×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google Snaps Up Stats Tool from Swedish Charity

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the at-least-he's-rich-in-spirit dept.

Google 106

paulraps writes "A stats program that began as a teaching aid for a university lecture has just been bought by Google for an undisclosed sum. The statistics tool, Trendalyzer, was developed by a professor and his son at Stockholm's Karolinska Institute. Unfortunately for the developers, the project has been run under the auspices of a charity, Gapminder, and financed over the last seven years by public money. Maybe that seemed smart at the time, but the professor, admitting that he won't see a dime of Google's cash, now seems regretful. As for what Google has purchased: 'Public organizations around the world invest 20 billion dollars a year producing different kinds of statistics. Until now, nobody has thought of collecting all the information in the same place. That should be possible with Trendalyzer, which will be able to present that quantity of data in a clear way as well as giving the user the ability to compare many different kinds of information.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

106 comments

huh... (1, Insightful)

linguizic (806996) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395915)

No one seems to care about this enough to even be the first troll.

Re:huh... (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395979)

.....you are right, i tried to come up with something.... i just could not do it..... let me try

Google is buying non profit orgs.... must make them evil!!!.....nah nah ok

I for one welcome our non profit buying overlords! .......

that works a little better..... on a serious note, all the developers who were working on this for free are now kicking themselves

Re:huh... (0, Troll)

linguizic (806996) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396045)

I don't know how many times I refreshed this page waiting for comments, so I decided to be the first to comment on how there weren't any comments. BTW, it's "overloards", forget what your spell checker thinks it is.

Re:huh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18397427)

>>BTW, it's "overloards", forget what your spell checker thinks it is.

Uhm... no, it is "overlords".

Ouch (0, Redundant)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395919)

Maybe that seemed smart at the time, but the professor, admitting that he won't see a dime of Google's cash, now seems regretful.

Major bummer.

Re:Ouch (1, Offtopic)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395961)

He wouldn't have made much money, anyway. Everyone knows that the real money is in providing a service for fourteen year old girls to shake their half naked asses in a camera for paedophiles to watch so they can target them with advertising for used schoolgirl panties and long-range cameras and binoculars from The Sharper Image catalog. Google will pay you a couple billion for that.

Re:Ouch (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396669)

Heh if you think pedophiles are interested in 14 year old girls, I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Any Regrets? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396381)

Guess he just got beheaded by the other edge of giving your software away, huh?

At least he can be content to know that Google will be the bestest, most very perfect company ever, since they come right out and say, at every opportunity, that their policy is "don't be evil".

And since they say they won't be evil, we know they can't be lying! (Please ignore how they help totalitarian right-wing regimes to identify people who speak out against them, and empower governments to clamp down on free speech)

Wait a minute.. (3, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396861)

Is the bad guy the one that bought the software? Or the one that sold it? It's not like anyone was forced to do anything against their will.

And how did this software get under the control of the non-profit? Is the prof getting a salary from them?

That the summary says Google "snapped up" the software seems to suggest that Google snatched it out of their hands or something. I've got a feeling that money changed hands somewhere along the line. Somebody got paid, and I'm betting it was a bundle. Anybody who's smart enough to write an important bit of software ought be able to read a contract before he signs it. And if he thought that just because an organization is non-profit it means that it's not looking to get a pile of cash then maybe he's been vacationing on Pluto for the past few decades or doesn't read the business section of the newspaper. If he didn't write the software to make money, then he shouldn't cry because he didn't make money. If he wanted to make money from his software, then he should have asked a few questions before releasing the project.

I'm among the most anti-big corporation commentors around here, but I'm more intrigued by what's not in this article as by what's there. I'm not ready to hang an evil jacket on Google just for buying something that was for sale.

Re:Wait a minute.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18399453)

Dude! get with the times!
We're hating Google now.. or something..

Ulterior Motives (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395943)

'Public organizations around the world invest 20 billion dollars a year producing different kinds of statistics. Until now, nobody has thought of collecting all the information in the same place. That should be possible with Trendalyzer, which will be able to present that quantity of data in a clear way as well as giving the user the ability to compare many different kinds of information.'"
Of course people have thought of collecting all of that information in one single place. Just because none of the services have achieved such massive market share that they essentially did collect all of the stats around the world doesn't mean that wasn't and isn't their goal.

Google, I dig you for now, but I'm not really sure that I care for the idea of having google own nearly all of the search data for every search done by every individual around the planet in the history of google and beyond combined with all of the world-wide traffic analysis data.

And as someone who would be targeted for this service -- why would I bother? There are plenty of free open source utilities out there that provide every ounce of data you could ever want and they're incredibly easy to configure and deploy.

No, the benefit here seems to be less for the end-users deploying the service and more for whoever google then turns around and sells the massive amounts of correlated information to. For instance, let's see every bit of data about a specific user so we can see everything from each search he does to his entire browsing trail. Bet we could sell that for a lot of money!

Hopefully you will still have a simple way as a user to prevent google from collecting this information just like you can do with their stupid Urchin service (by blocking it). And, sadly, people will still continue to use this new service because they'll sell out their mother's medical history and offer up a sample of their own blood and cholesterol ratings if it means getting something "for free".

Re:Ulterior Motives (5, Informative)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396359)

No, the benefit here seems to be less for the end-users deploying the service and more for whoever google then turns around and sells the massive amounts of correlated information to. For instance, let's see every bit of data about a specific user so we can see everything from each search he does to his entire browsing trail. Bet we could sell that for a lot of money!
You've got it backwards...statistics aren't useful when you zoom in to focus on individuals, they're useful when you zoom out to focus on groups. Marketing is rarely about selling to an individual, but to selling to masses. Individuals have too many quirks and preferences to make per-individual marketing efforts worthwhile. Why spend all that effort to gaurantee a sale to one individual, when you can spend the same amount to sell to two or three persent of a group of a few thousand?

"Targeted" advertisements are still group-based efforts. Your individual browsing history is only valuable up to the point where you can be lumped into a marketing stereotype.

About ten years ago, I went online searching for prices on printer ribbons for an IBM Proprinter II. The email address I supplied one website is still receiving spam from that one encounter, not for Proprinter ribbons, not for dot matrix supplies, but for inkjets and toner cartridges. I got lumped into a "shops for printer supplies online" marketing group; nobody's ever sent me an offer for supplies for my Proprinter II. (Though, once he found out I had a use for it, a guy handed me a box of 8.5"x11" tractor feed paper yesterday.)

But get the groups down to enough detail... (1)

patio11 (857072) | more than 7 years ago | (#18398653)

... and you've got something going. I know exactly where my most effective PPC ads (Google/MSN) are for my small business: my Perfect Customer is

* late 20s/early 30s
* female
* elementary school teacher
* teaches English/ESL
* looking for an activity for teaching sight words
* needs it for this Friday
* searching during either her lunch hour, a prep period, or from home after she puts the kids to bed

I sell Bingo Card Creator (http://www.bingocardcreator.com), which conveniently has sight words bingo built into it. There are perhaps 100 people in the country who fit my Perfect Customer profile in any given week and I sell to about 3-4 of them.

Not that I'd do it, because its creepy, but if there were some way I could send a message to every one of my Perfect Customers on Tuesday saying "Are you too busy this week? I've got your Friday lesson done already. $24.95 and you'll be done in 3 minutes.", oh boy, the things I could do with that.

(P.S. What a wonderful age we live in where a small businessman like me can get hyper-targetted advertising for less than $100 a month, and KNOW it to be effective at driving sales.)

Re:But get the groups down to enough detail... (1)

jotok (728554) | more than 7 years ago | (#18400859)

Just out of curiosity, what does "Perfect" mean in this case? "Most likely to buy?"

Do you have any idea why gender and need ("by this Friday") are such important factors, or are these simply the results of your data collection?

Do you have enough data to tell how much of an influence each variable is on demand? Can you say, for example, that a female with all of those attributes is twice as likely to buy as a male with the same attributes, or a 50-year-old teacher is 1/10th as likely to buy as a 25-year-old teacher?

Just wonderin'.

Re:Ulterior Motives (1)

gfreeman (456642) | more than 7 years ago | (#18401163)

Individuals have too many quirks and preferences to make per-individual marketing efforts worthwhile.

Google have made their billions based on the idea of per-individual marketing. Amazon have grasped the "long tail" firmly and are still around to sell books that I would like, not neccessarily those that the larger public would want.

I see this as another feather to Google's cap, one that they can make wads of cash from, selling not only individuals' clicks, but also the generic trends too. Google is becoming a marketing juggernaut and I think that only two things can stop them: 1) overextending into non-marketing areas and getting severely burned, 2) something better comes along and Google gets overtaken.

I can't see 2) happening anytime soon, and even a risky Viacom legal case may not hurt that much if Google loses.

Google looks to be a good long term bet for investors.

Re:Ulterior Motives (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18401299)

But Trendalyzer won't help with per-individual marketing, it's a statistical aggregation and analysis tool. When you're talking about individuals, you're talking case studies, not statistics.

Re:Ulterior Motives (1)

drix (4602) | more than 7 years ago | (#18397667)

I feel the same way about Google as you: part fanboy, part creeped out. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say. And don't forget that once upon a time, none other than Microsoft was also considered a dynamic up-and-comer which employed a lot of young, smart idealists with a radically different vision of how the world should work (or some I'm told, for I was nary a twinkle in my father's eye at the time.) Twenty years can make a lot of difference.

Anyways, I was just thinking the other day about what a potential Google competitor might look like. At this point, I think it's safe to say that no one is going to beat Google at its own game: free. Google is, and will always be, a damn good and free purveyor of information. It's a noble ideal, but in practice one which delves into some serious moral gray areas, as we're increasingly realizing. So that got me thinking: what if someone offered subscription-based search? Figure Google can't possibly be monetizing the search side for more than a buck or two per user per month. Charge that plus a little extra and it is still very nominal. What would you get in return for your $5 a month? First, no ads. Second, a pledge that your personal data would never be saved, analyzed or sold. I'd pay that in a heartbeat.

Re:Ulterior Motives (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18397791)

Google, I dig you for now, but I'm not really sure that I care for the idea of having google own nearly all of the search data for every search done by every individual around the planet in the history of google and beyond combined with all of the world-wide traffic analysis data.

It's heresy, I know, but perhaps Google is beginning to deserve a borg icon?

Re:Ulterior Motives (1)

shadow349 (1034412) | more than 7 years ago | (#18400171)

It's heresy, I know, but perhaps Google is beginning to deserve a borg icon?

Given the attitude of the general public to Google, I think it would be apt to make it the Emperor from Star Wars:

"This is how [the internet] dies. With thunderous applause..."

So we can look forward to more accurately.. (0, Offtopic)

Channard (693317) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395951)

.. targeted Google Ads! Hurrah! Oh, wait, I already use Opera to block them anyway... still, I guess this'll prove useful to actually putting ads up that vaguely interest people.

Re:So we can look forward to more accurately.. (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396001)

I personally weigh the obnoxiousness of ads against the quality of a site. Too much crap, like flash-ads with noise/
huge waste of space, and I block it. If they're friendly little links and actually interesting stuff, I let them be.
Few sites survive the crap-test, since I'm an intolerant asshole :/

But oh, so nice it is once the ads are gone - you can actually see content then :)

Re:So we can look forward to more accurately.. (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396055)

I personally block all advertisements, period. I don't care about people justifying the need for ads and how I'm "stealing" if I don't watch the ads on a site. I remember a time when people ran services like BBSes (which could require quite a large personal investment at times) because they enjoyed it. Not because they could make a bunch of money, be the next famous internet-whore. They understood a project was probably going to cost them money rather than make them money and they didn't care.

Now it seems that if you don't offer advertising and you don't make money off it, there is somehow no reason to be bothered with it. I offer a service and have for almost a decade now and I've spent about $30k on it. No ads. No fees. No nothing. It's a service. I love providing it. It's enjoyable. Could I make money on it? Sure. Have companies offered me a lot of money to buy it from me? Yeah. Will I sell it? Fuck no. What's the point of the web if it's just reduced to one giant market?

2400 baud, and I feel fine. (3, Funny)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396403)

Ah...so you remember when the Internet was an educational and military tool, back before it took off?

Back before Google, or even Yahoo. Back when a T1 cost $1500/mo or more, making entry in to the ISP business difficult. Back before multimedia content (shareware games) pushed your average home user's bandwidth above 2400 baud.

Yeah, commercialization of the Internet really destroyed its value.

Re:2400 baud, and I feel fine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18398713)

I know you're trying to be funny, but I'm not so sure your as funny as you think.

For all the massive bandwidth we have today (relatively speaking) what is it USED for? I would argue the crap/(useful+worthwhile) ratio is MUCH worse today than it was back in the "old days" and the majority of that information does not require massive bandwidth (particularly if lean, non-bloated formats are used to transmit it.)

For things that DO take bandwidth, buying inexpensive CDs for a few bucks would surely be cheaper than laying broadband across a country.

Massive bandwidth has greatly increased the commercial and entertainment potential of the internet, but what with blogging, viruses, spam, and general noise I'd say there are some pretty serious tradeoffs as well. Sometimes it's nice to be too niche to be worth attacking, and the very early internet had a sort of "by the people for the people" quality to it.

Oh, well. On the whole I suppose it's still a plus.

Re:So we can look forward to more accurately.. (2, Funny)

bitt3n (941736) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396537)

I offer a service and have for almost a decade now and I've spent about $30k on it.

$30K? ouch. I was spending that kind of money on my web service also, until I managed to negotiate a volume discount with the escort service I use. I even had enough money left over to buy a much better webcam, and a professional-grade fireman costume.

Re:So we can look forward to more accurately.. (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396141)

On that topic, I used to permit Google Ads because they were generally high quality, targeted ads. However, lately they have become "[target] sucks! Try [product]!" I don't like my ads telling me what products suck. For instance, in a conversation thread in my gmail account about the Tango icons has an ad in it right now: "Are Tango icons too bloated? Try [product] icons". I see almost identical ads in OpenOffice.org threads, "OpenOffice slow and bloated? Try [crappy competing office product] free for 7 days".

That's BS in my book, so I blocked them, too.

Re:So we can look forward to more accurately.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396639)

All ads just keep getting worse. They constantly get more anoying and take away more and more from the site. Many sites keep jamming even more ads into their site to the point where it's not even worth bothering with. IE, sites that split up an article to 10 pages each with 30+ ads and a paragraph of text each page...

Because of this, I run Adblock+ and use EasyList. Whenever an ad slips through, I manually block it.

I agree with you about Google ads. They used to be nice, and I've actually bought stuff through those ads, which I've never done through traditional ads. Still, though, Google ads has been on a very fast decline. This is why I now block them as well.

What does it do? (5, Informative)

dour power (764750) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395967)

Neither article nor summary explain what Trendalyzer actually does. The animated mapping of stats at http://tools.google.com/gapminder [google.com] is a little more illustrative.

Re:What does it do? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396025)

If by illustrative, you mean that it conveys absolutely no explanation of what it is but it doesn't do so with a very shiny flash interface thingy, then yes. Illustrative . . . but not informative.

I think we all presumed it was some sort of web data collecting tool. But maybe it's about collecting random stats like the political party makeup of each country and how many people in each country own what kind of car or have a certain carbon footprint. But who knows. Either way, that is hardly new either. As for "collecting public data" in that regard, Google is completely off base in suggesting that hasn't ever been thought of before. It's called the CIA Factbook and you've been able to access it online as long as there has been a web.

Re:What does it do? (4, Interesting)

ghoti (60903) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396131)

This has nothing at all to do with the CIA World Factbook. This is not just about collecting data (which it does, of course, and more data over longer time than the Factbook), but about understanding the world through that data. A collection of data is worthless if it isn't used to figure out how to help people in Africa, for example. Rosling shows very clearly that Africa isn't just starving children, and that development aid therefore must be adapted to the exact population it is for. He also has a lot of interesting things to say about the developments in Asia, how health care and economy are connected, etc.

Don't dismiss this without knowing anything about it.

Re:What does it do? (1)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 7 years ago | (#18397301)

Unfortunately a lot of economic data doesn't appear, such as the various inequity indexes, forgien investment, and road coverage.

Re:What does it do? (5, Informative)

ghoti (60903) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396059)

If you want to know what this is about, watch Hans Rosling's ("the professor") excellent talk [google.com]. This is about bringing lots of data that were collected with public money online so they can actually be used. Rosling uses simple but effective visualization tools (and is a great speaker) to get people interested in the data.

see Rosling demonstrate it himself (3, Interesting)

chriss (26574) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396571)

Rosling gave a 20min presentation of Trendalyzer at the TED 2006 conference [ted.com], using it to debunk some of the prejudices we have about the world. Turns out chimpanzees beat swedish professors when making claims about the world. Worth watching, as are many of the presentations at TEDtalks [ted.com].

Re:see Rosling demonstrate it himself (1)

coastwalker (307620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18397509)

Excellent video.

Prof Rosling gives an entertaining lecture and casually explains the state of the world today with a few animated visualization tools - fabulous stuff. His personal mission seems to be to enable the connection of masses of statistics available all over the world to his neat visualization tool set to help the world 'see'. That is to help anyone who is interested study numerical data from public domain databases be they entrepreneurs or academics. Rock on tommy!

Google gets its slice of the action because they can give it to their own staff to look at their own business. They also get a lot of kudos for the public service of giving us more meaningful access to numbers as well as the text on the internet.

The visualization tool isn't a trivial piece of work, it may not take much horsepower to implement these days but the methodology of displaying sets of three axis data on a single page is quite simply brilliant. You can put your copy of Minitab where the sun don't shine as far as I am concerned, what we need are better ways of developing hypothesis - finding the right questions - not a better test of statistical significance. Theres no point having a great way of working out the answer if we haven't got a clue what the question is.

You can tell that I am jumping up and down with excitement having seen this. Well its made my day, I cant wait to play with the results - and to ask our programmers at work if they can knock up a graphing tool to display my business data in the same way. (I bet they cant easily - if there are any of you out there who think this whole thing is trivial)

A nice visualization tool (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399423)

Probably not something Google has paid billions of dollars for.

It crams five axes into a single window, using the "usual" two (x & y) axes, plus color, size and animation for the other three axes. Works fine when you use something size related for size, time for animation, and something discrete for color, as in the example.

Re:What does it do? (1)

Polly_Morf (868942) | more than 7 years ago | (#18401221)

It is a really intresting site. An example is: the "contraceptive prevalence" i nUSA fell with 12% in the US between 95 and 99. As I am full of prejudice towards the US I wan't to belive that this is some US conservative-right-wing-scheme...

Developers (3, Insightful)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395973)

From the Gapminder site [gapminder.org]:

We believe that Google's acquisition of Trendalyzer will speed up the achievement of this noble goal. Trendalyzer's developers have left Gapminder to join Google in Mountain View, where Google intends to improve and scale up Trendalyzer, and make it freely available to those who seek access to statistics.


To me, this seems to imply that the professor and his son were the original developers, not the maintainers. Or perhaps just his son is going to Google?

Re:Developers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18397141)

It plainly says so right here on Slashdot as well..

Hopefully they'll hire him (1)

1mck (861167) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396005)

The professor will probably get money from them later on when Google wants to upgrade it, or is having problems with it. When Google wasn't interested in putting out the Google Tool bar for Fire Fox, there were some guys that made their own, and then all of a sudden Google saw the light switch on, and develop their version. I wrote to them about making sure that these guys were compensated in some way for their hard work, and I also wrote to the developers about what I did, and they stated that they really weren't interested in making sure that Google compensated them, but apparently Google did get in touch with them, and for the longest time there was a link to the alternative tool bar on the Google site. I'm not sure if they did in fact compensate them for all of their hard work or not, but if Google wants to live up to it's motto of "Don't be Evil," then perhaps they could at least put the professor on a retainer to help with further development...I would...why not, eh? He's the guy that actually wrote it, so he'd be the go to guy for any further developments, or bugs:-)

Re:Hopefully they'll hire him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396169)

I wouldn't be surprised if Google sends some cash the professor's way, for PR purposes if nothing else. Even $10 million US would be chump change as far as Google is concerned.

So this is what the world is coming to... any nifty piece of software out there that does something worthwhile and unique is bound to be snapped up by one of the big vendors. Now if nonprofits want to use this software, they'll have to deal with Google and accept their conditions, which could mean loss of privacy of their data, among other things. Google is rapidly becoming a "clickstream monopolist". "Don't be evil" means to Google the same thing that "Innovative" means to Microsoft - whatever their top management chooses it to mean.

Re:Hopefully they'll hire him (1)

1mck (861167) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396227)

I don't know if they have become that which we all loathe as of yet. It is my hope that they don't become that, but hey with all that cash, and power, they'll probably succumb to the old adage of "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." We'll have to wait to see what transpires. Fingers crossed

Re:Hopefully they'll hire him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18399831)

Don't worry too much. I think in a couple of years, search engines will be open source, running in a distributed manner on everybody's computer, using only spare cycles. No more advertising, biased search results, "black box" magic, etc.
And everybody can use the nice API's provided by the software.
Now, I don't know if anybody is already working on such a project. However, I think it will become a reality anyway.

Re:Hopefully they'll hire him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396257)

How is their record on hiring developers of "free" code? Curious if they will or can set this code "free". Of course then there is the point brought up by another poster here, if this code was paid for by public funds, why isn't it part of the public domain?

sure, like everyone would love to work for google (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396647)

Most people don't care about working for Google. Many people prefer to have freedom and ownership of their own ideas and developments instead of becoming code monkey #12,000 in a large media corporation.

Nobody thought about it before? (1)

conradov (1026760) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396015)

Until now, nobody has thought of collecting all the information in the same place
That sounds a bit unlikely... In fact, I know a lot of people who did.

Re:Nobody thought about it before? (2, Interesting)

neerolyte (878983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18397049)

Apparently Zonk didn't look into the article much.
Check out This video [google.com] as can be found on one of Zonk's links. [gapminder.org]
The idea is NOT to collect all the data of the world centrally, it is to link to the pre-existing data and display it in a useful way. The software looks incredibly innovative, I doubt there is anything similar for two reasons (1) Google wouldn't' have bought it (2) TV stations here in Australia would be showing trends with the software just as they now show various parts of the earth with Google Earth.

If this was developed with public money... (4, Insightful)

ciggieposeur (715798) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396057)

...why isn't it already in the public domain?

Re:If this was developed with public money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396185)

Your tax return was produced and processed by public money. Why can I not see it?
 

Re:If this was developed with public money... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396339)

Your tax return was produced and processed by public money. Why can I not see it?

Because it would be a violation of privacy.

Re:If this was developed with public money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396243)

During the short pause while we wait for one of our many Swedish constitutional lawyers to answer your question, could you give us any insight into why you think it would be in the public domain? Seems to me that in order to use it, Google have had to contribute to the causes that the public funds were intended to benefit. That's good, right? What's the counterargument?

Re:If this was developed with public money... (4, Interesting)

ciggieposeur (715798) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396533)

could you give us any insight into why you think it would be in the public domain?

The law regarding software and publicly-funded inventions has not always been as it is now. It used to be the case that most significant publicly-funded software HAD to be in the public domain, which AFAIK is why we have the BSD license today. Also witness early versions of Gaussian (quantum chemistry).

These days lots of 100% publicly-funded software is not automatically released to the public domain but instead held ransom by the author or university with a separate license permitting unlimited government use. This directly affects me: essentially ALL of the current quantum chemistry code that produces publishable results is no longer free for everyone to use. Though most programs come with source (the have to for some of the systems we need to run it on), their license restrictions are very onerous for developers: only the PI can register to download it, or it costs 5000 euros per seat, or it cannot be ported to other platforms, etc. One program even revokes licenses from academics who use competing software in the same domain! And this almost ALL software written by tenured professors and their graduate students funded from government grants.

I think we all did much better with the old formula. University-developed code should be available for everyone to use, even if that means someone can later come along and compete with a closed-source version.

I'm curious if the Swedish system more closely resembles the current USA system or the old USA system.

Re:If this was developed with public money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18398665)

Perhaps there's a way to fight back.

However closed the software is, the algorithms themselves cannot be copyrighted and they MUST be published in order for them to be trusted.

A group of scientists wanting to reverse the trend could take the existing work and build it into such a firm foundation that it would be silly NOT to use it - and then release it under the GPL or whatever license is appropriate.

Make the price for AVOIDING freedom too high (academically at least).

Re:If this was developed with public money... (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396277)

Why isn't the software that manages your medical history public domain, given that the public healthcare system funded it. That said, why isn't that medical history itself public domain? While we're on that, why am I not able to walk into a public library and read your driver's license, birth records, marriage records, medical history, criminal records, and so forth? Oh, that's right, because being funded by public money does NOT automatically entail public ownership.

Re:If this was developed with public money... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396307)

why am I not able to walk into a public library and read your driver's license, birth records, marriage records, medical history, criminal records, and so forth?

Lack of 1337 skillz, of course.

Re:If this was developed with public money... (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396423)

Why isn't the software that manages your medical history public domain, given that the public healthcare system funded it.

True. That should be too.

That said, why isn't that medical history itself public domain? While we're on that, why am I not able to walk into a public library and read your driver's license, birth records, marriage records, medical history, criminal records, and so forth?

Actually, a lot of that winds up in court records, at least here in the US. You can walk in and read any public court records that you like, with certain restrictions on classified information and children and the like.

Oh, that's right, because being funded by public money does NOT automatically entail public ownership.

I think the point is that unless necessary to protect security or privacy, it probably should be public. Certainly, there isn't a particularly compelling argument why software tools like this shouldn't be made public. And with certain things, like drug patents developed entirely with public money, one could argue a moral imperative that it be accessible and usable by anyone. Most software doesn't rise to that level, but now Sweden has funded the development of a piece of software which is now exclusively at the whims of an American company, in exchange for some paltry income. Was the software developed to be an income source, or to help people?

Re:If this was developed with public money... (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396771)

Why isn't the software that manages your medical history public domain, given that the public healthcare system funded it.

True. That should be too.
No. It shouldn't. The potential damage that could occur with random Joe Q Public having access to the entire methodology behind the storage of people's most private data, without even the legal protection of an NDA is just... astronomical. I think the poster of the root of this particular thread is just another of those anti-copyright zealots who think that every single thing developed should be public domain.

That said, I'll address somne of your other points as well, since I do agree with some. With the drug patents, they certainly should not be allowed to be stonewalled into a proprietry drug and never seen again. Arguably, I think drug patents in general are ridiculous - a better approach would be for a government agency to own ALL drug patents, and fund companies in research toward new ones. From there, the companies would be permitted, say, 2 years of exclusivity, but with a maximum fixed price for the sale of the product (drug companies should NOT be making billions upon billions of dollars, while relatively poor people have no access to medication). I know, nasty communist idea. Addressing the topic at hand, projects which are publically funded should be free to sell out to commercial enterprises, provided their charity's board unanimously agrees, and at least one representative of government interests should be on this board.

Re:If this was developed with public money... (1)

ciggieposeur (715798) | more than 7 years ago | (#18397043)

No. It shouldn't. The potential damage that could occur with random Joe Q Public having access to the entire methodology behind the storage of people's most private data, without even the legal protection of an NDA is just... astronomical.

What kind of damage could Joe Q Public do if they had access to database schema and application code? Medical records are already protected (or so we think) by elaborate security measures, without the proper passwords just having the codebase poses no risk to the data itself. You sound like you are arguing from the same vein that OpenBSD is much more vulnerable because the source is available when history shows the opposite.

I think the poster of the root of this particular thread is just another of those anti-copyright zealots who think that every single thing developed should be public domain.

And I think you're the kind of idiot who over-generalizes someone's entire position from a single question. But then I've got evidence for that opinion.

I know very well the difference between public domain, BSD, GPL, and various closed-source licenses and the reasons people might choose each; I've got my own ~45,000 LOC project out there on Sourceforge licensed under GPL; I've written ~100,000 LOC over the last 5 years for both private employers and government entities; I'm reasonably good about avoiding both video/music and software piracy.

Yet I still think most government grant-funded software should be public domain ala BSD. My research area is currently at the mercy of a dozen or so proprietary programs developed at significant public expense. I want those programs we have all already collectively paid for to be available to the rest of us like they used to be, and I would even be thrilled if several private companies developed competing forks. As it is, we have to tread very carefully to use the programs our colleagues have developed over the last 30 years lest we incur their wrath and lose the ability to publish our results.

See the web site http://www.bannedbygaussian.org/ [bannedbygaussian.org] for an example of this behavior. Ironically enough, one of the people responsible for BannedByGaussian has their own program, NWChem, only available to PIs at http://www.emsl.pnl.gov/docs/nwchem/download.html [pnl.gov] . Two competing programs, one originally funded by government money and now closed source, and the other still government funded but only available to established scientists. Both used in publications, both costing hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money in development, yet neither available for everyone to use as they wish.

Re:If this was developed with public money... (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18397823)

Overgeneralises? Hardly. Although I do throw "zealot" around too much. I like the word, so what. Anyway, back on topic...

You say most government grant funded software should be public domain. How exactly do you decide what fits into the "most" and what fits into the "no" categories? Should that be your decision? In these cases, governments should be weighing the pros and cons of release of information. In the case of the software that manages your medical records, there are no pros to releasing that - even if there isn't a hell of a lot of cons either.

Then, there is the mistake you are making of looking at the government as representative of the public. The reality is that this isn't the case. Once elected, the government does not care about the public. A more appropriate way of looking at this is that if you, say, leased email service from Google, should the source code of the Gmail engine be given to you? After all, it's development is paid for by you.

I work for a government department, and unsurprisingly there is a clause in my contract stating that all code developed for the department becomes the exclusive property of the company. Note that I said company, as the government department is a legitimate, registered, taxpaying company. Crown agency or not, we're treated like a contracted company with a bigger oversight committee.

Re:If this was developed with public money... (1)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399187)

Why isn't the software that manages your medical history public domain, given that the public healthcare system funded it. ...

Actually it already is public domain [vistasoftware.org] (warning for PDF). Or which countries where you talking about? If you don't have it, you can download [hardhats.org] it and set it up.

Re:If this was developed with public money... (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399591)

Public doman
Shhhh, it is, Sweden doesn't want Google to find out until they hand over the check/cheque (delete to suit localised spelling)

Didn't he already get paid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396083)

Unfortunately for the developers, the project has been run under the auspices of a charity, Gapminder, and financed over the last seven years by public money. Maybe that seemed smart at the time, but the professor, admitting that he won't see a dime of Google's cash, now seems regretful. So what about the 7 years they got funded? He developed it using public money, why does he complain?

Re:Didn't he already get paid? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18398319)

He doesn't really complain. He set up the foundation on purpose. The reporter asked him if he would like a couple of billion and he said sure (who wouldn't?)

There is no bad guy in this so called drama.

The object of the Foundation shall be to promote sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by increased use and understanding of statistics and other information about social, economic and environmental development at local, national and global levels.
So not only does the Gapminder foundation, which he started, get money from Google but the tool and data also gets publicity and free hosting.

Besides, he already has a cushy job, tenure at a prestigious medical university as professor in international medicine.

Re:Didn't he already get paid? (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 7 years ago | (#18398391)

professor in international medicine

Internal medicine, perhaps? I'm struggling to think of what international medicine could be other that "diseases of people who travel".

Re:Didn't he already get paid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18399385)

Maybe not.

A Google search for "Professor of International Medicine" returns several results of what I assume are real people.
I'm certainly no expert on fields of medicine but I gather it refers to thinking about medical problems in a wider, international context (ie - knowledge transfer to less-wealthy countries, large-scale disease management etc).

Re:Didn't he already get paid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18400235)

Nope, International medicine, at the ins. of International health, dep. of public health. Public health is a field in it's own right, where most practitioners (but not all) started out as md's before getting further eucation about the society perspective of medical work.

That's why they call it charity (1, Flamebait)

Kohath (38547) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396137)

Someone engages in work for a charity and then doesn't get a big payoff. What's the problem again?

Re:That's why they call it charity (0)

catbutt (469582) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396879)

Maybe that the next person considering doing something for charity will think twice?

That's a rather limited outlook (1)

Solandri (704621) | more than 7 years ago | (#18397871)

Someone engages in work for a charity and then doesn't get a big payoff. What's the problem again?
I suspect most people who donate time/money to a charity do so under the assumption that nobody will get a big payoff from it (unless you consider the beneficiaries of the charity as a whole to have gotten a big payoff). It's the same reason people feel conned when they find out a charity they donated to uses 90% of its received donations to pay for administrative overhead.

Re:That's a rather limited outlook (1)

k8to (9046) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399193)

In this particular case, however, it is not clear (from the article) how the purchase funds will be allocated. Perhaps they too will be spent entirely for actions within the scope of the charity's charter, and thus this becomes yet another way to fulfill their mission efficiently.

I do question the way it smells like the author of the software will no longer be involved with it. That part seems foolish.

Re:That's why they call it charity (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399603)

What's the problem again?
Can't see why this is marked flamebait. It's a valid point - people generally get involved in charity work to be able to help - it's certainly not for the high salary. If it later turns out the charity gets some $$ for their efforts, it doesn't change why that person first signed up.

This is precisely why the GPL happened (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396147)

If the code were GPL'd, you wouldn't have work that was done for charity disappearing into the proprietary maw. That kind of thing makes developers feel ripped off.

OSS is the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396149)

OSS is the future, programmers won't get compensated beyond their paycheck.

So he's got nothing to complain about.

People Do Things For Different Reasons (5, Insightful)

hduff (570443) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396177)

Lot's of people have great ideas that never reach fruition for reasons that have nothing to do with them. And sometimes, those ideas can take off and be promoted for reasons that have nothing to do with them. Often these things offend our sense of fairness.

Yet life is not fair and often people have regrets and indulge in "what if" fantasies.

For something like this, even if the fellow gets no money, he can get publicity and recognition and might be able to leverage that into something to get him more money if that's what he wants.

The past is past and the price for obtaining "justice" and "fairness" can be quite high and more than one should have to pay; you can lose your future doing it.

Learn from the past and develop a plan to move forward and leverage on the lessons learned; the best revenge is always living well.

Re:People Do Things For Different Reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396959)

Sometimes people take a bullet in the head, and it offends our sense of fairness. So should people "just get over it"? Just because society hasn't organized itself to properly account for the myriad of ways technological progress creates new loopholes for assholes to misbehave doesn't mean that those asshats shouldn't have the spotlight shone on their bad behaviour. This is how we learn from and correct these abberations.

Everything you own is the direct result of society collectively deciding the value of your existence. That what society does. This discussion is a small part of how that process works. Get used to it.

Significance levels and missing data (4, Interesting)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396301)

I wrote a primitive version of such a site several years ago which I called Laboratory of the States [laboratory...states.com] since the goal was to gather lots of demographic variables by State and present ecological correlations.

Shortly thereafter, a site called Nation Master [nationmaster.org] cropped up, with a bit flashier and simpler user interface, but focused on CIA World Fact Book data, rather than the States of the US. (The same folks later did State Master [statemaster.org] using similar UI technology.)

Finally, Google tested Gapminder [google.com] with an even spiffier and simpler UI -- again focusing on by Nation correlations.

Aside from the usual complaints about "The Ecological Fallacy" [wikipedia.org] (a fallacy that cuts both ways BTW) there are two big pitfalls for this stuff:

  1. Dealing with missing data.
  2. Estimating statistical significance.
What I did about missing data was simply eliminate any data points where data was missing from one or both of the variables being correlated. This reduces the sample size, hence statistical significance, but it bypasses arguments over what sort of missing data should be used. The Netflix Prize [netflixprize.com] is coming up with really good algorithms to compute missing data efficiently and accurately so maybe there is hope for something more effective here.

Statistical significance is more difficult to deal with. Usually one must look at tables for statistical significance of correlations under the assumption that the variables each follow a normal distribution. Unfortunately, many variables follow polynomial (like squared) or exponential distributions, so you have to do things like take the sqrt or log of one or both of the variables to try to normalize them. However, when you are looking for correlations, sometimes it its the relationship that is polynomial or exponential -- in which case you can apply sqrt or log to get the maximum correlation coefficient at the sacrifice of normality of one or both of the variables. Unfortunately, there is no simple arithmetic formula for calculating the significance level of a correlation given a non-normal distribution -- you can't just plug in the skewness, kurtosis, etc. as well as sample size and correlation coefficient, and get out a valid statistical significance. Therefore it is hard to make good statements about many very important correlations without watering them down to meaninglessness.

Also, a complaint about the "simple" user interfaces:

Some of the worst reporting from news media comes when they refuse to report statistics in terms remotely related to anything meaningful -- for example you will frequently hear statements to the effect that "California has the most orange trees in the nation." or some such. Such statistics are nonsense for the purposes of correlation studies since the size of the ecology (California state) is all you are really measuring with such statements. You have to divide by the population or divide by the total GDP or something to rationalize the ecology against other ecologies.

In Laboratory of the States, I did this with all my variables but I also left the raw variables around and allowed people to do arithmetic on them -- like dividing them -- to get their own rational comparisons if for some reason my choices were not adequate. This problem isn't as bad with Gapminder as it is with Nation Master and State Master -- but Gapminder has vastly fewer variables.

Also, doing addition and subtraction are valuable as well. For instance, even though geographic distribution within a State ecology is broken down ad rural, suburban and inner city, I can synthesize non-rural population with the simple expression:

InnerCityPercapita1990+SuburbanPercapita1990 [laboratory...states.com]

You can't do this with the other systems and this really bothers me because there are many many cases where you want to synthesize some sort of demography they don't compute for you already.

Finally, the reason I stated into this project circa 2002 was because for several years I had been trying to figure out something to do about the very lame work going on with autism epidemiology so I started where many epidemiological studies start: by gathering ecological correlations. My goal was to come up with some rank order of ecological correlations that would let me test various hypotheses of autism causation using quantitative comparison (sometimes called "strong inference"). Yes, such ecological correlations are very preliminary but they do justify further investment if you find your predicted correlations coming out on top. Well, I was able to come up with my rank ordered list of correlations with autism [laboratory...states.com] but when I looked at State Master, they seemed willing to present rank ordered correlations with everything but autism [statemaster.com]! Seems they're scared of that variable for some reason. Or maybe they just forgot to compute the correlations for it. This sort of selective presentation of correlations -- deliberate or accidental -- is very dangerous for really obvious reasons.

Re:Significance levels and missing data (1)

N7DR (536428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396897)

Unfortunately, there is no simple arithmetic formula for calculating the significance level of a correlation given a non-normal distribution -- you can't just plug in the skewness, kurtosis, etc. as well as sample size and correlation coefficient, and get out a valid statistical significance.

True, but isn't that what rank correlations are for? Sure, they aren't as efficient as the Pearson (or similar) correlations, but their strength is precisely that that don't rely on questionable assumptions of normalcy.

Watch out for data dredging (1)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396931)

The problem with relying on rank ordered correlations alone for significance testing is the data dredging fallacy. Just by random chance a certain number of correlations with a given distribution will have a certain level of correlation. Frequently you can rely on the other correlations to give you an idea of the "random" distribution of such correlations but really to do it properly you must generate a bunch of random correlations where the variables have the kind of non-normality you want to test for significance and then see how that "Monte Carlo" sample looks. It's a real pain.

How do you use this? (1)

OldBaldGuy (734575) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396433)

Nice pictures. Lets me look at data they have cooked. Lots of nifty chartjunk http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chartjunk [wikipedia.org]. I seem to have missed the link that lets me enter my own data. Does anybody have a pointer to that?

Re:How do you use this? (3, Interesting)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396539)

Actually, this is the antithesis of chartjunk.

It's also not as new as people are making it out to be, besides being a variant of a scatter plot,
they've been around for awhile. To murder a quote from Hamlet:

There are more things in infographic design, OldBaldGuy, Than are dreamt of by Microsoft Excel.

Re:How do you use this? (1)

OldBaldGuy (734575) | more than 7 years ago | (#18398285)

Let's agree to disagree on the chartjunk. The Gapminder figures have a great wow factor, but I find their plots to be rather noisy when trying to understand the data.

I prefer tools like Ggobi http://www.ggobi.org/ [ggobi.org], its predecessor XGobi http://www.research.att.com/areas/stat/xgobi/ [att.com] or commercial products like SAS' insight or jmp. I'm sure there are others. They allow you to tour and manipulate the data through linked plots and displays and selectively turn on and off elements.

Re:How do you use this? (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396593)

You need to wait until Jumbo Wales develops Wikichart - THE best way to monitor and cross-reference elephant population through time.

Bork (0, Redundant)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396439)

Bork, bork, bork!

Re:Bork (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18396607)

Not to be a party pooper, but that joke ceased to be funny about 10 years ago. Why are most highly rated comments some variation on this theme whenever there is a story about some Swedish matter? It's just like the most highly rated comments are variations on the "surrender monkey" theme whenever there is a story about some French matter. In short, I guess what I'm asking is why it is impossible to discuss any non-American political matter here seriously.

I understand that nobody really believes people in Swedish says "bork bork" all the time, but it is nonetheless highly detrimental to civilized debate to constantly bring it up. As a Swede it makes me sad that people are content with rereading the same old tired joke over and over instead of actually taking an interest in what the story is about. Stereotypes are harmful whether people actually take them seriously or not.

How do you think you would react if Slashdot was a Swedish site and every comment thread to a story about American politics consisted solely of references to some obscure decade-old character on a Swedish children's show who had absolutely nothing to do with anything American and whose famous tagline doesn't even mean anything in your language? That's what it's like to us. Most people here have no idea who the "Swedish chef" is, presumably because he was called something else in translation (I don't remember).

Lest you get the wrong idea here: I'm no raging patriot, and I'm not offended by these jokes -- that would be silly. I am, however, saddened by people apparently taking so little interest in what's going on here, even when it's something very important (as the current topic), that they prefer fratboy humor to taking a couple of minutes to educate themselves and offer interesting commentary.

(Repost [slashdot.org])

Re:Bork (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18397587)

You claim you are Swedish, but your post seems to be missing something, so I have trouble believing you.

Tranlated for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18397857)

Maxume said:

You claim you are Swedish, but your post seems to be missing something, so I have trouble believing you.
Here ya go:

Nut tu be-a a perty puuper, boot thet juke-a ceesed tu be-a foonny ebuoot 10 yeers egu. Vhy ere-a must heeghly reted cumments sume-a fereeeshun oon thees zeeme-a vhenefer zeere-a is a stury ebuoot sume-a Svedeesh metter? It's joost leeke-a zee must heeghly reted cumments ere-a fereeeshuns oon zee "soorrender munkey" zeeme-a vhenefer zeere-a is a stury ebuoot sume-a French metter. In shurt, I gooess vhet I'm eskeeng is vhy it is impusseeble-a tu deescooss uny nun-Emereecun puleeticel metter here-a sereeuoosly.

I understund thet nubudy reelly beleeefes peuple-a in Svedeesh seys "bork bork" ell zee teeme-a, boot it is nunezeeless heeghly detreementel tu ceefilized debete-a tu cunstuntly breeng it up. Es a Svede-a it mekes me-a sed thet peuple-a ere-a cuntent veet rereedeeng zee seme-a oold tured juke-a oofer und oofer insteed ooff ectooelly tekeeng un interest in vhet zee stury is ebuoot. Stereutypes ere-a hermffool vhezeer peuple-a ectooelly teke-a zeem sereeuoosly oor nut.

Hoo du yuoo theenk yuoo vuoold reect iff Sleshdut ves a Svedeesh seete-a und ifery cumment threed tu a stury ebuoot Emereecun puleetics cunseested sulely ooff refferences tu sume-a oobscoore-a decede-a-oold cherecter oon a Svedeesh cheeldren's shoo vhu hed ebsulootely nutheeng tu du veet unytheeng Emereecun und vhuse-a femuoos tegleene-a duesn't ifee meun unytheeng in yuoor lungooege-a? Thet's vhet it's leeke-a tu us. Must peuple-a here-a hefe-a nu idea vhu zee "Svedeesh cheff" is, presoomebly becoose-a he-a ves celled sumetheeng ilse-a in trunsleshun (I dun't remember).

Lest yuoo get zee vrung idea here-a: I'm nu regeeng petreeut, und I'm nut ooffffended by zeese-a jukes -- thet vuoold be-a seelly. I em, hooefer, seddened by peuple-a epperently tekeeng su leettle-a interest in vhet's gueeng oon here-a, ifee vhee it's sumetheeng fery impurtunt (es zee coorrent tupeec), thet zeey preffer fretbuy hoomur tu tekeeng a cuoople-a ooff meenootes tu idoocete-a zeemselfes und ooffffer interesteeng cummentery.

Hans Rosling and Trendalyzer video from TAD 2006 (3, Informative)

chriss (26574) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396521)

I think one has to see Rosling work with Trendalyzer to appreciate what that piece of software can do. He got standing ovations for his presentation at the TED conference in 2006 [ted.com]. Very cool.

Hans Rosling is professor of international health at Sweden's world-renowned Karolinska Institute, and founder of Gapminder, a non-profit that brings vital global data to life. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, he debunks a few myths about the "developing" world.[from the TED site]

Wrong license? (2, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18396851)

If it was GPL, then we all could have benefitted from it, not just Google.

Re:Wrong license? (3, Interesting)

mieses (309946) | more than 7 years ago | (#18397917)

They thank the community, but provide no source code:
http://osflash.org/pipermail/osflash_osflash.org/2 006-September/011238.html [osflash.org]

Gapminder appears to be made from mostly open source code:

"mtasc, hamtasc, swfmill, eclipse, swftools, Flash Javascript Integration kit (right now using SWFObject) are some of the tools we've used."
The design solutions are unique but the code that was developed seems trivial. Why not open source it? Perhaps the university calculated that selling to google for a small(?) sum was worth more in publicity than open sourcing the project. too bad.

Always thought statistics was boring.. (3, Informative)

vasanth (908280) | more than 7 years ago | (#18397193)

I always thought statistics was boring but the video by the prof http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2670820702 819322251 [google.com] really intrigued me, statistics makes so much sense when presented properly... the numbers not only make sense but also explains their relation with other statistics giving a much broader view.. I'm sure a tool like this would be a boon to decision makers...

Re:Always thought statistics was boring.. (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399649)

statistics makes so much sense when presented properly
35% do make sense
60% don't and
5% just make your brain implode.

"Don't be evil" (1)

mark99 (459508) | more than 7 years ago | (#18397455)

This is kind of evil. I think Google should reward this guy too.

Of course then they would have less money for the gourmet food for their employees.

With all those PhDs ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18398053)

... Google can only buy other products.
Talk about "overrated"!!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...