195 posts tagged with information.
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The Complexity of a Controversial Concept

The Logic of Diversity "A new book, The Wisdom of Crowds [..:] by The New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki, has recently popularized the idea that groups can, in some ways, be smarter than their members, which is superficially similar to Page's results. While Surowiecki gives many examples of what one might call collective cognition, where groups out-perform isolated individuals, he really has only one explanation for this phenomenon, based on one of his examples: jelly beans [...] averaging together many independent, unbiased guesses gives a result that is probably closer to the truth than any one guess. While true — it's the central limit theorem of statistics — it's far from being the only way in which diversity can be beneficial in problem solving." (Three-Toed Sloth)
posted by kliuless on Jun 20, 2005 - 6 comments

Animating Wikipedia Histories

Waxy's contest to design an interface for animating wikipedia histories has already borne fruit.
posted by Tlogmer on Jun 16, 2005 - 4 comments

I'll stick to AskMe, thanks.

AskGod.com Forget Jeeves. For $25 a month, you can soon call a googling "angel" from your mobile phone with questions. According to the press release (pdf): "Soon, with the coming of Ask God, the prayers of all the data-starved will be answered and the prophecy of information on-demand will be fulfilled." In a country caught in the grips of religious mania, is this smart marketing or tone deaf? And with the web increasingly on our phones already, who's going to pay for this?
posted by CunningLinguist on May 27, 2005 - 87 comments

Thinking machine

Play chess against the computer & Watch it think.
posted by growabrain on Apr 28, 2005 - 25 comments


This is good From RLG, an international not-for-profit organization of libraries, museums, and other research institutions, comes this incredibly useful research tool. Start with as vague a query as you like, it'll provide an ordered list of search limiters to help you zero in on the resources you need in a far more organic and rapid fashion than similar tools I've seen. An invaluable resource for students, librarians, and the curious.
posted by Grod on Apr 27, 2005 - 10 comments

We are winning the war on Terror? Not.

Don't like what the annual report on International Terrorist activity says? Just kill it--forever (never mind that the law requires it) -- The State Department decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered. ... other current and former officials charged that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's office ordered "Patterns of Global Terrorism" eliminated several weeks ago because the 2004 statistics raised disturbing questions about the Bush's administration's frequent claims of progress in the war against terrorism. "Instead of dealing with the facts and dealing with them in an intelligent fashion, they try to hide their facts from the American public," ...

(Previous post on their lying report on 2003's incidents here)
posted by amberglow on Apr 16, 2005 - 64 comments

Open Source Yoga

Copyright a yoga move? If yoga has been around for 5,000 years, can a 21st century businessman claim to own a piece of it? Bikram Choudhury says yes. The Beverly Hills yoga mogul, who popularized his style of yoga and then franchised a chain of studios bearing his name, has long rankled traditionalists, who dislike his tough business tactics and brash outspokenness. Now Choudhury is facing a challenge in a San Francisco courtroom, where a federal judge is hearing arguments in a lawsuit that some legal experts say could define a new frontier in intellectual property. At issue: Can Choudhury take a sequence of two breathing exercises and 26 yoga poses from an ancient Indian practice, copyright it and control how it is practiced? The Open Source Yoga Unity people say he can't. More inside.
posted by matteo on Mar 21, 2005 - 89 comments

Sorry Mr. Roger Black, but we like colours.

Colour Rules of Thumb is a simple yet effective guide to the non black, white and red world. [via 43 Folders]
posted by riffola on Feb 16, 2005 - 13 comments

This Quantitative Information, it vibrates?

A chapter from Edward Tufte's upcoming book is online. [link contains roughly 2.2 MB of scanned images] Tufte, discussed here previously and author of what could be called the Strunk and White for scientists, statisticians, producers and consumers of visual information, takes a stab at a few issues right up the average MeFite's alley: the 9/11 commission report, fraudulent medical studies, and the rather dubious quantitative work of this unfortunate economist/art historian. For the ShillFilter suspicious, check out some of the great threads that haunt his site.
posted by fatllama on Jan 15, 2005 - 24 comments

Reading rainbow?

There is nothing wrong in this whole wide world. Artist Chris Cobb convinced Adobe Bookshop in San Francisco to allow him to reclassify 20,000 books based solely on their color. The result is like something out of a dream. Here are some pictures, and here's an interview with him.
posted by O9scar on Nov 16, 2004 - 39 comments

Information Salvation

It would seem that black holes may not lose information after all, in which case Stephen Hawking has lost another bet.
posted by Songdog on Jul 16, 2004 - 24 comments

Don't worry your pretty little head about it.

White House "disappears" women's info. The Bush administration has quietly removed 25 reports from its Women's Bureau Web site, deleting or distorting crucial information on issues from pay equity to reproductive healthcare. There's a long article about it over at Salon, behind the premium wall.
posted by dejah420 on Apr 28, 2004 - 16 comments

The memespread project

The memespread project. How does a meme spread? What part does MetaFilter play in the process? [via waxy.org]
posted by cbrody on Apr 8, 2004 - 13 comments

what are your bits worth?

How much is your personal information worth?
personal data toolkit [ via newstoday ]
posted by specialk420 on Feb 5, 2004 - 13 comments

Is media reform a pipe dream?

Is media reform a pipe dream? Schechter: "One email I received recently asked: "What do we do when our TV and newspapers tell us lies but insist we should regard this information as truth? What do we do when the vast majority of people in our society accepts these lies as truths and ridicule us when we call these statements lies?""
posted by skallas on Jan 2, 2004 - 48 comments

Hi Kofi

Hi Kofi. Diplomats from 191 countries meet this week in Geneva for the three-day United Nations World Summit on the Information Society. It's the occasion for The Helloworld Project to project thousands of 500-foot-high laser-light SMS messages onto the Geneva fountain. Internet users everywhere can post billboard thoughts almost instantly onto the fountain -- or onto the northern façade of New York's U.N. building, the face of a mountain in Rio de Janeiro or the front of a Bombay skyscraper.
posted by the fire you left me on Dec 8, 2003 - 15 comments

Disney respect

newspeak from disney: we at the Walt Disney Internet Group are dedicated to protecting your privacy and handling any personal information we obtain from you with care and respect. How is your personally identifiable information used and shared? The Walt Disney Family of Companies may use your personally identifiable information in many ways, including sending you promotional materials, and sharing your information with third parties so that these third parties can send you promotional materials. [...]As another example of Operational Uses, we may share your personal information with the Walt Disney World © Resort telephone reservations center [...] The Walt Disney Family of Companies may share your personal information with companies that offer products and/or services under brand names of The Walt Disney Family of Companies. [...] use of personal information shared with them under this Privacy Policy is subject to the same opt-out rights (and limitations upon those rights)
posted by Tryptophan-5ht on Nov 16, 2003 - 9 comments

All your IP belong to us

An attempt by developing countries to put management of the Internet under United Nations auspices is likely to be shelved at next month's world information summit in Geneva - but the issue is now firmly on the international agenda.
posted by Mick on Nov 10, 2003 - 14 comments

Personal information being sent abroad

We need an "Information Technology Disclosure Act." The Programmer's Guild is pushing for the creation of legislation to require companies which outsource abroad to tell consumers when their sensitive personal information is being sent to companies in other countries. This aspect of outsourcing has gotten little attention, but the SF Chronicle's David Lazarus has reported on it being done by hospitals (like UCSF, which is being threatened over back pay by a transcriber in Pakistan), accountants, banks (BofA), telecom companies (SBC), and perhaps most alarmingly, two of the three major credit-reporting agencies.
posted by homunculus on Nov 9, 2003 - 24 comments


Watch the watchers. Government Information Awareness:A single, comprehensive, easy-to-use repository of information on individuals, organizations, and corporations related to the government of the United States of America.
posted by srboisvert on Jul 4, 2003 - 5 comments

Mapping the captive globe

Mapping the captive globe (.pdf heavy) (via Metamute)
posted by none on Mar 16, 2003 - 4 comments

Ambient Information

Ambient Information (NYT reg. required) Ambient information can be defined as material objects, such as computers, watches or furniture, which interact with digital information and react in certain ways such as sound, color, or light. Apple has filed an intriguing patent for a computer that could change color when you get an e-mail, for example. So, is this concept the next “new thing” or the next pet rock?
posted by jeremias on Jan 13, 2003 - 15 comments

Do the Terrorists Care about Teenage Smoking?

Information deemed useful to terrorists is disappearing from government Web sites. I know this is old news, but this article details some of the specifics of whas has been happening. "The previous presumption, that publicly-funded information is the rightful property of the public until proven otherwise, has been replaced by the presumption that the public has to prove to a suspicious government that it deserves the information." I understand that as a nation we are hypersensitive now to terrorism, but isn't this just what the terrorists want? The loss of our freedoms to information?
posted by archimago on Dec 19, 2002 - 14 comments

HIV/AIDS information portal in OK

CHAIN: Oklahoma's Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Information Network. A prototype web portal, designed to provide one-stop access to AIDS information for a state with a lower HIV infection rate. Funded by the National Library of Medicine. The concept is that people in small towns or rural areas can access information and contacts without leaving home. Web designers and MetaFiltrans - does the concept work? Seen anything similar in your community?
posted by sheauga on Dec 1, 2002 - 0 comments

Continuing Oissubke's trip around the world, I bring you Liechtenstein: Where Democracy and Monarchy Harmonize! (More inside...)
posted by oissubke on Oct 22, 2002 - 12 comments

Information gods amongst mortals

Information gods amongst mortals is the first in a series of three blog entries (so far, anyway) by Brad Wardell on the topic of the growing knowledge gap between the net-savvy and the non-wired. I found the link in a newsletter from WinCustomize today. They plugged all three:
  1. Information gods amongst mortals
  2. The Information Gods respond
  3. Information Gods Srike Back
He explores the theory that those who are net savvy are quickly leaping ahead of the non-wired among us: "You know the situation. Someone has told you something you want to know more about and within a few minutes you have gotten yourself up to speed on it. You did it through the use of the Internet. A combination of search engines and helpful websites have educated you on that topic."
posted by tbc on Sep 27, 2002 - 12 comments

Paging Winston Smith...

Paging Winston Smith... Not content with mere cynical doublespeak, the Bush Administration is now trying to shape government reports and research to agree with the President's beliefs: an EPA report omits a section on global warming for the first time in six years; the Department of Health and Human Services is being "restructured," eliminating committees that were coming to conclusions at odds with the president's views; and at the Department of Education, old studies that contradict the current administration's policies are being removed from the agency's web site. When you add this trend to the administration's "permanent war," I suspect George Orwell is smiling somewhere...
posted by mattpusateri on Sep 18, 2002 - 42 comments

It is not a crime to look at bomb-making websites...

It is not a crime to look at bomb-making websites... or so says Lieutenant Jason Ciaschini, police spokesman in Punta Gorda, where a Briton who was using a computer to look at bomb-making websites is now being held at Charlotte County Jail on immigration violations.
Florida police had evacuated the library and arrested him after he looked at bomb-making websites, and found suspicious liquids in his backpack.
"Looking up stuff on the Internet - everybody has freedom to do that," he also said.
posted by Blake on Jul 30, 2002 - 6 comments

Sign up to fight the filters.

Sign up to fight the filters. As filters get piled upon filters it gets difficult to tell whether the document requests fail due to technical problems or due to active denial. These folk are developing a distributed application which will use idle cycles to map out the boundaries of filter space and help fight the cantonization of the Net.
posted by srboisvert on Jul 24, 2002 - 4 comments

The Glossarist is "a searchable directory of glossaries and topical dictionaries." Obvious enough. Topic areas are arranged in a Yahoo-like structure.
Now, go find out what all those obscure technical terms you've been wondering about mean.
posted by Su on Jun 2, 2002 - 5 comments

We Knew?

We Knew? Apparently, the US government was informed in 1995 by Filipino authorities that there were terrorist agents in the US training to crash planes into buildings. I head a blurb about this on the radio and had to dig to find the article... is this something else that is just going to be swept under the rug?
posted by darian on Mar 6, 2002 - 15 comments

The People's Bureau for Consumer Information

The People's Bureau for Consumer Information has been a long time coming (The Designer's Republic have been trailing it to those in the know for over 2 years). Yesterday, it finally went live. tDR's work may or may not be your bag (I'm about 50/50) but the way they have set this site up is amazing - everything even the secure purchasing is done with a very uniquely styled Flash frontend.. It's worth going just to play with it.
posted by jackiemcghee on Feb 15, 2002 - 34 comments

"The Right to Read." A short story from Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation. What *could* happen to education, innovation, and intellectual freedom if all information becomes property.
posted by sheauga on Feb 4, 2002 - 8 comments

"The Web, left to its own devices, would be the exact opposite of that: It's like a giant city with no neighborhoods; it needs these kind of meta-filters, these second-level kind of things, whether it is Yahoo or Google or Slashdot, to rein in that chaos and turn it to something more organized." From the second page of an interview with the author of Emergence, Steven Johnson (also co-founder of Feed).
posted by adrianhon on Nov 28, 2001 - 10 comments


Infonesia - inability to remember where you saw or heard an item of information. I've got this for sure...
posted by scotty on Oct 18, 2001 - 11 comments

A little too much information?

A little too much information? Here is the homepage of Nielsen-NetRatings: He's 35. Married, 2 kids. Senior partner on Wall Street. Surfs for cookie recipes on his lunch hour. No, Nielsen-NetRatings is not going to be sued like DoubleClick; 225,000 people have become Nielsen "net families." Comments? By the way, I just saw Evil Bert. Ha!
posted by lheiskell on Oct 12, 2001 - 13 comments

Isolationist information and international ignorance

Isolationist information and international ignorance -- Whenever I visited my sister in Hong Kong over the past five years, I was always impressed with how much I didn't know about what was going on in the world. This link is a commentary on the feedback to an interview with a CNN Afganistan correspondent who said something similar, and got lambasted for it. Maybe if something good comes out of 9/11, it'll be a shift from celebrity news to real news. Ignorance can be dangerous.
posted by fpatrick on Sep 24, 2001 - 13 comments

What are we saying and to whom?

What are we saying and to whom? Several of the posts here at MeFi are starting to report fairly detailed information about reserve units who being called up for service and where, as well as movements (Link purposly omitted) of aircraft and tanks and other, potenially damaging information. Before this gets out of hand let me remind everyone that we need to remember that "the world" is watching and could be reading anything posted openly on the Internet. I won't censor my opinions but I am going to actively start reviewing the information in my messages before I hit "POST" I hope others will do the same.
posted by dewelch on Sep 13, 2001 - 17 comments

Boy survives getting struck by lightning (a man standing next to him dies) and his mom starts a struck by lightning community site to help deal with the trauma, share information, and share experiences about these sorts of events.
posted by mathowie on Sep 6, 2001 - 12 comments

Mappa Mundi

Mappa Mundi is a magazine about information visualization and navigation with a focus on the web. What similar sites are out there? A second related question is when why are tools for finding stuff on the web so primitive? More inside.
posted by rdr on Sep 5, 2001 - 8 comments

A Russian security expert has been arrested for showing how easy it is to crack an e-book.

A Russian security expert has been arrested for showing how easy it is to crack an e-book. All hail the DMCA! Some information is just Too Dangerous to be Revealed! (See also wildly detailed coverage, including the affidavit, from Planet eBook.)
posted by davidchess on Jul 18, 2001 - 6 comments

Death by Information:

Death by Information: "Does the word 'pedestrian' frighten you? Could you survive for an hour without a cell phone, laptop, or - even worse - a television?"
posted by Zeldman on Apr 22, 2001 - 24 comments

Too Much Information?

Too Much Information? Heavy information overload: the world's total yearly production of print, film, optical, and magnetic content would require roughly 1.5 billion gigabytes of storage. This is the equivalent of 250 megabytes per person for each man, woman, and child on earth.
posted by faithnomore on Oct 24, 2000 - 15 comments

Oh, now this is just great.

Oh, now this is just great. Going into bankrupcy, the most valuable property that a lot of failed dot-coms have is all the information they've collected about their customers in the mean time, like names and addresses and phone numbers and credit card numbers and purchasing patterns and loads of other stuff. In order to appease creditors, three of them are actively trying to sell off their databases right now. What makes that interesting is that they had previously promised never to reveal that information to anyone.
posted by Steven Den Beste on Jun 29, 2000 - 10 comments

Clinton Holds Online "Fireside Chat" While Being Serviced By White House Intern.

Clinton Holds Online "Fireside Chat" While Being Serviced By White House Intern. The Prez took this "historic occasion" to unveil a new federal web site - firstgov.gov, a sort-of government portal that would link up to all federal web sites. Firstgov.gov will begin a multi-city advertising blitz once it secures $254 million in venture capital funding. And just wait for the IPO.
posted by solistrato on Jun 24, 2000 - 2 comments

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