Social Foraging
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Social Foraging
Dynamics of Social Interaction
Curated by Ashish Umre
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More News Is Being Written By Robots Than You Think

More News Is Being Written By Robots Than You Think | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

It’s easy to praise robots and automation when it isn’t your ass on the line. I’ve done it lots. But I may have to eat my own Cheerios soon enough.

 

Software is writing news stories with increasing frequency. In a recent example, an LA Times writer-bot wrote and posted a snippet about an earthquake three minutes after the event. The LA Times claims they were first to publish anything on the quake, and outside the USGS, they probably were.

 

The LA Times example isn’t special because it’s the first algorithm to write a story on a major news site. With the help of Chicago startup and robot writing firm, Narrative Science, algorithms have basically been passing the Turing test online for the last few years.

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Meet the Nymi Authentication Wristband

Meet the Nymi Authentication Wristband | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The onslaught of wearable devices is hit or miss right now. Most of the ones I’ve seen are of dubious value, but Bionym’s upcoming Nymi wristband has enormous potential to improve our lives.

 

The Nymi works by using your unique electrocardiogram (ECG) signals to act as a biometric authentication layer for other devices, applications and services. Put another way, Nymi uses your heartbeat like a password to confirm that you are, in fact, you. According to Bionym CEO Karl Martin, ECG is significantly more reliable than face recognition and only slightly less secure than a fingerprint.

 

When it arrives later this year, Nymi will offer three-factor authentication: the wristband itself, your unique cardiac rhythm and a mobile device, like a smartphone or tablet. The Nymi hardware acts as a secure token that ties into the biometric, and your wristband will need to check-in with your smartphone or tablet at the beginning of the day.

 

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Important and complex systems may be more controllable than they appear : complexsystems

Important and complex systems may be more controllable than they appear : complexsystems | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
reddit: the front page of the internet (Important and complex systems may be more controllable than they appear submitted by snotskie_[link] [comment] http://t.co/HkSLaaJg2V)...

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Spatial dimensions and preference Survey

Spatial dimensions and preference Survey | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

What makes a room feel more comfortable? What makes a room feel more interesting?
Would you like to participate in an online-questionnaire and rate your preference for different virtual interiors on the basis of feelings of enclosure, exposure, comfort and complexity?
The School of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Newcastle, Australia, is looking for volunteers to participate in a research project that might give you a better understanding of your own preferences for spatial dimensions of interiors.
The duration of the online-questionnaire will take approximately 15 minutes and the survey can be taken at any convenient time during the following eight weeks.
If you are over the age of 18 and you would like to participate please read the Information Statement online via the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/M8XYHQ2

 

Professor Michael Ostwald
School of Architecture and Built Environment University of Newcastle, Australia


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CommodityCall's curator insight, April 17, 2014 7:51 AM

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Faster than any human can: Lego Cubestormer 3 robot solves Rubik's Cube in 3.253 seconds

Faster than any human can: Lego Cubestormer 3 robot solves Rubik's Cube in 3.253 seconds | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The ARM-Powered CUBESTORMER 3 robot has smashed the Guinness World Record for solving a Rubik's cube, recording a time of 3.253 seconds at the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham, UK.

The robot employs an ARM-powered Samsung® Galaxy S4 smartphone powered by a Samsung Exynos 5 Octa application processor to analyze the cube and instruct four robotic hands to do the manipulations. ARM9™ processors also power the eight LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 bricks which perform the motor sequencing and control.

CUBESTORMER 3 was designed, built and programmed by Mike Dobson and David Gilday, creators respectively of CubeStormerhttp://youtu.be/eaRcWB3jwMo and Android Speedcuberhttp://youtu.be/ylFb4pqAUd8 and more recently, co-creators of CubeStormer II http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d0Lfk...

The custom app developed for the smartphone uses the phone's camera to capture images of each face of the Rubik's Cube which it processes to determine the scrambled colors.The solution is found using an advanced two-phase algorithm that was originally developed for Speedcuber and then enhanced to make effective use of the dual-core ARM Cortex®-A9 based processor in a Samsung Galaxy SII smartphone powered by an Exynos 5 Dual application processor used in CubeStormer II. Further optimizations were made to take advantage of the eight-core big.LITTLE™ processor configuration in the Exynos 5 Octa application processor featuring four Cortex-A15 and four Cortex-A7 processors in the Galaxy S4.

Human speedcubers' solve times only include the physical manipulation of the cube and do not include some time which is allowed to "inspect" the cube beforehand. Times recorded by CUBESTORMER 3 are for the total solve including: image capture, software solution calculation and physical solve.


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The Science & Education team's curator insight, March 24, 2014 8:32 PM

When I was at uni, the other maths geek from my school, Leanne, was a state champion at Rubix, so I feel a certain affinity with Rubix geekdom and this is the ultimate. It was good to have a computer to beat us at Chess (although this has not yet been accomplished with Go) but Rubix, being both mechanical and computational is even better.

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How Machines Are Advancing at an Exponential Rate

How Machines Are Advancing at an Exponential Rate | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
With The Second Machine Age, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee explore the future for technology.

 

 

The Second Machine Age debuted at number nine this month on The New York Times’ hardcover non-fiction bestseller list.

 

But it should surprise no one that people are reading. The book’s subject—how machines and computers are advancing at an exponential rate and what that means for society and the American economy—is all encompassing. Its findings are relevant not just for business, but also for government, workers, and families.

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The Curious Nature of Sharing Cascades on Facebook

The Curious Nature of Sharing Cascades on Facebook | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
Most content on Facebook is shared a few times but some can be shared millions of times. Now computer scientists are beginning to understand the difference.

 

One of the defining features of social content is the way pictures, video and text is shared among many users. Inevitably, some content becomes more popular than others and this leads to cascades in which the number of reshares can be huge. While most pieces of media have only a few shares, some are reshared many millions of times.

 

So there is much interest in finding out how to predict something that is likely to be popular compared to something that is not. On the face of it, it’s easy to think that predicting the popularity of content is almost impossible. That’s because it depends on so many factors that are difficult to measure, such as the nature of the content and the connectivity of the people who see it.

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Ninja Blocks

Ninja Blocks | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The Ninja Blocks Platform makes connecting so called “things” to the internet and each other easy through open source hardware, software and an API service.

 

Ninja Blocks are tiny open source computers that can sense and react to their environment. They support RF out of the box and are designed to be extended to support everything.

 

The Ninja Blocks API makes it simple to create apps (webapps, widgets, phone apps) that interact with a users devices. The block software “wraps” proprietary devices and offers their features through a RESTful API. Ninja Blocks address the critical element of interoperability - addressing (how do you identify a device), authentication (are you allowed to talk to a device) and protocol (how do you control a device).

 

The Ninja Blocks mission is to enable real interoperability in the fledgling world of the Internet of Things.

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How Virtual Gaming Worlds Are Revealing the Nature of Human Hierarchies

How Virtual Gaming Worlds Are Revealing the Nature of Human Hierarchies | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The way players form into groups in online games reveals that hierarchies are an inevitable product of the human condition, say complexity scientists.


One of the goals of anthropology is to understand the way that humans interact to form groups. Indeed, anthropologists have long known that human societies are highly structured.


But exactly what kinds of structures form and to what extent these groupings depend on the environment is still the subject of much debate. So an interesting question is whether humans form the same kinds of structures in online worlds as they do in real life.

 

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We Finally Know Why You Can Sustain a Conversation in a Noisy Bar

We Finally Know Why You Can Sustain a Conversation in a Noisy Bar | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Normally, human ears are incredibly good at focusing on sounds of specific frequencies and simultaneously filtering out the rest of the noise — your drinking buddy’s voice in a crowded bar, for example. This is why you can have conversations in places with a wild and crazy soundscape. If we paid attention to all the noises all the time, there would be no way to distinguish between your friend’s on-the-spot beer review and the clamor of vapid background conversations.

 

As we age, though, this ability to focus on particular frequencies wanes. Which is why, if you’re like me and enjoy hanging out with your parents in bars, you find yourself yelling more loudly as the years go on.

 

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CODE_n: Data Visualizations in Grande Scale Shown at CeBit 2014

CODE_n: Data Visualizations in Grande Scale Shown at CeBit 2014 | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

I guess that CODE_n [http://kramweisshaar.com], developed by design agency Kram/Weisshaar, is best appreciated when perceived in the flesh, that is at the Hannover Fairgrounds during CeBit 2014 in Hannover, Germany.

 

CODE_n consists of more than 3.000 square meters (approx. 33,000 ft2) of ink-jet printed textile membranes, stretching more than 260 meters of floor-to-ceiling tera-pixel graphics. The 12.5 terapixel, 90-meter long wall-like canopy titled "Retrospective Trending", shows over 400 lexical frequency timelines ranging from the years 1800 to 2008, each generated using Google's Ngram tool. The hundreds of search terms relate to ethnographic themes of politics, economics, engineering, science, technology, mathematics, and philosophy, resulting in the output of historical trajectories of word usage over time.


The 6.2 terapixel "Hydrosphere Hyperwall" is a visualization of the global ocean as dynamic pathways, polychrome swathes of sea climate, data-collecting swarms of mini robots and sea animals, as well as plumes of narrow current systems. NASA's ECCO2 maps were interwoven with directional arrows that specify wind direction and data vectors that represent buoys, cargo floats, research ships, wave gliders, sea creatures and research stations.

 

Finally, the 6.6 terapixel "Human Connectome" is a morphological map of the human brain. Consisting of several million multi-coloured fibre bundles and white matter tracts that were captured by diffusion-MRIs, the structural descriptions of the human mind were generated at 40 times the scale of the human body. The 3D map of human neural connections visualizes brain dynamics on an ultra-macro scale as well as the infinitesimal cell-scale.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Sugata Mitra Opens ‘School in the Cloud’ in Sundarbans

Sugata Mitra Opens ‘School in the Cloud’ in Sundarbans | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Noted educationist and 2013 TED Prize winner Sugata Mitrahas opened his first ‘School in the Cloud’ project in India at Korakati, a small village in the Sundarbans.

 

About 800 miles west of Kolkata, the village located in a mangrove swamp, is Sugata Mitra’s first independent, solar-powered learning platform with a group of teachers who are available over Skype from a remote location to help mentor the children as they explore information.

 

Located at a difficult to reach village, the school has equipped itself with a 40ft bamboo tower receiver in order to get the necessary data bandwidth.

 

The center is the fourth of the 7 new Self Organised Learning (SOLEs) locations to open as part of  Mitra’s $1m TED Prize-funded project. While the other SOLEs are attached to schools, the one at Korakati is the first to be a stand alone.

 

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How Do You Say ‘Hello’? Personality Impressions from Brief Novel Voices

How Do You Say ‘Hello’? Personality Impressions from Brief Novel Voices | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

On hearing a novel voice, listeners readily form personality impressions of that speaker. Accurate or not, these impressions are known to affect subsequent interactions; yet the underlying psychological and acoustical bases remain poorly understood. Furthermore, hitherto studies have focussed on extended speech as opposed to analysing the instantaneous impressions we obtain from first experience. In this paper, through a mass online rating experiment, 320 participants rated 64 sub-second vocal utterances of the word ‘hello’ on one of 10 personality traits. We show that: (1) personality judgements of brief utterances from unfamiliar speakers are consistent across listeners; (2) a two-dimensional ‘social voice space’ with axes mapping Valence (Trust, Likeability) and Dominance, each driven by differing combinations of vocal acoustics, adequately summarises ratings in both male and female voices; and (3) a positive combination of Valence and Dominance results in increased perceived male vocal Attractiveness, whereas perceived female vocal Attractiveness is largely controlled by increasing Valence. Results are discussed in relation to the rapid evaluation of personality and, in turn, the intent of others, as being driven by survival mechanisms via approach or avoidance behaviours. These findings provide empirical bases for predicting personality impressions from acoustical analyses of short utterances and for generating desired personality impressions in artificial voices.

 

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Economic Network of Organized Crime Revealed

Economic Network of Organized Crime Revealed | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
An approach based on network theory reveals the pattern of links between Mafia-controlled firms involved in organized crime and the rest of the economy.

 

Network theory has revolutionized the understanding of economics in recent years. No longer is the economy a mysterious heaving mass governed by arcane laws with little practical evidence to support them.


Instead, the economy is a network of firms that are linked if a financial transaction occurs between them. This approach has given economists a unique insight into the way that different parts of the economy depend on each other and how money, resources and information flows through the business world.


But here’s an interesting question: how does organized crime that into all this? Today we get an answer of sorts thanks to the work of Stefano Gurciullo at University College London. Gurciullo has studied the economic networks of businesses in a region of Sicily, Italy, highlighting the roles of firms known to be associated with the local Mafia.

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Swarming in Biological and Related Systems

Swarming in Biological and Related Systems | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

In the last 15 years, the collective motion of large numbers of self-propelled objects has become an increasingly active area of research. The examples of such collective motion abound: flocks of birds, schools of fish, swarms of insects, herds of animals etc. Swarming of living creatures is believed to be critical for the population survival under harsh conditions. The ability of motile microorganisms to communicate and coordinate their motion leads to the remarkably complex self-organized structures found in bacterial biofilms. Active intracellular transport of biological molecules within the cytoskeleton has a profound effect on the cell cycle, signaling and motility. In recent years, significant progress has also been achieved in the design of synthetic self-propelled particles. Their collective motion has many advantages for performing specific robotic tasks, such as collective cargo delivery or harvesting the mechanical energy of chaotic motion.

(...)

In this focus issue we have tried to assemble papers from leading experts which we hope will provide a current snapshot of this young and rapidly expanding field of research. They cover both theoretical and experimental investigations of the dynamics of active matter on different spatial and temporal scales.

 

Focus on Swarming in Biological and Related Systems
Lev Tsimring, Hugues Chate, Igor Aronson

2014 New J. Phys. 16

http://iopscience.iop.org/1367-2630/focus/Focus%20on%20Swarming%20in%20Biological%20and%20Related%20Systems


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Twitter #bots in class. You're here because of a robot | #datascience #agents #influence

Twitter #bots in class. You're here because of a robot | #datascience #agents #influence | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
Note: This post is co-written with Piotr Sapieżyński Is it possible for a small computer science course to exert measurable influence (trending topics) on Twitter, a massive social network with hun...

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luiy's curator insight, March 21, 2014 12:34 PM

A large part of our motivation for investigating Twitter bots in class is that the amount of manipulation that humans are experiencing on line is ever increasing. Think, for example, about how Facebook’s time-line filtering algorithm shapes the world view of hundreds of millions around the globe. And that’s just the most main stream example.

 

Social influence

 

As the course progressed, we focused on creating bots that could use machine learning to recognize “good” content for tweeting and retweeting. Bots that are able to detect topics within their tweet-stream … and distinguish between real, human accounts and robots among their followers.

However, the question remained: Can those thousands of followers  be converted to influence on Twitter? For the class’ final project, we decided to put that to the test.

The overall goal was to for each team to build a convincing bot, get human followers, and  at a specified time, for everyone work together to make specific hashtags trend on twitter. So how to achieve that goal? Here’s an overview of what each team has worked on:

 

- Build convincing avatars and use the high follower-counts as part of the disguise. 

 

- Use machine learning to tell who’s a bot and who’s not (in order to focus only on humans and ignoring bots). 

 

- Use natural language processing & machine learning to discover quality content to re-tweet and tweet. 

 

- Use network theory, to explore the network surrounding existing followers, making sure that bot actions reach entire communities.

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The Ecology of Collective Behavior

Similar patterns of interaction, such as network motifs and feedback loops, are used in many natural collective processes, probably because they have evolved independently under similar pressures. Here I consider how three environmental constraints may shape the evolution of collective behavior: the patchiness of resources, the operating costs of maintaining the interaction network that produces collective behavior, and the threat of rupture of the network. The ants are a large and successful taxon that have evolved in very diverse environments. Examples from ants provide a starting point for examining more generally the fit between the particular pattern of interaction that regulates activity, and the environment in which it functions.

 

Gordon DM (2014) The Ecology of Collective Behavior. PLoS Biol 12(3): e1001805. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001805

 


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Robot Octopus Shows Off New Sculls

Robot Octopus Shows Off New Sculls | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

"Octopi are pro swimmers, thanks (at least in part) to that octet of arms they've got going on. They've adopted a particular swimming gait called sculling, which works great for them, but until they start publishing scientific papers, we're missing out on all of their gait testing data. Roboticists have had to start from scratch, and along the way, they've experimented with some swimming gaits that we've never seen a real octopus try and pull off."


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Facebook Creates Software That Matches Faces Almost as Well as You Do

Facebook Creates Software That Matches Faces Almost as Well as You Do | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
Facebook’s new AI research group reports a major improvement in face-processing software.

 

Asked whether two unfamiliar photos of faces show the same person, a human being will get it right 97.53 percent of the time. New software developed by researchers at Facebook can score 97.25 percent on the same challenge, regardless of variations in lighting or whether the person in the picture is directly facing the camera.

 

That’s a significant advance over previous face-matching software, and it demonstrates the power of a new approach to artificial intelligence known as deep learning, which Facebook and its competitors have bet heavily on in the past year (see “Deep Learning”). This area of AI involves software that uses networks of simulated neurons to learn to recognize patterns in large amounts of data.

 

“You normally don’t see that sort of improvement,” says Yaniv Taigman, a member of Facebook’s AI team, a research group created last year to explore how deep learning might help the company (see “Facebook Launches Advanced AI Effort”). “We closely approach human performance,” says Taigman of the new software. He notes that the error rate has been reduced by more than a quarter relative to earlier software that can take on the same task.

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Invisible: Animals and machines hiding in plain sight

Invisible: Animals and machines hiding in plain sight | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

We used to think there was only one way to stay hidden from trouble – blend into the background. See how nature has taught us a more flamboyant approach.

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Facebook Introduces 'Hack,' the Programming Language Of the Future

Facebook Introduces 'Hack,' the Programming Language Of the Future | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Facebook engineers Bryan O’Sullivan, Julien Verlaguet, and Alok Menghrajani spent the last few years building a programming language unlike any other.

 

Working alongside a handful of others inside the social networking giant, they fashioned a language that lets programmers build complex websites and other software at great speed while still ensuring that their software code is precisely organized and relatively free of flaws — a combination that few of today’s languages even approach. In typical Facebook fashion, the new language is called Hack, and it already drives almost all of the company’s website — a site that serves more than 1.2 billion people across the globe.

 

“We can say with complete assurance that this has been as battle tested as it can possibly be,” says O’Sullivan, a veteran of iconic tech companies Sun Microsystems and Linden Lab who has long played an important role in a popular language called Haskell.

 

O’Sullivan and company publicly revealed their new language this morning, and at the same time, they “open sourced” it, sharing the technology with the world at large and encouraging others not only to use it, but to help improve it.

 

The software world is littered with programming languages, and new ones appear all the time. But according to some who have used it or who know the past work of those who built it, Hack has a design and a pedigree that immediately set it apart. “If Bryan O’Sullivan built it,” says programming guru David Pollak, who only yesterday heard about the new language, “I would walk across hot coals to use it.”

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M. Edward (Ed) Borasky's comment, March 20, 2014 12:49 PM
Sigh ... another syntax and semantics to learn :-(
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Data Mining Reveals How Conspiracy Theories Emerge on Facebook

Data Mining Reveals How Conspiracy Theories Emerge on Facebook | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Some people are more susceptible to conspiracy theories than others, say computational social scientists who have studied how false ideas jump the “credulity barrier” on Facebook.

 

During the Italian elections last year, a post appeared on Facebook that rapidly became viral. The post’s title was this: “Italian Senate voted and accepted (257 in favor and 165 abstentions) a law proposed by Senator Cirenga to provide policy makers with €134 billion Euros to find jobs in the event of electoral defeat”.

 

The post was created on Facebook page known for its satirical content and designed to parody Italian politics. It contains at least four false statements: the senator involved is fictitious, the total number of votes is higher than is possible in Italian politics, the amount of money involved is more than 10% of Italian GDP and the law itself is an invention.

 

The parody struck a chord with disenchanted voters who shared it some 35,000 times in less than a month. Then things quickly became strange.

 

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Semantic Weak Signal Tracing

Semantic Weak Signal Tracing | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The weak signal concept according to Ansoff has the aim to advance strategic early warning. It enables to predict the appearance of events in advance that are relevant for an organization. An example is to predict the appearance of a new and relevant technology for a research organization. Existing approaches detect weak signals based on an environmental scanning procedure that considers textual information from the internet. This is because about 80% of all data in the internet are textual information. The texts are processed by a specific clustering approach where clusters that represent weak signals are identified. In contrast to these related approaches, we propose a new methodology that investigates a sequence of clusters measured at successive points in time. This enables to trace the development of weak signals over time and thus, it enables to identify relevant weak signal developments for organization’s decision making in strategic early warning environment.


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Flying Donkey Challenge (Drone Delivery): The African Version of Amazon Will Emerge From Nigeria

Flying Donkey Challenge (Drone Delivery): The African Version of Amazon Will Emerge From Nigeria | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Africa's tech space, which has been defined and accelerated by the mobile phone, is undoubtedly growing as investors scramble toward the continent. Various African countries have leapfrogged fixed-line

Internet because of the ubiquity of cellphones and their networks, and entrepreneurs will likely tackle transportation in a similar way. Why build roads to inaccessible places when the air is a better and increasingly cheaper option?

 

A current initiative that addresses African drone delivery is the Flying Donkey Challenge, a 24-hour race around Mount Kenya where African companies have to deliver and collect 20-kilo payloads as they go. The winner receives a prize of more than $1 million.

 

But while these companies face huge challenges in circumnavigating Mount Kenya in East Africa, it's actually in Nigeria, West Africa, where today’s challenges are almost unfathomable in scope — and, yet, also where future "African Amazons" are likely to emerge.

 

Lagos isn't Nigeria’s capital city, but it is by far the biggest in the country. Depending on which statistics you believe, the city’s population is between 17 and 21 million, with 30,000 people arriving every week from across Africa.

 

Delivery in Lagos is utter chaos. There isn’t a viable postal service in the city — or the country, for that matter — and by all standards the city just shouldn’t work. But it does, and ecommerce companies are proliferating. Some even guarantee delivery of products across the city within 24 hours.

 

“By 2030, one in every six Africans will be Nigerians, and its economy will have the largest GDP on the continent," says Betty Enyonam Kumahor, managing director of Africa for global IT consulting firm ThoughtWorks. "But understanding how to launch an ecommerce business in Nigeria requires an understanding of the ecosystem and country, and other aspects such as the cost of generators and the relative dearth of the talent pool."

 

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Detecting Emotional Contagion in Massive Social Networks

Detecting Emotional Contagion in Massive Social Networks | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Happiness and other emotions spread between people in direct contact, but it is unclear whether massive online social networks also contribute to this spread. Here, we elaborate a novel method for measuring the contagion of emotional expression. With data from millions of Facebook users, we show that rainfall directly influences the emotional content of their status messages, and it also affects the status messages of friends in other cities who are not experiencing rainfall. For every one person affected directly, rainfall alters the emotional expression of about one to two other people, suggesting that online social networks may magnify the intensity of global emotional synchrony.

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