28 novembro 2012

Incrível viagem ao interior da ISS

Coisas do jornalismo ilegível e de hábitos

Objetivo: aumentar la legibilidad de la información: El periodismo tiene un grave problema: los temas más importantes para la democracia y la vida pública sufren un déficit de legibilidad y claridad. La dificultad para la comprensión de esta información es un problema de competencia de los periodistas y los medios, no de la naturaleza de las noticias. Superar la brecha de la comprensibilidad es indispensable para no sucumbir a la manipulación, la propaganda o la irrelevancia del propio periodismo. (ver também Researchers mine 2.5M news articles to prove what we already know)


Amazing Graphs That Show How Your Spending Habits Change With Age:

Made on Earth

26 novembro 2012

A ler (ainda de forma gratuita)

Newspaper Pay Walls Are A Good Thing - Here's Why: What is the source of this ethical collapse? When did even the people who depend on the future viability of the industry for the sustenance of their careers and the well-being of their families decide that stealing the news was an acceptable action? Who gave them that idea in the first place?


One answer could be that newspaper publishers themselves created their own undoing. Starting 1996, all the news that was fit to print was given away for free using a business model that was wholly advertising-supported. This approach worked for a while, with newspaper advertising revenue topping out in 2006 at $64 billion.

What followed, however, was stagnation and decline. By 2011, advertising revenue from both digital and traditional sources dropped to less than $25 billion. Clearly, radical measures were needed to preserve the industry.

Wild Animals

Pub da boa: Brother

25 novembro 2012

Coisas que é bom saber sobre a "Primavera árabe" e o Verão de 2013

Remember All Those "Pro-Democracy" Protests Last Year? Here's What They Were Really About...:
The widespread protests across the Middle East and northern Africa in last year's "Arab Spring" were often viewed as the awakening of a critical region to the virtues of democracy.

And they may have had something to do with that.

But a paper by three New England-based researchers suggests the coordinated timing of all these protests was caused by something far more simple:

Skyrocketing food prices.

When food prices hit a certain critical level, Marco Lagi, Karla Z. Bertrand, and Yaneer Bar-Yam show, people tend to turn to violence--because their desperation hits a level at which they have nothing left to lose. As the chart below shows, the Arab Spring protests, along with earlier protests in the region, coincided with two huge peaks in global food prices.
Já agora: 
Attempts to avoid food crisis may worsen problem: Wealthier countries to face higher prices for longer

Food crisis deepens as World Bank issues hunger warning: A third factor affecting food availability and especially prices is the burning of food for fuel. Ethanol mandates in the U.S. have taken millions of bushels of corn out of the food supply, and as more ethanol is mandated in the future, there will be even less of it available for consumption and food production.

"In the United States, which harvested 416 million tons of grain in 2009, 119 million tons went to ethanol distilleries to produce fuel for cars," said Foreign Policy. "That's enough to feed 350 million people for a year. The massive U.S. investment in ethanol distilleries sets the stage for direct competition between cars and people for the world grain harvest."

Videovigilância estradal e pessoal com maior definição

Para prevenção e repressão de infrações estradais, devem as [video]câmaras:
i) Ser policromáticas;
ii) Ter capacidade de iluminação, resolução, ampliação e abertura de foco que garanta o reconhecimento e identificação das matrículas dos veículos.

Para proteção de instalações com interesse para a defesa e a segurança, para a proteção da segurança de pessoas e bens, públicos ou privados, e prevenção da prática de factos qualificados pela lei como crime, em locais em que exista razoável risco da sua ocorrência, e para prevenção de atos terroristas [...], devem as câmaras:
i) Ser policromáticas;
ii) Permitir a gravação de som quando autorizada;
iii) Ter capacidade de iluminação, resolução, ampliação e abertura de foco que garanta o reconhecimento e a identificação de indivíduos (...)

E tudo isto porquê?
Governo assumiu como prioridade a adoção de políticas e medidas concretas que contribuam para fazer de Portugal um país mais seguro com o objetivo de reforçar a autoridade do Estado e a eficácia das forças de segurança.

Ao longo dos últimos anos a tipologia dos crimes, quer pelo crime em si, quer pelo método utilizado, tem vindo a sofrer transformações profundas, sendo que hoje está claramente mais organizado, complexo e sofisticado. E isso não poderia deixar de apresentar consequências relevantes no quadro da segurança das pessoas e bens públicos ou privados.

Com vista à salvaguarda da segurança das pessoas e bens e à melhoria das condições de prevenção e repressão do crime em locais públicos de utilização comum, a utilização de sistemas de vigilância por câmaras de vídeo constitui uma ferramenta valiosa na dissuasão da prática de crimes que não deve ser desperdiçada, atendendo ao aumento do número de pedidos de instalação de sistemas de videovigilância por parte das autarquias e de outras entidades e organismos.

Assim, o recurso pelas forças e serviços de segurança à videovigilância, no espectro de finalidades a que se refere a lei, constitui uma mais-valia na execução das missões que lhes estão confiadas ao serviço da comunidade, melhorando, assim, a segurança coletiva.

Não há estudos, não há nada, excepto o "aumento do número de pedidos de instalação de sistemas de videovigilância por parte das autarquias e de outras entidades e organismos". E por esse aumento de pedidos, assim se aumenta a "segurança coletiva"...

Mas convém lembrar algumas coisas sobre estas fantásticas videovigilâncias:
Assessing the impact of CCTV: there was a lack of realism about what could be expected from CCTV. In short, it was oversold – by successive governments – as the answer (indeed the ‘magic bullet’, Ditton and Short, 1999) to crime problems. Few seeking a share of the available funding saw it as necessary to demonstrate CCTV’s effectiveness. After all, why would the government be giving out money for this and not other measures if it did not work? Yet it was rarely obvious why CCTV was the best response to crime in particular circumstances. […]

Assessed on the evidence presented in this report, CCTV cannot be deemed a success. It has cost a lot of money and it has not produced the anticipated benefits. However, the findings on effectiveness were hardly surprising given the context in which CCTV schemes were implemented. The report has suggested that there were several contributory factors. Money was not given to the most needy areas, nor always to all those that had made a good case. There was little emphasis on showing why CCTV was the best solution, only that it was an acceptable one. More generally, there was no blueprint to follow and schemes were picked to be guinea pigs for the application of public money (Gill et al. 2005d). Perhaps the greatest criticism should be reserved for a policy which gave money to areas that had justified their claim on what appears to be thin evidence. Also, policy guidance made it a legitimate use of funding to install cameras for the purpose of reducing fear of crime, which does not encourage project designers or implementers to work out how the cameras might achieve this. Perhaps there was little surprise when it was found that implementation commonly failed. There were few clear guidelines and each area was left to find its own way.

CCTV boom has failed to slash crime, say police: Massive investment in CCTV cameras to prevent crime in the UK has failed to have a significant impact, despite billions of pounds spent on the new technology, a senior police officer piloting a new database has warned. Only 3% of street robberies in London were solved using CCTV images, despite the fact that Britain has more security cameras than any other country in Europe.

1,000 CCTV cameras to solve just one crime, Met Police admits: Fewer than one crime is solved by every 1,000 closed circuit television cameras, the Metropolitan Police, Britain's biggest police force, has admitted.

Crime prevention effects of closed circuit television: a systematic review
It was found that CCTV had no effect on violent crimes (from five studies), but had a significant desirable effect on vehicle crimes (from eight studies).

Across the three settings, mixed results were found for the crime prevention effectiveness of CCTV. In the city centre and public housing setting, there was evidence that CCTV led to a negligible reduction in crime of about two per cent in experimental areas compared with control areas. CCTV had a very small but significant effect on crime in the five UK evaluations in this setting (three desirable and two undesirable), but had no effect on crime in the four North American evaluations. More schemes showed evidence of diffusion of benefits than displacement.

The four evaluations of CCTV in public transportation systems present conflicting evidence of effectiveness: two found a desirable effect, one found no effect, and one found an undesirable effect on crime. For the two effective studies, the use of other interventions makes it difficult to say with certainty that CCTV produced the observed crime reductions. The pooled effect size for all four studies was desirable (a six per cent reduction in experimental areas compared with control areas), but non-significant. Only two of the studies measured diffusion of benefits or displacement and evidence was found for each.

In car parks, there was evidence that CCTV led to a statistically significant reduction in crime of about 41 per cent in experimental areas compared with control areas. However, for all of the studies in this setting other measures were in operation at the same time as CCTV. Most studies did not measure either diffusion of benefits or displacement.

A REVIEW OF CCTV EVALUATIONS: CRIME REDUCTION EFFECTS AND ATTITUDES TOWARDS ITS USE: Future developments in technology, such as license plate recognition, facial recognition, and algorithmic image interpretation to alert operators to unsanctioned events will also need to be monitored and evaluated, in terms of both their impact on reducing crime and their social control of citizens, particularly those who are already marginalized

CCTV AND THE SOCIAL STRUCTURING OF SURVEILLANCE: The power of CCTV operators is highly discretionary as they have extraordinary latitude in determining who will be watched, for how long and whether to initiate deployment. The sum total of these individual discretionary judgments produces, as we have shown, a highly differentiated pattern of surveillance leading to a massively disproportionate targeting of young males, particularly if they are black or visibly identifiable as having subcultural affiliations. As this differentiation is not based on objective behavioural and individualised criteria, but merely on being categorised as part of a particular social group, such practices are clearly discriminatory.


Sessão da tarde: Origami

Bolas

por Jessica Hilltout:

19 novembro 2012

Pub da boa: Opi

O que Eduardo Cintra Torres não disse sobre a greve geral...

Eduardo Cintra Torres considera, relativamente à greve geral da passada semana, que "os números de adesão são no mínimo estranhos quando se sabe por um estudo recente do ICS que 80% dos portugueses nunca fizeram greve".

O tal "estudo recente" data de 2010, ano em que José Sócrates governava e António Dornelas, do Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia do ISCTE e ex-secretário de Estado de António Guterres (e, insuspeito, participa agora em tribunais arbitrais sobre pré-avisos de greve), dizia "que "não há uma causa única" para este declínio da participação nos movimentos colectivos de protesto".

Estranho é usar um estudo antigo (pré-troika) para fazer vingar uma tese moderna, à semelhança do que fez o Expresso.

06 novembro 2012

Em quem acreditar?

FMI e Banco Mundial em Portugal para 'tornar o Estado mais eficiente': O ministro [Vítor Gaspar] notou ainda que esta equipa técnica faz o seu trabalho sem encargos directos para o Estado português: "Esta missão não tem custos para Portugal."

Greece, Portugal Turn to World Bank for Technical Advice: The two governments have officially asked for the paid advice, though details are still being sorted out

O voto conta? (nos EUA)

Eleições nos EUA em 90 segundos

The presidential election in 90 seconds:

E se o DNA dos presidentes fosse "hackado"?...

Hacking the President’s DNA: The U.S. government is surreptitiously collecting the DNA of world leaders, and is reportedly protecting that of Barack Obama. Decoded, these genetic blueprints could provide compromising information. In the not-too-distant future, they may provide something more as well—the basis for the creation of personalized bioweapons that could take down a president and leave no trace.

Dinheiro na política

05 novembro 2012

O fundo do mar em Portugal e na Papua Nova Guiné

Nautilus Minerals requer quatro contratos em Portugal de direitos de prospeção e pesquisa de depósitos minerais no Saldanha, Arinto, Moreto e Famous. Reclamações ou preferências até 9 de Novembro.

Noutras paragens mais pacíficas, o que está a suceder?

Nautilus seabed mining project jeopardized again: The company, the first to explore the ocean floor for polymetallic massive sulphide deposits, was granted a mining lease by the PNG authorities in January 2011, following the environmental permit award in December 2009.

But the mine developer has been swimming in choppy waters ever since. It faces critics from the environmentalist and the marine biologist community as per the consequences of its Solwara 1 gold, copper and silver project. The company has also been locked in a dispute with the government of the South East Asian nation since June over ownership of the project, located in the Bismarck Sea.

Over 20,000 signatures submitted to PNG Mining Minister Byron Chan by residents from the provinces of Madang, Oro and New Britain, stating that they don’t want the project to go ahead, reports Radio New Zealand.

Locals insist they have seen dead fish washing up on beaches and that the water has been polluted by the exploration work. But a company's spokesperson told MINING.com that there is absolutely no truth to those claims.

PNG landowners want seabed mining stopped: "What guarantees do we have that the explorations going on are not disturbing our eco-system from the sea floor and up?" New Ireland resident Oigen Schulze said.

It's Time to Rethink Our 'Manifest Destiny': Companies are interested in mining cobalt-rich crusts on Pacific seamounts, and Nautilus Minerals is set to begin the first ever commercial mining of deep-sea hydrothermal vents off Papua New Guinea.

Tesoros minerales, a un paso de la explotación: gobiernos y empresas buscan explotaciones alternativas. Y buena parte de ellas las están encontrando en los fondos marinos, en las plataformas continentales, en lugares hasta ahora poco accesibles como el Ártico, en los salares de Argentina, Bolivia y Chile, o incluso en las formaciones de pizarra de EE UU - que, según el presidente de la multinacional Chesapeake Energy, Aubrey McClendon, podrían hacer del país «el Arabia Saudí del gas natural».

Nautilus Minerals plumbs new depths, comes up smelling of roses: Shareholders in Nautilus – after today's jump worth $224 million on the Toronto big board – have seen the value of their investments plummet by 44% since the company initiated a legal battle on June 1 over the copper-gold-silver project in the Bismarck Sea and the troubles with its German shipbuilders.

Last week the firm closed a private placement at 90c that raised $33.9 million to continue to build its Seafloor Production System.

All the major shareholders of the company supported the offer – Oman's MB Holdings increased its stake to just under 17%, Metalloinvest held at 21% while Anglo American maintained its interest at 11%.

Nautilus has not ruled out returning to the market for more money or finding JV partners to bring the project to completion.

A New York Story

04 novembro 2012

E porque não acabar com...?

Portugal tem de explicar ‘clipping’: Segundo João Palmeiro, presidente da Visapress e da Associação Nacional de Imprensa (API), Bruxelas vai questionar apenas os governos de alguns dos países dos 27 Estados-membros, "em cuja recolha de informações o valor do negócio do ‘clipping’ e o valor declarado das licenças recebidas não tem o mínimo de correspondência".

Nesta fase, garante este responsável, a Comissão Europeia está apenas a questionar como é que este modelo de negócio vai evoluir, sem avançar para já com medidas sancionatórias.

"Mas nós sabemos que o problema de Portugal é o do ‘enforcement’ (medidas que levam à execução da lei) e do Tribunal dos Direitos de Autor. Se for assim, tem de se ver o que se pode fazer para ajudar a resolver os problemas", refere Palmeiro.

Infografia dos filmes

The History of Film (sim, é para ampliar e muito, mas vale a pena):

Sessão da tarde: The Origin of Creatures



Watch a Post-Apocalyptic Short Film about Human Limbs Building the Tower of Babel : Making of

 

02 novembro 2012

Depois dos jornais, os livros: podem os robôs escrever?

Man or machine - can robots really write novels? how far away are books written by robots? Well they have already happened, in their hundreds of thousands.
Professor Philip Parker, of Insead business school, created software that has generated over 200,000 books, on as varied topics as 60 milligram containers of fromage frais to a Romanian crossword guide.
Amazon currently lists over 100,000 titles under his name.

Can an Algorithm Write a Better News Story Than a Human Reporter? the universe of newswriting will expand dramatically, as computers mine vast troves of data to produce ultracheap, totally readable accounts of events, trends, and developments that no journalist is currently covering.

Sandy em Nova Iorque

01 novembro 2012

Prisioneiros do cabo

ou "Why we can’t break free from our TV overlords":

On the Internet, news and entertainment famously want to be free. But in June, tens of thousands of people staged an online protest that was bizarre for its medium. They offered—begged, even—to pay an entertainment company for its content. Almost as strangely, the company told them: “No way.” [...]

The cable bundle is under increasing popular assault these days, at least as measured by Web diatribes and water-cooler complaints. Nobody likes to feel forced to buy more than they want, and cable television sticks us with eye-popping bills for hundreds of channels that we couldn’t possibly watch even if we wanted to. [...]

Your monthly TV bill—if you belong to one of the 83 percent of U.S. households that subscribes to a pay-TV service—is in fact three bundles nestled inside each other. Cable channels (such as TBS) are bundles of shows. Media companies (such as Time Warner, which owns TBS) offer bundles of channels that they refuse to sell one by one. Finally, pay-TV companies—which I’ll call cable companies for short, but which also include satellite companies like DirecTV and telcos like Verizon—bundle and sell the media companies’ offerings. When you pay $80 or so each month for cable, roughly half goes to the cable company to pay for the cost of building and maintaining the infrastructure to transport the content, and the other half goes to the media companies, which divvy it up among channels.

When you turn on your television, there is a 95 percent chance that the channel you tune in to will be owned by one of just seven media companies, such as News Corp (which owns Fox News Channel) or Viacom (which owns Comedy Central). The Big Seven use their oligopolistic power to drive a hard bargain. Cable providers that want to run Viacom’s popular networks, like Comedy Central, must also agree to buy its less popular channels, like MTV2. After dealing with all seven media companies, the cable providers are left with something millions of households will recognize: a bloated offering of channels at an arrestingly high price. The bundle isn’t something Comcast or DirecTV invented to make their customers hate them. It’s something that the largest media companies demand, in take-it-or-leave-it fashion.

But media companies are not the only players with a big stake in the current system.[...]

As for the cord cutters, they should be thanking those families whose monthly cable bills enable the production of the shows they love to watch on Netflix or Hulu. Today’s pay-TV subscribers are in effect subsidizing the cord-cutter experience by paying top dollar for first-run programming, while the Cordless soak up the offerings more cheaply in later windows. Without cable, there wouldn’t be HBO Go. There might not even be HBO. Great TV only seems cheap to the Internet’s enfants terribles because media companies insist on charging for it elsewhere—and more than 100 million households still think the price is worth paying.

Google News, Europa e Brasil

Excertos de "Europe takes on Google, looks to Brazil with hope" (vale a pena ler tudo, com este "Google vs. Publishers: Who’s Right?"):

European news organizations bleeding money and readers are trying to avoid extinction by asking governments in France, Germany and Italy to step in and charge Google for using their content in its search results - something the Web giant has always done for free.

Critics - including, unsurprisingly, Google - say the strategy is shortsighted and self-destructive, and the search engine warns it will stop indexing European news sites if forced to pay. But publishers advocating a "Google tax" aimed at benefiting their industry point to the example of Brazil, where their counterparts abandoned the search engine and say repercussions have been minimal. [...]

French publishers, along with counterparts in Germany and Italy, are hoping Brazil will be the proof that there is a successful way to confront Google.

After failing to come to terms with Google in the past year, Brazil's biggest papers - representing 90 percent of circulation - decided to boycott Google News by essentially making their content unavailable to anyone using the search engine. The result? Negligible losses in Web traffic, the Brazilian papers say.

Brazilian newspapers haven't ruled out reopening talks with Google, if the company whose name is synonymous with "search" agrees to pay for their content. Unlike in Europe, the Brazilian publishers have not turned to their government to act as a mediator or impose a tax as part of their dealings with Google.

"Newspapers live off advertising revenues, like Google. They're our competition and they have billions and billions in revenues globally," said Ricardo Pedreira, executive director of Brazil's National Association of Newspapers.

Convém também ler este "Publishers can survive digital kryptonite":

It is tempting for publishers to focus only on digital strategies, but they must also think about how to manage their declining print businesses and how to keep up the value of their journalism, regardless of medium. The music industry discovered this to its cost. For a decade after Napster launched, executives scurried to find new digital business models, neglecting the CD even as it represented a majority of their revenues. Newspapers and magazines risk repeating the mistake.

For more than a decade, investors have asked publishers what their digital strategies are. It is time to ask about their print strategies, too.

Stephen King em BD


Stephen King‘s “The Little Green God of Agony” has been adapted as a free web comic by comic book artist Dennis Calero.

Coisas que é bom saber: a pacificação pela televisão

Does TV Help Make Americans Passive and Accepting of Authority? There is evidence that the mere act of watching TV -- regardless of the content -- may well have a primary pacifying effect.
However, while progressives lament the concentrated corporate control of the media, there is evidence that the mere act of watching TV—regardless of the content—may well have a primary pacifying effect.
Who among us hasn’t spent time watching a show that we didn’t actually like, or found ourselves flipping through the channels long after we’ve concluded that there isn’t anything worth watching?

Disrupção digital