The FJP

Apr 06

“Welcome to the world’s largest online repository of structured, multilingual, usage-based hate speech.” —

Welcome message from Hatebase.org, a project created by Canadian-based Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention.

Via Hatebase

Hatebase was built to assist government agencies, NGOs, research organizations and other philanthropic individuals and groups use hate speech as a predictor for regional violence. Language-based classification, or symbolization, is one of a handful of quantifiable steps toward genocide

The site maps incidents of hate speech, structures them across language and type, and invites people to contribute.

Developers can access the Hatebase API here.

Apr 05

[video]

‘Robot’ to write 1 billion stories in 2014 but will you know it when you see it? | Poynter. -

If you’re a human reporter quaking in your boots this week over news of a Los Angeles Times algorithm that wrote the newspaper’s initial story about an earthquake, you might want to cover your ears for this fact:

Software from Automated Insights will generate about 1 billion stories this year — up from 350 million last year, CEO and founder Robbie Allen told Poynter via phone.

FJP: Here’s a ponderable for you.

A few weeks ago, the New York Post reported that Quinton Ross died. Ross, a former Brooklyn Nets basketball player, didn’t know he was dead and soon let people know he was just fine.

"A couple (relatives) already heard it," Ross told the Associated Press. “They were crying. I mean, it was a tough day, man, mostly for my family and friends… My phone was going crazy. I checked Facebook. Finally, I went on the Internet, and they were saying I was dead. I just couldn’t believe it.”

The original reporter on the story? A robot. Specifically, Wikipedia Live Monitor, created by Google engineer Thomas Steiner.

Slate explains how it happened:

Wikipedia Live Monitor is a news bot designed to detect breaking news events. It does this by listening to the velocity and concurrent edits across 287 language versions of Wikipedia. The theory is that if lots of people are editing Wikipedia pages in different languages about the same event and at the same time, then chances are something big and breaking is going on.

At 3:09 p.m. the bot recognized the apparent death of Quinton Ross (the basketball player) as a breaking news event—there had been eight edits by five editors in three languages. The bot sent a tweet. Twelve minutes later, the page’s information was corrected. But the bot remained silent. No correction. It had shared what it thought was breaking news, and that was that. Like any journalist, these bots can make mistakes.

Quick takeaway: Robots, like the humans that program them, are fallible.

Slower, existential takeaway: “How can we instill journalistic ethics in robot reporters?

As Nicholas Diakopoulos explains in Slate, code transparency is an inadequate part of the answer. More important  is understanding what he calls the “tuning criteria,” or the inherent biases, that are used to make editorial decisions when algorithms direct the news.

Read through for his excellent take.

(Source: futurescope, via emergentfutures)

Apr 04

Photographing Afghanistan’s Elections
The New York Times has a great photo essay by Bryan Denton on Afghanistan’s tomorrow’s presidential election.
Via The Times:

As they registered with the Independent Election Commission in October, some of Afghanistan’s presidential candidates took offense when told they had to leave their guns at home. Brawls broke out. It was not a promising beginning to the first election in modern Afghan history with the potential to bring a peaceful change of leadership, as President Hamid Karzai’s 12 years in power come to an official end.
In the months since, a Taliban campaign of attacks has taken its toll in lives and fear. Insurgents even managed to strike the election commission, killing workers and setting a ballot warehouse on fire. But the overall violence across the country has been lower than before the 2009 vote, and the most dire predictions have so far not come to pass.

Image: Supporters of presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani, by Bryan Denton, via The New York Times. Select to embiggen.

Photographing Afghanistan’s Elections

The New York Times has a great photo essay by Bryan Denton on Afghanistan’s tomorrow’s presidential election.

Via The Times:

As they registered with the Independent Election Commission in October, some of Afghanistan’s presidential candidates took offense when told they had to leave their guns at home. Brawls broke out. It was not a promising beginning to the first election in modern Afghan history with the potential to bring a peaceful change of leadership, as President Hamid Karzai’s 12 years in power come to an official end.

In the months since, a Taliban campaign of attacks has taken its toll in lives and fear. Insurgents even managed to strike the election commission, killing workers and setting a ballot warehouse on fire. But the overall violence across the country has been lower than before the 2009 vote, and the most dire predictions have so far not come to pass.

Image: Supporters of presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani, by Bryan Denton, via The New York Times. Select to embiggen.

“Internet slang. We used to make an effort to avoid this, and now I see us all falling back into the habit. We want to sound like regular adult human beings, not Buzzfeed writers or Reddit commenters. Therefore: No “epic.” No “pwn.” No “+1.” No “derp.” No “this”/”this just happened.” No “OMG.” No “WTF.” No “lulz.” No “FTW.” No “win.” No “amazeballs.” And so on. Nothing will ever “win the internet” on Gawker. As with all rules there are exceptions. Err on the side of the Times, not XOJane.” — Max Read, Editor, Gawker, in a memo to staff, via Poynter. Gawker bans ‘Internet slang’.

The Internet is a Series of Tubes
Mark Graham and Stefano De Sabbata from the Oxford Internet Institute map the world’s submarine fibre-optic cables to appear like the London’s Tube Map (PDF). But they also go a few steps further.
Via Information Geographies

For the sake of simplicity, many short links have been excluded from the visualization. For instance, it doesn’t show the intricate network of cables under the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the South and East China Sea, the North Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. The map instead aims to provide a global overview of the network, and a general sense of how information traverses our planet. (The findings reported below, however, are based on two analysis of the full submarine fibre-optic cable network, and not just the simplified representation shown in the illustration.)
The map also includes symbols referring to countries listed as “Enemies of the Internet” in the 2014 report of Reporters Without Borders. The centrality of the nodes within the network has been calculated using the PageRank algorithm. The rank is important as it highlights those geographical places where the network is most influenced by power (e.g., potential data surveillance) and weakness (e.g., potential service disruption).

Image: Internet Tube, by Mark Graham and Stefano De Sabbata.

The Internet is a Series of Tubes

Mark Graham and Stefano De Sabbata from the Oxford Internet Institute map the world’s submarine fibre-optic cables to appear like the London’s Tube Map (PDF). But they also go a few steps further.

Via Information Geographies

For the sake of simplicity, many short links have been excluded from the visualization. For instance, it doesn’t show the intricate network of cables under the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the South and East China Sea, the North Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. The map instead aims to provide a global overview of the network, and a general sense of how information traverses our planet. (The findings reported below, however, are based on two analysis of the full submarine fibre-optic cable network, and not just the simplified representation shown in the illustration.)

The map also includes symbols referring to countries listed as “Enemies of the Internet” in the 2014 report of Reporters Without Borders. The centrality of the nodes within the network has been calculated using the PageRank algorithm. The rank is important as it highlights those geographical places where the network is most influenced by power (e.g., potential data surveillance) and weakness (e.g., potential service disruption).

Image: Internet Tube, by Mark Graham and Stefano De Sabbata.

breakingnews:

AP photographer killed, reporter wounded in Afghanistan
AP: Veteran Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and AP reporter Kathy Gannon was wounded on Friday when an Afghan policeman opened fire while they were sitting in their car in eastern Afghanistan.
Follow more on this story at Breaking News
Photo: Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus poses for a photograph in Rome. (AP File Photo)

FJP — Via the BBC:

The attack took place in the town of Khost near the border with Pakistan…
…[The two journalists] had been travelling with election workers delivering ballots in the Tanay district of Khost province.
An eyewitness said a police unit commander had opened fire on the journalists as they were waiting for their convoy to move inside a security compound.
The police officer behind the attack was taken into custody after surrendering to other police…
…The BBC’s Afghanistan correspondent, David Loyn, says the election is being protected by the biggest military operation since the fall of the Taliban.
Nearly 200,000 troops have been deployed across the country to prevent attacks.
Rings of security have been set up around each polling centre, with the police at the centre and hundreds of troops on the outside.
Reporting restrictions are in place, limiting what can be broadcast about the candidates.

For what it’s worth, Niedringhaus was a former Nieman Fellow. Some of her work can be seen on her Tumblr. See also her 2007 essay in Nieman Reports on the emotions of photography, and this 2013 photo essay of her work in Afghanistan from the Atlantic.

breakingnews:

AP photographer killed, reporter wounded in Afghanistan

AP: Veteran Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and AP reporter Kathy Gannon was wounded on Friday when an Afghan policeman opened fire while they were sitting in their car in eastern Afghanistan.

Follow more on this story at Breaking News

Photo: Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus poses for a photograph in Rome. (AP File Photo)

FJP — Via the BBC:

The attack took place in the town of Khost near the border with Pakistan…

…[The two journalists] had been travelling with election workers delivering ballots in the Tanay district of Khost province.

An eyewitness said a police unit commander had opened fire on the journalists as they were waiting for their convoy to move inside a security compound.

The police officer behind the attack was taken into custody after surrendering to other police…

The BBC’s Afghanistan correspondent, David Loyn, says the election is being protected by the biggest military operation since the fall of the Taliban.

Nearly 200,000 troops have been deployed across the country to prevent attacks.

Rings of security have been set up around each polling centre, with the police at the centre and hundreds of troops on the outside.

Reporting restrictions are in place, limiting what can be broadcast about the candidates.

For what it’s worth, Niedringhaus was a former Nieman Fellow. Some of her work can be seen on her Tumblr. See also her 2007 essay in Nieman Reports on the emotions of photography, and this 2013 photo essay of her work in Afghanistan from the Atlantic.

Apr 01

How “no worries” infected American English -

In modern times where “I’m good” means “No thank you” and “No worries” means “You’re welcome,” it’s interesting to know the root of this trend in language. 

 

Mar 22

Harvard’s Looking for a Wikipedian
Via The Atlantic:

The Houghton Library on the Harvard campus holds the university’s collection of rare books. Inside its walls—in addition to objects culled from the old “Treasure Room” of Widener, the school’s principal library—you’ll find Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts; information about the creation of books; and collections of papers from, among many others, Louisa May Alcott, e.e. cummings, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Henry James, William James, Samuel Johnson, James Joyce, John Keats, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Theodore Roosevelt, John Updike, and Gore Vidal.
The Houghton Library on the Harvard campus is awesome, is what I’m saying. And now it’s looking for a little love. From, and for … Wikipedia.
Yesterday, John Overholt, Houghton’s Curator of Early Modern Books & Manuscripts, posted a job listing. He’s hiring a Wikipedian in Residence—someone who can serve as a kind of liaison between Wikipedia and the academic, cultural, and intellectual institutions whose source material its entries rely on. In this case, Harvard.

The job’s only three months, pays $16/hour, but still: Wikipedia, rare books, internets. Tingling. Further details here.
Image: Via Cyanide and Happiness.

Harvard’s Looking for a Wikipedian

Via The Atlantic:

The Houghton Library on the Harvard campus holds the university’s collection of rare books. Inside its walls—in addition to objects culled from the old “Treasure Room” of Widener, the school’s principal library—you’ll find Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts; information about the creation of books; and collections of papers from, among many others, Louisa May Alcott, e.e. cummings, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Henry James, William James, Samuel Johnson, James Joyce, John Keats, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Theodore Roosevelt, John Updike, and Gore Vidal.

The Houghton Library on the Harvard campus is awesome, is what I’m saying. And now it’s looking for a little love. From, and for … Wikipedia.

Yesterday, John Overholt, Houghton’s Curator of Early Modern Books & Manuscripts, posted a job listing. He’s hiring a Wikipedian in Residence—someone who can serve as a kind of liaison between Wikipedia and the academic, cultural, and intellectual institutions whose source material its entries rely on. In this case, Harvard.

The job’s only three months, pays $16/hour, but still: Wikipedia, rare books, internets. Tingling. Further details here.

Image: Via Cyanide and Happiness.

As Turkey Bans Twitter, Twitter Use Surges
Turkey banned Twitter Thursday night because of “biases" and "systematic character assassinations" it says take place on the network. Namely, that people are sharing audio recordings and other evidence of alleged mass corruption in the Erdogan government.
Despite the ban, or maybe because of it, Twitter use within Turkey just skyrocketed. Via Venture Beat:

After banning Twitter last night, the actions of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan have failed spectacularly.
Immediately following Turkey’s ban, Twitter issued an SMS workaround. Then, ”#TwitterisblockedinTurkey” became a globally trending topic on Twitter. Into the night, usage of Google’s free DNS service exploded to circumvent the blockage of Twitter’s domain. Now, social media analysis firms Brandwatch and We Are Social report that Turkish tweets last night and this morning are up by a massive 138 percent…
…Turkish users collectively tweeted 2.5 million times since the ban went into effect, potentially “setting new records for Twitter use in the country,” according to a different study reported by the Guardian.

As Zeynep Tufekci explains, people in Turkey “banned the ban” by sharing tips on using proxies and adjusting DNS settings to get around government blocking:

By the end of the evening, I repeated the same line in interviews and also on Twitter: the only people “banned” from Twitter are pro-government supporters not wanting to openly circumvent. But then even some of them started popping up, arguing the ban must be a mistake or a devious plot by the opponents in the judiciary where they had been battling a faction. It was 3 am in Turkey and it seemed that many people on my Twitter list, who normally would be asleep by then, were awake, rejoicing in the freedom they’d clutched. They were not going to let go. Jokes were proliferating about the weakness of the ban, the fact that pro-government supporters had mostly decided to stay away, and the fact that the prolific Tweeter and mayor of Ankara from the ruling party had not been able to resist the temptation. He had circumvented.

Image: A woman paints Google’s Public DNS on her body, a method being used to get around Turkey’s Twitter ban, via @_cypherpunks_. Related, graffiti in Turkey is appearing that promotes the same.  

As Turkey Bans Twitter, Twitter Use Surges

Turkey banned Twitter Thursday night because of “biases" and "systematic character assassinations" it says take place on the network. Namely, that people are sharing audio recordings and other evidence of alleged mass corruption in the Erdogan government.

Despite the ban, or maybe because of it, Twitter use within Turkey just skyrocketed. Via Venture Beat:

After banning Twitter last night, the actions of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan have failed spectacularly.

Immediately following Turkey’s ban, Twitter issued an SMS workaround. Then, ”#TwitterisblockedinTurkey” became a globally trending topic on Twitter. Into the night, usage of Google’s free DNS service exploded to circumvent the blockage of Twitter’s domain. Now, social media analysis firms Brandwatch and We Are Social report that Turkish tweets last night and this morning are up by a massive 138 percent…

…Turkish users collectively tweeted 2.5 million times since the ban went into effect, potentially “setting new records for Twitter use in the country,” according to a different study reported by the Guardian.

As Zeynep Tufekci explains, people in Turkey “banned the ban” by sharing tips on using proxies and adjusting DNS settings to get around government blocking:

By the end of the evening, I repeated the same line in interviews and also on Twitter: the only people “banned” from Twitter are pro-government supporters not wanting to openly circumvent. But then even some of them started popping up, arguing the ban must be a mistake or a devious plot by the opponents in the judiciary where they had been battling a faction. It was 3 am in Turkey and it seemed that many people on my Twitter list, who normally would be asleep by then, were awake, rejoicing in the freedom they’d clutched. They were not going to let go. Jokes were proliferating about the weakness of the ban, the fact that pro-government supporters had mostly decided to stay away, and the fact that the prolific Tweeter and mayor of Ankara from the ruling party had not been able to resist the temptation. He had circumvented.

Image: A woman paints Google’s Public DNS on her body, a method being used to get around Turkey’s Twitter ban, via @_cypherpunks_. Related, graffiti in Turkey is appearing that promotes the same.  

Mar 21

“At this stage, we can’t rule anything out: not crew interference with the transponders, not a catastrophic electrical failure, not the emergence of a complex topological feature of space-time such as an Einstein-Rosen bridge that could have deposited the flight at any location in the universe or a different time period altogether, nothing…

Could a parallel universe have immediately swelled up from random cosmological fluctuation according to the multiverse theory and swallowed the flight into its folds, or could ice have built up on an airspeed sensor? Those are both options we are currently considering… Everything’s on the table. That is, insofar as anything exists at all, which we’re also looking into.” — "Azharuddin Abdul Rahman," Civil Aviation Chief of Malayasia. The Onion, Malaysia Airlines Expands Investigation To Include General Scope Of Space, Time.

“I feel like I should let you know what you’re in for. This is a long story about a juggler. It gets into some areas that matter in all sports, such as performance and audience and ambition, but there’s absolutely a lot of juggling in the next 6,700 words. I assume you may bail at this point, which is fine; I almost bailed a few times in the writing. The usual strategies of sportswriting depend on the writer and reader sharing a set of passions and references that make it easy to speed along on rivers of stats and myth, but you almost certainly don’t know as much about juggling as you do about football or baseball. We’re probably staring at a frozen lake here.

A few juggling videos are embedded below. I hope they help. We may fall through the ice anyway.” —

You had us at ‘juggler’.

Jason Fagone, Grantland. Dropped: Why did Anthony Gatto, the greatest juggler alive — and perhaps of all time — back away from his art to open a construction business?

Mar 18

Food Maps
Via Caitlin Levin and Henry Hargreaves:

In this series we have taken many of the iconic foods of countries and continents and turned them into physical maps. While we know that tomatoes originally came from the Andes in South America, Italy has become the tomato king. These maps show how food has traveled the globe — transforming and becoming a part of the cultural identity of that place.

H/T: Slate.

Food Maps

Via Caitlin Levin and Henry Hargreaves:

In this series we have taken many of the iconic foods of countries and continents and turned them into physical maps. While we know that tomatoes originally came from the Andes in South America, Italy has become the tomato king. These maps show how food has traveled the globe — transforming and becoming a part of the cultural identity of that place.

H/T: Slate.

Mar 17

[video]