August 2011

Building the Library of Babel

 

There came a point somewhere in the middle of the previous decade where the number of hours of video uploaded to YouTube in a given day totaled 24. That is to say, each day, one day of footage was added to Google's servers. Now, the number of hours exceeds 24. There is far more video footage being uploaded to YouTube in a day than can be physically watched on that day. In fact, as of May 2011, 48 hours--two days--of footage is uploaded every minute

Alien Invasions, NASA, Fox News, And Their Misguided Viewership

How Fox News misrepresented a blog about an alien invasion sparked by global warming, and then made their viewership look stupid.

    

A group of scientists have recently released a report that postulates that should an alien species come to Earth, they may wipe out the human species for our too-fast expansion and environmental impact on climate change. Using "scenario analysis", scientists say that aliens may be driven to "wipe us out" because of global warming, and that we're increasingly likely to get an alien species' attention now because of the rapidly changing composition of our atmosphere, which can be measured interstellarly (is that a word?) by the planet's light spectrum. It's not the first time that a scientist has warned that aliens might be more of the Independence Day variety than the E.T. variety; famous physicist Stephen hawking warned that an alien species coming to Earth might be like the European colonization of the New World than a "We come in peace" scenario. That said, the report by "researcher" Jonathan Adler, is diverting and entertaining reading but not much else.

     Of course, that didn't stop the people at Fox News from reporting on it (incorrectly, of course) and turning it into yet another story in their litany of anti-global-warming propaganda.

Twitter Moves to Beef Up Social Impact With Realtime Activity Streams

Now it's not just looking at what others are saying, it's acknowledging who is listening, following, retweeting, and favoriting too!

    

If you're a fan of verbs, get ready for a windfall. Tech Crunch recently reported on a move by Twitter to incorporate yet another layer of social media to their site. If you remember last year they added the "Who to Follow" widget on the right hand side of your Twitter page. This allowed users to find people aligning with their oft-Tweeted interests that they may not have followed otherwise, and whom their followers or followees were following as well. That feature greatly ramped up the social muscle of the popular service, but it may pale in comparison to their new features.

Fictitious Study Shows IE Users Are Stupid...Or Is That Just Bloggers?

The blogosphere slavers over a study showing Internet Explorer users have low IQs...then they get a surprise.

    

In the same way that I imagine people hate Toyota, Facebook, or the United States because they're the biggest earners in their particular field, people have always had a hard-on for wanting to bring down Microsoft. Though Microsoft has given people plenty of chips for their shoulders, a recent study seems to prove something to the internet-intelligentsia that Microsoft didn't see coming. According to a recent study by an independent company called AptiQuant Psychometric Consulting Co., there are significant deviations in IQ between individuals depending on the internet browser they elect to use. The study shows that Internet Explorer users have substantially lower IQs than the other internet browsers, with niche browsers like Camino and Opera at the upper end (My own Chrome landed right in the middle). The company did this by offering free IQ tests to over 100,000 individuals, noting which browser they were using in order to take the test. Sounds pretty legit, right?

     Well, it wasn't. AptiQuant was found to be a false company, and the six page report? A complete hoax. However, the falsified research only came to like after dozens of bloggers and cannibal-blogs had made it a huge web presence. Nearly every online tech report out there cited the article, and it seemed that bloggers everywhere were relishing in the knowledge that all of their pre-conceived notions about the largest internet browser community in the world had been justified...until they weren't. Even a blog on the BBC news site reported on the study, though they've replaced the link with a blurb on how Internet Explorer users are "outraged" by the hoax. Several other larger news outlets (CNN, Forbes, PCWorld, etc.) reported on th e "study" as well. Road Runner, an oft-utilized east coast internet provider not only posted the results of the study, but solicited outside analysis of the results. MacWorld UK restated the study's claim, "But if you ever want to argue that Internet Explorer 6 users are too stupid to upgrade, at least now you've got some empirical evidence."