GeekSpeak for 2016-08-31

Siri Calls a Cab for Nextdoor’s Airline School

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The WWW 25 years, pull requests to fix spelling, WhatsApp → Facebook your number, Self Driving Taxi in Singapore, Seymour Parpert made Logo, Nextdoor less racist, WhatsApp → Facebook your phone number, and more GeekNews of the week.

Happy Internaut Day: 25 years ago today the World Wide Web opened to the public

On this day back in 1991, a British researcher working in Switzerland suddenly opened a little thing called the World Wide Web to the public.
And now, 25 years later, it’s safe to say that the WWW has changed just about every aspect of our lives — for better and for worse.

Typos on geekspeak.org GitHub Pull Request

Listener Arron wrote:

Hi geeks,
I noticed a couple of typos on your support page (http://geekspeak.org/support). Trivial, but worth fixing (I think).
1) recently KUSP has been strugling to stay open.
2) Text for the digital ocean referral link: “Digital Ocian Referral Link”
3) “We are looking for advertisers that we feel comforatable supporting.”
4) on the right-hand sidebar, “Formorly on KUSP with…”

I asked him to do a pull request on GitHub to fix it, he did – all is right in the universe!

WhatsApp to give users' phone numbers to Facebook for targeted ads

Mobile messaging service WhatsApp will give its parent company Facebook personal information including users’ phone numbers, as part of plans to allow businesses to send messages to users.

World's first self-driving taxis debut in Singapore

Select members of the public began hailing free rides Thursday through their smartphones in taxis operated by nuTonomy, an autonomous vehicle software startup. While multiple companies, including Google and Volvo, have been testing self-driving cars on public roads for several years, nuTonomy says it is the first to offer rides to the public. It beat ride-hailing service Uber, which plans to offer rides in autonomous cars in Pittsburgh, by a few weeks.

Seymour Parpert, inventor of Logo Language Passed

Papert’s career traversed a trio of influential movements: child development, artificial intelligence, and educational technologies. Based on his insights into children’s thinking and learning, Papert recognized that computers could be used not just to deliver information and instruction, but also to empower children to experiment, explore, and express themselves.

Logo (programming language) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Logo is an educational programming language, designed in 1967 by Daniel G. Bobrow, Wally Feurzeig, Seymour Papert and Cynthia Solomon.1 Today the language is remembered mainly for its use of turtle graphics, in which commands for movement and drawing produced line graphics either on screen or with a small robot called a turtle. The language was originally conceived to teach concepts of programming related to Lisp and only later to enable what Papert called “body-syntonic reasoning”, where students could understand (and predict and reason about) the turtle’s motion by imagining what they would do if they were the turtle. There are substantial differences among the many dialects of Logo, and the situation is confused by the regular appearance of turtle-graphics programs that mistakenly call themselves Logo.

Caution Flags For Tech In Classrooms

The studies include research on K-12 schools and higher ed, both blended learning and online, and show results ranging from mixed to negative. A deeper look into these reports gives a sense that, even as computers become ubiquitous in classrooms, there’s a lot we still don’t know — or at least that we’re not doing to make them effective tools for learning.

Facebook to use WhatsApp phone numbers for targeted ads

Mobile messaging service WhatsApp will give its parent company Facebook personal information including users’ phone numbers, as part of plans to allow businesses to send messages to users.

Why the Airline Industry Could Keep Suffering System Failures

Delta canceled about 530 flights on Tuesday in addition to about 1,000 canceled a day earlier after a power outage in Atlanta brought down the company’s computers, grinding the airline’s operation virtually to a halt.

The world’s first network of fully self-driving taxis is up and running

The company, which will be testing its ride-hail service in a Singaporean business district called 1 North, has been testing its self-driving technology in the area since April and was chosen to be the Singapore government’s official partner in the development of this technology earlier this month. NuTonomy plans to deploy a full fleet of vehicles — at least 1,000 — in Singapore by 2018.

How Nextdoor reduced racist posts by 75%

Erasing racism through technology alone is impossible, but Nextdoor found that a few changes to its interface actually did significantly discourage racial profiling by its users. On Thursday, Nextdoor rolled out these changes to all 110,000 neighborhoods on its platform. All users who make posts to their neighborhood’s “Crime and Safety” forum are now asked for additional information if their post mentions race. Nextdoor says that the new forms it’s introducing have “reduced posts containing racial profiling by 75% in our test markets.”

Instagram photos reveal predictive markers of depression

Using Instagram data from 166 individuals, we applied machine learning tools to successfully identify markers of depression. Statistical features were computationally extracted from 43,950 participant Instagram photos, using color analysis, metadata components, and algorithmic face detection. Resulting models outperformed general practitioners’ average diagnostic success rate for depression.


Episode 36 of Season 16 is
dedicated to John Elam.