An interesting piece in The Atlantic about "microtags" that Netflix uses to describe movies: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/01/how-netflix-reverse-engineered-hollywood/282679/
"Predicting something is 3.2 stars is kind of fun if you have an engineering sensibility, but it would be more useful to talk about dysfunctional families and viral plagues. We wanted to put in more language," Yellin said. "We wanted to highlight our personalization because we pride ourselves on putting the right title in front of the right person at the right time."
Some of the conference/journal spam I receive is written in a curiously old-fashioned language. I just got an email from a "Ms. Wendy" from the editorial board at World Academic Publishing, inviting me to resubmit an already published paper to one of their titles. That brings to memory a recent opportunity I learned about from a Mrs. Johnson, secretary to Dr. Desmond Carson, whose client died in South Africa without naming any next of kin... but I digress. I'm just curious: why do those people use outdated gender stereotypes and writing style? Is that because of who they want to target? Or because their language reflects their social environment? Or maybe they used outdated textbooks to learn English?
I am reading the diaries of Anatoly Chernyaev -- a foreign affairs aide to Gorbachev and, before, a foreign affairs functionary under Brezhnev. His notes span 1972 through 1991. It is an absolutely fascinating read. A very personal account of how history was made, the characters involved, and what they were thinking.
A faculty opening in Computational Social Science at U of Vermont. If I weren't gainfully employed at the #1 company to work for, I'd be sending in my application this very moment. More info at http://www.uvm.edu/~cmplxsys
Google University Relations team is happy to announce a new awards program: Google App Engine Education Awards (US only for now). Awards will be given to individual educators. If selected, each professor receives $1,000 in App Engine credits which can be distributed to up to 10 applications. These credits are donated on top of the already free App Engine quotas available to all users. Read more at http://research.google.com/university/relations/appengine/education_awards.html