The two alternatives to the monasterisation of the World wide web

Saint Michael’s Abbey, in the Susa Valley, Piedmont. Source: Wikipedia.

In Medieval Europe, information was physically concentrated in very few secluded libraries and archives. Powerful institutions managed them and regulated who could access what. The library of the fictional abbey that is described in Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose is located in a fortified tower and only the librarian knows how to navigate its mysteries. Monasteries played an essential role in preserving written information and creating new intelligence from that knowledge. But being written information a scarce resource, with the keys to libraries came also authority and power. Similarly, Internet companies are amassing information within their fortified walls. In so doing, they provide services that we now see as essential but they also contravene the two core principles of the Internet: openness and decentralisation.

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Monday, 7 May 2018

WikiPrices

Erik Hersman, has recently created a site called Africa Signals. And it is not just a site: it is a wiki site. The site aims to collect and share mobile phone and Internet rates across Africa. (I have found about this site here)

Now. In my experience, one of the many reasons that makes poor a poor farmer is coping with a non-functioning market (I said it two posts ago). So I can just imagine how helpful would be to have a tool to make market work better.

Creating a wiki page to collect and share the price of one particular agricultural product in one particular time in one particular place would be great. But succeeding in integrating such a site with the mobile phone network would be even better.  How to do this? The government of Rwanda is moving in the very same direction without creating a wiki site. (It is difficult to imagine a government managing wikis). But bureaucracy is not something we usually associate with the words efficiency and effectiveness, especially in poor countries. And in any case we do not really need a government to make a site like this work.

Just think about a wiki site collecting and sharing data through sms. Actually Twitter, without the wiki interface, is doing it right now. So, think about a farmer receiving a message with updated price information the night before market day and, on this information, taking his/her decisions. And think about a farmer sending via sms the price information to the wiki site after leaving the market.

We can imagine the farmer to pay for the sms he or she receives and, on the contrary, we can imagine sending sms back to the site to be completely free.  And we can imagine some volunteers to be the administrators of the site (just like Wikipedia).

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

tweets


Twitter: frbailo

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RSS r-bloggers.com

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    The prominent conference R/Finance, held annually in Chicago, had a great program yesterday and today. As I wrote following last year’s conference, the organizers were criticized for including no women in its speaker lineup. The problem was that no women had submitted papers for consideration; no input, thus no output. I’m a member of the […]
  • A new package for panel data analysis in R
    It has been a long time coming, but my R package panelr is now on CRAN. Since I started work on it well over a year ago, it has become essential to my own workflow and I hope it can be useful for others. panel_data object class One key contribution, that I hope can help […]
  • The never-ending editor war (?)
    The creation of this blog post was prompted by this tweet, asking an age-old question: @spacemacs— Bruno Rodrigues (@brodriguesco) May 16, 2019 This is actually a very important question, that I have been asking myself for a long time. An IDE, and plain text editors, are a very important tools to anyone writing code. Most […]
  • Earthquake Analysis (4/4): Cluster Analysis
    Are you interested in guest posting? Publish at DataScience+ directly from your editor (i.e., RStudio). Category Basic Statistics Tags Data Visualisation Maps R Programming This is the fourth part of our post series about the exploratory analysis of a publicly available dataset reporting earthquakes and similar events within a specific 30 days time span. In […]
  • Mapping Tornado Alley with R
    I caught a re-tweet of this tweet by @harry_stevens: THREAD: I wrote a post on @observablehq about a map I made today. It shows a typical day in the life of a graphics journalist: You never know what problems you'll have to solve on deadline! https://t.co/yRhW1wbLxN #d3js #dataviz 1/7 pic.twitter.com/7N6mmK0nz3 — Harry Stevens (@Harry_Stevens) May... […]

RSS Simply Statistics

  • Generative and Analytical Models for Data Analysis
    Describing how a data analysis is created is a topic of keen interest to me and there are a few different ways to think about it. Two different ways of thinking about data analysis are what I call the “generative” approach and the “analytical” approach. Another, more informal, way that I like to think about […]
  • Tukey, Design Thinking, and Better Questions
    Roughly once a year, I read John Tukey’s paper “The Future of Data Analysis”, originally published in 1962 in the Annals of Mathematical Statistics. I’ve been doing this for the past 17 years, each time hoping to really understand what it was he was talking about. Thankfully, each time I read it I seem to […]
  • Interview with Abhi Datta
    Editor’s note: This is the next in our series of interviews with early career statisticians and data scientists. Today we are talking to Abhi Datta about his work in large scale spatial analysis and his interest in soccer! Follow him on Twitter at @datta_science. If you have recommendations of an (early career) person in academics […]

RSS Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science

  • Vigorous data-handling tied to publication in top journals among public heath researchers
    Gur Huberman points us to this news article by Nicholas Bakalar, “Vigorous Exercise Tied to Macular Degeneration in Men,” which begins: A new study suggests that vigorous physical activity may increase the risk for vision loss, a finding that has surprised and puzzled researchers. Using questionnaires, Korean researchers evaluated physical activity among 211,960 men and […]
  • Hey, people are doing the multiverse!
    Elio Campitelli writes: I’ve just saw this image in a paper discussing the weight of evidence for a “hiatus” in the global warming signal and immediately thought of the garden of forking paths. From the paper: Tree representation of choices to represent and test pause-periods. The ‘pause’ is defined as either no-trend or a slow-trend. […]
  • Data quality is a thing.
    I just happened to come across this story, where a journalist took some garbled data and spun a false tale which then got spread without question. It’s a problem. First, it’s a problem that people will repeat unjustified claims, also a problem that when data are attached, you can get complete credulity, even for claims […]