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Archive for August 2008

test: the Beijing Olympics and the French (political) blogosphere

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The Games of the 29th Olympiad finished in Beijing over the weekend, and although most of the coverage of the Games as it came to a conclusion focussed on the exploits of a certain M. Phelps, U. Bolt, and, if you’re in either Great Britain or Australia, the respective positions of those countries on the medal table*. And Stephanie Rice. However, in the lead-up to the Games, and especially surrounding the torch relay earlier this year, political topics were more frequent – keywords including Tibet, censorship, human rights… Although the sporting side of the Olympics seemed to dominate coverage over the past few weeks, rather than the political topics, as part of testing out the tools available for my research I’ve been using IssueCrawler to track politically-oriented discussions of the Beijing Olympics in French blogs. As my method is still rather experimental, I’m not sure what will turn up results-wise – but that’s part of the fun, and as the results come in I’ll post some more comments about the content and any issues with this approach.

Most of my crawls are still in the queue for IssueCrawler’s servers, so it may be a while before I get all the results, although I’m hoping for the final crawl in my first round of searches to come up soon. Basically, I used the French language version of Google Blogsearch to find blog entries containing a few keywords. Three separate searches were made, one for each keyword: the searches looked at the Olympics in Beijing and either Tibet, censorship, or human rights. The first 100 results were found, viewed, and those that were not politically-oriented or not a blog were discarded. The remaining URLs were harvested by IssueCrawler and used as the seed list for the crawl.

The searches took place three times, once during the first week of the Olympics, once during the second week, and finally two days after the closing ceremony, to collect any Olympic summaries or commentaries. While I’m still testing out the methods and tools, and making silly mistakes like not using the same settings for crawls, I’m hopeful that the exercise will be useful for both my methodology and also having more of an idea of what the French blogosphere is like.

Wikio.fr Top 100 Political Blogs (August 2008)

Speaking of which, the above is another test of IssueCrawler, this time using Wikio.fr‘s top 100 political blogs for August 2008 as the seeds. Again, I’ll go through this properly when I’ve tested the method a bit more thoroughly, but it’s interesting to compare the shape of the automated network to the manual one I made a few months ago (using the May rankings) in ManyEyes (I’ll go through the pros/cons of both methods in another post):

*Forgot to mention it during the Olympics themselves, but Jonathan Crowe of The Map Room was running DFL again, noting all the last-place finishes in Beijing…


Written by Tim

27 August, 2008 at 3:09 pm

the reconstruction

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I’ve gained some useful sources and papers from Matthew Hurst’s Data Mining blog (including his own 24 hours in the blogosphere and maps), and although this is not particularly related to my work, except maybe in a procrastinating sense, it’s further proof of some really exciting projects going on. Hurst outlines the release and method of Photosynth, a project created by Microsoft Live Labs. Basically, the user uploads several photos of the same object or scene (different angles/perspectives) and Photosynth recreates the scene, playing around with geometry in a way I couldn’t even attempt to understand, let alone explain. Even more basically, it does this (image links to vimeo):

I have to go and sort through my photos now…

[found via Data Mining]

Written by Tim

21 August, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Posted in new tools, photos