The big data story..

“Someone with a brain for math, finesse with computers, the eyes of an artist and more. … an intense curiosity to understand what’s behind the data. … to show where patterns emerge. …”

A quite interesting story by Yuki Noguchi at NPR: http://www.npr.org/2011/11/30/142893065/the-search-for-analysts-to-make-sense-of-big-data

Inspired by the above article and the quotations listed I wonder: how difficult is to understand the personal story of guy in comparison to the discovery of patterns in big data. May be personal data are big data too. Micro-patterns vs Macro-patterns… Is the same story?

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Wikipedia: a new complex system of interrelating parts

ICT stands for Information and Communication Technologies. Is Wikipedia an ICT? a web 2.0 paradigm? or a promising social media? and “The medium is the message” as McLuhan said. But what is this media? Is it pure technology? And is a pure technology enough to make a change? May be is enough.. or may be is just enough to spark a change.. or may be it depends.. The focus of human attention on technology and media is inevitable, or may be inevitable. The medium is the first thing someone usually observes. It has material or even virtual dimensions, it is there, you can touch it.

What is the medium that Wikipedia visitors see? It is the wiki interface but most of all the articles, there there, they can be touched.. e, sorry I mean they can be read, or printed and then touched. So what is Wikipedia? Simple answer, it is an Encyclopedia, a collection of articles and a supporting technology, wiki software. So simple.

Something missing? hm.. May be Wikiedians? Nonymous editors and admins supporting and defending the project. And anonymous ip contributors contributing small bricks that summed together can build great buildings. And all these contributors, nonymous and anonymous, are human agents, cummunicating with each other.

So, Wikipedia as a technology or something else? Who invent Wikipedia? Jimbo? Cunningham? What is Wikipedia? an Encyclopedia? the medium that changed the world? what? And where human agency is in all this? Or just where is human behavior in all this?


Destination: Context.

If you do not look at want you want, you never gonna find it. Only by rare chance, you never know.. There is no certainty in anything. –> Destination

When you want something, you won’t find it. Your passion stunts you. You see only what you eager for and you miss the context. — Context

Destination and context. Two concepts bounded together with complexity.

“Always keep Ithaca in your mind. To arrive there is your ultimate goal.. But do not hurry the voyage at all..”. Constantine Cavafy.

What is the relation between Destination and Context? There is the point. The pattern that connects..

 


A compination of loose and strict thinking..

Many researchers use surveys for investigating virtual communities, on-line behaviors and digital citizens’ attitudes towards various subjects. Although I found surveys a very useful scientific tool for social inquiries, I wonder whether these surveys are grounded on a strong basement.

I thing a pilot qualitative exploration of the desired domain is an indispensable step to ensure a  strong research foundation. Virtual communities and social media are still an unknown and constantly evolving field.

As Gregory Bateson noted it down”As I see it, the advances in scientific thought come from a combination of loose and strict thinking, and this combination is the most precious tool of science.”. New land requires a flexible methodological approach..

 


Amazing Hologram: Japanese actual funs of a virtual singer!


PhD students vs mentors & the “generation gap”…

I don’t know if I was smarter back then but I sure THOUGHT I was smarter. It made me smile several years later when the department chair showed me his evaluation of a new member of our department which began,
“Like most new Ph.D.’s, X thinks he is smarter than God, but we expect he’ll get over it …”

I don’t know if I was smarter back then but I sure THOUGHT I was smarter. It made me smile several years later when the department chair showed me his evaluation of a new member of our department which began,“Like most new Ph.D.’s, X thinks he is smarter than God, but we expect he’ll get over it …”

excerpt from:

http://www.thejuliagroup.com/blog/?p=651


Copernican vs. Ptolemaic view of a social network..

Barry wellman argues that “Many analysts view social networks much as aliens might view the earth’s people: hovering above and observing the relationships linking all members of the population”. This is the Copernican view of an entire social system. And Barry Wellman continues “..whole network studies are not always feasible or analytically appropriate. Those who use them must define the boundaries of a population, compile a list of all members of this population , and collect a list of all the relationships (of the sort the analyst is interested in) among the members of the population.” After presenting this argument, Wellman declares his position: “Therefore many community network analysts … have concentrated on studying smaller personal (or ego-centered) networks defined from the stand point of focal persons: a sample of individuals at the centers of their own networks. Rather than showing the universe as it is viewed by an outside observer, personal network studies provide  Ptolemaic views of networks as they may be viewed by the individuals at their centers: the world we each see revolving around us.”

Although I understand and acknowledge the importance of a Ptolemaic view on a social network, which is more close to a psychologist, I don’t understand why Wellman, a sociologist, prefer this view over Copernican view, which I think is more “sociological” and as important as the “psychological” view. I think both ways of looking at a social network is very valuable and can answer to different, complementary research questions. I think in his effort to reject the term of community and recognize only social networks, Wellman adopts the Ptolemaic View. Copernican view results to the term of community, not necessarily locally determined, but to a clearly bounded group of people according to “a list of all the relationships (of the sort the analyst is interested in)…”, that is a kind of shared identity or common aim/challenge/interest. Wellman argues that a group is just a densely knit and tightly bounded type of social networks. He prefers to recognize these structures as special sub-clusters in a person’s personal network.