URLs of wisdom (end of March 2014)

URLs of wisdom is a weekly round-up of interesting links about topics at the intersection of people, science and technology.

Network analysis


  • Twitter’s root injustice – Why it’s so hard for new Twitter accounts to attract new followers and what Twitter could do to make things fairer.“…the real issue is the network effects that come from being first. It’s a classic platform problem. Every time you’re followed it gets easier for others to follow you because you have a bigger audience more likely to spread your message to more people.”
    (see also my earlier blog post on “rich get richer” effects online)
  • The dangers of data-driven list making –  “…we sometimes mistake optimization for inspiration. Data is for optimization; humans are for inspiration. Expecting the former to give you the latter is a bad thing.”
  • The importance of recognising cultural diversity in understanding online behaviour –  Zara Rahman argues for the importance of understanding cultural background before making grand statements about the internet: “This is, I feel, what has been missing in the work by many other internet commentators: a genuine understanding of the offline culture in the countries they’re talking about, and an appreciation for how the offline society and politics affects the way people use the internet.”
  • Creeping connectivity – work and life in a hyperconnected world – Krystal D’Costa takes a look at changes in the structure of a working day and how technology has facilitated that.
  • Oops – sorry for being so creepy – light article on the gaffes that we make with technology

Academia Online

  • Privacy in sensor-driven human data collection – a guide for practitioners. Paper considering how to deal with the ethical concerns of studying big data about human behaviour.  “Protecting the wellbeing of the participants of the studies in any domain is of utmost importance. The trust that exists between the participants and the researchers is even more difficult to establish and maintain when the amount and resolution of the collected data increase.”
  • Candle in the dark – On the importance of being visible online.
  • MOOCs of every shape and size – a comparison of different MOOC providers with an interesting infographic splitting out the two different types of MOOCs. (See also my write-up of my first MOOC experience)


Web/Social media developments


  • I started a Twitter list of network science tweeps. Suggestions welcome!
  • Interesting set of list of top astronomers, physicists and philosophers on Twitter by number of followers plus listing of top tweets. Note that many of these accounts don’t tweet that much on a daily basis…
  • The AAAS folks have been busy creating Storifys of sessions from the annual meeting that took place in Chicago in February. Overall summary of the meeting. Summary of the session on using social media for science communication and the one on engaging with public events.
  • I found this fantastic free online book, Network Science, which is being released online chapter by chapter.

Just for fun

Do you really need to read the manual…?


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