Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #119

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Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, the author of Complete Web Monitoring and Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks), Hugh McGuire (The Book Oven, LibriVox, iambik, PressBooks, Media Hacks) and I decided that every week or so the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see".

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:

  • Kickstarter Is Not a Store – Kickstarter Blog. "The crowd-backed project model is on a tear. Sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and even specialized ones like give people a new way to make their vision a reality. Kickstarter alone has given out hundreds of millions of dollars since it launched. Yesterday I spoke with Rebecca Rodriguez about her $7,000 project to film the KeyStone XL pipeline as she walked it — backed by Indiegogo supporters. But as the model grows, it’s forced to confront issues. The biggest Kickstarters raise millions of dollars — with no guarantee of delivery. The company has made some draconian, but ultimately wise, changes to the amount of risk and speculation allowed in projects that focus on technology. If you don’t understand how big of a deal this is, you’re missing the huge importance of crowdfunding." (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Meet the New Boss: Big Data – The Wall Street Journal. "Mitch, last week you had a Big Data link for me. With Strata right around the corner, I’m spending a bunch of time looking at the consequences of a Norm world (where everybody knows your name, and a whole lot more.) Big Data is interesting because it’s where technology touches people, and is therefore fraught with ethical and moral perils. Take this Wall Street Journal piece on how companies are using data to make management decisions. For example: Ignore the resumé. don’t hire that creative type for a call center, because they won’t stick around long enough to recoup their training cost. Ouch." (Alistair for Mitch).
  • A Conversation With Randall Munroe, the Creator of XKCD – The Atlantic. "One of the best places to visit on the Internet is the Web comic site, xkcd; it’s a delight of day-to-day philosophy, math and physics and much more. The comic’s creator Randall Munroe, a former NASA engineer, sits down with The Atlantic to talk about life, the universe and everything." (Hugh for Alistair).
  • Philip Roth and Wikipedia – Non-Commercial Use. "You may have heard recently about Philip Roth‘s public fight with Wikipedia. A Wikipedia article about one of his books, The Human Stain, ‘suggested’ that the main character in the book was inspired by the life of NY Times book reviewer, Anatole Broyard. Roth took exception; he was inspired by someone else entirely, he claimed. Roth tried to get somebody to change the Wikipedia article. Editors reverted the change. There was Wikipedian back and forth, and Roth wound up writing an Open Letter to Wikipedia in the New Yorker. Much heavy breathing ensued in the media, which portrayed the venerable Roth as a victim of the bureaucratic nightmare that is Wikipedia, and hyperventilated about how Wikipedia must be badly broken if the subject of a Wikipedia article couldn’t fix mistakes about the article itself. That’s been the mainstream play on the controversy, but it gets things so wrong. Most importantly, the Wikipedia article did not state that Anatole Broyard was the inspiration for Roth’s character, but rather it referenced the NYTimes Book Review of the book, which made this claim (and which, by the way, remains online, unedited, unretracted, on the NYTimes website… and no one has written an Open Letter to the NY Times about it. The result of all this is ironic: Wikipedia now has a balanced article with reference to both the original Broyard claims, and to Roth’s different version of things – the ‘correct’ outcome. Somehow, many people in the world will not pay much attention to this, and will come away thinking Wikipedia is broken, when, in fact, it worked exactly as it is supposed to." (Hugh for Mitch). 
  • Data Barns in a Farm Town, Gobbling Power and Flexing Muscle – The New York Times. "We are at a crossroads and some tough decisions are going to have to be made. We are in the middle of the digitization of everything. But, guess what? All of this innovation requires a lot of power and energy. All of this hardware and software that we’re consuming is taxing on… guess what? Yup, the environment. What, you thought your iPhones grew on trees? So, where do all of these high tech companies go to power the devices that power our lives? Yup, they go to the places where electricity is cheapest. Rural areas, etc… In this fascinating piece, you’ll get a better understanding of what happens in these rural areas where agricultural farming is quickly getting usurped by data farming." (Mitch for Alistair).
  • What Business is Wall Street In? – Blog Maverick. "Mark Cuban is a fascinating guy. I’m especially enamored with him because he generates no apathy. People either love him or loathe him. That’s a good thing. I often don’t agree with Cuban’s perspectives on all things, but I fell in love – head over heels – with this recent blog post on the business that is Wall Street. Does Wall Street still help companies create capital and generate wealth or has it degenerated into a Pong-like game of high speed trading technology in a race to out-speed one another? It’s one of those ‘wow moments’ that makes you realize that even the best investors don’t have an upper-hand in a world – and financial model – that is driven by the speed of technology mixed with algorithms and nothing more. It’s not only depressing, but it makes you realize that your hard-earned money is probably much better off being stuffed in a mattress. Ugh." (Mitch for Hugh).  

Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.