"Not a chance. The promoters of big data would like us to believe that behind the lines of code and vast databases lie objective and universal insights into patterns of human behavior, be it consumer spending, criminal or terrorist acts, healthy habits, or employee productivity. But many big-data evangelists avoid taking a hard look at the weaknesses. Numbers can't speak for themselves, and data sets -- no matter their scale -- are still objects of human design. The tools of big-data science, such as the Apache Hadoop software framework, do not immunize us from skews, gaps, and faulty assumptions. Those factors are particularly significant when big data tries to reflect the social world we live in, yet we can often be fooled into thinking that the results are somehow more objective than human opinions. Biases and blind spots exist in big data as much as they do in individual perceptions and experiences. Yet there is a problematic belief that bigger data is always better data and that correlation is as good as causation."
(Kate Crawford, 12 May 2013, Foreign Policy)
"In 1924 Claude Friese-Greene (cinematographer and son of moving-image pioneer William) embarked on an intrepid road trip from Land's End to John O'Groats. He recorded his journey on film, using an experimental colour process. Entitled The Open Road, this remarkable travelogue was conceived as a series of 26 short episodes, to be shown weekly at the cinema."
(Independent Cinema Office, UK)
"ANAR Foundation manages in Spain the European unique phone number 116 111, to attend children and teenagers under a risk situation. On this telephone number, only for minors, they can find the help they need in a totally anonymous and confidential way. But, how can we get our message to a child abuse victim, even when they are accompanied by an adult their aggressor?
Knowing the average height for adults and children under 10, we have created two different messages. Using an outdoor lenticular we show adults an awareness message, while children see a message where we offer them our help and show them the telephone number. A message only for children."
Fig.1 campaign created by Grey Spain (Grey EMEA, http://grey.com/emea/).
"Buildings originally designed for earthquake and emergency zones in Asia and Africa are now being erected in London playgrounds to shield schoolchildren from the noise of aircraft landing at Heathrow. ...
The superadobe design was an invention of the Iranian architect Nader Khalili, originally with a view to lunar settlements but first employed in a refugee crisis after the 1990-91 Gulf war, before answering the needs of west London's noise-afflicted schoolchildren. The buildings can withstand tremors with a magnitude of up to 5.7. Their domes are also immune to the damage occasionally wrought on local homes' tiled roofs by vortices from incoming jets.
The headteacher, Kathryn Harper-Quinn, estimates that when outside, teachers are rendered inaudible to pupils for 25 seconds in every 90. 'I've been very concerned about the effects of the noise on the children's learning,' she said.
In the huts, she added, 'you can still hear the planes but you can also hear your own voice'. She said that as outdoor learning was both valued by teachers and a statutory part of the curriculum, staff had developed strategies to deal with aircraft noise, including the use of whistles to alert children who could not hear when teachers were speaking.
She said it was also important that the adobe structures were a refuge for children outside lesson times. 'When kids are playing they are also developing their language skills, and in the playground again they're being interrupted.'"
(Gwyn Topham, 22 April 2013, The Guardian)
"Most of us grow up being taught that talent is an inheritance, like brown hair or blue eyes. Therefore, we presume that the surest sign of talent is early, instant, effortless success, ie, being a prodigy. In fact, a well-established body of research shows that that assumption is false. Early success turns out to be a weak predictor of long-term success.
Many top performers are overlooked early on, then grow quietly into stars. This list includes Charles Darwin (considered slow and ordinary by teachers), Walt Disney (fired from an early job because he 'lacked imagination'), Albert Einstein, Louis Pasteur, Paul Gauguin, Thomas Edison, Leo Tolstoy, Fred Astaire, Winston Churchill, Lucille Ball, and so on. One theory, put forth by Dr Carol Dweck of Stanford University, is that the praise and attention prodigies receive leads them to instinctively protect their 'magical' status by taking fewer risks, which eventually slows their learning.
The talent hotbeds are not built on identifying talent, but on constructing it. They are not overly impressed by precociousness and do not pretend to know who will succeed. While I was visiting the US Olympic Training Centre at Colorado Springs, I asked a roomful of 50 experienced coaches if they could accurately assess a top 15-year-old's chances of winning a medal in the Games two years from then? Only one coach raised his hand.
If you have early success, do your best to ignore the praise and keep pushing yourself to the edges of your ability, where improvement happens. If you don't have early success, don't quit. Instead, treat your early efforts as experiments, not as verdicts."
(Daniel Coyle, 25 August 2012, The Independent)