Crayola: teaching kids how to lie with numbers

4. Work with a team of classmates. Brainstorm survey topics for a poll of students in your class, grade, or school. Think of response choices for your three favorite survey topics. Which topic would lend itself best to either type of bias? How could you change the question and/or the survey choices to be able to slant the results later?

via Slanted Surveys & Statistics Lesson Plan.

Batch importing text messages from Twitter in Rails

Here we actually batch import the messages, saving them in a local model. I also demonstrate a script to perform the imports, and set up a table to store key:value pairs for more advanced usage – I’ll finish that feature up in a subsequent tutorial.

Saving the messages locally is important for not exceeding the Twitter rate limit, as well as for performing more complex searches and manipulations with the data. It also provides a common message storage if you’re importing from multiple sources, say, FrontlineSMS, Clickatell, and Twitter.


WHOOZ Tutorial: Importing text messages from Twitter to Ruby on Rails.

Download the code for this tutorial here: whooz-messages-table-batch-importing.zip (LGPL 3.0) or on Google Code

This builds on the code written in the last tutorial, Sending and receiving text messages in Rails with Twitter

I know this is pretty low resolution, but I’ll upload an HD version next week; Vimeo allows only one HD clip per week.

Cameras That Never Forget Your Face

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The camera network – using software from 3VR Security Inc., a San Francisco company that makes surveillance technology – already knew what the houseman looked like; facial recognition algorithms had built a profile of him over time. With a couple of mouse clicks, managers combed through hours of videotape taken that night by the hotel’s 16 cameras, and found every place he had been – including the back entrance he slipped out of, three hours into his shift. He became 1 of 10 employees dismissed from the hotel since 3VR’s surveillance package was installed last June.

via The New Security: Cameras That Never Forget Your Face – New York Times.

M E G A P H O N E 3 0 0 0

“Megaphone3000” is a collection of 10 mini games that are played on a large public screen with an average cell phone. Your phone becomes your controller. No special software is necessary. All games are controlled with either the player’s voice or the number pad. Players battle to stay connected – the loser gets disconnected and the winner battles on!

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via M E G A P H O N E 3 0 0 0.

Sending and receiving text messages in Rails with Twitter

In this tutorial I cover how to set up a basic Ruby on Rails 2.2.2 application and how to connect it to the Twitter API. Then I demonstrate receiving and sending Tweets, i.e. text messages through Twitter. I’ve also shared the code in Google Code.


WHOOZ Tutorial: Sending and receiving text messages in Rails with Twitter

Download the code for this tutorial here: whooz-twittter-integration.zip (LGPL 3.0)

This code requires Rails 2 – if you have OS X 10.5, it ships with 1.2; you can upgrade with the commands sudo gem update --system and sudo gem install rails

Remote personal assistants

Remote personal assistants:

Rakesh started working for me a few weeks ago. We communicate over instant messenger and so far it is going well. He is dedicated to me for four hours a day, twenty hours a week. I pay his company–Tasks Everyday– $7 bucks an hour for his services. He works from 1 in the morning to 4 in the morning Mumbai time. Last week I asked him to write a blog post for me about himself. I wanted to know about his life and what it was like to live in Mumbai. I am fascinated with India. I have not edited his post at all to give you an idea of his English level. I love the quote at the very end of his post. Check it out and let me know what you think about this.

My personal assistant in Mumbai, India: Rakesh Chaudhari (Dave Ford)

Tasks Everyday

Catch Friday – Your Virtual Personal Assistant

Remote personal assistants:

Rakesh started working for me a few weeks ago. We communicate over instant messenger and so far it is going well. He is dedicated to me for four hours a day, twenty hours a week. I pay his company–Tasks Everyday– $7 bucks an hour for his services. He works from 1 in the morning to 4 in the morning Mumbai time. Last week I asked him to write a blog post for me about himself. I wanted to know about his life and what it was like to live in Mumbai. I am fascinated with India. I have not edited his post at all to give you an idea of his English level. I love the quote at the very end of his post. Check it out and let me know what you think about this.

My personal assistant in Mumbai, India: Rakesh Chaudhari (Dave Ford)

Tasks Everyday

Catch Friday – Your Virtual Personal Assistant

This mirror reflects a wide-angled view without distortion

This mirror reflects a wide-angled view without distortion – straight lines in the real world translate to straight lines on the convex surface. It was made for a stair-climbing robot at the University of Pennsylvania. A camera pointed at the mirror can see a very wide-angled view in which the stairs appear straight, making navigation easier. (Image: Andrew Hicks) (via Gallery – The next generation of mirrors – Image 4 – New Scientist)

This mirror reflects a wide-angled view without distortion – straight lines in the real world translate to straight lines on the convex surface. It was made for a stair-climbing robot at the University of Pennsylvania. A camera pointed at the mirror can see a very wide-angled view in which the stairs appear straight, making navigation easier. (Image: Andrew Hicks) (via Gallery – The next generation of mirrors – Image 4 – New Scientist)

This mirror does not produce a “mirror” image

This mirror does not produce a “mirror” image, making it possible to read reflected text normally. Hicks, a mathematician at Drexel University, Philadelphia, used computer algorithms to generate the mirror’s bizarre surface, which curves and bends in different directions. The curves direct rays from an object across the mirror’s face before sending them back to the viewer, flipping the conventional mirror image. As well as neat tricks like this, Hicks’ models make it possible to design mirrors that provide wide angled-views or eliminate distortion. (Image: Andrew Hicks) (via Gallery – The next generation of mirrors – Image 1 – New Scientist)

This mirror does not produce a “mirror” image, making it possible to read reflected text normally. Hicks, a mathematician at Drexel University, Philadelphia, used computer algorithms to generate the mirror’s bizarre surface, which curves and bends in different directions. The curves direct rays from an object across the mirror’s face before sending them back to the viewer, flipping the conventional mirror image. As well as neat tricks like this, Hicks’ models make it possible to design mirrors that provide wide angled-views or eliminate distortion. (Image: Andrew Hicks) (via Gallery – The next generation of mirrors – Image 1 – New Scientist)