Perhaps not surprisingly, this edition is a bit light on content, I wonder why that might be...

How-to

  • 2017. Quantified. In. R..

  • I have lately been doing some experiments with Wikidata. I did some writing for my Spanish blog, and I've also uploaded this github repo an R Markdown file with some test I've made. While this data access method looks promising, it is still very incomplete to be used except for anything but toy models.

Privacy

  • Art Eavesdrops on Life and Pagers.

    Before cell phones, pagers were the way to communicate on the go. At first, they were almost a status symbol. Eventually, they became the mark of someone who couldn’t or wouldn’t carry a cell phone. However, apparently, there are still some users that clutch their pagers with a death grip, including medical professionals. In an art project called HolyPager, Brannon Dorsey intercepted all the pager messages in a city and printed them on a few old-style roll printers.

  • MoviePass Adds a Million Subscribers, Even if Theaters Aren’t Sold on It. Not quite related to privacy issues, until a few paragraphs in...

    The blistering growth has prompted new criticism from theaters and studio owners — namely that MoviePass will never be able to make money by charging $9.95 a month when a single ticket can cost almost twice that amount. They say that will cause MoviePass to either raise prices or go out of business, disappointing audiences and ultimately hurting the fragile multiplex business.

    Mr. Lowe, who previously sparred with studios as president of Redbox, the kiosk company that rents DVDs for $1 a day, believes that ticketing can at least be a break-even business for MoviePass. The real treasure in this venture, he contends, is the trove of data about consumer tastes and habits that MoviePass can collect. It hopes to sell that data to studio marketers.

    Mr. Farnsworth said, “When you apply computer science and machine learning to an industry that we believe has lacked significant innovation, useful patterns start to emerge.” If MoviePass gets big enough, it could try to demand that chain theaters sell tickets at a discount or share a slice of their concession revenue.

  • Report: Not Ready for Takeoff. Face Scans at Airport Departure Gates.

    At Boston’s Logan International Airport, travelers at one international boarding gate will be surprised that they are being told to stop before what looks like a sophisticated camera. But it’s more than just a camera—the device compares each traveler’s face to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) biometric database to verify her identity and flags as many as 1 in 25 travelers for further scrutiny. These face scans have been deployed at eight other airports, too. In Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, New York City, Houston, and Washington, D.C., travelers departing on certain international flights have their faces scanned by DHS. If DHS’ current plans are executed, every traveler flying overseas, American and foreign national alike, will soon be subject to a face recognition scan as part of this “biometric exit” program.

  • China’s New Lenders Collect Invasive Data and Offer Billions. Beijing Is Worried.

    These lenders originally emerged as a solution to that problem: how to lend to people with no credit history. By most estimates, that could total about one billion people.

    China turned to the fast-moving technology sector. Today, thousands of Chinese apps offer cash or financing, often within seconds, based on a wide array of sometimes deeply personal information. China’s biggest internet companies and financial names are funding the effort.


Data Links is a periodic blog post published on Sundays (specific time may vary) which contains interesting links about data science, machine learning and related topics. You can subscribe to it using the general blog RSS feed or this one, which only contains these articles, if you are not interested in other things I might publish.

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