URLs of wisdom (14th December)

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

Network analysis


  • We can’t trust Uber – considering data protection in the age of apps: “Codes of conduct developed by companies are a start, but we need information fiduciaries: independent, external bodies that oversee how data is used, backed by laws that ensure that individuals can see, correct and opt out of data collection.”
  • People want safe communications – not usable cryptography “Real-world cryptography isn’t only about cryptography. It’s just as much about product design, and building experiences that work for the user—not requiring work from the user. It’s a cross-discipline problem that requires not only cryptographers but user-experience designers and developers, too.”
  • Creating connection online – Dave White thinks about it in terms of 3 factors: 1) Spaces, 2) Eventedness and 3) Conversation at scale. Really enjoying Dave’s blog.
  • Words matter – thinking about customers as people not “users”. Some interesting examples here.

Academia online 

Social media

  • Implications for institutions of a backlash against Facebook “rather that making decisions on professional use of social media services such as Facebook on business criteria such as the level of use, the audience profiles, the costs of providing the services and the estimated benefits, might there be an argument that organisations and individuals who place a high value on ethical business practices should cease making use of services which infringe users’ privacy and exploit their intellectual property from unfairly using their dominant position in the market place.”
  • To crowdfund research, scientists much build an audience for their work – new paper in PLOS ONE sharing an analysis of the #SciFund challenge “a crowdfunding experiment in which 159 scientists attempted to crowdfund their research. Using data gathered from a survey of participants, internet metrics, and logs of project donations, we find that public engagement is the key to crowdfunding success.”


  • 17 ways to measure the value of community in Marketing teams – Marketing has 2 functions: raising awareness, relationship building and helping a customer along the way to a purchase. How can you measure the impact of community activities on these?

Web/social media developments

  • Defining quality in news has to value the user experience – “You could frame the big challenge for the next few years of digital news this way: How can we create a news user experience that’s as easy and friction-free as Facebook — but as good as the best a dedicated news power user could assemble?”
  • News aggregators on mobile devices “Why are we in the publishing business spending so much time doing technology when what we should be doing is what we’re great at, which is finding and packaging truth.” A news company attempting to innovate within tech, he analogized, was akin to CNN deciding to build HD televisions just because it happened to be a television network.”

Just for fun

The things we do for wifi access…



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