October 14th, 2007
[We…] began this piece by representing the data as a network. In this case the nodes in the network are wikipedia articles and the edges are the links between articles. We then (with some help from our friends at Sandia) used an algorithm to lay out all 650,000 nodes (wikipedia articles) that had at least one link in such a way that similar articles are near one another. These are the yellow dots, which when viewed at low res give a yellow tint to the whole picture.
The sizes of the nodes (circles, dots, whatever you want to call them), are based on a model of revision activity. So large circles indicate that an article might be controversial, or the subject of lots of vandalism, or just a topic whose content frequently changes. We labeled only the largest nodes, to keep it readable. There is an interactive version of this in the works based on the google maps platform which will change the labels and pictures used as the user â€˜zoomsâ€™ in or out. Stay tuned for that.
[Via Memex 1.1]
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September 13th, 2007
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September 4th, 2007
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August 29th, 2007
Tom Coates posted the other day about his dislike of attempts by PR agencies trying to persuade him to post about their products on his weblog.
Yesterday he got a response that sums up so much that's wrong with the world today:
Our job is to get even "challenging" people like you to write, say and/or do what our clients and companies want — of your own volition — and not even realize that you're doing it. If you are telling us that you only want information from people whose views you like and trust, then we'll just reach you through them and you'll never be the wiser.
Is it any wonder Bill Hicks felt the way he did about the advertising business?1 It's the sense of entitlement: the notion that it doesn't matter what Tom wants, he will act as a conduit for their paymaster's message.
1 I'm well aware that professionals in the field argue that there are clear dividing lines between marketing, public relations and advertising. It's not an especially relevant distinction from the point of view of those of us who are lined up in their crosshairs: the aim is the same in each case, it's only the tactics and weaponry that differ.
August 29th, 2007
What Wikipedia would look like if on paper, broken down. No comment required, I think.
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August 27th, 2007
As if naming a baby wasn't hard enough:
Besides leaving the hospital with a birth certificate and a clean bill of health, baby Mila Belle Howells got something she won't likely use herself for several years: her very own Internet domain name.
Likewise newborn Bennett Pankow joined his four older siblings in getting his own Internet moniker. In fact, before naming his child, Mark Pankow checked to make sure "BennettPankow.com" hadn't already been claimed.
"One of the criteria was, if we liked the name, the domain had to be available," Pankow said. […]
A viable strategy if your surname or your preferred forename is fairly uncommon – like Pankow – but not so useful for those of us with more commonplace family names unless we're willing to saddle our offspring with distinctive forenames or extra middle names.
Just a thought: if you're so keen on preserving your family's online identity, wouldn't it have been more efficient to register the pankowfamily.com domain1 and hand out subdomains to family members as required? I suppose a problem arises when the kid rebels against their parents and wants their own home online, but that same issue could just as easily arise when the kid wants to do something online that their parents won't find out about. Would any self-respecting teenager want their parents to be able to track their online activity via a simple search for their very own domain name?
1 I note that someone has registered that very domain; I wonder if they're related to little Bennett Pankow?
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August 21st, 2007
1.1 Birth year of Ben Turpin
1.2 Buster Crabbe
1.8 Invention of the Safety Razor
1.9 Henry VIII and Leviticus
1.11 Birthname of William J. Clinton, 42nd US President
1.20 The origin of the Dolgorukov family
1.23 Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
1.24 History of European cuisine
I look forward to one day seeing Britannica publish a corresponding entry detailing Wikipedia's errors and omissions.
[Via Memex 1.1]