Technology

Facebook is wrong, text is deathless

Text is surprisingly resilient. It's cheap, it's flexible, it's discreet. Human brains process it absurdly well considering there's nothing really built-in for it. Plenty of people can deal with text better than they can spoken language, whether as a matter of preference or necessity. And it's endlessly computable -- you can search it, code it. You can use text to make it do other things.
From Facebook is wrong, text is deathless

On Reading Issues of Wired from 1993 to 1995

In “Scenarios,” a special edition from 1995, the guest editor Douglas Coupland took it upon himself to compile a “reverse time capsule,” which he deemed “not a capsule directed to the future, but rather to the citizens of 1975.” What artifacts, he asked, “might surprise them most about the direction taken by the next 20 years?” Included in the capsule—alongside non-tech items such as a chunk of the Berlin Wall, Prozac, and a Japanese luxury sedan—were a laptop (“more power in your lap than MIT’s biggest mainframe”), an Apple MessagePad (“hand-held devices are replacing secretaries”), and a cellular phone. Scanning my apartment, I can spot progeny of all three. One suspects that, were we to engineer our own reverse time capsule today and ship it back to the citizens of 1995, they might not be all that surprised by the direction we’ve taken. They might think they’d seen this future already—in the pages of Wired.
From On Reading Issues of Wired from 1993 to 1995 - The New Yorker
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Robotic librarians hit the books in Singapore

This autonomous robotic shelf-scanning (AuRoSS) platform scans RFID tags on the books and produces a report. In the morning, the human librarians can check the results and can easily see which books are in the wrong spot and where they belong. There's still a need for human labor, but it's far less time-consuming than manually searching every shelf for misplaced titles.
From Robotic librarians hit the books
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How to print things

This page has two main purposes: To present a new method, the “Möbius method”, for printing and reading double-sided, loose-leaf documents. To collect and summarize concise explanations of the pros and cons of different methods for printing and reading loose-leaf documents, including single-sided, standard double-sided, and Möbius double-sided. (If you know of other methods, or have anything to add, please contact me!)
From How to print things | blog :: Brent -> [String]
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How Big Data Creates False Confidence

In the case of language and culture, big data showed up in a big way in 2011, when Google released its Ngrams tool. Announced with fanfare in the journal Science, Google Ngrams allowed users to search for short phrases in Google’s database of scanned books—about 4 percent of all books ever published!—and see how the frequency of those phrases has shifted over time. The paper’s authors heralded the advent of “culturomics,” the study of culture based on reams of data and, since then, Google Ngrams has been, well, largely an endless source of entertainment—but also a goldmine for linguists, psychologists, and sociologists. They’ve scoured its millions of books to show that, for instance, yes, Americans are becoming more individualistic; that we’re “forgetting our past faster with each passing year”; and that moral ideals are disappearing from our cultural consciousness.
From How Big Data Creates False Confidence - Facts So Romantic - Nautilus
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LITA ALA Annual Precon: Digital Privacy

Don’t miss these amazing speakers at this important LITA preconference to the ALA Annual 2016 conference in Orlando FL. Digital Privacy and Security: Keeping You And Your Library Safe and Secure In A Post-Snowden World Friday June 24, 2016, 1:00 – 4:00 pm Presenters: Blake Carver, LYRASIS and Jessamyn West, Library Technologist at Open Library
From LITA ALA Annual Precon: Digital Privacy – LITA Blog

Google BigQuery Public Datasets Includes GDELT HathiTrust and Internet Archive Book Data

Google BigQuery Public Datasets A public dataset is any dataset that is stored in BigQuery and made available to the general public. This page lists a special group of public datasets that Google BigQuery hosts for you to access and integrate into your applications. Google pays for the storage of these data sets and provides public access to the data via BigQuery. You pay only for the queries that you perform on the data (the first 1 TB per month is free, subject to query pricing details). It includes the GDELT HathiTrust and Internet Archive Book Data. This dataset contains 3.5 million digitized books stretching back two centuries, encompassing the complete English-language public domain collections of the Internet Archive (1.3M volumes) and HathiTrust (2.2 million volumes).
From Google BigQuery Public Datasets — Google Cloud Platform

When our culture’s past is lost in the cloud

We tend to think of memory as a purely mental phenomenon, something ethereal that goes on inside our minds. That’s a misperception. Scientists are discovering that our senses and even our emotions play important roles in recollection and remembrance. Memory seems to have emerged in animals as a way to navigate and make sense of the world, and the faculty remains tightly tied to the physical body and its material surroundings. Just taking a walk can help unlock memory’s archives, studies have shown.
From When our culture’s past is lost in the cloud - The Washington Post
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Japanese AI Writes Novel, Passes First Round for Literary Prize

A short-form novel “coauthored” by humans and an artificial intelligence (AI) program passed the first screening process for a domestic literary prize, it was announced on Monday. However, the book did not win the final prize.

Two teams submitted novels that were produced using AI. They held a press conference in Tokyo and made the announcement, which follows the recent victory of an AI program over a top Go player from South Korea. These achievements strongly suggest a dramatic improvement in AI capabilities.

http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002826970

Data Is a Toxic Asset

We can be smarter than this. We need to regulate what corporations can do with our data at every stage: collection, storage, use, resale and disposal. We can make corporate executives personally liable so they know there's a downside to taking chances. We can make the business models that involve massively surveilling people the less compelling ones, simply by making certain business practices illegal.

From Data Is a Toxic Asset - Schneier on Security

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