Flu Trends

Via Gary Andrews:

RWW – Google Flu Trends: A Glimpse into the Future of Google Health: It stands to reason that people who are “starting to come down with something” often take the opportunity to search for information on what ails them, even before they discuss their symptoms with a healthcare professional. Who gets more of those searches than anyone? Google, of course. When Google started looking more closely at anonymous aggregate searches for “flu symptoms” and the like, they discovered that – after cross-referencing that data against information from the Center for Disease Control – they had the ability to predict flu outbreaks by monitoring search patterns. And now, they’ve published their findings as Google Flu Trends.

A-maz-ing.

When will the UK version be ready?

How soon before we’re tracking specific outbreaks of STIs and the like?

(Seeing as you’re probably already giggling, I’ll ask you to imagine an STI report just after the weather; “… and visitors to Kent should be aware that there’s a higher-than-normal likelihood of herpes this afternoon, with chances of scattered syphilis.”)

UPDATE – When will the UK version be ready? Tom has an update on that.

(I asked Tom about the flying cars thing while I was there, but he wasn’t having any of it. Still, we have this, which I’m dying to [pun] road test [/pun] myself.)








Posted in Geekage | 3 Comments

[blank]

Excuse me while I carefully talk around something; I need to warn you about a small problem without using certain keywords for reasons that will be obvious in a few moments…

A tragic death is in the news, a political football is in play, a mob is gathering, and several people cannot be named for legal reasons; it is not clear what those reasons are specifically, but the names weren’t a big secret until very recently, so it probably has something to do with further court proceedings (that anyone with genuine interest in justice wouldn’t want to compromise).

But now, thanks to the good work of the wage-slaves of Rupert Murdoch, widely-distributed articles exist that give anyone with basic knowledge of search engines the means to discover the name of every individual involved within seconds.

At least one ‘blogger’ you should be familiar with (and who should know better) today published information from some cretin that helpfully highlighted the Murdoch-published data and specified on which site the first name could be found; that site just happens to offer kindergarten-level 2.0 tools, so anybody who found the relevant page could leave a comment (yes, these had already started to appear) and look up details of people who had earlier signed up as ‘friends’ of this unnamed person.

I’ve sent an email to the relevant provider, and that profile has now been removed.

Fingers crossed that it ends there, and not with a brick through some innocent person’s window.

UPDATE – The data published by a ‘blogger’ who should know better has now been removed.








Posted in Old Media | 16 Comments

I should crack 10,000 views by this afternoon…

Just five quick notes about reactions to ‘Bob’ and the bonfire mission:

1. I’m in the Telegraph, me. (Yes, they asked before rehosting the video.)

2. I always get a kick out of breaking the language barrier.

3. I even entered the psychic zone at one stage.

4. Some nice comments over at Neatorama.

5. More at the relevant B3ta/links post, for those who missed it.








Posted in Guy Fawkes Night | 3 Comments

Little person gets big reaction

From the video description:

“(Before the World Series Parade) we snuck out into the middle of Broad Street to snap a pic in front of City Hall and all the crowds. When Will raised his hands for the picture, cheers erupted. So he continued to repeat the gesture…”

Getting fired up at the World Series Parade (via)








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Tabloid scum

“Put another way, if mass-circulation newspapers, which also devote considerable space to reporting and analysis of public affairs, don’t have the freedom to write about scandal, I doubt whether they will retain their mass circulations with the obvious worrying implications for the democratic process.” – Paul Dacre (source)

David Osler – Paul Dacre on the morality of shag & tell journalism: Paul Dacre’s insistence that newspapers run with shag ‘n’ tell stories principally as a means to promote family values and uphold marital fidelity somehow – how can I put this? – fails completely to convince. Such limited moral rectitude on the matter as he may possess runs little deeper than the desire to sell tabloids by the truckload. Accordingly, the speech delivered by the editor of the Daily Mail to the Society of Editors on Sunday night, in which he actually does push this proposition, has to be dismissed as cant of the most breathtaking proportions.

Max Mosley – My sex life is of interest to no one but this squalid industry: So why this thoroughly disingenuous attack on a high court judge? During his speech, Dacre let the real reason slip. Without scandal, tabloid sales will decline. To keep this squalid industry afloat, an unrestricted right to publicise the sex lives of others is necessary, so the judiciary must be silenced.

Septicisle – The Daily Mail in the flesh: This is nothing more than blackmail covered with eye-watering cynicism. The same person who goes on to lionise the press and how wonderful it is is here suggesting that the gutter press needs scandal to survive. Nice little free press you’ve got here, be a shame if something was to happen to it. The proles need scandal, whilst we provide them with the finest news coverage in the world at the same time. What isn’t there to like?!

5cc – Dacre’s speech to the Society of Editors: Of course, what is being missed here is that every story is driven by scandal in tabloids. Dacre makes it sound as though there’s a little bit of scandal necessary to sell the real, scandal-free news coverage. But this kind of news is virtually non-existent. Almost everything the tabloids report – especially the Mail – is driven by faux outrage, and exaggerated to the point of being unrecognisable from the truth.

In case you haven’t already noticed, this is the game played by pseudo-blogger Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’), who deliberately pushes the more salacious nonsense in pursuit of a larger mob in the name of transparency and accountability. For some. On the left. And maybe any Tories he doesn’t personally care for. Certainly not for himself. That would be silly.

Skip forward to about 1:03:30 on this video to hear Paul Staines admit that he knowingly peddles the more crude/salacious material – and targets hate figures – on his ‘blog’ in order to boost his audience.

Do pause briefly on his use of hate figures, as it’s a startling admission; some charges in his ‘crusade’ are in no way earnest and exist only to rile the mob.

There’s nothing new or 2.0 about what Staines is doing with his ‘Guido Fawkes’ site; it’s primarily a tabloid with even less accountability, and even this he copied off Matt Drudge. His badgering of the ‘dead tree press’ is a nifty bit of web-friendly populism that handily disguises the fact that Staines is himself tabloid scum, right down to the ‘drunk most afternoons’ bit.

Of course, he’s (mostly) free to pursue this course, just as I’m (mostly) free to call him on it and point out that once you step onto that slippery slop*… whoops, too late; Paul’s already making his first none-too-subtle call for mob justice:

“You know in all truth, if ordinary decent criminals used these two as punch bags and they were to be found dead in a blood spattered cell, Guido would cheer. You can’t take the law into your own hands, but when the law fails to protect innocent children, many people including Guido, will say: justice can be a long time coming.” – Paul Staines

Wait, what? “You can’t take the law into your own hands”…? Hm. There’s a ‘nudge nudge, wink wink’ missing here. Oh, wait; here it comes…

“Is it really right that he faces a maximum sentence of only 14 years?” – Paul Staines

Much better.

All we have to do now is wait for someone in Paul’s mob to do the dirty work for him. As usual.

[Seriously, good on you for finally getting back to that Broon link, Paul. And do keep up with the ‘white supremacy’ angle; if you’re bold enough about it, your readers may forget about the alliance you tried to forge with the BNP all those years ago. Oh, sorry… did I just misrepresent what you assure us was a bold mission to infiltrate and discredit that group? My bad. How’s that mission coming along, BTW? Have you finished started it yet, or are you too busy making flaming torches right now? If so, I can understand that. Do take your time. Having some bloke beaten to death in a prison cell is the best way to preserve our democracy and ensure that no more children are exposed to abuse with “wounds of the intensity of a car crash”. Speaking which, I’m sure you’d never allow that sort of thing to happen on your patch; you even take the precaution of only drink driving in the wee small hours of the morning, when all the ickle babies are in bed. Hero!]

UPDATE – Phil Hendren, only one word short of “Hanging’s too good for ‘em!”








Posted in Old Media | Comments Off

Let’s not forget that Andrew Gilligan has some questions to answer

Michael White earns a golf clap for his jest and this mention of it in Gilligan’s own paper:

Evening Standard – Footnote for banking: Private Eye editor Ian Hislop presented the 4th annual Paul Foot award last night for investigative journalism… Oddly Guardian assistant editor Michael White appeared to be wearing the name tag of my colleague Andrew Gilligan, who was shortlisted for the award.

The Tory Troll has a round up of further print-based teasing here, but unless Gilligan is properly nailed for this, he will keep doing it and his old-media mates will be further tempted to try it for themselves.

Think of it in terms of garden maintenance; it’s unrealistic to expect the eradication of nettles and bindweed, but we all know what happens if we don’t hack it back from time to time.








Posted in Old Media | Comments Off

Iain Dale’s daily fail

Tch. And to think that only last week he was returning from Teh Holy Land with a message of peace, mung-beans and understanding:

Iain Dale – Parliament Should Decide on Prisoners’ Voting Rights – Not Judges: When you go to jail you forfeit the normal rights you enjoy in society – your freedom, and indeed your right to choose the government. Yet now some unelected European judges are apparently about to force the British government to give prisoners the right to vote. This is something the LibDems have favoured for some time and it seems they are about to get their way. I wonder who Ian Huntley and Fred Rose West will vote for. This is nothing to do with human rights. It’s about whether judges, rather than Parliament, should be able to decide who votes in UK elections. What on earth is the point of Parliament if its sovereignty can be usurped like this? This has all arisen after the despicable John Hirst (who served 25 years for axing a woman to death) took the issue to the Court of Human Rights. Pity he never thought about the human right to live of the woman he killed, eh?

Judging by Iain’s judgmental tone, it’s less about the principle of sovereignty and more about the moral injustice of evil-doers having their wicked way with our democracy; he’s obviously so outraged about it that he can barely restrain himself.

In fact, Iain was so adorably strident at one stage that he appeared to forget that Fred West is a lifeless corpse and has been unable to vote or do any thing except decompose for well over a decade.

(The criminal dead are rising from their graves and voting Liberal Democrat! We must flee!)

And his views on a custodial sentence equalling a total suspension of liberties raise some interesting questions; like, for instance, where might one draw the line? When Iain’s drink-driving pseudo-blogging chum Paul Staines was tagged for 3 months and effectively under house arrest from 9pm to 6am, was he also not allowed to vote at nights?

But what should really get your attention in the wider scheme of things is the totally unnecessary attack on John Hirst that Iain launches while knowing that he plans to deny his target any right of reply.

(Iain Dale has banned John Hirst from commenting on his site, and has just now deleted Hirst’s attempt to respond to his post and switched on comment moderation. Is in unclear at this stage what justification Iain gave/gives for Hirst’s ban, because he keeps retro-moderating his ‘rules’ post without leaving the slightest hint about what has been changed or when. Also, his latest rules declare that you can be banned for making/repeating “spurious allegations” against the host. This seems fine on the surface of things until you realise that Iain thinks and acts like a petulant child when you confront him with evidence that he’s wrong/lying, and will forever remain in complete denial about what he will regard to be a “spurious allegation”. Any further attempt to address the matter will result in bullying and/or stonewalling tactics and mealy-mouthed accusations of you being dishonest or ‘unreasonable’ about the matter.)

I will remind you at this stage that Iain Dale presents himself as an ambassador for blogging at every opportunity he gets, despite his not actually standing by any of the principles he lays claim to when he does this.

For starters, there’s this habit of denying, manipulating, frustrating and complicating responses under comments (up to and including arbitrary bans) and going after people knowing that he is going to deny them a right of reply in this way, but this post is also typical in that Iain fails to link to a single item, group or individual mentioned in it.

[Psst! Did you know: Iain Dale didn’t even read a transcript of the relevant Ross/Brand show until the week after he passed judgement on it; 28 Oct, 2nd Nov.]

Related:
A Lanson Boy – But Dale is also an arse…








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 3 Comments

Palin: our cup runneth over

And now it’s all ‘over’, we have this:

The Daily Show – Sarah Palin is so dumb, that…

However, I have to take Sarah’s side here (just for a moment) and admit that she has a point; who are these Republican-camp cowards attacking what’s left of her reputation without banking their own reputation(s) on what they have to say?

USA Today – What didn’t Palin know?: Tongues inside the John McCain campaign started wagging even before Election Day, when news outlets began reporting anonymous descriptions of the Alaska governor as a self-interested “diva” gone “rogue” (CNN) or “whack job” (Politico.com). After McCain lost, Fox News quoted aides who declined to be named as saying that Palin revealed during her debate preparation that she didn’t know Africa was a continent and couldn’t name the countries that signed the North American Free Trade Agreement. Newsweek quoted “an angry aide” as saying Palin and her family spent even more than the initially reported $150,000 on high-end clothing. Palin dismissed the criticism as the product of “jerks” who were “cowardly” to denigrate her anonymously.

As much as I loathe Sarah Palin’s use of distortion, fear, smears and simple-minded bigotry, someone has to draw a line somewhere; there are enough cowardly kidney-puncher in politics as it is.

That said, let’s get back to Sarah Palin and her use of distortion, fear, smears and simple-minded bigotry…

Newsweek – Hackers and Spending Sprees: The Obama campaign was provided with reports from the Secret Service showing a sharp and disturbing increase in threats to Obama in September and early October, at the same time that many crowds at Palin rallies became more frenzied.

(“But they’re only words, right? How can words hurt anybody?”)








Posted in US Presidential Election 2008 | Comments Off

Broadcasting from inside a bonfire

(Psst! New here? Read more about ‘Bob’ here.)

Bob… is dead. Consigned to the flames in the name of art.

But he was OK with it in the end (honest), and he wanted you to have this:

Camera in a guy’s head: Guy Fawkes Night 2008

I hope you have enjoyed your trip through this door.

Cheers all.








Posted in Guy Fawkes Night | 4 Comments

Where rain go?

raingoway.gif

Rain come back! Rain come back! Save Bob!








Posted in Guy Fawkes Night | Comments Off