Slope One Predictors for Online Rating-Based Collaborative Filtering

Fascinating... Something tells me that experts in channelling and filtering "live" information will find more and more dollars in their pockets over the next few years.

Via Smartmobs

To The Commentosphere!

Daniel R. Luke, a frequent reader of Collision Detection, has pointed out an idea whose time has come:

Comments should be searchable. I should be able to aggregate all comments I or someone else has left on a particular blog. Ideally, this should span the entire blogosphere so that I could aggregate all the comments I have left on all blogs. It would be easy, then. to see where people go and what they say. This way the audience of the blogosphere would be much more empowered. In essence, I wouldn't necessarily have to startmy own blog to, in effect, have a blog of sorts.

Wish you were here

Alex Von Rosenberg and Sarah Quenon spinning fire at my house. Yes, that's right; my parties rock; and I rock... damn it.

Historians vs. George W. Bush

Today, I spent a little time transferring some of the best posts from my old blog, Netpolitik. In the process, I stumbled on this gem from my second week of blogging. If you've forgotten why you hate George W. Bush, I suggest you take a quick read.

Shooting An Elephant

Note: This is the only piece of writing that I can think of that has brought tears to my eyes in the past 8 years.

By George Orwell

In Moulmein, in lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people – the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me. I was sub-divisional police officer of the town, and in an aimless, petty kind of way anti-European feeling was very bitter. No one had the guts to raise a riot, but if a European woman went through the bazaars alone somebody would probably spit betel juice over her dress. As a police officer I was an obvious target and was baited whenever it seemed safe to do so. When a nimble Burman tripped me up on the football field and the referee (another Burman) looked the other way, the crowd yelled with hideous laughter. This happened more than once. In the end the sneering yellow faces of young men that met me everywhere, the insults hooted after me when I was at a safe distance, got badly on my nerves. The young Buddhist priests were the worst of all. There were several thousands of them in the town and none of them seemed to have anything to do except stand on street corners and jeer at Europeans.

All this was perplexing and upsetting. For at that time I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better. Theoretically – and secretly, of course – I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British. As for the job I was doing, I hated it more bitterly than I can perhaps make clear. In a job like that you see the dirty work of Empire at close quarters. The wretched prisoners huddling in the stinking cages of the lock-ups, the grey, cowed faces of the long-term convicts, the scarred buttocks of the men who had been Bogged with bamboos – all these oppressed me with an intolerable sense of guilt. But I could get nothing into perspective. I was young and ill-educated and I had had to think out my problems in the utter silence that is imposed on every Englishman in the East. I did not even know that the British Empire is dying, still less did I know that it is a great deal better than the younger empires that are going to supplant it. All I knew was that I was stuck between my hatred of the empire I served and my rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make my job impossible. With one part of my mind I thought of the British Raj as an unbreakable tyranny, as something clamped down, in saecula saeculorum, upon the will of prostrate peoples; with another part I thought that the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest's guts. Feelings like these are the normal by-products of imperialism; ask any Anglo-Indian official, if you can catch him off duty.

One day something happened which in a roundabout way was enlightening. It was a tiny incident in itself, but it gave me a better glimpse than I had had before of the real nature of imperialism – the real motives for which despotic governments act.

Sure it's big....

Sure, my public news aggregator is getting huge, but am I happy? No... and I never will be until my aggregator crashes the smart campaigns server. Now that I've gotten that away I'm going to resume adding feeds. Its like feeding a monster.

Time for Progressives to Grow Up

By Frances Moore Lappé

Beyond Lakoff’s strict father vs. nurturant parent, a strong community manifesto

George Lakoff’s new best-seller Don’t Think of an Elephant has been heralded as the “bible” for battered progressives searching for direction in the post-election doldrums. Lakoff himself has become the Left’s answer to Frank Luntz, the focus-group genius behind the branding of Bush’s “death tax,” “Clear Skies” and “Healthy Forests” initiatives.

“Frames,” according to Lakoff, are the key to understanding how political ideas are received. Human beings don’t absorb information as raw material; we sift input through frames of meaning carried in the language we use.

Lakoff’s central idea is that conservatives see the world through a “strict father” frame emphasizing discipline, self-reliance, forceful defense, while progressives see the world through a “nurturant parent” frame—supportive, nourishing, emphasizing mutual responsibility. Lakoff claims that thirty-five to 40 percent of Americans fall into each camp, although most are some sort of mix.

The Right, Lakoff points out, is extremely good at selling their policies in clear, easy to understand “strict father” frames. Progressives, on the other hand, too often seem to offer laundry lists of issues lacking any overarching moral framework.

So, it’s easy to see why progressives are rallying around Lakoff’s call to arms. Since polls show majorities actually agree with the progressive agenda on many key issues, including corporate power, the environment and abortion, focusing on “framing” issues in ways that Americans can understand them seems like the answer they’ve been praying for. Certainly, much of Lakoff’s advice about communicating progressive ideas is powerfully insightful and right on target.

But two big dangers loom.


CNN is offering RSS feeds. Jesus be praised.

Joining the Team at American Street

I've just recieved an offer from Kevin Hayden to write at The American Street. It's a great honor, and look forward to posting there on a weekly basis.


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