Tim Hartford - Big data: are we making a big mistake? - FT.com
Recall big data’s four articles of faith. Uncanny accuracy is easy to overrate if we simply ignore false positives, as with Target’s pregnancy predictor. The claim that causation has been “knocked off its pedestal” is fine if we are making predictions in a stable environment but not if the world is changing (as with Flu Trends) or if we ourselves hope to change it. The promise that “N = All”, and therefore that sampling bias does not matter, is simply not true in most cases that count. As for the idea that “with enough data, the numbers speak for themselves” – that seems hopelessly naive in data sets where spurious patterns vastly outnumber genuine discoveries.
“Big data” has arrived, but big insights have not.
BigData 
8 days ago
Tom Carothers - Closing Space: Democracy and Human Rights Support Under Fire - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
After seeing its reach increase for decades, international support for democracy and human rights faces a serious challenge: more and more governments are erecting legal and logistical barriers to democracy and rights programs, publicly vilifying international aid groups and their local partners, and harassing such groups or expelling them altogether. Despite the significant implications of the pushback, the roots and full scope of the phenomenon remain poorly understood and responses to it are often weak.
HumanRights 
13 days ago
Ethan Zuckerman Wins Zócalo’s Fourth Annual Book Prize
We’re delighted to award the fourth annual Zócalo Book Prize to Ethan Zuckerman for Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection. In the view of our distinguished panel of judges, Zuckerman wrote 2013’s most illuminating and compelling nonfiction book about community and human connectedness. The Zócalo Book Prize comes from an integral part of our mission: to talk and think about how diverse societies cohere. In the past 11 years, we haven’t come up with all the answers—but we’ve done what we can to encourage scholars, writers, and thinkers to keep considering the questio
EZ  Rewire 
14 days ago
BBC News - Instant e-libraries for Myanmar universities
Universities in Myanmar have been given e-libraries with hundreds of thousands of digital books and academic journals to help them catch up after decades of isolation under military rule. <…>
Oleksandr Shtokvych, of the Open Society Foundations, which supported the project, says it would not have been practical or affordable to wait for a traditional library of printed volumes. There was an immediate need for up-to-date materials.
<…>
Susanna Lob, of Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL), a foundation that worked with the universities in creating the e-libraries, says: "Online resources were the obvious way to go." <…>EIFL negotiated with publishers to reduce the cost of the online library, with the titles provided worth $1.5m (£900,000).
Burma  EIFL  libraries 
15 days ago
Immigrants from the future: Special Report on Robots | The Economist
Nor do robots have to become fully autonomous in order to be able to do a far wider range of interesting and useful things than they do today. For the most part they are not replacements for humans; they are better seen as extensions. Humans can come together to do things they cannot do alone; in future they will increasingly come together with robots to do things they cannot otherwise do so easily, or in some cases at all.

Robotic extensions will come in a variety of forms. But just as the need to work at a range of tasks in the human world can force robots into a humanoid shape, so the need to work with humans in that world means that many of them will become, to some extent, socially humanoid.
robots  automation 
16 days ago
LIGTT | LBNL Institute for Globally Transformative Technologies
came to me through Kumar Bekbolotov (ex OSF-KYRG), re tech for land rights.
poverty  hardware 
17 days ago
Video: Transparency in Political Finance and Technology
Webinar #1 of Sunlight Foundation/TI webinar on tech and political finance transparency
Sunlight_Foundation  Transparency_International  political_finance  technology 
21 days ago
LVI 2014 - Kenya
Law via the Internet Conference in Nairobi
Conferences  OA  to  Law 
23 days ago
Steve Song | Many Possibilities
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is a paradox.  It is simultaneously an enabler and an obstacle to progress when it comes to radio spectrum.
ITU  spectrum 
24 days ago
Combating bad science: Metaphysicians | The Economist
Sloppy researchers beware. A new institute has you in its sights
metrics  OA 
24 days ago
Stanford University To Open A Center For Studying Bad Science | Popular Science
Among Stanford University's palm trees and sandstone arches—the picture of ivory-tower—there's going to be a center dedicated to chipping away that ivory, The Economist reports. The university plans to open a Meta-Research Innovation Center: a center for the study of bad science. The center will take aim at biomedical studies that are poorly designed, are redundant, weren't published because they report negative results, and/or independent scientists can't reproduce. The idea is that an enormous number of published studies showing that Drug X cures Disease Y, or that Gene A is related to Condition B, are actually incorrect. Drug X doesn't cure Disease Y, or isn't really better at curing Disease Y than Drug Z, which has been around forever. Nevertheless, because of poor statistical analysis or other problems, scientific journals publish these untrue studies. Doctors then read those studies and use them to help decide how to treat their patients.
metrics  OA 
24 days ago
Expanding Opportunity through Open Educational Resources | The White House
White House blog post by Hal Plotkin which mentions that the Cape Town Open Education Declaration helped to launch the global OER movement.
OER  White  House 
4 weeks ago
„OER Policy Works!” – OER workshop, next week in Warsaw « Centrum Cyfrowe Projekt: Polska
Overview of our OER policy workshop in Poland next week. We'll do a press release following the meeting.
OER  Poland 
4 weeks ago
FIRST Act introduced with language severely undermining US public access policies | SPARC
Bill introduced which would undermine US public access policy - Bad bill!
OA  FIRST  Act 
5 weeks ago
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