Incestuous Feeds

8 years ago(!) – referring to Feedster aggregating RSS feeds which may themselves include their own feeds, I was already referring to a previous reference, presumably from pre-blogging days with cross-posting between email bulletin boards – I suggested the web could spiral into being clogged up with subscriptions that automated my feed from you, if your subscriptions included an automated feed from me. Follow-me, Follow-you, Like-me, Like-yours, +1-mine, +1-yours,  …

Would ISP’s detect and intercept the circularity or would the world’s web resources simply be consumed to a standstill ? And at what speed could it happen, where would instability lie ?

I was reminded of this by a series of older posts dribbling through from a fellow blogger into my Facebook profile today – we both use various WordPress to Twitter to Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn to to Google+ to … you name it, and clearly several of mine refer to several of his. Don’t panic, but ….

Mediated Tweeting

I have an agenda that says free social communication isn’t all good, in fact it can be positively counter-productive. Quality communications, leading to quality learning, decisions and actions, benefit from editorial control and goal-directed mediation. Google doesn’t make teachers redundant.

Interesting today to see TechCrunch extolling Twitter coming of age – as a vehicle for communicating links between other channels it’s great, no argument, BUT.

They mention but don’t highlight in this story that the actual communications to the human involved (the US President in this case) was via expert human mediation, filtering and editing. Couldn’t work any other way, until AI comes to stand for Actual Intelligence, which it will, one day.

The medium is the message, but it’s a different message.

Google+ buzz = new Wave ?

I’m liking the buzz around Google+, and from seeing only the free “tour” (no working account yet), I like the fact it’s the relationship and not the person that is the focus, as was the case with Wave. Groups (circles, hangouts, huddles, etc.) arise from the nature of the relationships, not limited to the crass friending and following paradigms – which maybe made sense in the original university / college campus environment, or early-learning steps in social media, but are just too – well – crass for the real world.

Wave had it right because the “Waves” were emergent from the communication activity, not defined by groups of (yeuch!) friends. The only thing wrong with Wave was how to present the enormous power in a sufficiently usable UI – perhaps the social paradigm for the Google+ UI will work. Hopeful. (Sadly, TechCrunch appears to have a politically motivated agenda against it succeeding.)

Information Socially Corrupted

Another story indicating that socially shared information is not necessarily good information. Tweeted by Dave Gurteen on LinkedIn, this Wired Science story based on this National Academy of Sciences paper.

Good also that it acknowledges the misnomer in the “wisdom”of crowds having nothing whatsoever to do with wisdom, more a matter of objective statistical accuracy in aggregated subjective judgements. BUT, crucially the statistics are broken if the crowd shares what it knows before judging – then all you have is a meme, information of dubious quality that just happens to be easy to spread. Easy crowds out good.

Social sharing of information is not necessarily a good thing.

Are They Mad ?

Shock, horror – Top Gear drove car aggressively during track test ?!? I actually thought the Tesla came out really (really) well in that test, absolutely no surprise the practical economics and reliability couldn’t stand that kind of thrashing, but it was actually possible to thrash it. How dumb do Tesla believe the market is ? I seriously researched one as a result. At least Clarkson didn’t attach an outboard motor and sink it or let Hammond launch it off a ski-jump.

Talking of energy, was there ever any doubt over Tepco writing-off the Fukushima plants the day they chose to turn the salt-water cooling hoses on them ?

And, still talking of energy, I see the Oil&Gas Co’s are reviewing UK North Sea investment project economics following last week’s UK budget. Yes, the cost changes affect the project economics, but I love this remark

“… the new combined tax rate faced by Statoil would be 62% of its UK profits, compared with a rate of 78% levied by the Norwegian government in its home market.”