Social Media and Politics: Truthiness and Astroturfing

By Jeremy Wagstaff (this is a column I wrote back in November. I’m repeating it here because of connections to astroturing in the HBGary/Anonymous case.) Just how social is social media? By which I mean: Can we trust it as a measure of what people think, what they may buy, how they may vote? Or […]

Social Media and Politics: Truthiness and Astroturfing

(This is a longer version of my syndicated newspaper column) By Jeremy Wagstaff Just how social is social media? By which I mean: Can we trust it as a measure of what people think, what they may buy, how they may vote? Or is it as easy a place to manipulate as the real world? […]

The Predictable Human (and a Privacy Issue)

A study of mobile phone data shows that we are extraordinarily consistent about our movements. Mobile phone data, unsurprisingly, provides rich pickings for researchers since we carry one around with us all the time, and, unlike dollar bills, it’s more likely to stick with one person. But some have questioned the ethics of such a […]

Satellites to the Rescue

Here’s a piece I wrote for the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation on how satellites and space technology are helping, and might help, in the case of big medical emergencies, from earthquakes to Ebola. It’s a slightly different tack for me and perhaps not the usual fare for loose wire blog, but I thought […]

Soccer 2.0

  Photo: The Offside In Soccer 1.0 the manager is king. But an Israeli football team is experimenting with a sort of crowd-sourcing, wisdom-of-the-Kop type approach, where fans monitor the game online and suggest starting line-up, tactics and substitutions. Reuters reports from Tel Aviv that “diehard football fan Moshe Hogeg was so upset when star […]

Google Isn’t Evil, It’s Just Misunderstanding Me

Is Google evil? This video makes a convincing case. But I say: Not as much as it used to be, if my extensive research is anything to go by. In 2004 a friend of mine stopped using Google Mail (Gmail) when she emailed a friend about getting over her ex and how her kid still […]

Guerrilla Marketing Via Lederhosen

I’m getting a bit cheesed off with all the advertising/sponsorship shenanigans at the World Cup, and I’m not even there. The idea that you can only buy tickets using the sponsor’s credit card, that food like McDonalds and drink like Coke can somehow be an official partner of a sport, all seem to indicate a […]

Another Ratchet Up in the Phishing War

I must confess I’m not sure how it works, but it seems like an interesting, but potentially flawed, approach in the battle against phishing. German bank PostBank, IDG reports, has launched a new system to combat phishing, extending the existing German practice of using transaction numbers, or TANs: Until now, Postbank customers transferring money from […]

Wikipedians, And Why They Do It

For Wikipedians, and folk wanting to understand why they do what they do, here’s a survey that aims to explore  the motivation of contributors to Wikipedia: Joachim Schroer writes “We are a research team at the University of Wuerzburg (Germany) interested in the reasons and motives why participants are involved in Wikipedia as authors, administrators, […]

Skype Cuts Some Rates

Skype has lowered rates of its SkypeOut service to some destinations as part of its first anniversary celebrations. Here are the details: Six major new countries have been added to the SkypeOut Global Rate, a fixed, low-cost rate of 1.7 Euro cents per minute to popular calling destinations. China, Greece, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Poland and […]