Why Big Data Has Some Problems When it Comes to Public Policy

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By Derrick Harris

For all the talk about using big data and data science to solve the world’s problems — and even all the talk about big data as one of the world’s problems — it seems like we still have a long way to go.

Earlier this week, an annual conference on data mining, KDD 2014 for short, took place in New York with the stated goal of highlighting “data science for social good.” It’s a noble goal and, indeed, the event actually did highlight a lot of research and even some real-world examples of how data can help solve various problems in areas ranging from health care to urban planning. But the event also highlighted — to me, at least — some very real obstacles that stand in the way of using data science to solve society’s problems in any meaningful way at any meaningful scale.

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Citizen’s Drone Video Shows Damage of Napa Earthquake

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By Jeff John Roberts

A Napa resident used his drone to capture the fallout from the 6.9-magnitude earthquake that rattled the California town on Sunday, and posted scenes of the damage on YouTube.

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Instagram Launches Advertising Analytics

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By Selena Larson

Instagram is making it possible for businesses to find out just how well their advertising performs.

On Thursday, the company rolled out a suite of business tools to manage ad campaigns. Account insights and ad insights display impressions, reach, and engagement, both for particular ad campaigns and the account itself. An advertising staging feature enables advertisers to edit and preview campaigns before launching.

Instagram worked with a handful of advertisers before giving analytics to all advertisers this week. The company will make the new tools available to all brands later this year.

Instagram launched advertising last fall. 

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Eight Charts That Put Tech Companies’ Diversity Stats Into Perspective

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By Carmel DiAmicis

The latest hot-button subject in tech, hotter even than ephemeral apps, is diversity. Or at least, if not actual diversity, the act of releasing employee diversity statistics. From Apple to Twitter, almost all the big names in Silicon Valley are doing it. Google fell first in May, and with some pushing by activist organizations the rest soon followed suit.

We’ve broken down some of the top players – AppleTwitterPinterestFacebookGoogleYahooMicrosofteBayLinkedInCiscoIntel, and HP – comparing their overall gender and ethnicity demographics. Then we went a step further to look specifically at the tech and leadership roles. Where relevant, we also charted the demographic information of the U.S. labor force and the graduating computer science class.

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Just How Creepy Can Targeted Ads Get? New Tool Promises to Tell You

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By Selena Larson

Ever find yourself scrolling through a website and seeing an advertisement that’s a little too well-targeted? You know, as if the advertiser knew you recently twisted your ankle and need to buy some sturdier shoes? 

Columbia University researchers are working on XRay, a tool to help innocent Internet users make sense of those ads that stalk us, sometimes in ways that are worse than creepy.

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DataGravity Says It’s Time For Your Storage to Smarten Up Already

By Barb Darrow

DataGravity, the thus-far secretive startup co-founded by Paula Long of EqualLogic fame, is finally ready to talk about its DataGravity Discovery storage array.

Lately, much of the discussion around storage has been about speeds and feeds of the latest flash arrays — and that’s valid. But Long’s position is that much of the value of what companies store is lost because that data goes into a black box, and companies have to deploy audit software and other extras it to wring important information out of it. DataGravity integrates those tools, search and analytics, into its software.

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Teenager Could Revolutionize Malaria Testing with a Cheap Smartphone Attachment

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By Pavel Curda

Tanay Tandon is the 17-year-old founder of Athelas, a blood-testing kit for smartphones that is designed to diagnose malaria.

For more than two centuries, cell morphology – or the practice of viewing/analyzing a person’s blood – has been the primary way to approach medicine. The process is generally long and expensive: go to the doctor, get a sample taken, wait for a couple of days for a trained professional to analyze the blood, and then receive your report. Athelas changes all that.

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A Fascinating Visualization of How Culture Expanded Around the World

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By Matthew Elworthy

The theme of this year’s #TNWUSA conference is ‘Where Business and Cultures Collide.’ We’ll be focusing on international growth and regional technology trends, as well as best business practices and experiences when it comes to expanding abroad.

One of the most exciting things we’ve noticed about 2014 has been the number of tech companies testing the waters of unfamiliar markets. Regardless of our unparalleled access to information today (thanks to a little thing called ‘the internet’), cultural and regulatory differences around the world can trip up the most sturdy of expansion plans. #TNWUSA ‘14 aims to help you get to grips with these cultural contrasts and market differences, armed with a new range of tools and techniques.

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Big Data’s Poster Child Has Issues – But They’re Not Slowing Hadoop Down

By Matt Asay

Pity poor Hadoop. The open-source software framework is virtually synonymous with the Big Data movement. Yet one of its earliest, biggest users has joined a chorus of critics, charging Hadoop with being “unpredictable” and “risky.” Others, like Gartner’s Merv Adrian, worry about its weak security provisions.

Despite these (mostly) valid concerns, people and organizations are still lining up to adopt Hadoop, which makes it possible to store and process huge amounts of data on clusters of commodity hardware. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the entire planet hasn’t just been hoodwinked into the Hadoop embrace. Why does it remain so successful?

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The Future of Content Consumption, Through the Eyes of Yahoo Labs

By Derrick Harris

After years struggling through a public identity crisis it appears Yahoo has decided, for better or worse, that it’s a content company. There will be no Yahoo smartphones or operating systems, no Yahoo Fiber, and no Yahoo drones, robots or satellites. But that doesn’t mean the company can’t innovate.

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