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Why big data has some big problems when it comes to public policy


With martial law and mass surveillance, it is no coincidence that the local militia, I mean military, I mean police, have something to do. Just remember, if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about. Round the clock surveillance may even save your life.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

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.

Most of these obstacles have little to do with the data…

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Breaking News! Lee County, Florida, Opts Entire District Out of State Testing!


Ridiculous! Those kids probably cannot even read!

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Lee County, Florida, made history tonight. Despite threats from state officials that they might cut funding, the school board voted to opt the entire district out of state testing.

“The school board has voted to opt out the entire district from all statewide, standardized testing – effective immediately. The decision was received with overwhelming cheers and applause in the packed auditorium.

“The motion passed three to two, with board members Don Armstrong, Tom Scott and Mary Fischer in support of the vote.

“Board members Jeanne Dozier and Cathleen Morgan said they would prefer the district wait until an alternative plan is in place. Superintendent Nancy Graham warned the district that the abrupt decision could be harmful to students.

“There is an unmistakable emotion in the room tonight at the Lee school board meeting as the board deliberates a motion to opt out from all statewide tests.

“The standing-room only…

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SWAT Team Detains Popular Gamer Who Was Live-Streaming ‘Counter-Strike’

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

An incredible video showing the apparent swatting of a video game player who operates under the moniker ‘Kootra‘ was published today.

Swatting is a prank that involves falsely telling the police of a dangerous situation so that a SWAT — special weapons and tactics (SWAT) — team is deployed in response, erroneously. The police are led to believe that they need to roll out the guns and armor, leaving the intended victim of the prank literally staring down the barrel of the gun.

In this case, a Denver-area building was selected for the prank. Nearby schools, according to local media, were temporarily placed on lockdown due to the phantom threat.

Making the entire situation nearly surreal is the fact that Kootra, whose common name is Jordan Mathewson, was streaming a video game to the Internet when the heavily armed police force entered his location, and detained him.


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