http://www.quantifiedself.com/ is a blog on self-tracking/personal data/life-logging projects that the participants are ‘socially prototyping’. Run by Kevin Kelly who also contributes to the Long Now Foudnation blog, it is an interesting illlustration of the increase in self-knowledge opportunities that digital and bio tech (eg Predictive Gene Testing)tools have offered as they have entered the mass market world. Its Show and Tell Meetups are based in San Francisco but perhaps this will migrate to the UK…watch this space.
SAN FRANCISCO — There is a new common symptom of the flu, in addition to the usual aches, coughs, fevers and sore throats. Turns out a lot of ailing Americans enter phrases like “flu symptoms” into Google and other search engines before they call their doctors.That simple act, multiplied across millions of keyboards in homes around the country, has given rise to a new early warning system for fast-spreading flu outbreaks, called Google Flu Trends.
Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org has released a new site that tracks the incidence of flu in the US based on terms used in Google searches.The system uses aggregated, anonymous results from searches for flu-related terms and plots their locations.The approach, validated against Centers for Disease Control (CDC) flu records, provides timely data that could be two weeks ahead of government figures.
Catalist is a privately financed large-scale political data-mining shop and has documented the political activity of every American 18 and older: where they registered to vote, how strongly they identify with a given party, what issues cause them to sign petitions or make donations. Catalist offers progressive organizations access to a national database of voting-age individuals in the United States. Their databases are fed by 450 commercially and privately available data layers as well as firsthand info collected by the campaigns. Candidates are then able to target voters from ever-smaller niches. Not just blue-collar white males, but married, home-owning white males with a high school diploma and a gun in the household. Not just Native Americans, but Native Americans earning more than $80,000 who recently registered to vote.