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Finding the Story in 150 Million Rows of Data - Features - Source: An OpenNews project

This is an interesting tale - using password hints from different users who use the same password (and hence, the same password hash) as clues to what the password might be…

To live entirely in public is a form of solitary confinement.

When Privacy Is Theft by Margaret Atwood | The New York Review of Books

As Atwood suggests, The Circle is a work of entertainment - but it definitely got me thinking, and I started noticing bits of the everyday tech in my slightly differently…

Instead of getting more context for decisions, we would get less; instead of seeing the logic driving our bureaucratic systems and making that logic more accurate and less Kafkaesque, we would get more confusion because decision making was becoming automated and no one knew how exactly the algorithms worked. We would perceive a murkier picture of what makes our social institutions work; despite the promise of greater personalization and empowerment, the interactive systems would provide only an illusion of more participation.

Evgeny Morozov on Why Our Privacy Problem is a Democracy Problem in Disguise | MIT Technology Review

When the algorithm decides, there may be no rationale we can appreciate…

BBC R&D is now winding down the current UAS activity and this conference marked a key stage in the transition from a research driven effort into ‘business as usual’. The safety, procurement, news, and television production areas all now have their key experts in this technology in place, and unless a specific new capability is required by the BBC that needs a dedicated R&D effort, there are no further R&D activities in this area planned.

Last week, BBC R&D co-hosted “the first ever UAS [Unmanned aircraft systems] in Broadcasting conference in the UK” (i.e. “drones”).

The quoted line caught my attention - all the pieces appear to be there, they just need putting together… I’m particularly interested to see how this plays out for sports coverage…

BBC - Blogs - Internet blog - BBC R&D: Unmanned Aircraft Systems Event


The VC/IPO money does however distort the market, look at Amazon’s ‘profit’ statements against a food retailer - Wholefoods - and a failing retailer - Best Buy.

Revenue Profit
Amazon $21.27bn $97m
Wholefoods $2.2bn $113m
Best Buy $16.7bn $1.9bn

This got me thinking - what is going on with web economics?!

Business SOA: Zuckerberg and the unreality of valley thinking

NewsReader will process news in 4 different languages when it comes in. It will extract what happened to whom, when and where, removing duplication, complementing information, registering inconsistencies and keeping track of the original sources. Any new information is integrated with the past, distinguishing the new from the old in an unfolding story line, similar to how people tend to remember the past and access knowledge and information.


So the idea seems to be that this service will trawl news wires, extract the facts, and pull them together in some sort of narrative based on published reports…?

See also: BBC Storyline

The reality of news media is that once the documents are posted online, they lose a lot of value. A set of documents that could have gotten nation-wide exposure from a paper like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, or USA Today, may instead receive little or no exposure if there isn’t some opportunity for short term exclusivity. If the aim is to get the information out to the largest audience, there is some value in building in a slight delay. It is also likely that if there is no opportunity for an exclusive story, many journalists would cease to make requests and public knowledge might suffer.

How to Actually Improve Public Access to Government Documents (Under the FOIA) - Sunlight Foundation Blog

There is an issue here with the extent to which the press in principle holds others to account: if a particular news outlet is only willing to run a story that it has some sort of exclusive hold over, then the media reinforces the extent to which it is seen as a conduit for news.

This sits uncomfortably with the churnalistic process whereby news media just recycle press releases, press releases that they may have received days earlier under embargo.

What does this say about the relationship between the news media and social media? Or the news media and academia?

Is it the self-perceived role of the news media to act as the legitimising gateway to public attention for certain sorts of information?