Here, I present a collection of data-related things I find weird, interesting, or ironic, in no particular order:
The CIA is investing in cloud-based collaboration with a UK-based company. CIA-backed In-Q-Tel recently made a strategic investment in Huddle, a provider of cloud collaboration software. While it's entirely consistent with the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy, Steve Weissman, minister of process and information betterment at Holly Group, echoed my sentiments when he questioned the irony of "a federal agency steeped in security and secrecy for the protection of its home country" investing in "a foreign company whose flagship product is steeped in information sharing!"
This is all the more worrisome because the cloud is full of spies. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the computer security company RSA have shown it's possible for software hosted by a cloud-computing provider to steal secrets from software hosted on the same cloud. So much for the assumption that one customer’s data is kept completely separate from data belonging to any other customer.
Big-data isn't the game changer: The people who understand it are the ones changing the game. Zach Gemignani made an interesting point in a Juice Analytics blog when he wrote: "focusing on 'Big' distracts from other fundamental barriers -- particularly the very human skills required for thoughtful analysis and effective communication of insights."
Being paranoid no longer means you're crazy. Just when you thought it was safe to go back to brick-and-mortar stores, we learn "that department store mannequin really is watching you." The mannequin, with a camera mounted behind one of its eyes “feeds data into facial-recognition software like that used by police. It logs the age, gender, and race of passers-by.”
It's impossible to effectively measure influence on the web. Michael Wu, principal scientist of analytics at Lithium, thinks anyone who tries to measure digital influence has a big problem on his hands. "One of the reasons that brands don’t understand digital influence is because they don’t seem to realize that no one actually has any measured 'data' on influence (i.e. explicit data that says precisely who actually influenced who, when, where, how, etc.)," he wrote.
Implants can make more than breasts feel fuller. You may have heard the stories about the Proteus ingestible sensor and biodegradable electronic implants. Now, there's the abiliti system: an implantable technology that might be able to make you thinner. The device is implanted laparoscopically. Once in place, the system's onboard food and activity sensors automatically track details of consumption and activity, and can send that information wirelessly to a computer for the patient and physician to view.
How about you? Read any interesting data stories lately?