Thursday, August 23, 2007

Web game provides breakthrough in predicting spread of epidemics | Science Blog

No, not the usual 'web' game I talk about. Another one.

I got a bit irritated by the article on Today (I'd link to it, but I think it was Tuesday, and the page is 404ing, and natch, their naming scheme is rubbish, see posts passim) talking about the Corrupted Blood episode in Warcraft being a viable way of studying disease vectors. This was partly because the incident they were talking about happened nearly two years ago.

It turns out there's a little write up on BBC News, with some quotes from the researcher, Professor Nina Fefferman whose article has just been published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Alas, aside from being 2 years late to the party in warcraft terms, it's not a particularly original piece of thinking. Dirk Brockman and Lars Hufnagel studied a realworld/online phenomenon of tracking dollar bills to much the same effect.

Web game provides breakthrough in predicting spread of epidemics | Science Blog

Not really news, was it? I suspect it's just the sexy 'virtual worlds' tag that bought it to editors attention.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wikipedia Edit Monitoring

Threat Level - Wired Blogs

Hands up, it was me. I was one of the people who anonymously spun edits in Wikipedia from within the BBC. I wrote the Wikipedia entries for Marguerite Patten, and for Queen of Puddings, in fact. This was part of a terrible, hideous, covert, evil attempt by the BBC to skew the history of home cookery, and I was working under the direct command of the DG, Delia Smith, Keith Floyd and Fanny Craddock. Obviously. Would I lie to you?

I think I've written before about 'BBC' edits in wikipedia - partly because a friend I worked with got a roasting from the Wikipedia community for making a playful edit he probably shouldn't have done, if he'd thought about it a bit more and not been wasting an idle five minutes playing around in the office.

This is the thing. You can look at these huge lists of anonymous edits from inside a company, and not know if they were the work of one evil genius in the press department, or of a thousand bored junior office clerks who were surfing the web rather than filling in that deadly dull spreadsheet on a quiet tuesday. They'll all come from that one blanket IP address.

That second scenario is precisely where wikipedia derives its strength - from being editable by anyone, from anywhere, according to whim or expertise (well, preferably both).

It would be a loss to wikipedia if large organisations prevented their employees contributing to the project, in order to control the random enthusiasms that could backfire on their PR department.

Great Practical Jokes, no 28741

Twitter / Yoz: Wreaking revenge on a colle...

Heh. Klingon.