Saturday, September 08, 2007


My pick of the week's top 5 items of interest:
  1. Facebook has recently decided to allow search engines like Google to crawl their member pages to make them accessible to a much larger audience. For those that don't want their profile exposed to the world, Facebook provides an opt-out. This is a good move by Facebook that will likely draw in more members, and it will certainly be useful to social networking researchers.

  2. While on the subject of Facebook, have you seen the Friend Wheel? It creates a graph of your friends and connects your friends who are friends with each other. A really dense graph means your friends are very cliquish. A sparse graph would mean you have friends from a very broad range of people. Looks like I'm somewhere in the middle:

  3. The first Semantic Robot Vision Challenge was held in late July. The competition required robots to locate objects in a room by first utilizing the Internet to search for pictures of the objects. For example, if the robot had to find a pencil, it would first search Google Images for pencil and then, based on the results, attempt to locate something similar in the room. I've tried teaching Ethan what "sleep" is using a similar method, but he hasn't yet been able to locate it anywhere in his room.

  4. An interesting paper popped up in arXiv this week: Open Access does not increase citations for research articles from The Astrophysical Journal. The authors conclude:
    There are a number of excellent arguments in favor of changing the scientific publication system to an open access model. The open access citation advantage is not one of them.
    Why doesn't making a paper OA increase its citations? The authors admit in the introduction: a well funded field like astrophysics essentially everyone who is in a position to write research articles has full access to the literature.
    So, if everyone has paid access to everyone else's papers, there is no OA advantage. I don't think anyone would have thought otherwise. The problem is, most disciplines are not well-funded enough to provide everyone paid access to the literature, and hence the OA movement. So the conclusions reached by the authors seem trivial to me. Am I missing something?

  5. Is Apple the next Microsoft (monopolist)? Dan Frakes doesn't think so.