Friday, 4 February 2011

microsoft stole my carbonara! (and other stories)

Sorry - I have a lot of tabs I want to close at the moment:

1. Nate Silver, brilliant politics statto at NYT, did a piece on Microsoft Search Engine Bing and how it uses Google's results. It's fine to have lots of inputs, but if it basically recycles Google's, then is it not just trying to copy a top chef's carbonara but actually getting hold of some of that chef's carbonara and saying it's its own? And if it is the same, then how big a problem is this? Well, read the comments section. If you ever want to see a massive fight between people without a dog in the fight who act as if they've got a dog in the fight and assume everyone else has a dog in the fight, mention either Microsoft, or Google, or Apple. If you mention two at once, people go batshit.

2. Lazy journalists repeat, endlessly, urban myths about prostitutes traveling to major sporting events. The Super Bowl gets this story every year; the World Cup and Olympics every four years. Mike Tanier, who is my ultimate nemesis (and therefore the nemesis of all my other nemeses) is very funny about it, and quotes a report which says:
The Dallas Women's Institute calculated their underage prostitute estimate by looking at advertisements by back-page escort services and guessing the age of the ladies in the photos. It was well-intentioned but overwhelmingly distorted activism masquerading as data analysis.
He also points out the bad stats behind other Super Bowl hypes, like the idea that it causes heart-attacks and domestic violence.

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