Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Job Prospects in Social Media and Civil Engineering

http://www.indeed.com is a job search engine that has a fairly good traffic as shown by the following chart


Social Media is an emerging area and many jobs are opening in this area. A comparison of job openings in the area of "Social Media" and "Civil Engineering" is done using the indeed search engine and shown in the picture below

Click on the image for a larger view



What is interesting is that there are more jobs in the area of "Social Media" as compared to the jobs in Civil Engineering even though it is a fairly new area that did not exists few years ago. The lower end jobs pay better in Civil Engineering but there are fewer high paying jobs.

Also the two key words "Civil Engineering" and "Civil Engineer" leads to different search results as shown by column 2 and column 3 of the figure. This shows that the search results are sensitive to the choice of key words even though the two keywords are nearly identical.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Social Networking : Current Limitations and Future Possibilities

The Real Life Social Network" presentation by Paul Adams The Real Life Social Network v2
View more documents from Paul Adams.
Paul Adams, a senior user experience researcher at Google (NSDQ: GOOG), is leaving the company to join Facebook starting next year, according to Inside Facebook and one ofhis tweets. He may be best known for his deep analysis of Facebook and its privacy issues in a lengthy presentation five months ago. In particular, “The Real Life Social Network” pointed out how the site doesn’t enable users to manage the various kinds of relationships within their greater network of friends.
The presentation highlights the limitations of the current social networking software in mapping the real life relationships. The key assumption here is that the social networking software should accurately map the real life relationships. The presentation suggests to use the work of anthropologist Robin Dunbar as a guideline in designing the social networking software.
Dunbar's number is a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person.[1] Proponents assert that numbers larger than this generally require more restrictive rules, laws, and enforced norms to maintain a stable, cohesive group. No precise value has been proposed for Dunbar's number. It lies between 100 and 230, but a commonly used value is 150.[2]
Source
The idea is that there is a cognitive limit and on the average we can maintain and manage around 150 relationships.
Every new technology starts out as copying some human capability. In this case social networking software is mimicking the human relationships. However, as the new technology matures it takes a new form and extends the existing human capability. The example would be a car. It extends our ability to move faster but it uses wheels to do it not something similar to legs. In the case of social networking software the possible scenario would be that it extends our cognitive limit to manage relationships that will allow us to manage relationships beyond the average number of 150 set as a limit by the research work of Robin Dunbar.
The author has down played the role of weak ties. It is true that we spend most of our time managing strong ties but the research work of Granovetter shows the usefulness of weak ties in getting a job and diffusion of information through the a populace.

Source

The last line of this abstract shows the importance of the weak ties. These are the ties that allow the information dissemination between groups that are locked within themselves. In some instances they are more important than the strong ties.

Granovetter’s work (1973) proved to be crucial in the individualistic approach of the social network theory as seen by the amount of references in other papers. His argument asserts that weak ties (acquaintances, according to Granovetter, 1973; 1983) are less likely to be involved within the social network than strong ties (close friends and family). By not going further in the strong ties, but focusing on the weak ties, Granovetter highlights the importance of acquaintances in social networks. He argues, that the only thing that can connect two social networks with strong ties is a weak tie: “… these clumps / [strong ties networks] would not, in fact, be connected to one another at all were it not for the existence of weak ties. (Granovetter, 1973 pp 1363; 1983 pp 202).

It follows that in an all-covering social network individuals are disadvantageous with a few weak links compared to individuals with multiple weak links as they are disconnected with the other parts of the network. Another interesting observation that Granovetter makes in his work is the fact of forth going specialization of individuals creates the necessity for weak ties as all the other specialist information and knowledge is present in other social networks (Granovetter, 1973).

source


Although the current policies of facebook, a popular social networking site favors friending based upon strong ties. However, in the future the social networking will be a software platform that extends our cognitive limit beyond the manageable relationships of 150 and places more emphasis on weak ties that allow us to escape our current group and let us explore new kinds of relationships that enriches our life experiences.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Google Books Ngram Viewer on Men vs. Women, Media , and STEM

Google labs recently released a Books Ngram Viewer. It is available here. The ngram allows to serach for words and phrases that could be five word long within books data base dating back to 1800. The data base contains 12 percent of all published books but it is substantial and can be used to investigate cultural trends.

More details about the methodology are published in the research paper titled "Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books"

The Abstract

We constructed a corpus of digitized texts containing about 4% of all books ever printed. Analysis of this corpus enables us to investigate cultural trends quantitatively. We survey the vast terrain of “culturomics”, focusing on linguistic and cultural phenomena that were reflected in the English language between 1800 and 2000. We show how this approach can provide insights about fields as diverse as lexicography, the evolution of grammar, collective memory, the adoption of technology, the pursuit of fame, censorship, and historical epidemiology. “Culturomics” extends the boundaries of rigorous quantitative inquiry to a wide array of new phenomena spanning the social sciences and the humanities.
The paper can be accessed here

Men vs Women

The first trend was to see how the words men and women faired over the year. The plot is shown below

Please click on the image for an enlarged view



The plot starts from 1800 and is fairly constant for men till 1880. After that it start losing and the plot for women start gaining. It picks up steam around 1970 and crosses over around 1990 and takes over.

It shows steady ascendancy of women in the last century and finally taking over. This period also roughly coincides with the start of feminist movement and a decline in patriarchal value system.

It shows that the grass root efforts of feminist movement with lots of organizing and field work paid off in the end.

The next plot was created for the trend in different media such as print, radio, movie, TV and Internet. The plot is shown below


Please click on the image for an enlarged view


No surprises here. Print was dominant media type and pretty stays the same through 1800-2000. Radio had a phenomenal rise and still dominates that is surprising. The possibility is that Radio is identified with wireless communication and even though Radio is not as big as TV but wireless communication is still a big part of communication landscape. Movies enjoyed a steady rise but over shadowed by TV around 1950. TV took over print media around 1980. Since then TV has been on an upward trajectory. What is surprising is that Internet as a media is just a short blip showing at the bottom right of this plot. It really is not part of mainstream media and still have long way to go. Other possibility is that Internet is not a single media type and one has to add contribution of words like "New Media", "Interactive Media" and "social Media" etc. I mean it is clear that Internet according to chart has to acquire an identity that is competitive with other four media type.

The last trend chart was created to see the trend for Science, Mathematics, Engineerings and Technology. There is a big push in academic circles these days to integrate Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology ( STEM) in a single unit to achieve synergistic effect of these four disciplines with the support from National Science Foundation. On the surface they all appear to be same and seems to work on the same type of problems. However, these four discipline have different historical origins and have different professional practices that emphasizes different aspects of the same problems occurring in nature.

The chart is shown below


Please click on the image for an enlarged view



Looking at the plot it is obvious that Science has been on a steady rise since 1800. Mathematics has been around and has a steady trend. Engineering took off around 1890 and steadily gained since then. However Technology that is older then Science historically started gaining around 1960 and took over Engineering around 1970.

These trends are approximate but corroborate well with the existing knowledge of the trends about the topics.

Additional resources

Culturomics http://www.culturomics.org/Resources/A-users-guide-to-culturomics

In 500 Billion Words, New Window on Culture http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/17/books/17words.html



Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2010/12/15/science.1199644.full.pdf


Everything is a Media

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fun, Happiness, Science and Technology | Google Books Ngram Viewer

Google labs released "Google Books Ngram Viewer". It is build using the data from 15 million scanned books.

"The datasets we're making available today to further humanities research are based on a subset of that corpus, weighing in at 500 billion words from 5.2 million books in Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, and Spanish. The datasets contain phrases of up to five words with counts of how often they occurred in each year. (...) The Ngram Viewer lets you graph and compare phrases from these datasets over time, showing how their usage has waxed and waned over the years," says Jon Orwant, from the Google Books team. Source

Here is a simple experiment using four words Fun, Happiness, Science and Technology

Click on the image for an enlarged view

A very interesting pattern emerges. Between years 1700-1800 word Fun appears a lot in the books. It dominates heavily the other three words. After 1800 the use of word Happiness takes off while fun drops offs sharply. At the same time the use of word science starts taking off. Around 1850 a cross over occurs where Happiness start tapering off while Science start moving up. While all this is happening Technology is nowhere on the radar. Between 1900 and 2000 fun and happiness takes a back seat to Science and Technology. Technology picks up around 1950 while Science keeps moving in an upward trend.

These trends are very interesting. They point towards the fact that Science and Technology are antithesis of Fun and Happiness. Emergence of these two has followed by a decrease in Fun and Happiness. This trend is contrary to the accepted wisdom that more Science and Technology will improve the quality of life leading to more fun and happiness. It also raises a question: Are we really happier than our ancestors?

If interested do your own investigation using Ngram here

Friday, December 17, 2010

Indian Institute of Technology | Premier Engineering Education Institutions in India | IIT | Revised Version

India is a large diverse country with world's second largest population over one billion people. It is also home to some of the best Engineering schools.
These schools have very hard admission requirement and a very rigorous Engineering curriculum.

They were established as independent institution of higher learning for Science and Engineering
The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), are a group of fifteen autonomous engineering and technology-oriented institutes of higher education established and declared as Institutes of National Importance by the Parliament of India. The IITs were created to train scientists and engineers, with the aim of developing a skilled workforce to support the economic and social development of India after independence in 1947. The students and alumni of IITs are colloquially referred to as IITians.
Source

These schools are listed below in the table in order they were established.


NameAddressDate EstablishedWeb SiteContact
1Indian Institute of TechnologyKharagpur, West Bengal1950www.iitkgp.ernet.inhttp://www.iitkgp.ac.in/topfiles/contact_us.php
2Indian Institute of TechnologyPowai, Maharashtra
1958http://www.iitb.ac.in/http://www.iitb.ac.in/about/contact_iitb.html#nogo
3Indian Institute of TechnologyKanpur, Uttar Pradesh1959http://www.iitk.ac.in/http://www.iitk.ac.in/infocell/iitk/newhtml/contactus.htm
4Indian Institute of TechnologyChennai, Tamil Nadu1959http://www.iitm.ac.in/Website inaccessible: Database Error
5Indian Institute of TechnologyNew Delhi, India1961http://www.iitd.ac.in/http://www.iitd.ac.in/contact/
6Indian Institute of TechnologyGuwahati, Assam1994http://www.iitg.ac.in/indexhttp://www.iitg.ac.in/contactus
7Indian Institute of TechnologyRoorkee, Uttarakhand2001http://www.iitr.ac.in/http://www.iitr.ac.in/Main/pages/Contact_Us.html
8Indian Institute of TechnologyBhubaneswar, Orissa2008http://www.iitbbs.ac.in/http://www.iitbbs.ac.in/contact.php
9Indian Institute of TechnologyRupnagar, Punjab2008http://www.iitrpr.ac.in/http://www.iitrpr.ac.in/html/contact.shtml
10Indian Institute of TechnologyJodhpur, Rajasthan2008http://www.iitk.ac.in/iitj/http://www.iitk.ac.in/infocell/iitk/newhtml/contactus.htm
11Indian Institute of TechnologyGandghinagar, Gujarat2008http://www.iitgn.ac.in/http://www.iitgn.ac.in/contact.htm
12Indian Institute of TechnologyYeddumailaram, Andhra Pradesh2008http://www.iith.ac.in/http://www.iith.ac.in/contact_us.html
13Indian Institute of TechnologyPatna, Bihar
2008http://www.iitp.ac.in/http://www.iitp.ac.in/iit_contact_us.htm
14Indian Institute of TechnologyMandi, Himanchal pradesh2009http://www.iitmandi.ac.in/http://www.iitmandi.ac.in/pages/contacts.html
15Indian Institute of TechnologyIndore, Madhya Pradesh2009http://www.iiti.ac.in/Web site inaccessible

Two websites failed to open.

It is clear from this table that original five were established between year 1950 and 1961. There was a major expansion in the last ten years and the last nine of them were established between years 2000-2009. There is one more in making that will be located at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

Each IIT is an autonomous university, linked to the others through a common IIT Council, which oversees their administration. They have a common admission process for undergraduate admissions, using the Joint Entrance Examination (popularly known as IIT-JEE) to select around 4,000 undergraduate candidates a year. Postgraduate Admissions are done on the basis of the GATE, JMET, JAM and CEED. About 15,500 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students study in the IITs, in addition to research scholars. Source
These institutions are geographically distributed all across India with some what higher concentration in the north. The following interactive map that allows different overlays, pan and zoom options shows their locations on the map.

You can move around the map or change the view of the map by using the control bar on the top left side of the map and by using the satellite and hybrid option to add more information to the map. Also more information is available by clicking on the marker shown in the map.


Click here to View This Map in a full screen mode

The graduates from these sister institutions in general have done well locally in India as well as internationally with US as being one of the main destination.
IIT alumni have achieved success in a variety of professions.[2] Owing to the autonomy of the IITs, these institutes are among those few institutes (the other institutes being National Institutes of Technology or the NITs) in India that offer degrees in technology (B. Tech.) at the undergraduate level as opposed to the Bachelor of Engineering (BE) degrees awarded by most other Indian universities. Most of the IITs were created in early 1950s and 1960s as the Institutes of National Importance through special acts of Indian Parliament. The success of the IITs led to the creation of the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIIT) in the late 1990s and in the 2000s. Source

A CBS 60 minutes video talks about IIT's

The two videos tell many interesting facts and stories about these institutions of Engineering learning.

Video One



Video Two



IIT graduates were noticed by Scott Adams, who himself is an Engineering graduate for their mental prowess. He uses a cartoon character "Asok", an IIT graduate in his very popular satirical cartoon strip DILBERT

In the strip below Asok has been promoted to project manager from the lowly intern position. He boasts about his mental prowess simultaneously displaying a low emotional intelligence quotient.

Dilbert.comSeptemebr 15,2003

The next day's strip builds on the same theme

Dilbert.com

and it is now February 1,2009 Asok has survived in his job and has mellowed considerably. He has learned how not to boast about his superior mental abilities to function within corporate culture while the company is going down hill financially under severe recession.

Dilbert.com

Recently he fell for a management trick from his pointy hair boss

Dilbert.com

Asok providing his brief bio

Dilbert.com

A Talk on Technology and Society by Neil Postman

Neil Postman (March 8, 1931 - October 5, 2003) was an American author, media theorist and cultural critic, who is best known by the general public for his 1985 book about television, Amusing Ourselves to Death. For more than forty years, he was associated with New York University. Postman was a humanist, who believed that "new technology can never substitute for human values." [1]

source

Part 1



Part 2



Part 3



Part 4



Part 5



Part 6



Part 7

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Which is Harder and Get Paid More? Management or Engineering | You Decide..

A Class in Management










An Example of One of the First class in Engineering












Poll Which One is Harder

Now Guess who gets Paid More in the long run

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Misery | Why people Hate Work

View more presentations from enjoywork.org.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Scary Russian Side



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Video of Metrodome Roof collapse | Roof of Metrodome, football stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota collapses under Heavy Snow. December 12, 2010

Roof of Metrodome, football stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota collapses under Heavy Snow. December 12, 2010




Aftermath of the collapse of the roof. Please use the play button located at the bootom left to play the video.




Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dolphins Hunting in Denmark Дельфины

Some pictures are too graphic

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Structures | Stadiums around the world | Futuristic Structures around the world | Structural Engineering

The following presentation uses prezi a new type of presentation software.

Please watch an introduction here http://prezi.com/index/ to learn how to naviagte a prezi presentatioon and use this software to create presentations. Also best viewed by switching to full screen mode by using the icon located at the bottom left of the presentation.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Harvard’s Must-Have Guide To Social Media

Social Media
Nicholas Lamphere of the @HarvardSocial (as seen on Edudemic many moons ago!) group at Harvard University is teaching a course on social media and has just made his first presentation slideshow available to the public. It’s embedded below and well worth scrolling through. Nicholas knows what he’s talking about and has touched on all the important aspects of social media.
Source

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