January 4, 2011

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Just learned that Gerry Rafferty has died. Chronic alcoholism, apparently. I liked his music. Good lyrics, catchy tunes.. He was big in progressive/album radio when I worked and hung out there. I suppose he’s best known for the Raphael Ravenscroft solo saxaphone choruses in the song “Baker Street” (for which Ravenscroft was paid £27 with a check that bounced*); but what always stood out for me, at least with Rafferty’s hits, was his use of the second person voice. “Stuck in the middle with you“, “Star” and “Baker Street” were all complaints addressed to somebody with whom Rafferty had a problem. I suppose those people have outlived him. He was only 63: same age as me.

*Bonus link.

Tim Hwang, (aka Broseph Stalin, aka ) father of , mother of (in which I hold a chair, mostly for other people), commissioner of , god of (aka ), former researcher and partner in the firm of (latest case: ), in the cause of Researching Quantized Social Interaction, brings us the first-ever competitive event in the large scale robotic influence of online social groups. .

Specifically,

Teams will program bots to control user accounts on Twitter in a brutal, two-week, all-out, no-holds-barred battle to influence an unsuspecting cluster of 500 online users to do their bidding. Points will be given for connections created by the bots and the social behaviors they are able to elicit among the targets. All code to be made open-source under the MIT license.

It’s blood sport for internet social science/network analysis nerds. Winner to be rewarded $500, unending fame and glory, and THE SOCIALBOTS CUP.

Let the gaming begin.

Bonus link.

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Hey, this is cool: CoolLAj Magazine includes this shot in La La Land at It’s Best: Photos of LA:

It was near the end of a series of flights from Copenhagen to Santa Barbara, and easily the best of the bunch.

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