1. Longforms of 2013 →


    Those are some of the story-telling projects that caught my eye this year. For it was the “year of the longform”, the one that followed the “year of the SnowFall” . Last year NYT showed the world that coders NEED to sit next to the journalists in newsrooms; obviously, this year the lesson is…

  2. 5 August 2013

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    daniel sinker: OpenNews: Knight-Mozilla Fellowships: "What do you mean, I get to do whatever I want?" →


    imageThe 2013 Knight-Mozilla Fellows at the MIT Media Lab. Photo by Laurian Gridinoc

    imageThe question in the title of this post is posed at the top of Knight-Mozilla Fellow’s Stijn Debrouwere’s blog post about his time as a Knight-Mozilla Fellow. Every Knight-Mozilla Fellow experiences…

  3. The Perplex & Other Stories →

  4. 28 July 2013

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    notes.unwieldy: Please stop using Twitter Bootstrap →


    Let’s be honest: a great many of us are tired of seeing the same old Twitter Bootstrap theme again and again. Black header, giant hero, rounded blue buttons, Helvetica Neue.

    Yes, you can customize the header to be a different color, maybe re-color some of the buttons, use a different font….

  5. 19 April 2013

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    By using Excel, which was never designed for scientific research, they institutionalized mouse clicks and other untraceable actions into a scientific workflow, which must be avoided since it makes explaining to others (and to oneself) how to replicate the findings next to impossible and too easily introduces inadvertent mistakes.

    — Victoria Stodden, on Reinhart and Rogoff (via tofias)

  6. 16 April 2013

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    List of Machine Learning APIs



    Wikipedia defines Machine Learning as “a branch of artificial intelligence that deals with the construction and study of systems that can learn from data.”  

    Below is a compilation of APIs that have benefited from Machine Learning in one way or another, we truly are living in the future so strap into your rocketship and prepare for blastoff.

    Read More

  7. News and relative dates

    You’ve probably heard by now that Chelyabinsk, Russia was hit by a meteor strike on Friday.


    On Friday? (so neutral, I feel nothing, next…)

    You mean TODAY. (OMG, TODAY?)

    Next week I would like that to read “on Friday,” on next Friday read that as “last Friday,” then you can just use a date, or X days ago if X < 31.

    It is known how to do this in javascript since 2008. Just have it in the article as a datetime microformat and use some magical javascript to display something relative to the visitor’s local date.

    Relate things to the visitor’s frame of mind, space and time are the easiest to deal with automatically.

  8. And for the semantic problem, [systems theorist Howard Pattee] adds, “[T]he concepts of causation have completely different meanings in statistical or deterministic models,” and gives the following example: If you were to ask “What is the cause of temperature?” a determinist will assume that cause refers to a microscopic event and say it is caused by the molecules exchanging their kinetic energy by collisions. But the skeptical observer, scratching his head, will note that the measuring device averages this exchange, and does not measure the initial conditions of all the molecules and that averaging, my dear sir (or madam), is a statistical process. An average cannot be observable in a microscopic, determinist model. We have a case of apples and oranges. Pattee wags his finger at those who champion one model over the other and instead champions the idea that they are both needed and are complementary to each other. “I am using complementary here in Boltzmann’s and Bohr’s sense of logical irreducibility. That is, complementary models are formally incompatible but both necessary. One model cannot be derived from, or reduced to, the other. Chance cannot be derived from necessity, nor necessity from chance, but both concepts are necessary… . It is for this reason that our concept of a deterministic cause is different from our concept of a statistical cause. Determinism and chance arise from two formally complementary models of the world. We should also not waste time arguing whether the world itself is deterministic or stochastic since this is a metaphysical question that is not empirically decidable.”

    — Gazzaniga, Michael S. Who’s in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain. New York: Ecco, 2011. (via carvalhais)

  9. In conversation with David Karp, CEO & Founder of Tumblr — Tech News and Analysis →


    I am over laptops and the posture that comes with them. I am coding a lot less, so I use my computers a lot less. I still want to simplify even further and carry just one device. So, I want to try the iPad Mini with cellular antenna as my only device and as a phone replacement, and use Skype and/or Google Voice instead.

    What we believe in.

    (via Shawn Blanc)

  10. The Bucharest Open Media Challenge

    About a week ago I flew in from London to Bucharest for the Open Media Challenge (OMC), a Knight-Mozilla OpenNews funded event initiated by the Sponge Media Innovation Lab for Eastern Europe.

    I landed at about 2PM in a sunny hot weather, quite unusual for this period of the year and in a stark contrast with the (lovely) cold London.

    The taxi trip to the university—where the hackathon was already in full swing—was quite unusual, at couple of minutes distance from the airport there we were stopped by the police that checked the papers of the driver then surrounded by journalists asking the nigerian (I believe) driver on his right to work in Romania.

    Also I was asked how I chose this taxi… “I just took the next in line” I answered. (I was unaware of the recent murder of an Japanese girl after airport pickup.)

    I arrived in the end at the university, the teams were spread amongst several rooms and everyone was in that deep hack mode. Later in the afternoon I discussed with each team their project idea and where they thought they would be versus where they are now, and I reassured that all that matters is the potential of the project.

    The second day was in the functional room of an absinthe bar (we had only coffee, I swear) set in the beautiful historical centre of Bucharest. 

    After presenting them the work the OpenNews fellows did with popcorn.js at BBC, Al Jazeera, etc., we proceeded with final projects presentation which took roughly two hours.

    At lunch Stephen King partner at Omidyar Network talked on how transparency and participation can be supported by technology and how it can drive more accountability.

    The winners were announced shortly after the lunch:

    1. Political colours of Romania interactively mapped 
    2. Visual depiction of all the EU subsidies for agriculture
    3. Crowd-mapping of all abuses against media, journalists and freedom of expression and Social Features in ‘Harta Politicii’ (i.e. large collection of data about Romanian politicians)

    It was a hard choice for the jury, all the projects were very good and I’m sure they will evolve into crazy things as one of the most amazing thing I witness there was the participants discovering how their projects and datasets can interact further.

    One of the projects was “Mapping the stray dogs in Bucharest”, and a member of the jury got bitten by a (non-stray but free roaming) dog the day before… I’m sure the incident was carefully planned just to stress the importance of a such project.