Tag Archives: knowledge

Google takes a big step towards becoming a (smart) encyclopedia – look out Wikipedia!

“We’re in the early phases of moving from being an information engine to a knowledge engine” – Google

That’s a quote from the video below where Google explains a new panel they are adding to search. Called the ‘knowledge graph’ it is basically a mini-encyclopedia. See the panels in the images below.

 

 

This is a big competitive move for Google. Not only are they taking on Facebook with Google+, Microsoft with Google Docs, and Apple with Android, now they have Wikipedia in their sights.

Of course, Wikipedia will still serve a huge purpose for in-depth information, but you can expect Wikipedia to experience a precipitous drop in page views once people are getting their basic information from these panels.

It also puts Google in an interesting position. While this is a natural improvement in search it also creates a conflict of interest for them. One of the many they are currently facing, some of which are in the courts facing anti-trust issues.

Will Google devalue Wikipedia in favor of their ‘knowledge graph’?

Or, lower its ranking if people begin using it less?

Hard to predict, but notice that in the images above Google clearly (intentionally?) shows Wikipedia as the top result. That may not keep.

 

Learn more:

An angry math blog sparked a scientific revolution

It began with a frustrated blogpost by a distinguished mathematician. Tim Gowers and his colleagues had been grumbling among themselves for several years about the rising costs of academic journals.

They, like many other academics, were upset that the work produced by their peers, and funded largely by taxpayers, sat behind the paywalls of private publishing houses that charged UK universities hundreds of millions of pounds a year for the privilege of access.

So, in January this year, Gowers wrote an article on his blog declaring that he would henceforth decline to submit to or review papers for any academic journal published by Elsevier, the largest publisher of scientific journals in the world.

He was not expecting what happened next. Thousands of people read the post and hundreds left supportive comments. Within a day, one of his readers had set up a website, The Cost of Knowledge, which allowed academics to register their protest against Elsevier.

The site now has almost 9,000 signatories, all of whom have committed themselves to refuse to either peer review, submit to or undertake editorial work for Elsevier journals. “I wasn’t expecting it to make such a splash,” says Gowers. “At first I was taken aback by how quickly this thing blew up.”

keep readingAcademic spring: how an angry maths blog sparked a scientific revolution

Psychology’s five aspects of wisdom

A recent article in the Economist used a complex, but somewhat small in scope, survey to study wisdom. They found that Americans definitely get smarter with age. They scored 45 points at age 25, and 55 by age 75.

In comparison, the Japanese learn wisdom much quicker, scoring 51 in both age groups.

This led to the byline – Americans get wiser with age. Japanese are wise from the start.

Very interesting and thoughtful, but I found it more inspiring to look at how they judged wisdom.

The assessors scored participants’ responses on a scale of one to three. This attempted to capture the degree to which they discussed what psychologists consider five crucial aspects of wise reasoning:

  • Willingness to seek opportunities to resolve conflict;
  • Willingness to search for compromise;
  • Recognition of the limits of personal knowledge;
  • Awareness that more than one perspective on a problem can exist;
  • Appreciation of the fact that things may get worse before they get better.

 

Basically, how good of a – diplomat/negotiator/self-aware/empathetic/realist – are you?

 

// Thx to Kirby Plessas

Nerdist Channel – you have to have an excessive knowledge of nerd culture

This is one of the most entertaining press conferences I’ve ever seen.

“You have to have an excessive knowledge of nerd culture, a little bit of desperation, and I believe there is an element of being socially ostracized.”

 

The Nerdist Channel

 

Featured shows:

  • Ain’t It Cool with Harry Knowles – the TV version of the website you know and love-or-hate-or-both
  • Chris Hardwick’s All Star Bowling
  • Comic Book Club Live
  • Cute Things Exploding – which is self-explanatory
  • Face to Face with Weird Al Yankovic – an interview show with hard-hitting journalist Weird Al Yankovic asking questions and getting answers
  • Kids in the Hall – classic sketches with interviews and anecdotes from the legendary team.
  • Puppet for President – Jim Henson puppet’s speeches, interviews, and searing commentary on the toughest issues of the day
  • Weird S#!t from Japan –  which is about weird sh*t from Japan.

via Nerdist.com

The Dalai Lama is on Google+

The Dalai Lama is on Google+ and has a growing fan base of 1.3 million followers and frequently shares photos and nuggets of Buddhism.

“There is a saying in Tibetan that “at the door of the miserable rich man sleeps the contented beggar.” The point of this saying is not that poverty is a virtue, but that happiness does not come from wealth, but from setting limits to one’s desires, and living within those limits with satisfaction.”

“When each of us learns to appreciate the critical importance of ethics and makes inner values like compassion and patience an integral part of our basic outlook on life, the effects will be far-reaching.”

“Education and knowledge by themselves do not bring inner peace to individuals, families or the society in which they live. But education combined with warmheartedness, a sense of concern for the well-being of others, has much more positive results. If you have a great deal of knowledge, but you’re governed by negative emotions, then you tend to use your knowledge in negative ways. Therefore, while you are learning, don’t forget the importance of warmheartedness.”

 

Thx to Alex Howard

University 2.0 – Sebastian Thrun, Stanford, and free online knowledge

Thrun engaged his audience with the heartwarming story about how an initial idea of offering his renowned Stanford classes for free to students online evolved into an education project touching hundreds of thousands of students across the world.

“I hoped for 500 students. We got 160,000,” Thrun said.

Thrun’s approach is more than “just” offering quality teaching for free. What he wanted to do was, in fact, to revolutionize higher educate itself, he said.

“Maybe we should rethink education,” he concluded. “If we can make education free and accessible for the world, we can achieve things we never thought possible.”

The first step on this journey was taken already today, right here at the DLD12. To the sound of massive applause, Thrun unveiled Udacity.com.

via DLD

 

If you cannot watch the video here is a summary from Felix Salmon.

How I Redefined “Man” For The World (Wikipedia’s Battle for Diversity – Part II)

Change the Ratio: Wikipedia (design by JESS3 + 1X57)

In my previous post, Cargo Cult Editing, I used the Wikipedia page for Kate Middleton’s wedding dress and the skirmish that took place over it, as an example of how viewpoint and perspective can impact the content of Wikipedia.

Now I’ll share my own personal Wikipedia battle…that I like to build up as an epic clash, when in reality it was tantamount to a 2-second spitball fight.

For more than two years, if you visited the Man page in Wikipedia, you would have found the following section outlining (7) characteristics of masculinity:

  1. Physical — virile, athletic, strong, brave. Unconcerned about appearance and aging;
  2. Functional — provider for family, defender of family from physical threat;
  3. Sexual — sexually aggressive, experienced. Single status acceptable;
  4. Emotional — unemotional, stoic, never crying;
  5. Intellectual — logical, intellectual, rational, objective, practical;
  6. Interpersonal — leader, dominating; disciplinarian; independent, free, individualistic; demanding;
  7. Other Personal Characteristics — success-oriented, ambitious, aggressive, proud, egotistical, moral, trustworthy; decisive, competitive, uninhibited, adventurous.

When I came across the page in May of 2010, I was a little surprised to read characteristics such as “unconcerned about appearance and aging” and “provider for family.”

In fact, almost all the qualities surprised me since they seemed so utterly out of date, and frankly, just not true. But then I looked at the source: 1974. 1974!

A lot had changed in the past 35 years, with tons of published evidence to refute almost every single one of the listed characteristics. And although we can have a great social discourse over what it means to be “masculine” – the debate belongs on the Masculinity page.

So I removed the section. And entered my first “edit war” in Wikipedia with a user by the name of Martin Hogbin who reverted my change within minutes.

Like any good Sun Tzu student, I was prepared for battle. Of course I could have gone a more diplomatic route by taking the disagreement to the discussion page, but in this case, the entry was just plain wrong. And I was willing to fight.

I had my arguments and sources ready and my backup Wikipedia editors (@robotchampion and @kirbstr) primed to to jump in on the discussion should I need them.

I reverted Martin’s reversion, waiting for a response. And then, just as fast as it had begun, it was over. My edit prevailed.

The point of this story is to show what happens, when a page as popular as the Man page (which receives ~30,000 views per month), has very little diversity in its editor base. What would a 16-year old girl think upon reading the above characteristics, or 16-year old boy? Do they equally apply to homosexual men, and men of various ethnicities, nationalities, ages, religions and vocations?

The answer is no. Is the Dalai Lama not “masculine” or any less of a “man” because he is not sexually aggressive or experienced?

Wikipedia needs more diversity, for the simple reasons of perspective and objectivity. When 1X57 did the Women Who Wiki workshop, I showed the attendees, mostly women with one male, the historical Man page with the above characteristics listed and asked them if they agreed with them. The answer was unilaterally no.

So did the thousands of viewers who visited the Man page not see what I saw? Or did they simply not know how to do anything about it?

Wikipedia is the #1 open knowledge resource and the 7th most popular website, in the world. It needs contributors of all genders, ages, and races to be the great public resource that it is.

In my next and final post, I’ll discuss how more people can get involved to improve diversity and become part of the great community that is Wikipedia.

TO BE CONTINUED…

How I Redefined "Man" For The World (Wikipedia's Battle for Diversity – Part II)

Change the Ratio: Wikipedia (design by JESS3 + 1X57)

In my previous post, Cargo Cult Editing, I used the Wikipedia page for Kate Middleton’s wedding dress and the skirmish that took place over it, as an example of how viewpoint and perspective can impact the content of Wikipedia.

Now I’ll share my own personal Wikipedia battle…that I like to build up as an epic clash, when in reality it was tantamount to a 2-second spitball fight.

For more than two years, if you visited the Man page in Wikipedia, you would have found the following section outlining (7) characteristics of masculinity:

  1. Physical — virile, athletic, strong, brave. Unconcerned about appearance and aging;
  2. Functional — provider for family, defender of family from physical threat;
  3. Sexual — sexually aggressive, experienced. Single status acceptable;
  4. Emotional — unemotional, stoic, never crying;
  5. Intellectual — logical, intellectual, rational, objective, practical;
  6. Interpersonal — leader, dominating; disciplinarian; independent, free, individualistic; demanding;
  7. Other Personal Characteristics — success-oriented, ambitious, aggressive, proud, egotistical, moral, trustworthy; decisive, competitive, uninhibited, adventurous.

When I came across the page in May of 2010, I was a little surprised to read characteristics such as “unconcerned about appearance and aging” and “provider for family.”

In fact, almost all the qualities surprised me since they seemed so utterly out of date, and frankly, just not true. But then I looked at the source: 1974. 1974!

A lot had changed in the past 35 years, with tons of published evidence to refute almost every single one of the listed characteristics. And although we can have a great social discourse over what it means to be “masculine” – the debate belongs on the Masculinity page.

So I removed the section. And entered my first “edit war” in Wikipedia with a user by the name of Martin Hogbin who reverted my change within minutes.

Like any good Sun Tzu student, I was prepared for battle. Of course I could have gone a more diplomatic route by taking the disagreement to the discussion page, but in this case, the entry was just plain wrong. And I was willing to fight.

I had my arguments and sources ready and my backup Wikipedia editors (@robotchampion and @kirbstr) primed to to jump in on the discussion should I need them.

I reverted Martin’s reversion, waiting for a response. And then, just as fast as it had begun, it was over. My edit prevailed.

The point of this story is to show what happens, when a page as popular as the Man page (which receives ~30,000 views per month), has very little diversity in its editor base. What would a 16-year old girl think upon reading the above characteristics, or 16-year old boy? Do they equally apply to homosexual men, and men of various ethnicities, nationalities, ages, religions and vocations?

The answer is no. Is the Dalai Lama not “masculine” or any less of a “man” because he is not sexually aggressive or experienced?

Wikipedia needs more diversity, for the simple reasons of perspective and objectivity. When 1X57 did the Women Who Wiki workshop, I showed the attendees, mostly women with one male, the historical Man page with the above characteristics listed and asked them if they agreed with them. The answer was unilaterally no.

So did the thousands of viewers who visited the Man page not see what I saw? Or did they simply not know how to do anything about it?

Wikipedia is the #1 open knowledge resource and the 7th most popular website, in the world. It needs contributors of all genders, ages, and races to be the great public resource that it is.

In my next and final post, I’ll discuss how more people can get involved to improve diversity and become part of the great community that is Wikipedia.

TO BE CONTINUED…