At rOpenSci we are creating packages that allow access to data repositories through the R statistical programming environment that is already a familiar part of the workflow of many scientists. We hope that our tools will not only facilitate drawing data into an environment where it can readily be manipulated, but also one in which those analyses and methods can be easily shared, replicated, and extended by other researchers. While all the pieces for connecting researchers with these data sources exist as disparate entities, our efforts will provide a unified framework that will be quickly connect researchers to open data.
The Unlike Us Reader offers a critical examination of social media, bringing together theoretical essays, personal discussions, and
artistic manifestos. How can we understand the social media we use everyday, or consciously choose not to use? We know very well that monopolies control social media, but what are the alternatives? While Facebook continues to increase its user population and combines loose privacy restrictions with control over data, many researchers, programmers, and activists turn towards designing a decentralized future. Through understanding the big networks from within, be it by philosophy or art, new perspectives emerge.
Unlike Us is a research network of artists, designers, scholars, activists, and programmers, with the aim to combine a critique of the dominant social media platforms with work on ‘alternatives in social media’, through workshops, conferences, online dialogues, and publications. Everyone is invited to be a part of the public discussion on how we want to shape the network architectures and the future of social networks we are using so intensely.
Contributors: Solon Barocas, Caroline Bassett, Tatiana Bazzichelli, David Beer, David M. Berry, Mercedes Bunz, Florencio Cabello, Paolo Cirio, Joan Donovan, Louis Doulas, Leighton Evans, Marta G. Franco, Robert W. Gehl, Seda Gürses, Alexandra Haché, Harry Halpin, Mariann Hardey, Pavlos Hatzopoulos, Yuk Hui, Ippolita, Nathan Jurgenson, Nelli Kambouri, Jenny Kennedy, Ganaele Langlois, Simona Lodi, Alessandro Ludovico, Tiziana Mancinelli, Andrew McNicol, Andrea Miconi, Arvind Narayanan, Wyatt Niehaus, Korinna Patelis, PJ Rey, Sebastian Sevignani, Bernard Stiegler, Marc Stumpel, Tiziana Terranova, Vincent Toubiana, Brad Troemel, Lonneke van der Velden, Martin Warnke and D.E. Wittkower.
This morning, The New Yorker launched Strongbox, an online place where people can send documents and messages to the magazine, and we, in turn, can offer them a reasonable amount of anonymity. It was put together by Aaron Swartz, who died in January, and Kevin Poulsen. Kevin explains some of the background in his own post, including Swartz’s role and his survivors’ feelings about the project. (They approve, something that was important for us here to know.) The underlying code, given the name DeadDrop, will be open-source, and we are very glad to be the first to bring it out into the world, fully implemented.
In May, Facebook users who are looking to waste a little time online will have a new option; a game called Tahrir Square Defense will allow them to relive the glory days of the 2011 Egyptian revolution.
Alkottab, the Egyptian games development company responsible for the game, describe it as a “tower defence game” that is built around the events of the so-called Battle of the Camel on 2 February 2011, when a peaceful sit-in in Tahrir was attacked by armed thugs riding horses and camels.
The developers say the game will allow players to “have a glimpse of the battle that happened that day and witness how the people stood to defend their freedom.”
Alkottab is a games and animation studio founded by Eslam Almohandes, Omar El-Khafif and Mahmoud Adly Ezzat.
“We believe that games and cartoons are not only for entertainment, but also for delivering high values like changing people perception to problems and raising nation causes in the heart of the youth [sic],” reads the company’s website.
The game provides cartoon visuals of the iconic square, and also includes real sound recordings from the square and politicians’ speeches during the early days of the revolution.
Here are Facebook’s Big Data moves in Q1:
Launched new advertising products such as Lookalike Audiences, Managed Custom Audiences, and Partner Categories, which help marketers improve their targeting capabilities on Facebook.Partnered with Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom, and BlueKai to enable marketers to incorporate off Facebook purchasing data in order to deliver more relevant ads to users.Enhanced ability to measure advertiser ROI on digital media across the internet through our acquisition of the Atlas Advertising Suite.
The first two points underplay what Facebook is up to. Most people have no idea what Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom and Bluekai actually do. Insiders, however, know that Facebook alliances with these companies give it one of the most powerful consumer databases on the planet.
Epsilon has data on 300 million company loyalty card members worldwide, and a databank on 250 million consumers in the U.S.Acxiom has “a comprehensive national database covering more than 126 million households and 190 million individuals.”Datalogix says, “Our database contains more than $1 trillion in offline purchase-based data and we’re able to covert this data, and any CRM data, into an online universe.”Bluekai is a data management platform — marketers bring their own data to those companies, and Bluekai will crunch it and turn it into a strategy for making marketing more effective.