PHNO SCIENCE & INFOTECH NEWS
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports)

LOOK: WITH SPECIAL DOODLE, GOOGLE MARKS 117th #PhilippineIndependenceDay

READ FULL REPORT BELOW.....

ALSO: Light and sound show gives new life to Aguinaldo Shrine

READ FULL REPORT BELOW

ALSO: Social media algorithms 'cannot give us what is new, surprising, challenging or different'


EXAMPLE OF AN ALGORITHM One key buzzword these days is "algorithm," which technically means any computational formula but which has come to mean a formula that predicts our behavior. Amazon and Netflix have algorithms that predict what books a user is likely to want to read or what movies and TV shows he or she is likely to want to watch. Facebook has an algorithm that predicts the news a user is likely to want. Dating sites like Match.com and OkCupid use algorithms to predict with whom we would fall in love. Google, with the most famous algorithm of all, predicts what we want when we type a search term. As one scientist put it, "Algorithms rule the world."  But there is a problem with that rule. Because algorithms are based on the past, they only satisfy preconditioned responses. They cannot give us what is new, surprising, challenging or different. Difference is what they are designed to dismiss. In effect, they hollow out life. As far as businesses are concerned, this is not only perfectly fine, it is perfect. Algorithms are the holy grail of marketing. The whole idea behind them is to give each of us exactly what we already know that we want - to get rid of the guesswork for companies and for us. When Netflix was deciding on "House of Cards," for example, it devised an algorithm that showed, among other things, users liked director David Fincher, liked actor Kevin Spacey and liked political intrigue. Voila! Just mix these ingredients and you've got a successful program - tailored to the audience's taste. Another mathematician found an algorithm that identified the various components of hit songs. Though no one has yet written songs to this prescription, the formula has been able to predict which songs would be hits. Yet another algorithm, the one computed by Facebook, sends you stories via News Feed that are designed to meet your predetermined interests. Another, from IBM, called CRUSH, is calculated to mimic Steven Spielberg's futuristic sci-fi film "Minority Report," in which Tom Cruise anticipated crimes by enabling police departments to predict where the next crimes are likely to be committed. READ MORE...


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LOOK: Google marks 117th #PhilippineIndependenceDay with special doodle

MANILA, JUNE 15, 2015  (GMA NEWS ONLINE) June 12, 2015 12:22am


Handout photo from Google

Google is commemorating the 117th year since the declaration of Philippine Independence with a special doodle on the Google.com.ph homepage.

The Google doodle for this year incorporates the three stars and sun of the Philippine flag and uses the flag's colors.

"The inspiration came from the pride and honor Filipinos have over their national identity and history, often symbolized by the flag," Google said, adding clicking on the doodle will lead visitors to more information on the country's independence.

Google said that the doodle is the sixth used to mark Philippine Independence.

The first Google doodle was created on the 4th of July in 2000 and the doodles have since become part of Google's history. — JDS, GMA News


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Light and sound show gives new life to Aguinaldo Shrine June 12, 2015 10:12pm

The Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite, where Philippine independence was declared 117 years ago, will be seen in a different light from June 11 to June 15 thanks to a video mapping show produced by the government.

According to a release in the Official Gazette, the lights and sounds show by the Department of Tourism and the local government of Kawit involves video mapping or "digitally-produced images based on the architectural lines of a structure to tell a story, create an impression, and bring any structure to life."


The Philippines Government Organization · --This is the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite -- the place where the Philippines was declared independent from Spain on June 12, 1898 – exactly 117 years ago. Happy Independence Day to all Filipinos! Photo from commons.wikimedia.org

Visit this landmark today from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm for a spectacular light and video mapping show that tells the story of our nation's history!

The shows, which will be on a limited run until June 15, are at 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m., and 9:30 p.m.

"Being an important edifice of our national identity, it is a living reminder of the freedom that our ancestors have fought and longed for, and the monument of the successes that our country has achieved since then," Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. said.

"It is our honor to lead this Independence Day celebration using a new technology such as video mapping to relive and re-imagine the beginning of our country’s independence," he also said. — JDS, GMA News


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Social media algorithms 'cannot give us what is new, surprising, challenging or different' By NEAL GABLER June 11, 2015 12:59am


EXAMPLE OF AN ALGORITHM (Computer programmng)

One key buzzword these days is "algorithm," which technically means any computational formula but which has come to mean a formula that predicts our behavior. Amazon and Netflix have algorithms that predict what books a user is likely to want to read or what movies and TV shows he or she is likely to want to watch.

Facebook has an algorithm that predicts the news a user is likely to want.


EXAMPLE OF FACEBOOK ALGORITHM

Dating sites like Match.com and OkCupid use algorithms to predict with whom we would fall in love.

Google, with the most famous algorithm of all, predicts what we want when we type a search term.

As one scientist put it, "Algorithms rule the world."

But there is a problem with that rule. Because algorithms are based on the past, they only satisfy preconditioned responses.

They cannot give us what is new, surprising, challenging or different. Difference is what they are designed to dismiss. In effect, they hollow out life.

As far as businesses are concerned, this is not only perfectly fine, it is perfect.

Algorithms are the holy grail of marketing. The whole idea behind them is to give each of us exactly what we already know that we want - to get rid of the guesswork for companies and for us.

When Netflix was deciding on "House of Cards," for example, it devised an algorithm that showed, among other things, users liked director David Fincher, liked actor Kevin Spacey and liked political intrigue. Voila! Just mix these ingredients and you've got a successful program - tailored to the audience's taste.

Another mathematician found an algorithm that identified the various components of hit songs. Though no one has yet written songs to this prescription, the formula has been able to predict which songs would be hits.

Yet another algorithm, the one computed by Facebook, sends you stories via News Feed that are designed to meet your predetermined interests.

Another, from IBM, called CRUSH, is calculated to mimic Steven Spielberg's futuristic sci-fi film "Minority Report," in which Tom Cruise anticipated crimes by enabling police departments to predict where the next crimes are likely to be committed.

READ MORE...
So what's wrong with taking guesswork out of life?

Doesn't it make it easier for us not to have to wade through TV shows, albums and news stories we probably wouldn't enjoy, or for police to focus their attention on the places where the next crime is going to occur?

What is wrong is just this: They provide us with a closed loop that keeps feeding us what we have already experienced. It puts each of us, and the larger culture, in the position of a boat that runs in circles.

Take "Mad Men." We couldn't possibly know if we would like the work of the show's creator and frequent writer, Matt Weiner, or like the actor John Hamm, or like a series about advertising, because we had never seen a Weiner series, or much of Hamm, or any show about advertising. Algorithmically, at least, past cannot be prologue to something unprecedented, as "Mad Men" was.

Similarly, if you only opt to listen to the music or to certain musical configurations you already like, you would be depriving yourself of departures from your routine. In the 1950s, that would have meant cutting yourself off from rock 'n' roll, in the 1960s, the Beatles, in the 1990s, hip hop.

The predictive police work of the IBM CRUSH could even build prejudice into the system. "If you have a group that is disproportionately stopped by the police," Ian Brown, associate director of Oxford University's cybersecurity center, told the Guardian, "such tactics could just magnify the perception that they have been targeted." We are already sowing the results of that kind of thinking.

A recent Pew Research survey on millennials and the news found that 61 percent of millennials on the Internet use Facebook as their primary news source - a staggering figure. But here's the rub. Because News Feed is algorithmically generated, users are only getting the news that meets their own predispositions.

Though Facebook has been at pains to deny it, even commissioning a study of the effect of its News Feed, scholars say that Facebook users are not only unlikely to be exposed to any opinion outside their safety zone, but also that individuals who receive their news this way are likely to be more polarized from one another.

One of the scholars, Christian Sandvig, told the "Washington Post," "Selectivity and polarization are happening on Facebook, and the News Feed curation algorithm acts to moderately accelerate" those things. Algorithms don't create community that breaks through preconceptions. They create isolation that reinforces them.

As algorithms continue to expand exponentially, this self-satisfied isolation is no small concern. Algorithms may take the guesswork out of marketing, crime prevention and even romance. But they also take the guesswork out of life itself.

Life, at least as most of us think of that adventure, is dependent on guesswork, on uncertainty, on the new and the unknown. Winnowing is much of what life is about. Without all those contingencies, both wonderful and awful, we are trapped in a cultural "Groundhog Day" - sentenced to some variation of the same thing again and again and again.

There is an adjective for a world that is tailored to our specifications without anything that need disturb us. The word is "narcissistic."

Algorithms may be a way to give us what we want, and nothing else. But they are also a way for us to bend the world to our own image. That makes for predictability and for the predictably dull.

Our boat keeps circling, letting us see the scenery we have already seen and nothing else. So while algorithms may ultimately rule the world, the world they rule is shrunken. .

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What is a computer algorithm?


A MATHEMATICAL ALGORITHM

To make a computer do anything, you have to write a computer program. To write a computer program, you have to tell the computer, step by step, exactly what you want it to do. The computer then "executes" the program, following each step mechanically, to accomplish the end goal.

When you are telling the computer what to do, you also get to choose how it's going to do it.

That's where computer algorithms come in. The algorithm is the basic technique used to get the job done. Let's follow an example to help get an understanding of the algorithm concept.

Let's say that you have a friend arriving at the airport, and your friend needs to get from the airport to your house. Here are four different algorithms that you might give your friend for getting to your home:

The taxi algorithm:
1.Go to the taxi stand.
2.Get in a taxi.
3.Give the driver my address.

The call-me algorithm:
1.When your plane arrives, call my cell phone.
2.Meet me outside baggage claim.

The rent-a-car algorithm:
1.Take the shuttle to the rental car place.
2.Rent a car.
3.Follow the directions to get to my house.

The bus algorithm:
1.Outside baggage claim, catch bus number 70.
2.Transfer to bus 14 on Main Street.
3.Get off on Elm street.
4.Walk two blocks north to my house.

All four of these algorithms accomplish exactly the same goal, but each algorithm does it in completely different way.

Each algorithm also has a different cost and a different travel time. Taking a taxi, for example, is probably the fastest way, but also the most expensive. Taking the bus is definitely less expensive, but a whole lot slower. You choose the algorithm based on the circumstances.

In computer programming, there are often many different ways -- algorithms -- to accomplish any given task.

Each algorithm has advantages and disadvantages in different situations.

Sorting is one place where a lot of research has been done, because computers spend a lot of time sorting lists.

Here are five different algorithms that are used in sorting:
•Bin sort
•Merge sort
•Bubble sort
•Shell sort
•Quicksort

If you have a million integer values between 1 and 10 and you need to sort them, the bin sort is the right algorithm to use.
If you have a million book titles, the quicksort might be the best algorithm.

By knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the different algorithms, you pick the best one for the task at hand.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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