November 2011

Facebook Users 4.74 Degrees Of Separation From Anybody

Facebook proves that the old "6 degrees" is actually a little more distant than reality.

In 1967, Psychologist Stanley Milgram conducted a study that, he said, proved that any two people on the planet were separated by 6 acquaintances. He did this by having 296 volunteers mail a postcard to friends, and their friends and so on, to a specific person living in a Boston suburb. With this study, “6 degrees of separation” became a phenomenon in pop psychology and culture. However, more recently, Facebook and the University of Milan partnered to conduct a study with a slightly higher sample population: 751 million Facebook users. On Monday, they announced that the real factor of separation between any two people is closer to 4.74 (in the U.S., it’s 4.37).

FBI Makes Biggest Cyber-Crime Bust In History With "Operation Ghost Click"

As Estonian "Click-Jacking" Ring Busted After Infecting NASA Computer Network.

What has been called the biggest cyber-criminal takedown in history, the FBI has recently arrested six Estonians running a botnet “click-jacking” ring. It may actually sound more insidious than it actually is, but the hackers were collecting fraudulent commissions from advertising websites by redirecting traffic to them from botnets infecting people’s computers. What truly astounding is the size of this endeavor; the botnet infected four million computers in 100 different countries. The size and scope of the hackers network is what makes the bust so newsworthy.

New Media and Press Freedoms

Should the influence of new media shift freedom laws?

The First Amendment to the Constitution prevents “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” However, governmental agencies such as the FCC monitor and regulate the content of all forms of the media. Similarly, in the United States free market economy there are also governmental agencies which regulate commerce and prevent threats to free trade. In order for the United States to retain its free press, governmental regulation of the news media should be as minimal as possible and should be used to protect, rather than mislead, its citizens.

Play Him Off, GAG Quartet

Instrumental group makes video out of the whole internet


Remember that time when Weezer's "Pork & Beans" video came out? How excited we were that internet culture got to party with MTV culture for a few minutes? Heck, they even got the "Chocolate Rain" guy to show up and film a part just for them. It was pretty cool to be Weezer that year. But now it would seem that the band no longer has the best meme-based music video in the universe anymore. The GAG Quartet has beaten them out with the overwhelmingly meme-encrusted "le Internet Medley".

Inspirational quotes are silly

Do you really need a fun sign to "Do It Now"?

There are a lot of blogs these days with simple messages, and they’re the hottest thing around. Millions of people read PostSecret every week, but those postcards read like one big hand is writing and sending them all. Does everybody think and write the same way? Does everybody use the same grammar and syntax? No, but there’s certainly a format people adopt to write their secrets, probably because they read so much PostSecret.

"Big Data" Could Mean "Big Business" Before It Means "Big Differences"

How the exponential growth of computing power isn't necessarilly all roses and cured cancers.

The TED conferences (Technology, Entertainment, Design) have grown over the years from a small exclusive symposium for venture capitalists and technology professionals into a network of 1,000 such symposia viewed online by over 300 million people each year (just for reference, that’s roughly the population of the U.S.). The conferences seem to have literally grown into their motto, “Ideas Worth Spreading.” It’s fitting that symposia It’s fitting that with this growth one of the major themes in presentation was so-called “big data”; massive collections of raw data that provide “big picture” illustrations of complex things. The Glory of Big Data, a recent blog post by Juan Enriquez for Popular Science, hails big data as the next “step change” in our technological progress. However, looking at something as truly game-changing as big data, one needs to keep a measured optimism.