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theatlantic:

If You’ve Ever Sold a Used iPod, You May Have Violated Copyright Law

The Supreme Court will soon hear a case that will affect whether you can sell your iPad — or almost anything else — without needing to get permission from a dozen “copyright holders.” Here are some things you might have recently done that will be rendered illegal if the Supreme Court upholds the lower court decision:
1. Sold your first-generation iPad on Craigslist to a willing buyer, even if you bought the iPad lawfully at the Apple Store.
2. Sold your dad’s used Omega watch on eBay to buy him a fancier (used or new) Rolex at a local jewelry store.
3. Sold an “import CD” of your favorite band that was only released abroad but legally purchased there. Ditto for a copy of a French or Spanish novel not released in the U.S.
4. Sold your house to a willing buyer, so long as you sell your house along with the fixtures manufactured in China, a chandelier made in Thailand or Paris, support beams produced in Canada that carry the imprint of a copyrighted logo, or a bricks or a marble countertop made in Italy with any copyrighted features or insignia.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

theatlantic:

If You’ve Ever Sold a Used iPod, You May Have Violated Copyright Law

The Supreme Court will soon hear a case that will affect whether you can sell your iPad — or almost anything else — without needing to get permission from a dozen “copyright holders.” Here are some things you might have recently done that will be rendered illegal if the Supreme Court upholds the lower court decision:

1. Sold your first-generation iPad on Craigslist to a willing buyer, even if you bought the iPad lawfully at the Apple Store.

2. Sold your dad’s used Omega watch on eBay to buy him a fancier (used or new) Rolex at a local jewelry store.

3. Sold an “import CD” of your favorite band that was only released abroad but legally purchased there. Ditto for a copy of a French or Spanish novel not released in the U.S.

4. Sold your house to a willing buyer, so long as you sell your house along with the fixtures manufactured in China, a chandelier made in Thailand or Paris, support beams produced in Canada that carry the imprint of a copyrighted logo, or a bricks or a marble countertop made in Italy with any copyrighted features or insignia.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

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theatlantic:

Why the World’s Most Perfect News Tweet Is Kind of Boring

This, per one algorithm, is the Platonic version of the news tweet.
If that seems a little dull for Twitter Perfection … well, that’s the point. Steadiness — compelling news expressed in straightforward, not hyperbolic, language — is actually a component of a maximally effective tweet, the algorithm says. And this particular tweet is also sent from a credible source, The New York Times, which makes it extra-spreadable. It’s about technology, the most popular, shareable category of news story. It’s engaging without being insistent. And it stars a company — Apple — with high name recognition.
The algorithm comes courtesy of a fascinating paper [pdf] from UCLA and Hewlett-Packard’s HP Labs. The researchers Roja Bandari, Sitram Asur, and Bernardo Huberman teamed up to try to predict the popularity — which is to say, the spreadability — of news-based tweets.
Read more.

theatlantic:

Why the World’s Most Perfect News Tweet Is Kind of Boring

This, per one algorithm, is the Platonic version of the news tweet.

If that seems a little dull for Twitter Perfection … well, that’s the point. Steadiness — compelling news expressed in straightforward, not hyperbolic, language — is actually a component of a maximally effective tweet, the algorithm says. And this particular tweet is also sent from a credible source, The New York Times, which makes it extra-spreadable. It’s about technology, the most popular, shareable category of news story. It’s engaging without being insistent. And it stars a company — Apple — with high name recognition.

The algorithm comes courtesy of a fascinating paper [pdf] from UCLA and Hewlett-Packard’s HP Labs. The researchers Roja Bandari, Sitram Asur, and Bernardo Huberman teamed up to try to predict the popularity — which is to say, the spreadability — of news-based tweets.

Read more.

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wired:

theatlantic:

Microsoft Wants to Serve You Ads Based on What You Do in Your Living Room

You know the routine: Browse a commercial website and you’ll start seeing ads for that website (and perhaps its competitors) sprinkled across the web. Email about an upcoming trip and ads will begin appearing across the top of your email for hotels in your destination. Even if it provokes discomfort, we have become accustomed to the idea that the trails we leave online will be mined and targeted advertisements — those that respond to the emails we have typed and the websites we have visited — will come into our lines of sight.
But what if that data set — the data that informs the targeting — expanded beyond the words and clicks we input through our keyboards and our cursors? What if it included your body language as you slumped on the couch after a long day at the office or the hug you shared with your partner upon receiving some good news? What if advertisers could see not the trail you left online, but the life you lead in your living room?
A vision for such a world is set down in the text of a patent application from Microsoft for “Targeting Advertisements Based on Emotion” released last week. There are plenty of otherpatents for “targeting advertisements based on emotion,” many of which assess “emotion” based on the sorts of web trails we know advertisers watch. But Microsoft has something those other patent-holders don’t have: the Microsoft Kinect.
Read more. [Image: An en Alain/Flickr]


So, we’ll just be turning that Kinect off now.

wired:

theatlantic:

Microsoft Wants to Serve You Ads Based on What You Do in Your Living Room

You know the routine: Browse a commercial website and you’ll start seeing ads for that website (and perhaps its competitors) sprinkled across the web. Email about an upcoming trip and ads will begin appearing across the top of your email for hotels in your destination. Even if it provokes discomfort, we have become accustomed to the idea that the trails we leave online will be mined and targeted advertisements — those that respond to the emails we have typed and the websites we have visited — will come into our lines of sight.

But what if that data set — the data that informs the targeting — expanded beyond the words and clicks we input through our keyboards and our cursors? What if it included your body language as you slumped on the couch after a long day at the office or the hug you shared with your partner upon receiving some good news? What if advertisers could see not the trail you left online, but the life you lead in your living room?

A vision for such a world is set down in the text of a patent application from Microsoft for “Targeting Advertisements Based on Emotion” released last week. There are plenty of otherpatents for “targeting advertisements based on emotion,” many of which assess “emotion” based on the sorts of web trails we know advertisers watch. But Microsoft has something those other patent-holders don’t have: the Microsoft Kinect.

Read more. [Image: An en Alain/Flickr]

So, we’ll just be turning that Kinect off now.

(Source: Wired)

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Anatomy of the Dial-up Modem Sound

Anatomy of the Dial-up Modem Sound

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ilovecharts:

jtotheizzoe:

Using last.fm Data to Map Geographic Flow of Music
By tapping into the last.fm API, these Irish researchers modeled the geographic flow of musical influence. They were able to identify where certain tastes frequently originated, and draw a hierarchy of influential cities (like the chart shown above for North America).
Surprisingly, the size of a city doesn’t associate very strongly with how influential it is. That means that despite its enormous size, NYC isn’t that much more influential than Portland or Austin. There are prevailing theories that large cities are the drivers of cultural invention, but this seems to show (for music, at least) that a connected online world is leveling that playing field.
Also, they have a graph displaying “Normalized Radiohead vs. Normalized Coldplay”, which has to go down as one of the best figures in a research paper, ever. 
(via arXiv)

Very cool paper.

ilovecharts:

jtotheizzoe:

Using last.fm Data to Map Geographic Flow of Music

By tapping into the last.fm API, these Irish researchers modeled the geographic flow of musical influence. They were able to identify where certain tastes frequently originated, and draw a hierarchy of influential cities (like the chart shown above for North America).

Surprisingly, the size of a city doesn’t associate very strongly with how influential it is. That means that despite its enormous size, NYC isn’t that much more influential than Portland or Austin. There are prevailing theories that large cities are the drivers of cultural invention, but this seems to show (for music, at least) that a connected online world is leveling that playing field.

Also, they have a graph displaying “Normalized Radiohead vs. Normalized Coldplay”, which has to go down as one of the best figures in a research paper, ever. 

(via arXiv)

Very cool paper.

(via theatlantic)

Tags: theatlantic
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theatlantic:

The Most (and Least) Peaceful Places in America

Over the past year, a majority of states, 35 of 50, became more peaceful. However, there is substantial geographic variation. New England ranks as the nation’s most peaceful region with the lowest scores; Maine is the nation’s most peaceful state, followed by New Hampshire and Vermont. Minnesota and Utah are fourth and fifth; North Dakota, Washington, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Iowa round out the top ten.  
Louisiana is the least peaceful state on the State Peace Index, followed by Tennessee, Nevada, Florida, and Arizona. Missouri, Texas, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Mississippi round out the ten least peaceful states.
Read more at The Atlantic Cities. [Image: Martin Prosperity Institute]

theatlantic:

The Most (and Least) Peaceful Places in America

Over the past year, a majority of states, 35 of 50, became more peaceful. However, there is substantial geographic variation. New England ranks as the nation’s most peaceful region with the lowest scores; Maine is the nation’s most peaceful state, followed by New Hampshire and Vermont. Minnesota and Utah are fourth and fifth; North Dakota, Washington, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Iowa round out the top ten.  

Louisiana is the least peaceful state on the State Peace Index, followed by Tennessee, Nevada, Florida, and Arizona. Missouri, Texas, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Mississippi round out the ten least peaceful states.

Read more at The Atlantic Cities. [Image: Martin Prosperity Institute]

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emergentfutures:

The Next Time Someone Says the Internet Killed Reading Books, Show Them This Chart
“Remember the good old days when everyone read really good books, like, maybe in the post-war years when everyone appreciated a good use of the semi-colon? Everyone’s favorite book was by Faulkner or Woolf or Roth. We were a civilized civilization. This was before the Internet and cable television, and so people had these, like, wholly different desires and attention spans. They just craved, craved, craved the erudition and cultivation of our literary kings and queens. Well, that time never existed. Check out these stats from Gallup surveys. In 1957, not even a quarter of Americans were reading a book or novel. By 2005, that number had shot up to 47 percent. I couldn’t find a more recent number, but I think it’s fair to say that reading probably hasn’t declined to the horrific levels of the 1950s.”
Full Story: The Atlantic

emergentfutures:

The Next Time Someone Says the Internet Killed Reading Books, Show Them This Chart

“Remember the good old days when everyone read really good books, like, maybe in the post-war years when everyone appreciated a good use of the semi-colon? Everyone’s favorite book was by Faulkner or Woolf or Roth. We were a civilized civilization. This was before the Internet and cable television, and so people had these, like, wholly different desires and attention spans. They just craved, craved, craved the erudition and cultivation of our literary kings and queens. 

Well, that time never existed. Check out these stats from Gallup surveys. In 1957, not even a quarter of Americans were reading a book or novel. By 2005, that number had shot up to 47 percent. I couldn’t find a more recent number, but I think it’s fair to say that reading probably hasn’t declined to the horrific levels of the 1950s.”

Full Story: The Atlantic

(via ilovecharts)

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theatlantic:

Can This ‘Online Ivy’ University Change the Face of Higher Education?

Traditionally, for-profit colleges have operated on the lowest rungs of America’s educational ladder, catering to poor and lower-middle-class students looking for a basic, convenient degree or technical training. Aspiring Ivy Leaguers have remained far out of the industry’s sites.
That is, until now.
This week, the Minerva Project, a startup online university, announced that it had received $25 million in seed financing from Benchmark Capital, a major Silicon Valley venture capital firm known for its early investments in eBay, among other successful web companies. Minerva bills itself as “the first elite American university to be launched in a century,” and promises to re-envision higher education for the information age. The chairman of its advisory board: Larry Summers, the former treasury secretary and Harvard president. Among others, he’s joined on the board by Bob Kerry, the former United States senator and president of The New School.
A for-profit school trying to elbow its way into the top tier of American universities could certainly do worse for a pedigree. (Could the fact that both Summers and Kerry had rocky tenures as university presidents have anything to do with their enthusiasm for this project? I dare not speculate.)  But what makes Minerva interesting isn’t the possibility that one day it might displace Harvard, Yale, or even Cornell in the hearts of American undergraduates. It probably won’t. Rather, it’s what the school might show us about the state of the global education market, and how the United States might be able to turn its reputation for pedagogical excellence into a high-tech export industry.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

theatlantic:

Can This ‘Online Ivy’ University Change the Face of Higher Education?

Traditionally, for-profit colleges have operated on the lowest rungs of America’s educational ladder, catering to poor and lower-middle-class students looking for a basic, convenient degree or technical training. Aspiring Ivy Leaguers have remained far out of the industry’s sites.

That is, until now.

This week, the Minerva Project, a startup online university, announced that it had received $25 million in seed financing from Benchmark Capital, a major Silicon Valley venture capital firm known for its early investments in eBay, among other successful web companies. Minerva bills itself as “the first elite American university to be launched in a century,” and promises to re-envision higher education for the information age. The chairman of its advisory board: Larry Summers, the former treasury secretary and Harvard president. Among others, he’s joined on the board by Bob Kerry, the former United States senator and president of The New School.

A for-profit school trying to elbow its way into the top tier of American universities could certainly do worse for a pedigree. (Could the fact that both Summers and Kerry had rocky tenures as university presidents have anything to do with their enthusiasm for this project? I dare not speculate.)  But what makes Minerva interesting isn’t the possibility that one day it might displace Harvard, Yale, or even Cornell in the hearts of American undergraduates. It probably won’t. Rather, it’s what the school might show us about the state of the global education market, and how the United States might be able to turn its reputation for pedagogical excellence into a high-tech export industry.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

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theatlantic:

Flash and the PDF: Computing’s Last Great (and Now Endangered) Monopolies

Remember the 1990s when Microsoft and Intel dominated personal computing, long before there were smartphones or tablets or other things that are sort of like computers but not actually computers? Back then, as the chart Asymco’s Horace Dediu created shows, WinTel computers dominated.
In recent years, though, the dominance of the WinTel computing platform has collapsed. Apple’s traditional computers and iOS devices combined with Android’s smartphone success mean that, as often as not, people use an operating system and device that’s outside the WinTel model. Given the proliferation of computing gadgets and operating systems, many standards have collapsed. There are few near-monopolies left. Microsoft Office is everywhere, but increasingly unnecessary. Even mighty Google’s search market share is only around 66 percent.  But you know, there are two 90s-era products that continue to have ridiculous installed bases: Adobe’s Flash and PDF.
Read more. [Image: Asymco]

theatlantic:

Flash and the PDF: Computing’s Last Great (and Now Endangered) Monopolies

Remember the 1990s when Microsoft and Intel dominated personal computing, long before there were smartphones or tablets or other things that are sort of like computers but not actually computers? Back then, as the chart Asymco’s Horace Dediu created shows, WinTel computers dominated.

In recent years, though, the dominance of the WinTel computing platform has collapsed. Apple’s traditional computers and iOS devices combined with Android’s smartphone success mean that, as often as not, people use an operating system and device that’s outside the WinTel model. 

Given the proliferation of computing gadgets and operating systems, many standards have collapsed. There are few near-monopolies left. Microsoft Office is everywhere, but increasingly unnecessary. Even mighty Google’s search market share is only around 66 percent.  

But you know, there are two 90s-era products that continue to have ridiculous installed bases: Adobe’s Flash and PDF.

Read more. [Image: Asymco]

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ilovecharts:

theatlantic:

Yep, Google Just Patented Background Noise

In 2008, Google applied to patent a system that analyzes the environments surrounding mobile phones — temperature, humidity, sound — by way of sensors embedded in those phones. The technology would be mainly used, Google said in its filing, for (yes) “advertising based on environmental conditions.” It would provide another information layer, beyond quaint little GPS, that would target ads based not just on users’ immediate locations, but on their immediate environments. So, the filing noted, detections of hot weather could serve up ads for air conditioners; or, inversely, winter coats. Or the phone sensors might detect, say, the distinctive sounds of an orchestra being tuned, and combine that information — the user is at a concert — with location data and local events data to figure out which concert the user is attending. And then serve ads (for nearby restaurants, orchestral CDs, local violin teachers) based on that intel.
Cool, no? And also totally creepy?
Well. This week, Google was granted its patent. The firm has officially patented background noise. (And also: cold. And also: warmth.)
There are huge privacy concerns here, obviously, one of them being that the ability to track devices’ background noises would seem to imply the ability to track all their noises. And “it is important to respect the privacy of users,” Google acknowledges in the patent, noting that monitor-tracking will be opt-out-able and that “a privacy policy” specifying which, and how, sensor-gathered information would be used “may be provided to the user.” One wonders about the legality of the hypothetical operation in the 12 states that require everyone recorded to consent to that recording. The sound the phone picks up may just be an advertising signal for an algorithm to Google, but the law could see it differently.
These might be moot points, anyway. There’s no indication, as yet, that Google has plans to implement the “environmental condition” technology, GeekWire points out. But it bears repeating nonetheless, both as a whoa and as an insight into how the firm is thinking about the role it’ll play in our digital future: Google has patented background noise.
And all for the purpose of serving you ads.
[Image: A rendering of Google’s latest patent. Note the lines: “environmental condition” and “ad server.”]


Not cool.

ilovecharts:

theatlantic:

Yep, Google Just Patented Background Noise

In 2008, Google applied to patent a system that analyzes the environments surrounding mobile phones — temperature, humidity, sound — by way of sensors embedded in those phones. The technology would be mainly used, Google said in its filing, for (yes) “advertising based on environmental conditions.” It would provide another information layer, beyond quaint little GPS, that would target ads based not just on users’ immediate locations, but on their immediate environments. So, the filing noted, detections of hot weather could serve up ads for air conditioners; or, inversely, winter coats. Or the phone sensors might detect, say, the distinctive sounds of an orchestra being tuned, and combine that information — the user is at a concert — with location data and local events data to figure out which concert the user is attending. And then serve ads (for nearby restaurants, orchestral CDs, local violin teachers) based on that intel.

Cool, no? And also totally creepy?

Well. This week, Google was granted its patent. The firm has officially patented background noise. (And also: cold. And also: warmth.)

There are huge privacy concerns here, obviously, one of them being that the ability to track devices’ background noises would seem to imply the ability to track all their noises. And “it is important to respect the privacy of users,” Google acknowledges in the patent, noting that monitor-tracking will be opt-out-able and that “a privacy policy” specifying which, and how, sensor-gathered information would be used “may be provided to the user.” One wonders about the legality of the hypothetical operation in the 12 states that require everyone recorded to consent to that recording. The sound the phone picks up may just be an advertising signal for an algorithm to Google, but the law could see it differently.

These might be moot points, anyway. There’s no indication, as yet, that Google has plans to implement the “environmental condition” technology, GeekWire points out. But it bears repeating nonetheless, both as a whoa and as an insight into how the firm is thinking about the role it’ll play in our digital future: Google has patented background noise.

And all for the purpose of serving you ads.

[Image: A rendering of Google’s latest patent. Note the lines: “environmental condition” and “ad server.”]

Not cool.