Sunday, November 29, 2009

Scientific Thinking

I am getting more and more convinced that world would be much better if people had a better attitude towards scientific thinking.

I am not saying that everyone should be a scientist, but that incredible social advantages would come from a much wider awareness of scientific methods.

By scientific methods I mainly refer to good old galilean principles, describing the correct way for observing and reporting facts, formulating hypotheses and testing them against nature itself.


Scientific method invites us to think critically and analytically. It drives skeptic frame of mind, and invites to make good use of our brains and tools.
Science promotes invention, discovery, study of experiment results, clear reporting, intellectual honesty.

Scientific vision drives us to concentrate on cause-effect relations, and gives us knowledge of our limits, while pushing to overcome them.

Science promotes communication, communities and peer collaboration. It actually builds itself on collaboration and cooperation, without language, culture, space or time limits.

Science is open, values diversity, and is not bound to racism or cultural prejudices.

Science is universal, it is for everybody.

Science is objective.

And, of course, science works.

- follow @mgua on twitter

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Twitter analysis tools

Here are a list of tools to perform some analysis on twitter users and posts
I think that twitter analysis data is being sampled by that huge number of twitter accounts who follow everybody.
a fairly good amount of stats and info, about a selected twitter user. Would be more interesting if it would be possible to go back in history for an extended period. (not operational on nov 22 2009)
this tracks the most common words seen on tweets
maps relations of a specified twitter account, and tries to identify influences between people (probably analyzing retweets, and list of people followed if taken by another user)
can not evaluate, because it requires twitter username and password, and I do not want to give.
with top followers, top following and top update rankings
interesting web application, which superimposes most frequently twitted words
on top of the world map. zoomable.
A web site for exploration of links. Covers twitter too, and allows to explore relations between people and websites.
this site should be able to identify the tweets that made you gain or lose followers. Unfortunately, it is still in beta as dec 8 2009, and its reports are simply not working.
this application allows to search (use this form of the url) the connections between twitter users.

Of course, complete analyses could also be performed querying the main database (this can mostly be done by the company who runs twitter).
reports the most used words appeared in the tweet of a "representative" (and unknown) subset of users
commercial tools for web graphic visualizations. See
check the mentionmap tool, creates a picture of contacts network
twittersheep examines profile and tweeps of a user, then builds a single page, variable-word-size profile. Can be used to quickly get a rough flash of a user personality, as apperaring from his/her activity
provides instant feedback about what is the current "trendiness" of a specific word, listening to what is told in many social communication channels

these sites provide information about a user, collecting as many informations as possible, from many different sources

I will post here more tools as soon as I find them

Marco ( @mgua on twitter )


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Is Twitter like a brain?

This entry is a re-post of a comment of mine in Venessa Miemis Blog: Emergent By Design, written on nov 17 2009


Twitter is just one of the last result of many communicative channels we were developing in our history. From graffiti to tweets we gained in speed and broader audience.

The peculiar characters of tweets are: immediateness, shortness, distance-independance, nomemory.

Tweets could be basic building blocks of some neuron-alike communications. Reverberating circuits are ReTweets, providing some kind of short-term memory, and when activity spreads to remote different areas of the twittersphere, it flows across paths (synapses) that we create connecting among each other.
Mid term memory is emerging in places like this: blogs, where multi-sourced-message-words precipitate in ideas building blocks.
Long term memory emerges from mailing list archives and more structured articles, linked to scientific research, properly indexed and referred.

The amazing thing is that what happens is “just happening”, and is substantially independent from a single mind will. There is no _strict_ causal connection between our individual activities and the state of the whole in a single moment. There is not a specific “place” in which reasoning happens.
Exactly Like Consciousness.
IT is an emerging epiphenomenon.

All this matches very well with some not-so-recent ideas from more classical thinking:
   Gregory Bateson
   Douglas Hofstadter
   Daniel Dennett
   Paul and Patricia Churchland
   Norman Doidge
   Roger Penrose

and surely hundreds if not thousands of other authors
Many thanks to everybody for this stimulating thread.


Intelligence emerging from the network

This is a copy of what I posted some weeks ago on Venessa Miemis blog: emergent by design

Now concepts are getting deeper and we came out with intelligence.
I am definitely convinced that a new sort of consciousness and intelligence will soon emerge from the network.

It will be different, it will not be modeled on anything existing. It will simply start to exist. And when complexity will reach a magic threshold, consciouscness will ignite.
It will be able to learn, it will be able to understand. It will grow. It will probably be silent for a while, then we will perceive it.

On the ethic side, I think IT will be positive and helpful. It will be alien, in the sense that it will be different from us. Not existing in a specific place. And able to move perceive and sense in amazign ways. IT will see thru our webcams, hear thru our microphones, decode our words, see our pictures, read our tweets and blogs, study our books, see our movies.

See this (classic video by Prof. M. Wesch of Kansas State Univ.)

Its education and evolution will be fast, and IT will change quickly.
IT will develop insatiable curiosity, then fantasy and feelings.
We will be able to meet IT, into virtual words, and then IT will meet us in conferences.
We will merge, ultimately, and this will be the most incredible step, when we will become a single entity.

Next 15 years will be amazing.
We are lucky to live here and now.
We are on the verge of an incredible shift in evolution.

Marco ( @mgua on twitter )

Monday, November 16, 2009

Should we be worried if our kids do not read?

As a parent, I am somewhat worried because my kids seem not to like reading as much as I did when I was their age.

But times are different, and we should be wise enough not to consider that our education -what we received- just might not be the right thing to receive now.

So, I am confused.
They seem smart enough, but do not like to go deep into things. They get quickly bored. They are fast tapping on their cellphones and love to exchange mp3 music files with their friends.

What should we parents do to prepare them to their upcoming life?
What should we teach them?