Archive for August, 2008

[UPDATE] Try the search monkey app here

This is a follow-up post of The Monkey Just Got Delicious – I. The app is not yet public for the reasons mentioned in part I. As I had mentioned, my goal was to generate a tag cloud for the search results. Well, search monkey does not allow you to spit out arbitrary html, thus making it difficult to render a tag cloud. After much thought I settled for a color coded tag cloud (as in the screenshot below). You will notice the color of the tags gradually fading (darker shade means that the tag is more popular).

Got feedback, will listen.


New Deliciousify

The Monkey Just Got Delicious

| August 11th, 2008

[UPDATE] Try the search monkey app here

[UPDATE] New tag cloud UI for deliciousify can be viewed here

[UPDATE] The search monkey app is currently disabled for public use as it was hitting the delicious rate limit. Hence it will remain as a prototype for now. BTW the delicious team is working on their own search monkey app and I bet its going to be much cooler.

I’m a big fan and an avid user of Yahoo! Search Monkey. So this weekend I decided to write myself a search monkey application that I have always wished for. Well, we all will agree that nothing beats human created metadata and what better metadata about search results can there be than the vast and rich knowledge stored in bookmarking services. My search monkey application deals with enriching the organic search results from Yahoo! with metadata from del.icio.us.

[LINK DISABLED] Try Deliciousify Search Monkey App here

Sometimes the search summary does not provide a useful insight into the contents of the search result (as seen below). The only way users ascertain relevance is by clicking on the result and figuring it out themselves. Wouldn’t it be better if the contents of the result could be summarized by just a few words – keywords that highlight broadly what the document talks about. Deliciousify (as seen below) aims to solve this problem by listing the top tags about a search result from del.icio.us, along with its popularity (number of people who have bookmarked it). In the future, I plan to display a tag cloud for the results. Give it a try and send any comments/feedback my way.

[LINK DISABLED] Make your search results more delicious – click here

The Three Day Puzzle

| August 7th, 2008

I came across this rather interesting paper – “Terror attacks influence driving behavior in Israel” authored by Guy Stecklov and Joshua R. Goldstein (Carnegie Mellon University), which provides interesting correlations between ‘terror attacks’ and ‘traffic accidents’. Now what do ‘terror attacks’ and ‘traffic accidents’ have anything to do with some ’3 day puzzle’. Some interesting details regarding the 3-day mystery provided in the paper are as follows:

  • No day-0, day-1, or day-2 effects of terror are observed on traffic fatalities, but there is an increase of almost 35% in the rate of traffic fatalities 3 days after terror attacks.
  • The findings suggest that the third-day effect of large terror attacks is even larger, with a 69% increase in traffic fatalities.
  • Interestingly, the 3-day lag observed is similar to that found in studies on imitative suicides, in which well publicized suicides are followed 3 days after with a rise in traffic fatalities. [reference]
  • A similar 3-day spike in homicides is also found after major boxing matches. [reference]
  • Some fraction of the increase in traffic fatalities after terror attacks may be attributable to covert suicides and/or increased aggression on the road.
  • There is a notable lack of longer-term effects beyond the 3-day spike in fatal accidents. Days four and beyond have normal levels of traffic volume and accidents and suggest that the effects of terror are transient.
  • Why traffic fatalities increase on the third day after a terror attack remains a puzzle.

Possible explanations to the 3-day lag are:

  • The day-three increase in fatalities coincides with the time when those exposed to terror may try to return to their normal routines but are not yet psychologically, and perhaps physiologically, sufficiently recovered.
  • Yet another explanation for the 3-day lag is that it is a counterreaction to the collective bonding that occurs immediately after the terror event, similar to the “post-suppression rebound” found in experimental psychology.

The interesting point to look for in the graphs below is the 3rd day after the attack.

Terror attacks - Traffic accidents
Figure: Model estimates of proportional effects of terror attacks on traffic volume and accident rates by number of days after attack. (Upper) Results for all attacks. (Lower) Large attacks only.

Other similar interesting reads are in the references of the paper. I am listing a few of them below:

Only Humans

| August 5th, 2008

The path to true AI.

Only Humans
source: ‘The Age of Spiritual Machines’