Category Archives: crowd sourcing

Searching for Saddam

Sometimes the cutting edge of war is people, not computers. Chris Wilson explains how social networks led us to Saddam.

Social networks have two fundamental units,nodes and edges. In a visualization of one’s Facebook friends, for example, every node would be a person and every edge would indicate a friendship. (Incidentally, Saddam was captured about three months before Facebook was founded.)

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How Google’s Algorithm Rules the Web

Gooogle is still the only company whose name is synonymous with the verb search

PageRank, the generally accepted metric of, among other things, how often a page is linked to, is only a small part of the larger story at Google. Talking to Google’s engineers and tracing the history of publicly announced search features, Levy discovers that a good deal of what Google has learned about search comes from the searchers themselves.

Take, for instance, the way Google’s engine learns which words are synonyms. “We discovered a nifty thing very early on,” Singhal says. “People change words in their queries. So someone would say, ‘pictures of dogs,’ and then they’d say, ‘pictures of puppies.’ So that told us that maybe ‘dogs’ and ‘puppies’ were interchangeable. We also learned that when you boil water, it’s hot water. We were relearning semantics from humans, and that was a great advance.”

[WIRED]

Copenhagen Wheel

The Copenhagen Wheel is a new emblem for urban mobility. It transforms ordinary bicycles quickly into hybrid e-bikes that also function as mobile sensing units. The Copenhagen Wheel allows you to capture the energy dissipated while cycling and braking and save it for when you need a bit of a boost. It also maps pollution levels, traffic congestion, and road conditions in real-time.