Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, August 26, 2021

prop master
Everyone is entitled to personal touches in the office space, including California’s “People’s Governor”. And when the Golden State’s executive office is occupied by Arnold Schwarzenegger, you’d expect him to decorate with some outsized souvenirs from an outsized former career:

Only in California can the Governor have a barbarian sword and a human hunting robot lying around in his office. Even with California’s increasing state budget deficit, less than average educational system, horrible pollution, and insane traffic, I still would have to say that I am proud to be a Californian.

Yes, as confirmed via his Twitter account, and the accompanying TwitPic photo, Ah-nold keeps the prop sword from his Conan the Barbarian days prominently on display in his Sacramento digs. Less prominent is a miniature T1 figurine near his desk. Of the two, I’d think the big honkin’ blade makes more of a Governatoring statement.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 08/26/2009 05:24:03 PM
Category: Celebrity, Movies, Politics, Pop Culture
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Wish I could drag myself up to Midtown today so I could catch a glimpse of the Williams sisters lobbing tennis balls in Bryant Park:

The lawn will be transformed into two regulation US Open tennis courts for exhibition matches between USTA pros, including Venus and Serena Williams; former pros-turned-TV commentators the Jensen brothers; the World’s current No. 1 Men’s doubles team the Bryan brothers; and James Blake.

Like I said: A glimpse of Venus and Serena, and then, well, whatever. I don’t know nor care who those other chumps are.

Not that I’m much of a tennis fan to begin with. And now that I’m clued in on the double-swinging wonders of two-racket tennis, I’m afraid that old-fashioned one-armed volley just doesn’t suffice anymore. (I wonder if the Williamses could be persuaded to show off the two-handed method this afternoon?)

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 08/26/2009 02:49:45 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Other Sports
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As far as I can tell, sentiment analysis is just the latest spin on a continuing attempt to discern deeper insights from a fairly shallow expressive vein:

The simplest algorithms work by scanning keywords to categorize a statement as positive or negative, based on a simple binary analysis (“love” is good, “hate” is bad). But that approach fails to capture the subtleties that bring human language to life: irony, sarcasm, slang and other idiomatic expressions. Reliable sentiment analysis requires parsing many linguistic shades of gray.

“We are dealing with sentiment that can be expressed in subtle ways,” said Bo Pang, a researcher at Yahoo who co-wrote “Opinion Mining and Sentiment Analysis,” one of the first academic books on sentiment analysis.

To get at the true intent of a statement, Ms. Pang developed software that looks at several different filters, including polarity (is the statement positive or negative?), intensity (what is the degree of emotion being expressed?) and subjectivity (how partial or impartial is the source?).

For example, a preponderance of adjectives often signals a high degree of subjectivity, while noun- and verb-heavy statements tend toward a more neutral point of view.

As with most such semantic Web exercises, sentiment analysis relies far too much on keywords to interpret Web media and users. Tags, metadata, and just plain old descriptive text are all, by their nature, subject to ambiguity. Because people often imperfectly choose their words, wholesale analysis of those keyworded markings never will be wholly reliable. The 70-80 percent accuracy that Scout Labs, Jodange and other firms claim is probably the upper limit, and even those results aren’t useful beyond surface public opinion (and only a sub-sub-segment of that, since a minority of the total population actively engages in blogs and other social media).

Naturally, such research focuses on Web keywords and written communication because that’s all there is by which to navigate Web data. But that avoids the inherent problem: Keywords reveal only so much. Because the Internet is still primarily text-based, there’s a distinct limit to how, and how much, people will populate it. Tinkering with grammatical syntax and such builds great algorithms, but it’s never going to uncover particularly deep sentiments from the online hive-mind.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 08/26/2009 02:09:04 PM
Category: Business, Social Media Online, Society
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