Five short links

Fifthelement
Picture by Esther Kirby

Cybercasing the Joint: On the Privacy Implications of Geo‐Tagging – A thought-provoking paper that looks at the real-world security holes that the new streams of location information create. A great example is the coordinates silently embedded in many photos – if you post a picture of a valuable item to Craigslist then anyone could work out where you live, and so where to steal it from

Free GIS Data – A small but useful collection of geographic data sets. This together with the world boundaries at Thematic Mapping opens up a lot of possibilities for geographic visualizations

Heat maps with the Google Flash API – This tutorial walks you through the coding steps you need to create your own thematic maps

Should BP nuke its leaking well? – After spending a childhood so convinced a nuclear apocalypse was imminent that I used to refuse to go into town with my parents, I’ve retained a fascination with the weapons, so I was glad to see an in-depth analysis of this idea. My favorite quote by far is “I would recommend that the international community not listen to the Russians. Especially those of them that offer crazy ideas. Russians are keen on offering things, especially insane things.”

A phone call from the census – I wonder is this is the equivalent of a Rorschach blot for your attitude to name-badge employees? Erik Gordon seems baffled by the fact that the census employee calling him has to rigidly stick to a script as she checks the census details he’d mailed in, and gets self-righteously stroppy. Reading it as someone who was forced to ask “Would you like cashback?” to every single customer at my checkout no matter how inappropriate it seemed or risk getting fired, I just feel bad for the girl who’s calling. Spending a bit of time on the bottom rungs of companies with that level of hyper-controlled process makes you look at these encounters differently.

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