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Archive for May, 2011

Relevancy and Context are “Critical” with Sentiment Analysis

by May 24, 2011

September 11 Whenever I come across a piece that highlights how tricky sentiment analysis truly is, I tend to be encouraged more often than dissuaded to keep trying to figure it out.

Sentiment analysis is tough—not as in strict, like a teacher is tough, or in resilient, like a marathoner is tough. More like hard, like an AP calculus test is tough.  Not hard, like a block of concrete is hard.  Hard, as in difficult.  Eh, nevermind.

A colleague of mine just sent me a piece from the Miller-McCune site discussing a flawed mood study about September 11 pager text messages.

Researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany had concluded that there was an escalating level of “anger” words communicated to pagers as time passed on September 11 (here’s the study).  I’ve included the original data graph in this post. (more…)

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Is A Hip Hop Video Featuring Climate Scientists Responsive to the Science Communication Challenge?

by May 20, 2011

scienceMy head is spinning right now, the result of a collision of an eddgy, pop-culture approach to elevate the image of climate scientists and their science with a thoughtful piece by Thomas Bowman and colleagues in the journal Science about the need to take action on climate communication.

If you haven’t already seen the hip-hop video, here is the non-raunchy version (click here if you want the uncut piece, that has amassed more than 100,000 views in the past few days).

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t know what to think when I saw this video. My feeling was that it would do little to draw in anyone who wasn’t already in the “choir,” so to speak. For this reason, it really conflicts with the approach we are taking at Dialogue Earth. In chatting with friends about it, they suggested that the goal was not to inform but rather the video was just a good way to vent and release frustration for climate scientists who may be feeling that the public isn’t listening to their warnings about the state of the world. (more…)

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Sleuthing Out Questions about Hybrid Cars from Twitter

by May 20, 2011

It is hardly news that we are all paying a lot at to fill up our vehicles. As we prepare to launch a multi-week analysis of mood about gas prices (here’s the background on how we extract sentiment from tweets), I’m curious what questions people have that may have been sparked by high gas prices.

Questions around the topic of hybrid cars/vehicles seem like a good starting point, given that one of the key benefits of hybrids is the potential to cut down on fuel expenses. One goal could be to create something like this Wired flow chart that is designed to help people choose a social search site. Not sure yet what the starting question would be to draw in as many people as possible on the topic of hybrids, but I think it would need to be responsive to feeling pain at the pump. One can imagine an interactive flow chart that offered up explanatory videos at various decision points.

st_flowchart_social_f

So, what are people asking about hybrids on Twitter? Below is a sampling of what I observed from a quick search on the string “hybrids ?” (by the way, I’m impressed with Storify’s handy interface for creating this kind of graphic). (more…)

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YouTube’s Hot Spot Analyses: Changing Behavior Raises Questions

by May 18, 2011

A few days ago, I wrote a post describing how three of our videos on the topic of ocean acidification measured up using the hot spots tool within YouTube’s Insights dashboard. Returning to this today, I planned to look at another batch of videos. When doing some comparisons, I realized that the hot spots graph had changed rather dramatically for one of the videos, “New Neighbor.” Here’s the before taken on 5.16.11:

new-neighbor

Today, I found a considerably different hot spots trace:

new-neighbor-hot-spots-5-17-11 (more…)

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Phillips Looks To Brighten The Market For LEDs

by May 18, 2011

EnduraLED A21

EnduraLED A21

Philips is looking to change the game for LED lights, which have traditionally offered long term savings at a high initial cost (as much as $50 and up).  However, as far as brightness, LED bulbs just have not yet been able live up to their incandescent cousins (only being able to emit light equivalent to that of a 60-watt incandescent).

Phillips recently announced,as shared in this NYT post, that later this year, it will market a new LED lamp, the EnduraLED A21, that will retail for about $40 and emit equivalent light as a 75-watt incandescent.

Through new technologies in retail items, such as these light bulbs, it is important for people to know the information surrounding them, such as the initial cost of a new kind of technology and the potential for savings in both money and energy use—just the kind of information that Dialogue Earth aims to deliver.

I’d also like to note that there are programs that offer incentives to subsidize the cost associated with changing over to more efficient lighting, such as the Commercial Lighting Program, offered by Xcel energy through a joint effort with the Minnesota Center for Energy and Environment.

It is conceivable one day, that our Pulse tool will be able to be used for viewing public sentiment across important topics similar to the question of whether people are preferring traditional incandescent light bulbs, or if they like the idea of switching to LED lights and why.

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Debates Around Offshore Drilling and Oil Subsidies Heats Up, Is There One Right Answer?

by May 17, 2011

High gas prices infographic 350.org via Good.is

High gas prices infographic 350.org via Good.is

With Congress’ recent vote against [52-48] on increasing oil company taxes and a bill to rapidly expand offshore drilling, the oil-fueled bipartisan spirit is yet again filling the air. I happened upon these brewing debates after seeing an intriguing infographic on GOOD Environment, which they take from the advocacy group 350.org.

At Dialogue Earth, we believe in finding a way to cut through the polarizing rhetoric, for example by seeking areas of agreement in the relationship between offshore drilling and gas prices, and moving forward from there.  This way, we will become a trustworthy source of factual information, divorced of the special interests and biases that may affect other sources.

By promoting this infographic, 350.org helps to illustrate the complexity of a piece of the U.S. energy system.  It shows many different aspects that must be taken into consideration when making decisions that end up potentially shifting the foci of where our energy comes from and also, our energy security.

Ultimately, an important goal for Dialogue Earth is to facilitate the creation and connection of a wide range of broadly endorsed, non advocacy information.

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