It’s old news by now that the NSA is building a semi-secret data center in Utahwhich will store data of an unknown sort on a near infinite scale.
What’s interesting is that the massive data center will not employ analysts, instead it will be staffed by about 100 technicians to keep the power and water flowing and the computers and other equipment humming.
“I’ve data mined myself. I’ve violated my own privacy. Now I am selling it all.”
Data mining is big business—but what if Internet users could monetize their personal data on their own? New York University grad student Frederico Zannier stalked his own online activity for two months, and is now selling the data.
Jawbone, maker of the UP activity monitoring wristband, announced today that it will acquire BodyMedia to bolster its efforts in the wearable technology space.
The UP device currently tracks more than a billion steps and610,000 hours of sleep every day, but the acquisition of BodyMedia, a company which has been doing similar work in the space since 1999, will open the company up to a swath of new data. Just how much data? Its monitors have collected more than 500 trillion body sensor data points.
Infographic: Foursquare’s New Tool Maps Your Check-Ins
As we amass more and more data about ourselves, the big challenge will be creating tools that help us put it to use in productive, positive ways. A quantified self is not necessarily an improved one. In the meantime, though, some personalized eye-candy can’t hurt.
Foursquare launched its own visualization tool last week, letting users view their last 12 months of activity in a few different ways. In each, check-ins are represented by colorful little badges. You can sort them by date or by category, which line the badges up into orderly little rows. The latter will probably just confirm what you already know: you go out for coffee way too often.
A circular “connections” view is a little more insightful, showing all the different places you went throughout the year after checking in at a certain location. Here, you might get confirmation of things you already knew deep down but never really liked to acknowledge. You’ll be able to see, say, where you tend to check-in after sessions at the gym. Take-out food joints? Oh well, you’ve earned it, or something.
As the company wrote in a blog post accompanying the release, the tool is “just our small way of saying, ‘Thanks! We think you’re awesome.’” Also a small way of saying think how much cooler these would look if you used Foursquare more often.
Kathy Giusti founded the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation after being diagnosed with the disease in 1996. As head of worldwide operations at a major pharma company at the time, she was horrified by the lack of drugs in the pipeline for her deadly “orphan” cancer. John Quackenbush is the director of the Center for Cancer Computational Biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and CEO of the startup GenoSpace, which provides tools for genomics research. Senior editor Linda Tischler sat down to hear about their new collaboration to upend cancer research.
Google’s Plan To Fight Human Trafficking With Big Data
A collection of tech and data companies are working together to track, map, and fight the criminal underworld that ships people around the world.
Google announced this week that it’s giving a $3 million Global Impact Award (part of a series of grants given to nonprofits changing the world with technology) to help three anti-trafficking organizations—Polaris Project, Liberty Asia, and La Strada International—create a Global Human Trafficking Hotline Network. While these organizations operate effective trafficking hotlines across the world, they don’t share their information. That’s the kind of big-data problem that Google can help with.
How The UN’s New Data Lab In Indonesia Uses Twitter To Preempt Disaster
Predictive disaster relief is the goal, says Robert Kirkpatrick, Director of the UN’s Global Pulse initiative, and Twitter data may be the key. The program uses social network analysis to study living conditions throughout the world and preempt crises. “We found that a combination of food words and mood state was able to predict the consumer price index several weeks ahead,” says Kirkpatrick.
“Just as smartphones revolutionized how we avoid talking to each other and food trucks changed our tolerance for eating while standing on the street, the emergence of data science as a vehicle for expression is going to radically change how we create. It gives us a new way to tell the story of the world around us. Even if it’s just to find out how racist our current location is.”