Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
August 9, 2014 8:09 AM

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #216

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist's Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see".

Check out these six links that we're recommending to one another:

  • When gin was full of sulphuric acid and turpentine - BBC. "A couple of years ago, my friends and I started something we call International New Year's: for 24 hours, we eat one food and drink one tipple from around the world. It's a tiring journey, with only a few up to the whole trek (which begins with a bottle of Fiji Water at 6 AM and ends somewhere near Guam). Planning the event made me realize something: you can drink alcohol around the world simply by following the history of English and Dutch colonialism. And nothing says colonialism like Gin. So, imagine my surprise when I heard about how evil Gin once was. Have a look at what is 'arguably the most potent anti-drug poster ever conceived.' Puts modern cigarette packaging to shame." (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Why Ok Cupid Isn't Facebook. Not All Experiments Feel the Same - John Foreman, Data Scientist. "Experimentation is a reality of the digital world. When we made things digital, the marginal cost -- the cost of servicing one additional customer -- dropped to zero. It was as cheap to customize a million things as a single thing, thanks to software and automation. So experimentation was inevitable. When Facebook decided to see if it could influence sentiment, it was a Capital-E Experiment, writ large on the feeds of an unsuspecting human race. But as John Foreman, Mailchimp's data scientist, explains, not all experiments are the same." (Alistair for Mitch).
  • How Bad Is California's Drought? This Bad - Gizmodo. "Climate change or just natural variation? Or, 'What, me worry?' One of my favorite climate change graphs is the Vostok Ice Core Graph, which shows the temperature variations compared to today, over the past 450,000 years. The thing that strikes me about the graph is how relatively warm, and relatively stable things have been in the past 10,000 years compared to the rest of the timescale on the graph (I really have to get me to a climate scientist to verify that this stability is indeed a relevant inference form the data). Now, what's special about the past 10,000 years? Well, turns out that's when human civilization developed. A roughly stable, roughly predictable climate means we can do things like: have agriculture, produce food surpluses and have time left over to get smarter. And to me, this is the big risk profile that climate change represents: if we do manage to tip a massive, delicate system out of whack, then we won't be able to count on a roughly stable, roughly predictable climate. Which will make agriculture pretty tough. But back to the above: that looks like a bad drought." (Hugh for Alistair).
  • Israel, Gaza, War & Data - The Art of Personalizing Propaganda - GlobalVoices. "Seems like the world is coming apart at the seams these days. One problem is that our definitions of the problems vary so widely, in addition to our understanding of the facts. So it always has been: our understanding of the world has always been shaped by the people at our water coolers, the editors of the newspapers we read, the political views of our family members, and of the owners of TV, radio and magazine empires. But, we're getting much more of our information form the Web these days. From platforms owned by big companies which churn all the data we pour into them to figure out: what is this guy most likely to click on. Let's give him more of that. Usually it's similar to something else we've clicked on. Here is an analysis of this 'problem,' looking at data about the networks of perspective that are built into our online information habits." (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Creative Nonfiction - Write Truth with Style with Susan Orlean - Skillshare. "A while back, I blogged about a Skillshare course that Seth Godin was giving. In it, I used an affiliate link, so that I get some free credits should anyone sign up with my link. Without intending to do so, I wound up getting a whackload of credits that my team at Twist Image is rocking through. I decided to take this one course given by famed author and staff writer at The New Yorker, Susan Orlean. I didn't know what to expect, but I am both really enjoying it and learning a lot about how great content should get written. A sample quote from her course: 'When you're researching you're learning. When you're writing, you're teaching.' I love that quote so much, I could eat it up. After doing some more searching on the site, there's a whole lot of cool and interesting courses." (Mitch for Alistair).
  • The Public Library Wants To Be Your Office - Fast Company. "Hugh and I used to have lunch together. A lot. I miss those lunches, Hugh. During those lunches we would often debate the possibilities of publishing's future. We would talk about books. We would talk about authors. We would talk about how to build audiences. We could get pretty philosophical as well. Does anyone really read? Does anyone really care about books? And libraries? What about libraries? I read this Fast Company article, and wondered about how many people would be willing to forgo the corner cafe, and make their way off to the public library. We have these amazing spaces called libraries, the challenge is that we don't need those spaces to house books, music and magazines like we used to. So, is this the right solution? It makes sense... but what do you think?" (Mitch for Hugh).

Feel free to share these links and add your picks on Twitter, Facebook, in the comments below or wherever you play.

By Mitch Joel

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