A butterfly flaps its wings on Twitter, and a vaccine map goes viral

Skeptical Software Tools

CFR vaccine preventable diseases mapIf you follow the problem of vaccine denialism (like most skeptics do) and are on social media, you probably saw a cool interactive global map of disease outbreaks this week. It was created by the Council on Foreign Relations – there’s a picture of it here and a link below the fold.  

Just in the last week it was posted by many major websites including Kottke.org, Mother Jones, L.A. Times, The Verge, Wired, The Atlantic Wire and even Forbes. And of course all those posts – and the direct link to the map – were being wildly passed around on social media.

Whenever I see something like this going viral, I dig a little bit before I retweet or repost it.  Sometimes there’s a better version of the post to link, or the one you saw didn’t attribute it to the original author correctly. I like to make sure…

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With DeepMind, Google Prepares For A Future Where We See Ourselves In Every Computing Interaction

TechCrunch

Google seems to have paid at least $500 million to acquire DeepMind, an artificial intelligence startup that has a number of high-profile investors, and that has demoed tech which shows computers playing video games in ways very similar to human players. Facebook reportedly also tried to buy the company, and the question on most people’s minds is “Why?”

More intelligent computing means more insightful data gathering and analysis, of course. Any old computer can collect information, and even do some basic analytics work in terms of comparing and contrasting it to other sets of data, drawing simple conclusions where causal or correlational factors are plainly obvious. But it still takes human analysts to make meaning from all that data, and to select the significant information from the huge, indiscriminate firehose of consumer data that comes in every day.

AI and machine learning expertise can help improve the efficiency and…

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Could Watson and Siri love like Her’s Samantha?

One Scientist’s Bid to Debug Human Software

Dear Mr. Manning

I came across this on

Denver Post By Laurie

Lattimore-Volkman

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Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s character sets him apart from so many of his peers. (Craig Walker, The Denver Post)

I am not a sports reporter, not an NFL analyst, not a former player.

I’ve never studied film, and I’ve not catalogued all the best and worst moments in football history.

I know the game of football well, though I still can’t figure out why you can challenge a first-down spot but not a pass interference call.

What I have done is played some seriously rugged flag football games, donned blue and orange every Sunday from August to January for the past 43 years, sat through some unbelievably frigid games at Mile High (once while 7 months pregnant) and cheered for the Denver Broncos since before I can remember … even during the heart-crushing games.

I even named my beloved Black Lab after John Mobley (who I still believe is responsible for saving the Broncos’ victory in Super Bowl XXXII against the Packers).

And most proudly, I am a mom of two little boys who adore their No.18 jerseys and can’t wait to find out “how Peyton Manning’s team did?” every Monday morning.

So I am undeniably biased.

And it is because of my bias — and lack of NFL analysis experience — that makes me far more qualified to talk about your legacy than any of those analysts, former players, coaches and commentators (I’m looking at you, Mike Greenberg and Cris Carter).

They operate in a world where urgency dictates everything, and controversy and sensationalism make the headlines.

No, I am more qualified because I am a mom.

I actually understand — on the most basic level — what legacy truly means.

Legacy is something handed down that matters. It is something that matters to young players and athletes and kids looking for mentors to help them find their way.

You don’t hand down Super Bowl trophies. You don’t hand down NFL MVPs or franchise records. And you don’t hand down touchdowns, statistics or win-loss records.

You hand down an example of work ethic, of courage to come back after a career-threatening injury, of humility in victory and graciousness in defeat, and of perspective on one’s own accomplishments. That legacy matters, and that’s why yours is untarnished even — and especially — after Sunday’s loss.

It matters that you’re professional in the way you talk to reporters.

It matters that you give credit to others — coaches, teammates, mentors.

It matters that you don’t give up in a bad game and keep fighting no matter the odds.

It matters that you take time to write hand-written notes to fans and sign autographs — even after crushing defeat.

It matters that you know the difference between being embarrassed by your team’s performance and just not being the best team on the field that day.

And it matters that you meticulously prepare to play the game … and encourage everyone around you to do the same.

I doubt you take stock in what those analysts say about your legacy (no doubt a trait your father has clearly bestowed upon you and your brothers), but I want you to know that this mom of two young boys who already recognize you’re different from the others, believes your legacy has never been stronger.

And I’m confident thousands of others agree with me.

Whether you win another game, your accomplishments in football are nothing short of remarkable — alongside many other outstanding players. But it’s your character that sets you apart from so many of your predecessors and peers.

And that’s a legacy that matters.

This is a fabulous article written by her and what it truly means to be a Legend. Thank you Laurie! 

Create Your Own Cross-Platform Backup Server

Backing up your data on a regular basis is important, and turning a spare computer into a backup server is often the best way to make sure it gets done. But most methods require either a good deal of command-line learning or serve only one operating system. Not with Restore, a free, open-source backup system that can install or run from a live CD, work with any OS, and operate through a simple browser-based interface. Today I’ll demonstrate backing up a Windows laptop to an older desktop, but you’ll see how Restore can be easily molded to fit just about any home backup needs.

GETTING STARTED

First we’ll need the right live CD fromRestore’s SourceForge pages. Grab the most recent “RESTORE-EE-LIVE” .iso file you see there—it’s technically the “Enterprise Edition,” but don’t let that title scare you off. Burn the ISO to a blank CD with the program of your choice, place it in the disc drive of a computer that can boot from a CD, then fire it up. Now you can check out how Restore runs on your spare box (or old laptop) before dedicating yourself to installing it, without a single bit of data touched. Those with a bit of Linux savvy can also install Restore fromUbuntu/Debian packages or in a virtual machine; installation will be different, but the operation is the same.

Restore is based on Xubuntu, the lightweight Ubuntu Linux distribution, and boots up in nearly identical fashion. Hit “Start or Install RESTORE” from the first screen and give the CD time to boot up (go back and try “Safe Graphics Mode” if you see only black). Once you’re in, you should see a desktop similar to this (click for larger image):

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If you’re not hard-wired to your internet connection, click the icon in the upper-right to configure your wireless connection. If you can’t get access, your networking hardware might be the rare exception that Ubuntu doesn’t handle out of the box; try the Ubuntu Forums or a little Google-searching for help.

If you’re set on installing Restore, hit the “Install” icon on the desktop and follow the fairly simple prompts. Whatever drive or partition you install to, that’s where the backups will go. If you need help partitioning off space from a Windows installation. for pointers. Whether you’re installing or just testing it out, find the IP address of the computer running Restore through your router. Alternately, click the “Applications” button in the Restore desktop, then Accessories->Terminal, then enter the command ifconfig and look for the address after “inet addr:”, which usually looks like 192.168.x.x). Save yourself future IP hunts by setting a static IP address for your new backup server.

Set up your systems

Most backup servers rely on each computer regularly sending their files to them. Restore, on the other hand, reaches out to computers and copies their important files on a schedule. To make sure your system’s ready to accept remote connections, do the following:

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Vista: Head to “Set up file sharing” or “Network and Sharing Center” from the Control Panel. Make sure “Network discovery,” “File sharing,” and “Password protected sharing” are set to “On.” Right-click any folders you want to back up on your system, select “Share,” “Change sharing permissions,” and follow through the prompts.

Schedule your backups

Open a browser on the computer you intend to back up and point it to that IP address you grabbed from the server, followed by /restore, as in:

http://192.168.x.x/restore

You should see a login/password prompt. Enter “admin” as the username and “password” as the password, without the quotes. You’re now at the main Restore screen.

You can head to “Preferences” to make your login details a bit more secure, but let’s roll up our sleeves and head to “Filestore” first.” It’s pretty bare on this screen, so hit “Add Target” near the upper-right corner. Here you’ll get your choice of MySQL, SFTP (which is actually SSH File Transfer Protocol), straight FTP, or Windows File Share. I’ll be using Windows File Share, which also works for Linux users.
Type the IP address of the system you’re connecting from into the “Hostname” field in the prompt that comes up, and then the username and password you use to log on to that computer. You’ll be greeted by a collapsible list of folders that you can grab from. Ignore any “invalid argument” lines, select the data you need to copy and hit “Next” in the lower right. Give your selections a “Target Name” that relates to your selections (like “My Pictures Backup”), then hit “Save.” You’ll end up at that target’s settings page. Hit the button that looks like “Play” on the far right to manually launch a snapshot backup if you’d like, but now we’ll head to the “Schedule” tab.original1
Hit the “+” next to “Snapshot schedules” at the top of the left-hand column to choose how often Restore will reach out for a backup attempt. The “Simple” settings should be enough for most folks’ needs; give your schedule a name and hit “Create.” Now choose the “+” next to “Revision Schedule” on the right-hand column. This actually lets you set how many of your snapshots are saved and for how long, giving you a Time-Machine-like ability to choose from numerous versions of a file over time. Hit “Create,” and you’re done. When you need to get at your files, simply head to the “Restore Data” tab in each Target and choose which version you want to bring back.

Digital Chocolate, Which Nurtured Some Of Gaming’s Best Talent, Sells Its Barcelona Studio To Ubisoft

TechCrunch

Digital Chocolate, the long-troubled gaming company from original EA founder Trip Hawkins, has sold its 46-person Barcelona studio to France’s Ubisoft. The sale comes just months after the company closed down its Helsinki office. Ubisoft confirmed the acquisition to us and Digital Chocolate has yet to respond to immediate requests for comment. Ubisoft is picking up all of Digital Chocolate Spain’s technologies and brands, but they’re not acquiring any of the company’s other studios.

The company has been downsizing for more than a year, with layoffs and Hawkins stepping down in 2012 to form a new educational gaming company. It’s another tough chapter for the 10-year-old company, which has raised at least $55 million to date in four separate venture rounds.

Somewhat Ironically, even though Digital Chocolate had trouble finding its footing on emerging gaming platforms like Facebook and iOS, the company has nurtured some of the industry’s…

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Line Adds Vine-Style Clip Maker & Video Calling To Its Mobile Messaging Platform

TechCrunch

The largest mobile messaging apps are increasingly social platforms in their own right. There is more evidence of that today as Line Corporation‘s Line — which had around 250 million registered users at last count — has added yet another feature to its platform play in a v3.9.0 update to its iPhone app (Android users will get the update “in future”).

Snap Movie allows for Vine-style short video sharing, which gives Line users yet another way to communicate with each other without having to leave its social, entertainment playground.

Or, as Line puts it:

Now LINE users can participate in the global trend of sharing their own original video clip and BGM arrangements.

As with Twitter-owned Vine, Snap Movie lets iPhone users of Line create a short video for sharing that’s composed of one or more scenes by recording footage by holding their fingers down on the screen…

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How to Sell Your Phone for the Most Money

Tech

If you’re looking to sell off your old smartphone for a bit of spending money or to fund the purchase of a new phone, cashing in on old electronics is easier than ever. Take your smartphone to a retail store for an immediate trade-in, or sell it online if you don’t need the cash immediately.

So how do you know just what your old phone is worth? We checked all of the major options and priced out what we’d get by selling a 16GB iPhone 5 on AT&T in good working condition. But before we dive into where to sell, here are some general rules of thumb on what these buyers will — and won’t — pay for:

  • Phones on different networks may be worth different amounts. Phones on AT&T or factory unlocked phones tend to be worth the most.
  • Your phone’s current condition has a big impact on its…

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Spotify Launches In Taiwan, Argentina, Greece and Turkey

TechCrunch

Spotify has launched in Argentina, Greece, Turkey and Taiwan, bringing its streaming music platform to a total of 32 countries.

The heart of the Mandopop (Mandarin pop) industry, Taiwan marks the latest step in Spotify’s Asia expansion, which began in April when the service premiered in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Desktop streaming is free in Taiwan and premium service, which allows users access the platform on their mobile devices or smart TVs, is NT$149 (about $5), or half of the $9.99 that users in the U.S. pay.

Despite its lower pricing in Asia, Spotify faces strong competition from several local players, including KKBOX, which has 10 million users and already boosts strong ties to Mandopop labels. KKBOX has diversified its product offerings beyond streaming music by hosting live events on its platform that allow users to listen along as celebrities select tracks and chat via…

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