 1TB by the time the genome has been analyzed. He also says we’re on pace to have 1 million genomes sequenced within the next two years. If that holds true, there will be approximately 1 million terabytes (or 1,000 petabytes, or 1 exabyte) of genome data floating around by 2014.

Why, that’s more than the number of books in the Library of Congress times miles to the moon plus the length of all football fields laid end to end!


January 23, 2012

[2b2k] Me on the radio

Here’s a 20 minute interview on KUOW in Seattle from last week. We talk about networked knowledge, science, echo chambers, long form thinking, and the irresoluteness of experts.

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January 22, 2012

[2b2k][eim] Needlebase going? Nooo! We need le base!

Google has announced that it is retiring Needlebase, a service it acquired with its ITA purchase. That’s too bad! Needlebase is a very cool tool. (It’s staying up until June 1 so you can download any work you’ve done there.)

Needlebase is a browser-based tool that creates a merged, cleaned, de-duped database from databases. Then you can create a variety of user-happy outputs. There are some examples here.

Google says it’s evaluating whether Needlebase can be threaded into its other offerings.


January 19, 2012

Four messages from the dark

The black that covered so many sites yesterday spoke well. I think there were four messages.

First, This is our Internet. We built it. We built it for us, not for you. We get to turn off the lights, not you.

Second, we are better custodians of culture than are culture’s merchants because we understand that culture is what we have in common. We feel pain every time something is held back from this Commons.

Third, just as we can make someone famous rather than having to passively accept the celebrities you foist upon us, we can make an idea politically potent. Going dark was the self-assertion with which political engagement begins.

Fourth, there’s a growing “we” on the Internet. It is not as inclusive as we think, it’s far more diverse than we imagine, and it’s far less egalitarian than we should demand. But so was the “we” in “We the People.” The individual acts of darkness are the start of the We we need to nurture.


January 17, 2012

[2b2k] West Coast book tour this week

I am doing by dangdest to overcome my reluctance to directly self-promote myself (although I seem to be fine with indirect self-promotion), so here’s my list of public stops over the next few days on the West Coast:

Today: Seattle Town Hall, 7:30pm

Thursday: 1pm: Corte Madera, Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd
7pm: Mountain View, Books Inc., 301 Castro Street

I also have some media and corporate stops.

See you there, I hope.


Elmore Leonard and Morgan Freeman

Meredith Sue Willis, novelist and teacher (and my sister-in-law), has a hunch about a “newish” Elmore Leonard novel:

I have a theory that Elmore Leonard came up with the idea for DJIBOUTI from a combination of headlines (piracy off the coast of east Africa) and a interview in which movie actor Morgan Freeman complained that he gets lots of work, but never gets to have sex in his movies. He has played Nelson Mandela, the corner man in MILLION DOLLAR BABY, not to mention God a couple of times- -all pretty much asexual. So my little scenario is that Leonard, who always has his eye on the movies, wrote the character of seventy-ish Xavier in DJIBOUTI for Freeman. Just a thought.



Stephen Colbert on running for president, exploratory committees with actual members, and free speechiness

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