Why is there no Semantic Ontology of Sentiment in Academic Citations?


Screenshot from Google Scholar. The book On farting: Language and laughter in the middle ages by V Allen has been cited by 106 other authors.

About a million years ago, I was discussing the FOAF (Friend of a Friend) ontology with its early proponents. It allowed you to define a machine-readable semantic relationship like "Alice is married to Bill" and "Bill is Carol's child" and "Carol works for David". That sort of thing. At the time, all the FOAF relationships […]

Continue reading →

Towards a Taxonomy of Twitter Tropes


The Twitter logo drawn in circles.

If you hang around on a social network long enough, you'll find the same tropes being repeated again and again. So, I thought I'd document some of the ones that I personally find annoying. This blog post is an extension of my moderately popular Twitter thread - with a bit more detail about why they […]

Continue reading →

The existential terror of LinkedIn


People on linkedin wanking themselves dry over how clever they are.

Several years ago, I applied for my dream job. Not quite ice-cream tester on the International Space Station, but pretty close. I was astounded to get a first interview, and crushed to flame out at the second round. That's the way it goes sometimes. Better to have tried and failed than never to have tried […]

Continue reading →

What is "Social Media"?


Rows of icons - each one has the size printed next to it.

All humans can be divided in two groups - those that love categorising things, and those that like criticising other people's categorisations. It seems that humans have an in-built desire to put things in firm categories. This causes a great deal of arguments. Let's have an argument today! Here's an excerpt from a recent IOPC […]

Continue reading →

The follow-but-mute antipattern


The Twitter logo drawn in circles.

I received a rather distraught DM from a Twitter friend last week. They were upset that I was following an account which did nothing but spew out racist bile all day long. Did this mean that I endorsed their hateful views. I was confused. I didn't recognise the specific account, and didn't recall seeing any […]

Continue reading →

How do I know you?


Geoff Don't Answer.

I don't have a great memory. I often meet people who remember me, but I don't remember them. I've had whole conversations with people who clearly know me, but on whom I've drawn a blank. My phone's address book has a "notes" field, and mine is peppered with little aide memoirs about the people I've […]

Continue reading →

Should Twitter tell you if you've been following a fake account?


A report from Twitter saying an account was suspended.

I get a lot of random Twitter DMs from attractive women who are desperate to make friends with me. I usually report the obvious spammers. But a few weeks ago, one nearly slipped through the net. The woman was wearing a military uniform - a proper one, not a sexy Hallowe'en costume - and was […]

Continue reading →

Book Review - Teaching Medicine and Medical Ethics Using Popular Culture


Surgeons standing over a body.

This book demonstrates how popular culture can be successfully incorporated into medical and health science curriculums, capitalising on the opportunity fictional media presents to humanise case studies. Studies show that the vast majority of medical and nursing students watch popular medical television dramas and comedies such as Grey’s Anatomy, ER, House M.D. and Scrubs. This […]

Continue reading →

How I'd redesign Twitter (and why it won't work)


The Twitter logo drawn in circles.

Way back when Blackberry was the smartphone, my team at Vodafone obsessed over the idea of the "Unified Inbox". "What if," the marketing chaps said, "you could see all your notifications in one place!" Imagine a single inbox where your MySpace friend requests mingled with your Email. And your Facebook and Google Buzz notifications were […]

Continue reading →

Abstinence isn't safe - why quitting social media isn't the solution


A fist emerges from a computer screen and punches the user.

(Another in a long list of posts which will turn out to be touchingly naïve!) When teaching people about safe sex, one topic bitterly divides people - whether abstinence is a suitable method. Simply refusing to engage in sexual activity will protect you from pregnancy, disease, and trauma. Abstinence is particularly promoted by religious zealots. […]

Continue reading →