Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
March 4, 2012 6:58 AM

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #89

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:

  • 4,114 Stoplights in Los Angeles and the Intricate Network that Keeps Traffic Moving - Forbes. "This week, I had the pleasure to hang out with Jon Bruner of Forbes as we ran a conference on business and Big Data. He finds fascinating stories in the nooks and crannies of the otherwise mundane, and this is a good example: an inside glimpse at the LA traffic light system." (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Paint By Numbers - This American Life. "Since I'm in a numbers mood this week, here's one more. Last night, I talked with Hal Varian, Google's Chief Economist, about a bunch of things. He wondered whether someone will one day deliver an entirely machine-generated slide deck at a geek event like the one I'm at, since we have so much data on what audiences like. So, here's a blast from the past, on This American Life, over a decade ago. A polling firm tries to produce the best art--and worst song--based on survey results. What do we hate the most? Bagpipes, children singing, lyrics about holidays and religion, wild volume and tempo changes." (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Key Techdirt SOPA/PIPA Post Censored By Bogus DMCA Takedown Notice - TechDirt. "Here's why laws like SOPA and PIPA are bad. They are supposed to be about fighting piracy, but the 'side-effects' effectively enable the shut-down of free speech, which is the foundation upon which democracy rests. This particular instance happened *without* SOPA, but it's instructive about how these laws can and will be used and abused. TechDirt is a well-known tech blog, and they posted a popular and exhaustive story explaining why SOPA and PIPA are a bad idea. But some company didn't like that story. What did they do? They filed a copyright complaint which resulted in the story being removed from Google's search index - meaning that the story 'disappeared' from much of the Internet. Under current laws: Company A can file a copyright complaint with Google about an article by Company B. Google responds by taking that article out of its search index. Company A is not required to prove any copyright infringement. Company B is not even informed that their article has been removed from Google's Index. You can see the problem here, and SOPA and PIPA (and similar laws) make these things even worse." (Hugh for Alistair).
  • Graphic: Will James Cameron beat Richard Branson to the bottom of the Mariana Trench? - National Post. "Do you like submarines? Check out this jaw-dropping infographic depicting the deepest ocean trench in the world, and the lowest spot on our planet. Film-maker James Cameron and multi-zillionaire Richard Branson are in a race to see who can get to the bottom first." (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Risk and Riches in User Data for Facebook - The New York Times. "The problem with Facebook is coming to a head. As it becomes an Internet unto itself (see this for more: The Face of Facebook) and more and more people start to realize just what, exactly, they are posting online (the age of media awareness?), Facebook's most valuable commodity (the data) is also it's most controversial component. How will Facebook continue to grow in terms of money (big data)? How can Facebook suddenly see its massive community disappear (how it uses and leverages said data)? As the company goes public, more and more eyes (from government to individuals) will be wanting to know more about what, exactly, Facebook wants to do with all of this data and, we'll vote with our silence, should it not be exactly what the masses want. Does anyone else find it ironic that it's most valuable commodity can also be the exact thing that does them in?" (Mitch for Alistair).
  • Who decides what gets sold in the bookstore? - The Domino Project. "Seth Godin wrote and published another book this week (he's making the rest of us look bad with all of this book writing and publishing). It turns out that if your ebook has links to Amazon in it (let's say as a reference to other books), Apple's iBook store won't accept it or sell it. Bookstores used to make decisions as to what they put on their shelves based on instinct and the author's track record. While that was arbitrary, imagine what's going on here. It's another key indicator that the rules of publishing are going to get a little weird... and probably a whole lot weirder as the playing field gets more established. In the meantime, you can get Seth's latest book, Stop Stealing Dreams, for free. by clicking on the link." (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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