The trouble with Twitter

Annalee Newitz: The trouble with Twitter | That Other Paper

I wasn’t sure how to explain Twitter’s bizarre popularity until I read an article published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that used data from hundreds of cities to create a mathematical model suggesting that the “pace of life” in urban areas speeds up exponentially relative to population size.

Another digital divide

Annalee Newitz: Another digital divide | That Other Paper

Just for the sake of argument, however, let’s assume that EarthLink does manage to deliver Wi-Fi to low-income communities and that members of those communities can afford to get Wi-Fi-ready computers. Given that there are so few privacy protections in the EarthLink contract, I worry that we may close one digital divide only to open another.

Smoking Yahoo!’s Pipes

Annalee Newitz: Smoking Yahoo!'s Pipes | That Other Paper

I’ve been playing around with Yahoo!’s latest technological experiment on the Web. It’s called Pipes, and it’s a system designed to help Web-savvy people write simple programs without ever having to read a book about Java.

Vote Mac

Annalee Newitz: Vote Mac | That Other Paper

“I’m weirded out by the idea that it’s meaningful to compare the Democratic primary to the release of a new technological gizmo. Are we really supposed to feel stirred by the notion that our political leaders are computers designed by marketers?”

Exploiting the code

Annalee Newitz: Exploiting the code | That Other Paper

“Among hackers, exploitation is a social good. Exploiting a piece of software means discovering a little chink in its armor, a vulnerability that could allow a crook to slip through and do unwanted things to innocent people’s computers.”

Web trenz!

Annalee Newitz: Web trenz! | That Other Paper

“The Interwebbers are going crazy for the new blogomultisphere trend. Liberal bloggers need an antisphere where their parallel selves are writing about why Bush’s new plan to beef up troops in Iraq is a great idea. Or a bizarro sphere where their bizarro selves write about the expressionist era in cute art.”

Data crash 2027

Annalee Newitz: Data crash 2027 | That Other Paper

“It’s possible such an event could be as destructive as the 1929 stock market crash. Money would be lost, and whole careers based on creating and analyzing online data would be trashed in an instant.”

Men are not men

Annalee Newitz: Men are not men | That Other Paper

Sometimes a story is so egregiously reported — and based on such flimsy research — that it takes my breath away. Such was the case with a recent Associated Press story about how a Stanford graduate student had proven that men in online virtual worlds behave just like men in real life.