Archive | July 14, 2013

Data Analytics Firm Developing Sarcasm Detection App

shutterstock_656644-e1373035802202Via Slashdot

Oh, look everyone, a Sarcasm Detector. What a useful invention. This will go great for my iPhone!

French tech firm Spotter has apparently devised an analytics platform capable of identifying sarcastic comments, according to the BBC.

Spotter’s platform scans social media and other sources to create reputation reports for clients such as the EU Commission. As with most analytics packages that determine popular sentiment, the software parses semantics, heuristics and linguistics. However, automated data-analytics systems often have a difficult time with some of the more nuanced elements of human speech, such as sarcasm and irony—an issue that Spotter has apparently overcome to some degree, although company executives admit that their solution isn’t perfect.

“One of our clients is Air France. If someone has a delayed flight, they will tweet, ‘Thanks Air France for getting us into London two hours late’—obviously they are not actually thanking them,” Spotter executive Richard May told the BBC.

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Thousands Of 6,000-Year-Old Petroglyphs Discovered On Mountain In Mexico

petroglyphsAncient amazingness reported by the Daily Mail:

Symbols of fish and the sun, as well as intricate pattens of concentric circles have been found etched into stones on a remote mountain in Mexico.

Archeologists have discovered thousands of stunning stone-age carvings etched into rocks, which they believe that they were made by hunter-gatherers more than 6,000 years ago.

The etchings are known as petroglyphs and are generally patterns made up of concentric circles and wavy lines, although there are also more representative images of deer tracks. Scientists think the carvings could have been made as part of hunting initiation rites or even represent the stars.

So far, around 8,000 of the historic drawings have been found at the site, which measures two miles in radius and is the most important with so many of these ‘petrograbados’ in the Mexican state of Coahuila.

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Don’t Call Them Superheroes: An Interview With Zero and Dark Guardian of the New York Initiative

nyi 1When I was seven, I told my teacher that when I grew up, I wanted to be a comedian like Johnny Carson. What I didn’t tell her was that I also planned on putting on a mask and fighting crime. Of course, like everyone else, my childhood dreams were shoved through the meat grinder of reality, and I hung up my cape along with my fantasy.

I’d forgotten all about it when, twenty years on, I saw a documentary on HBO entitled Superheroes. It followed grown-ass adults, calling themselves “Real-Life Superheroes” (or RLSH), who dress up in spandex and go out “on patrol.” They even have forums hidden in the backwoods of the internet, where they can trade training tips, war stories, and sweet pics of their sweet costumes.

But one of the groups featured in Superheroes wasn’t like the others. They called themselves the New York Initiative.… Read the rest

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Caught on Film: The Dark World of Truck Stop Sex Workers

The_Lot_Lizard_by_Kelii

Lot Lizard is a new documentary by Filmmaker Alexander Perlman about intricate life of truck stop prostitutes, and the odd lonely life of truckers.

via Mother Jones

“The truth is, making the movie was a really traumatic experience. I suspect I may have developed some mild PTSD.” This is how filmmaker Alexander Perlman describes shooting Lot Lizard, his hypnotic new documentary about truck stop prostitution. While his claim might sound hyperbolic—or like a canny bit of marketing—it rings true: He logged thousands of miles and hundreds of hours to make the film, braving roach motels, crack highs, and homicidal pimps. Indeed, what Perlman captures in Lot Lizard is visceral and harrowing.

The film’s three protagonists—Betty, Monica, and Jennifer—work on the fringes of the trucking industry. America’s Independent Truckers’ Association estimates there are nearly 5,000 truck stops across the country, and although many offer nondescript places to sleep, eat, or shower, many others host a bustling shadow economy of sex and drugs.

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Majority Of World Says Corruption Is Increasing In Their Countries

corruptionThe advent of new technology has ushered an era of unprecedented transparency and openness – oh, whoops. CBS News reports:

According to a survey released Tuesday, a majority of people across the globe feel that corruption has worsened in their countries. And while 53 percent of respondents felt corruption had increased in the last two years, a majority also believed that their governments couldn’t fix the problem.

A new report from the international anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International finds that mistrust in governing institutions extends beyond those countries, and beyond the protests in the streets. According to the survey, more than one in four people reported paying a bribe in the past year.

In the U.S., 64 percent said the government is run by a few big interests, compared with 5 percent who felt the same in Norway, and 83 percent in Greece.

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