formfeed writes "A lot has been written lately on the crowd effect and the wisdom of crowds. But for those of us doubtful of the masses, PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science) came up with a study showing how masses can become dumber: Social influence.
While previous studies show how groups of people can come up with remarkably accurate results, it seems " that even mild social influence can undermine the wisdom of crowd effect in simple estimation tasks." Social influence "diminishes the diversity of the crowd without improvements of its collective error".
In short, crowd intelligence only works in cases where the opinion of others is hidden. So, slashdot moderation good, American pundit-democracy bad?" Link to Original Source top
formfeed writes "As the data from the Fukushima reactor is being reviewed it looks like the meltdown happened much earlier: "the fuel rods in the No. 1 reactor were completely exposed to the air and rapidly heating five hours after the quake."
Apparently, the earthquake had caused a crack in the containment vessel. Which means, that even without the generators failing, the meltdown might still have happened.
With this new data, it seems a similar incident could happen in an earthquake zone even without a tsunami." Link to Original Source top
formfeed writes "According to the AP (through Google News), Wikileaks isn't just sitting on the recent material so they can release it bit by bit to the press, as many people implied. On the contrary, it's quite the other way around: "only after considering advice from five news organizations with which it chose to share all of the material" are they releasing it themselves. These Newspapers "have been advising WikiLeaks on which documents to release publicly and what redactions to make to those documents"
AP questions whether Wikileaks will follow these redactions, but nevertheless seems quite impressed by this "extraordinary collaboration between some of the world's most respected media outlets and the WikiLeaks organization"" Link to Original Source top
formfeed writes "The register claims that "Ubuntu is moving away from its established six-month-cycle and potentially to a future where software updates land on a daily basis."
While this sounds like a sudden change, it is apparently more of a long-term thought. The Register quotes Shuttleworth:
"Today we have a six-month release cycle," Shuttleworth said. "In an internet-oriented world, we need to be able to release something every day.
"That's an area we will put a lot of work into in the next five years. The small steps we are putting in to the Software Center today, they will go further and caster than people might have envisioned in the past."
But given that many of Shuttleworth's thoughts became decisions later on, it might be interesting to see, where this one leads.
formfeed writes "The Toronto Star has a story how a young man from Hong Kong disguised himself as an old white guy, so he could get on a flight to Canada, where he asked for Asylum.
Not only did he wear a — really believable — silicone mask, he apparently had also studied his role pretty well. Don' t know how he did it, but since he didn't wear a plaid shirt, his character can' t be based on the Red Green show." Link to Original Source top
Oh nos: Hole in linux kernel exploited in the wild
formfeed writes "Heise (http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Hole-in-Linux-kernel-provides-root-rights-1081317.html) reports about a new hole in the linux kernel, that allows a local user to get root access. A proof of concept exploit is available. The hole has apparently been fixed years ago, but reopened recently. Hmmm.." top