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Will New Google Algorithm Punish ‘Alternative News?’

The new Google Algorithm is live.  Just over a month ago, Google announced that they were changing their algorithm in order to weaken the search engine rankings of sites they deem to be “content farmers. Read Google’s announcement here

Google Algorithm Changes May Hurt Alternative News Sites

“Whereas most of Google’s algorithm changes are barely noticeable,” Eric Blair & Michael Edwards write at Activist Post. “The current change that they have been working on since last January will affect 12% of U.S. searches.”

There has been much debate about what “content farming” is, and Google has done little to offer a clear explanation, simply stating, “low quality” or “shallow” sites would be affected. This is similar to the vague definition of pornography — you’ll know it when you see it.

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The Latest ‘Theory of Everything’ – From Über Gamer Athene

Athene's New Theory of Everythin

Goddess of Wisdom?

Chiren Boumaaza, aka Athene, the extravagant internet celebrity, and professional gamer, is “a record holder in World of Warcraft and online poker.”

‘Athene’ is known for crashing gaming servers, with the aid of his massive army of followers, who just love to be part of the controversy and trouble Athene is so well known for.

“Over the past year, we haven’t heard much from him,” blogs Evie at labspaces.net, “and it seemed as though he had fallen off the grid.”

Well recently Chiren broke his silence, and announced that his disappearance was due to being very busy, conducting new research in the fields of quantum mechanics, general and special relativity, and neuroscience. He continued to say that this research is culminating in significant new discoveries that will be presented in a documentary named ‘Athene’s Theory of Everything, posted here’.  This was definitely an unexpected turn, and caused quite a stir, and some confusion within his fan base.

“For the past year,” continues Evie at labspaces.ne, “Chiren had apparently been engaged in scientific research with the same dedication and out-of-the-box thinking that we’ve seen in his record-setting stunts in online gaming. He spent a lot of time gathering relevant scientific papers, and delving into them in depth.”

Using his newly acquired information and understanding, Chiren was able to come up with an “incredible amount of new correlations” that, as he puts it, “solve a huge list of current problems in physics”. If proven correct, his findings would not only have practical, but also deeply philosophical implications.

Whatever your take, we did enjoy the the 45-min video!


What’s Next, Watson?

Watson AI JeopardyDid anyone catch the Watson Jeopardy man vs machine gameshow showdown last week?  The whole affair was a brilliantly “engineered” commercial for IBM. The company has already received contracts for its next-gen AI.

Fahmida Y. Rashid at eWEEK writes:  Watson handily defeated its human opponents during the two-game tournament that aired between Feb. 14 and Feb. 16 the real story is not about a computer smart enough to compete, and win, on a challenging game show, but rather, the advent of computers capable of understanding questions and coming up with relevant answers.  This is “just the beginning of a journey,” Katharine Frase, vice president of industry solutions and emerging business at IBM Research, told eWEEK.

IBM didn’t waste any time, announcing on Feb. 17 a collaboration with Columbia University, University of Maryland, and  Nuance  Communications to develop a physicans’ assistant service that can collect a patient’s health information and analyze it for medical diagnosis. Other health care applications include being able to automatically identify and flag anomalies on MRIs and other images that a radiologist may miss. The speech-recognition technology from Nuance will also help Watson hear people, a skill it could have used during the first game.

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How do successful entrepreneurs think?

Keri Salls posted to her blog about cool research project published by Saras Sarasvathy, a Professor at the University of Virginia, captures distinctions between entrepreneurs & corporate executives in how they think.

The entrepreneur mindIn her article in the new issue of  Inc Magazine, Leigh Buchanan says, “Saras Sarasvathy concluded that master entrepreneurs rely on what she calls effectual reasoning. Brilliant improvisers, the entrepreneurs don’t start out with concrete goals. Instead, they constantly assess how to use their personal strengths and whatever resources they have at hand to develop goals on the fly, while creatively reacting to contingencies.”

Entrepreneurs are known for possibility thinking. They “Do the doable, then push it”.

Here’s Buchanan’s nugget about goals:

“That is not to say entrepreneurs don’t have goals, only that those goals are broad and—like luggage—may shift during flight. Rather than meticulously segment customers according to potential return, they itch to get to market as quickly and cheaply as possible, a principle Sarasvathy calls affordable loss.”

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Film Review: Ray Kurzweil, a Transcendent Man

A Transcendent ManThe concepts underlying a new documentary called Transcendent Man are known to sci-fi fans: artificial intelligence, nanobots, machine-against-man global wars, techno-imbibed immortality, and so on. What distinguishes this documentary is that Transcendent Man posits that all these concepts are only a 10 or 20 years away from actually occurring.

Scientific American writes: Against a kaleidescope of cosmic birth and destruction, and newsreel-style stills from his personal history, the celebrated inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil sits in silhouette, contemplating death. He broods over mortality’s toll in waste and pain, and the hopelessness and loss that people must experience in their last moments of life. “It’s such a profoundly sad, lonely feeling that I really can’t bear it,” he admits.

Then, cheerfully, he adds, “So I go back to thinking about how I’m not going to die.”

From the review by John Rennie | Scientific American -

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Wikipedia, The Movie!

Wikipedia the MovieAfter viewing this film, Truth In Numbers, you will never look at Wikipedia the same way. The filmmakers engagingly explore the history and cultural implications of one of the most referenced sites on the Web.

A whole range of opinion is expressed about the impact of Wikipedia on the archiving of learning, from interviews with founder Jimmy Wales to commentators suspicious of the site’s supposed neutrality. Evenhandedly weaving multiple perspectives about the impact of Wikipedia, the film provokes a deeper conversation on how knowledge is formed and what future generations will learn about history and the world.

Documentary includes commentary by: Jimmy Wales, Noam Chomsky , Richard Branson , Lawrence Lessig , Howard Zinn , Bob Schieffer , Jaron Lanier , Stephen Colbert.


Edgar Mitchell’s Extraordinary Journey

During my time in Brazil I had the opportunity to get to know Dr. Edgar Mitchell. We co-paneled the Nucleus Integration of Science (NIC) Conference with consciousness-revolution authors, Marilyn Ferguson, Elisabet Sahtouris and Peter Russell, and we traveled to meet industry leaders and the local press.  I was always impressed by Dr. Mitchell as unlike any “ex-military’ officer I have met, Ph.D or not. LOL!

Edgar Mitchell

Dr. Edgar Mitchell

Forty years ago, today, Navy Captain Dr. Edgar Mitchell returned from a journey into outer space that resulted in becoming the sixth man to walk on the moon. The Apollo 14 mission was NASA’s third manned lunar landing.  It was an audacious time in the history of mankind. For Mitchell, however, the most extraordinary journey was yet to come.

Scientist, test pilot, naval officer, astronaut, entrepreneur, author and lecturer, Dr. Mitchell’s extraordinary career personifies humankind’s eternal thrust to widen its horizons as well as its inner soul.

After retiring from the Navy in 1972, Dr. Mitchell founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences to sponsor research into the nature of consciousness as it relates to cosmology and causality. In 1984, he was a co-founder of the Association of Space Explorers, an international organization of those who have experienced space travel.

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A Cyberspace Declaration of Its Independence

15 years ago today, John Perry Barlow wrote A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace.

It’s even more pertinent today than ever.


A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

by John Perry Barlow

Davos, Switzerland / February 8, 1996

Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

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Successful Strategic Alliances (and Marriages)

A while back in the Harvard Business Review, Rosabeth Moss Kanter posted: ”Unlike full-blown mergers, in which two really do become one because one company disappears, alliances and partnerships resemble modern marriages: separate careers, individual checkbooks, sometimes different names, but the need to work out the operational overlap around household and offspring.”

art of strategic alliancesMoss Kanter lists 15 traits that optimal strategic alliances share with personal marriage –

1. Be open to romance, but court carefully. At the beginning of new relationships, selective perceptions reinforce dreams, not dangers. Potential partners see in the other what they want to see, believing what they want to believe. Hopes, dreams, and visions should be balanced by reality checks.

2. Know yourself. Build your strengths. An organization seeking partners should identify assets that have value to partners and strengthen them. Networks of the weak do not survive. The best alliances join strength to strength.

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Using Twitter to Predict The Market

Many expert traders claim to know how to predict whether the market will rise or fall at any particualr time. But there are few, if any, who can actually do it consistently better than simply tossing a coin.

Twitter Stock Market TimingFor many economists that’s easy to explain. Conventional economic theory (ie, Efficient Market Theory) holds that the movement of prices in a perfect market should follow a random walk and should be impossible to predict with an accuracy greater than 50 per cent.

But the efficient market hypothesis no longer holds water because numerous studies have shown that stock market prices are not entirely random and may very well be tied to mass psychology and related factors.  If so there may be a way to gauge the mass consciousness for predictive signs.

Researchers at Indiana University say they’ve found just such a predictor buried in the seemingly endless chatter that emanates from the Twitterverse. (Study results posted at bottom)

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