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Technology

Calling All Data Do-Gooders 49

theodp writes: We're entering a new era of data-for-good, writes SAS CEO Jim Goodnight, who explains how SAS and the International Organization for Migration are using analytics and data for disaster relief efforts, but issues a broader call-to-action: "These projects just scratch the surface of what's possible when new data, and those that know how to use it, are applied to humanitarian needs. Organizations such as DataKind and INFORMS, through its new Pro Bono Analytics program, are rallying data scientists to lend their time and expertise to helping people around the world. And there are many more data sets out there that could help with relief and other humanitarian efforts. It's an exciting time to be in the world of big data and analytics. We're just beginning to understand how technology can tackle society's grand challenges." Please share your ideas on what unlikely data sources might help with disaster relief. And, how can we bring the world's analytics talent to bear on these challenges.
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Calling All Data Do-Gooders

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    If we supposedly live in a time when data is supposed to be so freely shared, why do we see so much censorship going on? I mean, just look at what happened recently at Reddit. Entire communities have been destroyed because their beliefs didn't correspond exactly to those of some ivory tower sociologists fighting for "justice". Even Slashdot isn't immune. We see all kinds of censorship here, with good comments being downmodded just because they don't toe the right line.

    How the fuck can we talk about "data-fo

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What are you even talking about? People voting on comments isn't cencorships, it's users voting on comments.
      And what the fuck does someone censoring something have to do with this charity?
      Are you a fucking retard?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SirSlud ( 67381 )

      I don't think you have any idea what actual censorship, online, or offline even means.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I'm afraid that you're the one who needs to revisit the definitions of terms like "censorship" [reference.com] and "censor" [reference.com]!

        What happened at reddit, and also the modding here, both very clearly do fall within the scope of those definitions.

        The deletion of certain subreddits and the downmodding of /. comments is done to "suppress in whole or part those considered obscene, politically unacceptable, etc", hence it is by definition an act of censorship.

        More generally, anyone who "supervises the manners or morality of others" o

        • 100% correct.
          I'm sick of shit tards who favor censorship and while screaming that it isn't censorship.

    • No, data is not freely shared. It is freely generated, and then stored and analyzed behind paywalls to make profit.

    • by dave420 ( 699308 )

      Did you complain so much about the other periods in time where systematic, ingrained discrimination caused measurable detrimental effects to swathes of society? Or only when it's you being called out for your lazy behaviour? Putting justice in quotes only highlights your desire to paint certain actual struggles as nonsense.

      The Reddit communities you discuss being "destroyed" were engaging in blatant assault on people. Reddit, being a private company, can censor that if it doesn't want to be associated wi

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom ( 2244874 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @10:21PM (#50079553)
    This is just my thoughts(I could be wrong), but I think if you want more money for disaster relief: Document the change your nonprofit did. Show videos of before and after of housing built. Show happy faces getting food. Talk about how many people your doctors helped.

    People who donate like two things. #1 They like to see you have a track record so their money will be used for good. #2 They like to meditate, dwell, and think about your charity daily if it is a positive attitude instead of a defeatist attitude.

    Play up donators as people who are heroes, rather than defenders of the Alamo.
    • *Not to say the defenders of the Alamo aren't heroes. I just meant people want to know victory is possible.
      • The defenders of the Alamo died to the last man, but in the end, they won, didn't they? Texas got its independence and then joined the US, just like they'd wanted.

    • by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @11:07PM (#50079689) Journal
      Just because I give money to your cause, doesn't mean I want to give money to dozens of other organizations.

      I could supply combustible materials for a village to cook over, with the unsolicited mail that is stuffed into my mailbox on a weekly basis.

      Google "charity ratings" before you give, to make sure your donation is going toward the cause, and not to pay for marketing...
    • The defenders of the Alamo didn't lose. They made victory possible by their stubbornness and refusal to give up, even in the face of overwhelming odds. What you're talking about is certain defeat, more like the defenders of the Maginot Line. It's not your fault, schools don't teach inconvenient truths any more. :,( The whole Alamo narrative is hopelessly not leftist and therefore cannot allowed to contaminate the young. :(
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just a PR campaign for the evils perpetuated in the name of analytics.

  • From DataKind: A Justice League for Geeks [nationswell.com]: "By day they work for the Man. But on weekends, these computer whizzes volunteer their services to analyze big data and help nonprofits foster social change. What if a group of data scientists, computer wizards, coding geniuses and statistical savants were able to come together and combine their talents to solve some of the nation's thorniest problems? The result would be a kind of Justice League for geeks, an organization dedicated to assisting nonprofits by crunc

  • by Anonymous Coward

    While I think the subjects mentioned are important, there are some national issues as well. Let's not allow for the tyranny of the urgent over the important.

    There should be better data on lyme - what works against it, what doesn't, how bad it is, how best to test for it, etc. . . This is most likely an issue that will affect a huge number of readers on slashdot, or at least a close friend, spouse or family member. If you don't know how bad things are, consider that doctors are being put in front of the medi

  • by Anonymous Coward

    There are fat cats [latimes.com] running some of these charities, especially the name brands that people have heard of. Maybe Mr. Goodnight should raise his voice about that - that alone could make an enormous difference.

    Is this why people become CEO's of charities - so they can enrich themselves and fly private jets to exclusive country clubs, while millions are starving? There's a basic disconnect of values here. A charity CEO should be making $125,000/yr.

  • Since so much of the food and other aid gets siphoned off long before it actually helps the people it was aimed at, how about a cheap, hard-to-detect, hard-to-destroy, hard-to-forge, harmless if eaten/smashed aid tracking device, like a rice-grain sized sensor in each bag of rice. Or fitbit-style biometric-tied glucose monitors to track which people are actually getting food.

  • Instead of waiting for a disaster and throwing money at it after the fact, how about also throwing their money and energy at trying to avoid disasters in the first place. Kicking the can down the road by helping people cross the Mediterranean doesn't solve the real problems of political instability, overpopulation, and poor infrastructure.
    • the real problems of political instability, overpopulation, and poor infrastructure.

      While I can't argue with your first and third points, overpopulation???

      Those people crossing the Med are going from Africa (which has a lower population density than Europe) to Europe (which has a higher population density than Africa). Overpopulation has nothing to do with it....

      • Overpopulation is not simply continent-wide population density. It is, among other things, the ability of a population to feed, water, cloth, and house itself relative to its environment. It is affected by infrastructure, geography, land-use, technology level, government, and other factors.

        Europe (as a continent) may a higher population density, and (IMHO) is somewhat overpopulated. However, overall it is doing fine in terms of feeding and watering itself, it is over the demographic transition, and loo

      • by tomhath ( 637240 )
        Population density isn't the issue, especially when you look at the amount of uninhabitable land in Africa (e.g. Sahara Desert). Take a close look at population growth [statista.com] and you'll see why Africa has a migration problem.
      • The people are crossing because that's where the money and food is. Weapons? A hand held Crossbow makes very little noise.
  • It's great if the threshold can be lowered for those who are interested to help on humanitarian projects. Specifically if this involves highly specific skills. On the other hand, if I'm the big data analyst, why should I work for free, while many, many others in the relief sector are paid for their work? A locally sourced driver should be paid for his work. An expat WASH (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene) specialist should be paid for his work. A monitoring and evaluation expert should be paid for his work. Shou

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