The Beatles, Pachelbel, and total availability of the long tail

Listening to the Beatles and Pachelbel make me think about selection and availability from the long tail of data which is now so readily available to us all. Why did so much of the 1960s UK revolution in music, style, fashion and attitudes start in Liverpool? Its an unlikely place: in the 1960s, a major…

The practical value of emergency response exercises

A report by “Trust for Americas health” reviews pandemic planning and makes some interesting points about exercises. The report scores 50 US states (and DC) against a few criteria and finds some lacking on all but one. – seven states dont stockpile antivirals – eight do not have adequate laboratories – labs in three stats…

Cognitive dissonance, Bayes and simulation

Really fascinating discussion on Mind Hacks about cognitive dissonance (actually, its about reductionism, but the cognitive dissonance is what interests me.) This is the idea that we rationalise our choices based on external events. “Cognitive Dissonance is a term which describes an uncomfortable feeling we experience when our actions and beliefs are contradictory…[and>…we are motivated…

Surfacing coincidence

An interesting speculation, attributed by Matt Mcalister to Matt Jones, on the way that internet applications (not least blogging) can “surface coincidence” or manufacture serendipity. Ive blogged before about the way in which massive databases can retrospectively identify what we did from day to day. If you choose to go back through them, with the…

Monopoly at war

According to the WSJ, MI9 supplied doctored Monopoly sets to British prisoners of war. In 1941 the British manufacturers, John Waddington Ltd, were asked to create sets which: – included metal files and compasses as well as the usual place markers – had hidden silk escape maps – included real currency amongst the fake money.…

The environmental impact of servers: missing the point?

A glitzy report by Global Action Plan claims that servers do as much environmental damge as SUVs. At least they dont take up parking spaces. The report summary says: – There are more than one billion computers on the planet, and the worldwide ICT sector is responsible for around 2% of man made CO2 each…