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Jul 23

Interactive map: bike movements in New York City and Washington, D.C. - O'Reilly Radar -

From midnight to 7:30 A.M., New York is uncharacteristically quiet, its Citibikes — the city’s new shared bicycles — largely stationary and clustered in residential neighborhoods. Then things begin to move: commuters check out the bikes en masse in residential areas across Manhattan and, over the next two hours, relocate them to Midtown, the Flatiron district, SoHo, and Wall Street. There they remain concentrated, mostly used for local trips, until they start to move back outward around 5 P.M.

Washington, D.C.’s bike-share program exhibits a similar pattern, though, as you’d expect, the movement starts a little earlier in the morning. On my animated map, both cities look like they’re breathing — inhaling and then exhaling once over the course of 12 hours or so.

Jun 26

Podcast: what makes a scientist? - O'Reilly Radar -

Jun 04

Can technology rescue the forest elephant? Yes, with your help. - Animals -

Jun 03

“Whatever you now find weird, ugly, uncomfortable and nasty about a new medium will surely become its signature. CD distortion, the jitteriness of digital video, the crap sound of 8-bit - all of these will be cherished and emulated as soon as they can be avoided. It’s the sound of failure: so much modern art is the sound of things going out of control, of a medium pushing to its limits and breaking apart. The distorted guitar sound is the sound of something too loud for the medium supposed to carry it. The blues singer with the cracked voice is the sound of an emotional cry too powerful for the throat that releases it. The excitement of grainy film, of bleached-out black and white, is the excitement of witnessing events too momentous for the medium assigned to record them.” — Brian Eno, A Year With Swollen Appendices (via volumexii)

(via betaknowledge)

Apr 09


Mar 25

copiesofcopies/youtube-transcription · GitHub -

Open government developer Waldo Jaquith had a problem: he wanted transcripts for videos of the Virginia legislature but didn’t have the resources to fund their creation nor time to transcribe sessions himself.  

When he talked to Matt Cutts at the Newsfoo unconference last December, Google’s lead for Web spam suggested to Jacquith that he make use of YouTube ability to automagically created machine-generated transcripts of video.

Last week, Jaquith posted a $500 bounty for a speech transcription program, funded by 95 backers for a Kickstarter campaign to liberate Virginia’s legislative video.

That’s when something interesting happened, as Jacquith blogged today: Aaron Williamson, a lawyer for the Software Freedom Law Center, created a Python script to fix the problem.

It took just 27 hours for the $500 speech transcription bounty to be claimed. Aaron Williamson produced youtube-transcription, a Python-based pair of scripts that upload video to YouTube and download the resulting machine-generated transcripts of speech.

Jaquith intends to use the code in the Richmond Sunlight project — and because it’s open source, anyone else can press it into service as a means to generate transcripts of video.

The quality of YouTube’s machine-generated transcriptions are, to be fair, mixed, although they are improving. That said, they’re better than none at all. 

Williamson told Jaquith that he’ll donate the Kickstarter cash to charity. 

@waldojaquith @digiphile @mattcutts (@copiesofcopies, BTW, has directed the bounty to a pair of charities.)

— Waldo Jaquith (@waldojaquith) March 25, 2013

Mar 21


The obfuscation of culture (how to hide your s-t online) -


One of my favorite bits from Jacob’s post on “seapunk” was this bit about keeping subcultures “sub”:

It is an impossibility for a subcultural style to be “owned”. Sub-culture exists when gazed at by mass-culture. The only way to ensure that your aesthetic is not going to become used by others is to never share it with anyone. Another approach is to protect your aesthetic with physical violence (see: gang colors). Otherwise, once you allow your presence to be seen, it can be consumed.

Most communities protect their culture through some form of obfuscation: hiding the meaning of their communication by making it hard to interpret.

This is a practice I’ve been studying for some time and some of it is incredible.

If you want your subculture to go undetected, all of these techniques are moderately effective at keeping your activity away from people and their machines. Until they *want* to find you. Then they’ll find ways around the gates you throw up.

update #1:

rickwebb replied to your link: The obfuscation of culture (how to hide your shit online)
We see a lot of people posting whole posts in tags, so that they’re only visible in the dashboard and not their external-facing blogs, too.


update #2: Alex Leavitt points me to this First Monday piece by Finn Brunton and Helen Nissenbaum, ‘Vernacular Resistance to Data Collection & Analysis: A Political Theory of Obfuscation

Nat linked up this post in Radar today.

Mar 07


Feb 26