Interesting. A non-profit, Common Crawl, has built massive database crawl of Web and released for all to use. This could be a boon to academic researchers as well as start-ups with new ideas for search engines and so forth. There’s more in MIT magazine: http://bit.ly/108QFck
Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
The inaugural Nottingham Festival of Words has officially started and is building up to the main events over the weekend of 16th/17th February.
I’ll be speaking on Sunday afternoon, presenting some of the future-facing material from my recent Web 2.0 book and looking ahead to the development of a global brain.
If you are interested in the future of the Internet, Web Science, artificial intelligence and the wisdom of crowds then why not pop along?
There are still tickets:
“Have you ever thought about what the World Wide Web looks like? Some people have. They are mapping the interconnections we make in cyberspace, the flow of information and the trail this leaves behind. Like astronomers exploring a newly discovered galaxy, they are sketching out the details of the brave new world of the Web and social media to produce amazingly beautiful maps…”
Read the rest of my piece for the Nottingham Festival of Words blog at:
I’ve long been a supporter of the campaign to put Alan Turing on the back of a ten pound note in recognition of his mathematical achievements. So I was pleased to get an email over the weekend confirming that the national e-petition has reached 21,996 signatures. This is good news for the campaign and as the e-mail from HM Government says:
“As this e-petition has received more than 10 000 signatures, the relevant Government department have provided the following response: The Bank of England has been including historic characters on its notes since 1970. The Bank welcomes suggestions from members of the public for individuals who might feature on future banknotes, and publishes a list of these suggestions on its website. These suggestions inform the process when a new note is under consideration.”
So all good. A glance at the published list, however, shows the competition that our Alan is up against. There must be around 150 names, ranging from philosopher Roger Bacon to singer Robbie Williams (yes, you read that correctly).
More signatures on the petition can only help. Surely the inventor of the founding theory of digital computers can beat the singer of 90s hit ‘Angels’?
The bloggers at Creative Nottingham have a fine summary of last night’s Nottingham Festival of Words launch.
On Wednesday evening I’ll be at Antenna media centre in Nottingham, doing a quick spot at the official launch of the inaugural Nottingham Festival of Words. It’s a taster for my full session, which takes place in February 2013, where I will be talking about the new science of the Web and exploring some of the stuff there wasn’t space for in Web 2.0 and Beyond. Unfortunately I gather that there are no tickets left, so I can’t invite anyone, but I’ll post a summary later this week.
How many people might get to see a particular university lecture? The biggest academic halls hold a few hundred students. If the talk is more or less repeated every year then this might tot up to a handful of thousands in the entire career of a lecturer. How then about the idea of reaching out to a million?
The flattening of the globe which was so powerfully explored by Thomas Friedman in his book, The World is Flat, is coming to the fusty old world of the university lecture. Leading institutions are scrabbling to get on-board the latest educational technology vehicle, massive open online courses or MOOCs.
Using the power of Internet video technology these services offer university-level lectures to anyone with a computer and broadband, anywhere in the world. The leading proponent is Coursera, a US for-profit social enterprise which provides free online courses in a range of subjects and themes from the human genome to algorithm design.
The service launched in April with a small, but blue-chip, selection of US universities, but the University of Edinburg announced last week that it is joining the scheme and offering courses including an introduction to Astrobiology and Extra-terrestrial Life.
It is part of a wider move to what are being called open educational practices, offering as Edinburgh’s Jeff Haywood describes it: “ways to flex and bend the constraints that much of our traditional HE formats impose on us, and on our learners.” Or as Tim Berners-Lee put it at the Olympics opening ceremony – “This is for everyone.”
It makes for a cracking headline, but Internet ‘trolling’ is not the abusive behaviour that has been reported in various newspaper articles this week.
Subs from both the Guardian (‘Internet troll told by court to keep away from public figures’, 12 June) and the Telegraph (‘Trolling abuse got worse for victim Nicola Brookes after Facebook victory’, 11 June) have had fun with this word in the last few days.
The truth is though that the word ‘trolling’ has been widely used in Internet circles for years to refer to the act of tying up online forums, and other social media, in meaningless and time wasting discussions. The idea is to post something that is deliberately incorrect and lure other users, particularly newbies, into wasting time arguing about it. According to net scholar Susan Herring and colleagues at Indiana University it derives from a fishing term whereby a baited line is dragged behind a boat (see an example paper here).
The behaviours described in the newspapers are more accurately described as ‘flaming’, or more succinctly, just abuse.