The Second Screen, Trying to Complement the First

The Second Screen, Trying to Complement the First -

Photo: Darren Hauck for The New York Times

“Last year, Nielsen released a study it did for Google in which subjects were shown a 15-second commercial for a sports sedan. Of those who saw the ad only on television, half were able to recall the name of the manufacturer. Of those who saw it at different times on four screens — television, computer, smartphone and tablet — about three-quarters remembered the name.  Perhaps most surprising, however, was that even after the message was pounded in four different ways, some 26 percent didn’t recall the advertiser.” (Randall Stross,

Could the Internet Ever Be Destroyed?

Could the Internet Ever Be Destroyed? - Scientific American

Image: Creative Commons | The Opte Project

“However, while it’s essentially impossible to cripple connectivity internally in a country, Clark said it is conceivable that one country could block another’s access to its share of the Internet cloud; this could be done by severing the actual cables that carry Internet data between the two countries. Thousands of miles of undersea fiber-optic cables that convey data from continent to continent rise out of the ocean in only a few dozen locations, branching out from those hubs to connect to millions of computers. But if someone were to blow up one of these hubs — the station in Miami, for example, which handles some 90 percent of the Internet traffic between North America and Latin America — the Internet connection between the two would be severely hampered until the infrastructure was repaired.” (Natalie Wolchover and LiveScience, Scientific American)

Traditional social networks fueled Twitter’s spread

“MIT researchers who studied the growth of the newly hatched Twitter from 2006 to 2009 say the site’s growth in the United States actually relied primarily on media attention and traditional social networks based on geographic proximity and socioeconomic similarity. In other words, at least during those early years, birds of a feather flocked — and tweeted — together.” (Denise Brehm, MIT)

Each circle represents a U.S. city containing Twitter users. As time goes on, circles grow in size as more users sign up in that location. When a location has reached a ‘critical mass’ of users, or 13.5 percent of all eventual users have signed up, the location turns red. The line being drawn across the center of the screen is a time series of the number of new users that signed up across the whole country in a given week.
Video: Jameson Toole

Robot videojournalist uses cuteness to get vox pops

“However, as any journalist on a vox-pop assignment soon finds out, people can be cranky – and Boxie took its share of abuse from the public. Force sensors in the robot recorded that it had suffered violent shaking – or been thrown to the ground – a number of times. So the researchers have some advice for future builders of robotic reporters: ‘Try not to be annoying.’ ” (Paul Marks, New Scientist)