Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Behavio Team is Now Part of Google!

(Cross posting from

The Behavio Team is Now Part of Google!
We are very excited to announce that the Behavio team is now a part of Google! At Behavio, we have always been passionate about helping people better understand the world around them. We believe that our digital experiences should be better connected with the way we experience the world, and we couldn't be happier to be able to continue building out our vision within Google.

We would like to thank all of you who have followed and supported us and our work over the past few years -- from academia, through our open source project, and into our work at Behavio. In addition, we would like to express our appreciation to the Knight Foundation as well as the organizers and judges of the SXSW Accelerator, who believed in our vision and in us, and gave us the push that started the wild and amazing ride of the past year. Finally, thanks to all of you who have given us your advice, your support and, most valuably, your time.

In the comings days we will be shutting down our closed alpha program. Going forward, we will continue to maintain the Funf open source project, and look forward to working on exciting things within Google.

-The Behavio Team

p.s. For all press inquiries, please email

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)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Achievement Unlocked

Sunday, December 11, 2011




the act or habit of procrasthesizing, or putting off or delaying the writing of a graduate thesis, academic paper, or other large document, in particular one having an imminent and impending deadline. In most cases procrasthesation involves the use of a web browser to read social networking update feeds, design and technology blogs, xkcdslashdot.orgrandom youtube videosoverheardin[your hometown], writing a blog post such as this one, or all of the above.

"His constant procrasthesation made him miss his thesis deadlines, drop out of school, and end up as a travelling-used-tire-salesman, but boy did he send out the coolest links!"

Sunday, November 13, 2011

#SciFund Challenge: Crowdsourcing Funding for Science

Just found out about the #SciFund Challenge, in collaboration with Rockethub, to fund scientific research via crowdsourcing. I think it's currently only set up for the month of November.

It would be interesting to see how initiatives like this develop, whether an approach like this could be sustainable, and what would be the mechanisms to ensure the money is actually used for the right purpose...


Marketing lesson: If you want to get your stuff funded fast then its good to have words like "zombie" in your title, like this one: "Support Zombie Research!"

Image source: 

Further reading:
Scientific American Article
SciFund blog

/via slashdot