Five short links

Pentaflower
Photo by Ocean of Stars

Changing behavior – it ain't easy – The fundamental challenge for any startup is how to change people's behavior so that they begin using your service. This article is about energy conservation, but everything in it applies to us too. The bottom line is that "changing people's habits in a systematic way turns out to be a painstaking, labor-intensive undertaking". The solution sure sounds like a lean-startup approach:

"You research the barriers and benefits that are most salient or motivating. You don't guess at them — as people all too frequently do — because they're often surprising or counterintuitive. You do the research. Then you select promising methods to reduce barriers and increase benefits and run a small pilot program; you keep at that until you find what works. Then, and only then, you scale up"

Steal this heatmap – Thanks to Lauren Kirchner at the Columbia Journalism Review for this great writeup of how OpenHeatMap can help journalists

Probabilistic Data Structures and Breaking Down Big Sequence Data – A great talk on using tools like Bloom filters to handle problems at a massive scale, with slides available here

Eye on Earth – An intriguing experiment in showing pollution data on an interactive online map, funded by the EU. I really like the concept, but I was somewhat baffled by the interface.

A world of tweets – A simple but compelling view of Twitter messages from around the world. I particularly like the animation showing incoming tweets, that helps the viewer make sense of what's happening.

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