Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
July 30, 2011 1:34 PM

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #58

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, the author of Complete Web Monitoring and Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks), Hugh McGuire (The Book Oven, LibriVox, iambik, PressBooks, Media Hacks) and I decided that every week or so 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:

  • Stealing Ideas - Structural Knowledge. "Aaron Swartz, a fellow at Harvard's Center for Ethics, was recently accused of stealing from MIT's JSTOR archive of academic journals. This wasn't just downloading: Swartz is alleged to have gone to great lengths to circumvent anti-copying mechanisms, and to have liberated 'extraordinary' amounts of content. It's not the RIAA, and it's not WikiLeaks. But it's another example of how an industry predicated on information arbitrage - academic journals (whose value comes largely from their exclusivity) - is going to great lengths to delay the inevitable decay of its stranglehold on knowledge. This piece from Structural Knowledge underscores just how much restricted access thwarts innovation. 'None of us want to break the law,' says author Kevin Webb. 'It's simply that we don't have a choice.'" (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Model predicts 'religiosity gene' will dominate society - Physorg. "A good friend of mine is about to give birth. Among secular couples I know, she's one of a few having a child much later in life. On the other hand, members of more religious cultures tend to breed early and often. This suggests that tomorrow's human race will tend towards believers, according to Dr. Roger Rowthorn  (professor emeritus of economics at Cambridge), who turned an observation about Amish breeding patterns into a broader study of believers and non-believers. I'd link to the original paper in, The Proceedings Of The Royal Society Of Biological Sciences, but of course, you need access to academic journals for that. Sigh." (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Examining The Outrageous Aaron Swartz Indictment For Computer Fraud - Litigation & Trial. "Aaron Swartz is a hacker, co-creator of RSS, co-founder of Reddit and most recently a data activist, working on open government and data access issues. He spends time looking at big datasets (eg 400,000 law review articles which he searched to find sources of funding in order to better understand how funding influences legal thinking). Swartz recently got charged by the US Department of Justice for computer fraud - for allegedly downloading millions of academic articles hosted by the journal archive, JSTOR - a service to which he had legal access. He is charged with fraud (with a possible jail term of 35 years) for violating the Terms of Service of a website. Legal opinion suggests this should be treated as a civil case; instead the DOJ is pursuing criminal charges, and there is speculation that this case is part of the US government's new hostile policy against 'hackers.'" (Hugh for Alistair).
  • Apple has moved on - asymco. "Apple Inc., circa 2007 (pre-iPhone) was a very different company than Apple Inc. circa 2011 (post iPhone and iPad). But the scale in the change is jaw-dropping. Desktops and portable computers have held steady as a business line - growing very nicely thank you very much - for Steve and his team in Cupertino. But, computers are now just a fraction of Apple's business (about 25%, compared with about 70% coming from iOS devices)." (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Sex, Lies and Data Mining - The New York Times Sunday Book Review. "What happens when you mix web analytics, two computational neuroscientists and a desire to know what people really want when it comes to sex? You get a book called, A Billion Wicked Thoughts by Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam. And you thought it was hard to figure out what both and men and women really want from sex? For the longest time I've said that we tell things to a search engine box that we would never share with our spouses, family members and closest friends. If you really want to know how freaky we are as a people, I guess you'll have to buy the book." (Mitch for Alistair).
  • "It will be good exposure." - Seth Godin. "How often are you asked to speak or write an article for free? The challenge is always in figuring out if the value of the activity is worth it. If the promise is that it will lead to more work, I usually just go with this answer: 'I'm a very ethical person, so let's agree to pay me my full fee and if any client work comes out of this, I am happy to return my fee.' This usually sends the people trying to benefit from a freebie away and it works equally well for those with a genuine offer. In the end, the hard part is figuring out what is good self-promotion, what is good business, and when you're being taken advantage of." (Mitch for Hugh).

Now it's your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.

By Mitch Joel


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