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Archive for the tag “Beijing”

Two interviews

From The Future at Work podcast, a short video interview with Deborah Estrin about participatory sensing. This is essentially about people collectively compiling data, for instance using their cell phones (since that is today’s most ubiquitous and easy-to-use data collection device). Estrin describes an application of participatory sensing, What’s Invasive, where people locate invasive plants using their iPhone or Android. This could be, for instance, in a national parks, where both employees and trekkers would be able to snap geo-coded photos (through GPS, although the photos do not strictly need to be geo-coded; they can be annotated later through a website). There’s a strong overlap with citizen science here.

Estrin also briefly describes an interesting application which traces your own path through a city over days, weeks or years and mashes up the spatial information with data on air quality. Air quality varies in different locations in a city and over time, but with this application you can get a pretty good approximation of the pollution you tend to get exposed to. This may prompt a change in your regular bike route, for instance. (Bonus link: The Beijing air quality Twitter feed)

Also, H+ has an interview with Pattie Maes, who delivered the stunning Sixth Sense TED talk, where she tried to show what it could be like to have a “sixth sense for data”, as she put it.

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Mood measuring machines

Danwei reports the results of an interesting exercise in data collection in China. Poll machines with buttons for “happy” or “unhappy” were set up at bus stops in six major cities and button-press counts were recorded for two weeks (from July 6 to July 20). Of course, there are various kinds of issues with sample bias here, but it’s still a fun idea.

The winning city was Beijing with about 56% respondents claiming to be happy. The other cities were Shanghai, Guangzhou, Kunming, Chengdu and Xi’an.

The Beijing News (Chinese) also reports that out of the 10 polled bus stops, Dengshi Xikou was the “happiest”, while the “unhappiest” one was, poignantly, The Beijing Children’s Hospital bus stop.

It would be interesting to know whether there are any other trends in the data, like significant differences in reported happiness depending on the time of day.

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