Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Visualized: Tracking Syria's defections

If you've been following the events in Syria, here is an interesting Al Jazeera visualization of high-ranking defectors in the country that clusters by affiliation and gives some bio information.

By looking at the military group it would seem as if a significant portion of military leadership has defected, but I wonder if the visualization might be a bit misleading: Does it really include all military leadership, or all people above a certain rank?  
For example, it includes defectors who received a lot of press, like Muhammed Ahmed Faris who was the first Syrian in space, but his bio doesn't mention that he currently had any significant active role in the army. If the list doesn't include all people from his rank and up, the visualization might be skewed in favor of the defectors...  Contrast this with the parliament or cabinet groups, which are clearly defined.

Other than that, I wish the visualization included more clustering dimensions as social links between the people. Like ethnic group, religion, hometown (overlaid with towns where clashes happened), more family relationships, friendships, etc. That data would allow us to see if there are additional trends that are happening. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

SXSW: It begins

(Cross posted from G+)

Arrived at Austin today, +SXSW starts in a few hours. 

Its going to be a busy week...

My talk about "Investigating Social Mechanisms with Mobile Phones" 
Saturday, March 10, 12:30PM - 1:30PM, at the Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon J

Presenting Funf at the SXSW Accelerator:
Monday, March 12, 12:30PM - 1:30PMHilton Austin DowntownSalon B

Demoing Funf at the Knight-Mozilla-MediaLab event:

And generally helping out with the Media Lab's presence (or "occupation" if you ask +Joichi Ito)

I'd better go get some sleep.

Israeli President Shimon Peres visits Google

I'm very honored to have had the chance to meet Israeli President Shimon Peres during his visit to Google yesterday, hosted by Sergey Brin. 

More details about the visit and the demos that were shown to him:

About ten years ago I heard President Peres speak about the importance of science, technology, and education. He then gave the audience a primer on nano-technology and how it can change the world. I was amazed at his knowledge and passion, back then when he was almost 80 years old. 

Today, at 88, he is still going strong. He asked very detailed questions about the technologies that we demoed to him. President Peres also talked about the potential of brain research and biological computation, and the importance of investing in these fields (he touched on this in his recent public speeches as well). It was inspirational and uplifting!

Photo credit: Christophe Wu (Google)
Photo credit: Christophe Wu (Google)