Alex Howard: “If transparency is the best disinfectant, casting sunlight upon the cost of care in hospitals across the United States will make the health care system itself healthier.
The Department of Health and Human Services has released open data that compares the billing for the 100 most common treatments and procedures performed at more than 3000 hospital in the U.S. The Medicare provider charge data shows significant variation within communies and across the country for the same procedures. One hospital charged $8,000, another $38,000 — for the same condition. This data is enabling newspapers like the Washington Post to show people the actual costs of health care and create interactive features that enable people to search for individual hospitals and see how they compare. The New York Times explored the potential reasons behind wild disparities in billing at length today, from sicker patients to longer hospitalizations to higher labor costs.”
Tiago Peixoto’s Response to Yu and Robinson’s paper on The New Ambiguity of “ Open Government ”: “By looking at the nature of data that may be disclosed by governments, Harlan Yu and David Robinson provide an analytical framework that evinces the ambiguities underlying the term “open government data.” While agreeing with their core analysis, I contend that the authors ignore the enabling conditions under which transparency may lead to accountability, notably the publicity and political agency conditions. I argue that the authors also overlook the role of participatory mechanisms as an essential element in unlocking the potential for open data to produce better government decisions and policies. Finally, I conduct an empirical analysis of the publicity and political agency conditions in countries that have launched open data efforts, highlighting the challenges associated with open data as a path to accountability.”
Paper by Lupton, Deborah, from the Sydney Unversity’s Department of Sociology and Social Policy . Abstract: “As part of the digital health phenomenon, a plethora of interactive digital platforms have been established in recent years to elicit lay people’s experiences of illness and healthcare. The function of these platforms, as expressed on the main pages of their websites, is to provide the tools and forums whereby patients and caregivers, and in some cases medical practitioners, can share their experiences with others, benefit from the support and knowledge of other contributors and contribute to large aggregated data archives as part of developing better medical treatments and services and conducting medical research.
However what may not always be readily apparent to the users of these platforms are the growing commercial uses by many of the platforms’ owners of the archives of the data they contribute. This article examines this phenomenon of what I term ‘the digital patient experience economy’. In so doing I discuss such aspects as prosumption, the phenomena of big data and metric assemblages, the discourse and ethic of sharing and the commercialisation of affective labour via such platforms. I argue that via these online platforms patients’ opinions and experiences may be expressed in more diverse and accessible forums than ever before, but simultaneously they have become exploited in novel ways.”
Jeremy Goldberg: “Leaders in our social systems and institutions are faced with many of the same challenges of the past century, but they are tasked to solve them within new fiscal realities. In the United States these fiscal realities are tied to the impact of the most recent economic recession coupled with declining property and tax revenues. While these issues seem largely to be “problems” that many perceive to belong to our government, leadership across sectors has had to respond and adapt in numerous ways, some of which unfortunately include pay and hiring-freezes, lay-offs and cuts to important public services and programs related to education, parks and safety.
Fortunately, within this “new normal” there are examples of leadership within the public and private sector confronting these challenges head-on through innovative public-private partnerships (p3s). For example, municipal governments are turning to opportunities like IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge, which provides funding and a team of IBM employees to assist the city in solving specific public problems. Other cities such as Boston, Louisville and San Francisco have established initiatives, projects and Offices of Civic Innovation where government, technologists, communities and residents are collaborating to solve problems through open-data initiatives and platforms.
This new generation of innovative P3s demonstrates the inherent power of what Joseph Nye coined a tri-sector athlete — someone who is able and experienced in business, government and the social sector. Today, unlike any other time before, tri-sector athletes are demonstrating that business as usual just won’t cut it. These athletes, myself included, believe it’s the perfect moment for civic innovation, the perfect time civic collaboration, and the perfect moment for an organization like Fuse Corps to lead the national civic entrepreneurship movement… and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Venturebeat: “The realm of public data is like a vast cave. It is technically open to all, but it contains many secrets and obstacles within its walls. Enigma launched out of beta today to shed light on this hidden world. This “big data” startup focuses on data in the public domain, such as those published by governments, NGOs, and the media….
The company describes itself as “Google for public data.” Using a combination of automated web crawlers and directly reaching out to government agencies, Engima’s database contains billions of public records across more than 100,000 datasets. Pulling them all together breaks down the barriers that exist between various local, state, federal, and institutional search portals. On top of this information is an “entity graph” which searches through the data to discover relevant results. Furthermore, once the information is broken out of the silos, users can filter, reshape, and connect various datasets to find correlations….
The technology has a wide range of applications, including professional services, finance, news media, big data, and academia. Engima has formed strategic partnerships in each of these verticals with Deloitte, Gerson Lehrman Group, The New York Times, S&P Capital IQ, and Harvard Business School, respectively.”
Tom Cochran (CTO at Atlantic Media) in All Things D: “The currency of the 21st century digital economy is your personal information. It has no transaction costs and does not decrease in value when the supply increases. Contrary to the laws of economics, it may even increase in value with greater supply. The more information you provide to companies, the more value they can extract from it….
Conversely, we tend to ignore this process because the most magnificent, technologically advanced and socially connected digital city is being built from it.
You are living in this growing digital city, and I’m guessing that you really like it here. Unfortunately, you can’t live in this city for free. Your rent is due in the form of your personal information, and you have to accept a certain loss of your privacy….
As a society, we need to define the rules under which our personal information can be mined. Our collective unease is largely the result of not having clear parameters to create an equilibrium between privacy and personalization.
These parameters will help shift our focus from the negatives to the positives, because in return for your personal information, you realize a net benefit with tremendous value.”
Abstract of new paper by Jeffrey V. Nickerson on Human-Based Evolutionary Computing (in Handbook of Human Computation, P. Michelucci, eds., Springer, Forthcoming): “Evolution explains the way the natural world changes over time. It can also explain changes in the artificial world, such as the way ideas replicate, alter, and merge. This analogy has led to a family of related computer procedures called evolutionary algorithms. These algorithms are being used to produce product designs, art, and solutions to mathematical problems. While for the most part these algorithms are run on computers, they also can be performed by people. Such human-based evolutionary algorithms are useful when many different ideas, designs, or solutions need to be generated, and human cognition is called for”
Epipheo.TV: “Most of us are on the Internet on a daily basis and whether we like it or not, the Internet is affecting us. It changes how we think, how we work, and it even changes our brains. We interviewed Nicholas Carr, the author of, “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains,” about how the Internet is influencing us, our creativity, our thought processes, our ideas, and how we think.”
Jeff Atwood at “Coding Horror“: “Forum software? Maybe. Let’s see, it’s 2013, has forum software advanced at all in the last ten years? I’m thinking no.
Forums are the dark matter of the web, the B-movies of the Internet. But they matter. To this day I regularly get excellent search results on forum pages for stuff I’m interested in. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t end up on some forum, somewhere, looking for some obscure bit of information. And more often than not, I find it there….
At Stack Exchange, one of the tricky things we learned about Q&A is that if your goal is to have an excellent signal to noise ratio, you must suppress discussion. Stack Exchange only supports the absolute minimum amount of discussion necessary to produce great questions and great answers. That’s why answers get constantly re-ordered by votes, that’s why comments have limited formatting and length and only a few display, and so forth….
Today we announce the launch of Discourse, a next-generation, 100% open source discussion platform built for the next decade of the Internet.
The goal of the company we formed, Civilized Discourse Construction Kit, Inc., is exactly that – to raise the standard of civilized discourse on the Internet through seeding it with better discussion software:
100% open source and free to the world, now and forever.
Feels great to use. It’s fun.
Designed for hi-resolution tablets and advanced web browsers.
Built in moderation and governance systems that let discussion communities protect themselves from trolls, spammers, and bad actors – even without official moderators.”
Global Pulse Blog: “The winners of the Data for Development challenge – an international research challenge using a massive anonymized dataset provided by telecommunications company Orange – were announced at the NetMob 2013 Conference in Boston last week….
In this post we’ll look at the winners and how their research could be put to use.
Best Visualization prize winner: “Exploration and Analysis of Massive Mobile Phone Data: A Layered Visual Analytics Approach” –
Best Development prize winner: “AllAboard: a System for Exploring Urban Mobility and Optimizing Public Transport Using Cellphone Data”
Best Scientific prize winner: “Analyzing Social Divisions Using Cell Phone Data”
First prize winner: “Exploiting Cellular Data for Disease Containment and Information Campaigns Strategies in Country-Wide Epidemics””