Employment to population ratio

July 23rd, 2014

I am still collecting data on global employment in order to better investigate the replacement of human work by machines. Unfortunately it turned out that the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which holds most of the original data restructured their IT-sector. This means in particular that some older data can’t be reproduced any more. Above you can see that the worldwide employment went down on average since the nineties. I keep the data now here locally on our account as a copy from ILO in order to keep the findings reproducible. The data source as well as the source code for extracting it (GPL) are here. As always: if you spot some mistakes please let me know.

Lobetal – In food chains

July 3rd, 2014

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Periodicity

June 22nd, 2014

This concerns a discussion on Azimuth. I found that the temperature anomaly curve, which describes the global combined land [CRUTEM4] and marine [sea surface temperature (SST)] temperature anomalies (an anomaly is a deviation from a mean temperature) over time (HADCRUT4-GL) has a two-year periodicity (for more details click here). The dots in the above image shall display, why I think so. The dark line drawn over the jagged anomaly curve is the mean curve. The grey strips are one year in width. A dot highlights a peak (or at least an upward bump) in the mean curve. More precisely there are:

18 red dots which describe peaks within grey 2-year interval
5 yellow dots which describe peaks out of grey 2-year interval
(two yellow peaks are rather close together)
1 uncolored dot which describes no real peak, but just a bump
4 blue dots which describe small peaks within ditches

One sees that the red and yellow dots describe more or less all peaks in the curve (the blue dots care about the minor peaks, and there is just one bump, which is not a full peak). The fact that the majority of the red and yellow dots is red, means that there is a peak every 2 years, with a certain unpreciseness which is indicated by the width of the interval.

Upon writing this post I saw that I forgot one red dot. Can you spot where?

Especially after doing this visualization this periodicity appears to me meanwhile so visible that I think this should be a widely known phenomenom, however at Azimuth nobody has heard yet about it. If its not a bug then I could imagine that it could at least partially be due to differences in the solar irradiance for northern and southern hemissphere, but this is sofar just a wild guess and would need further investigations, which would cost me a lot of (unpaid) time and brain. So if you know how this phenomen is called then please drop a line. If its not a bug then this phenomen appears to me as an important fact which may amongst others enter the explanation for El Niño.

gamification for secret services

June 19th, 2014


“In flagranti”, image from the art series “detective stories” by Massimo Mascarpone

This is just a a very brief follow-up to my last post in which I was looking at the market sizes of virtual assets.

techdirt has a blog post in which it is described that apparently the NSA uses gamification for making the use of the XKeyscore system more appealing.

I guess although here a game is used as an introduction for a virtual application this type of game wouldn’t fall into the free-to-play category, from superdataresearch:

One important trend in this context is the emergence of free-to-play or virtual goods revenue model. It allows the next generation of gamers to try a game before they commit any money, offering them a smooth introduction to games rather than asking for $50-$60 at the door.

virtual assets sizes

May 31st, 2014


“Wann dreht der Avatar Gardner wieder am Nasenhockeystick?” by artist: Superkockaina; pastel and acryl on paper. Artwork found in Tatoo studio: “Haut hin”.

I am currently trying to gather some data on the size of the games/virtual goods market and in particular the size of the corresponding work force. According to the company superdataresearch the virtual goods market is now at about 15 billion $.

To get a feeling for the size of this market I was looking for some other market sizes so like I found the global market size for the production of drugs in 2003 was somewhat similar in size, namely around 13 billion $ (page 16 in the world drug report):

“The value of the global illicit drug market for the year 2003 was estimated at US$13 bn at the production level, $94 bn at the wholesale level (taking seizures into account), and US$322 bn at the retail level (based on retail prices and taking seizures and other losses into account).”

I couldn’t found though much on the workforce in this market.

Regarding again the games/virtual goods market superdataresearch writes:

APAC is the biggest region with $8.7 billion in total virtual goods sales, with China”s $5.1 billion market leading the pack.

For comparision, the US makes a share of about 3 billion $ according to Tech Crunch/Inside Virtual Goods:

“The overall market for virtual goods in the US is headed towards $2.9 billion for 2012, according to the Inside Virtual Goods report. That’s up from $2.2 billion this year, and $1.6 billion in 2010.”

Here I found as a comparision the US meat market which seems to have a size of about 7 billion dollar.

In the meat market the work force comprises around 44000 people. So if one would make the ad-hoc assumption that the game and the meat markets are approximately equally labour intensive (which is actually an interesting question) then about 20000 people in the US would make their living in the US game market. Likewise worldwide this would give roughly 100000 people.

Any more precise data in this direction is welcome.

Aimbottleneck

April 8th, 2014


Title: “Kreative Mode beim Bedrockabgrundste-in”, oil on canvas, artist: Mudda Prahler

There was recently a post on Gamasutra with the title: Titanfall: Why Respawn is punishing cheaters. The computer game Titanfall is a First person shooter that can be played with a couple of people in one environment. Wikipedia describes it as follows:

Players fight either on foot as free-running “Pilots” or inside agile mech-style walkers called “Titans” to complete team-based objectives[2][3] on a derelict and war-torn planet[4] as either the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation (IMC) or the Militia.[5]

I don’t know Titanfall (In general I have been playing first person shooters rather rarely) but what apparently happened was that there where too many people cheating in the game.

In the post it isn’t really described what exactly is implied by cheating, but what I refer from the “punishment” announcement, I think what was happening was that some people used game bots and in particular socalled aimbots, which are software solutions which make shooting easier in such a game. From the Titanfall announcement:

You can play with other banned players in something that will resemble the Wimbledon of aimbot contests. Hopefully the aimbot cheat you paid for really is the best, or these all-cheater matches could be frustrating for you. Good luck.

I was asking myself though wether this action is part of some viral marketing campaign. That is that some cheaters could think that it could be way cooler to “win the Wimbledon of aimbot contests” rather than the usual game. Given that Titanfall had however performance problems which as it seems where due to overloaded game servers and connections, it doesn’t though look as if this would improve with aimbot contests.

In this context:

In a citation about a report by a tech- and investment-advisory firm in the time article: The Surprisingly Large Energy Footprint of the Digital Economy

In his report, Mills estimates that the ICT system now uses 1,500 terawatt-hours of power per year. That’s about 10% of the world’s total electricity generation

The New York times article: Power, Pollution and the Internet remarks the following about e.g. US data centers:

Nationwide, data centers used about 76 billion kilowatt-hours in 2010, or roughly 2 percent of all electricity used in the country that year, based on an analysis by Jonathan G. Koomey, a research fellow at Stanford University who has been studying data center energy use for more than a decade. DatacenterDynamics, a London-based firm, derived similar figures.

A summary of the last IPCC report about climate change and global warming.

and:

In Berlin there is currently the International games week Berlin.

secret service discussion

March 26th, 2014


numberlock: If you find all the mines at once and in the right order you may eventually get in.

There is currently an interesting discussion about secret services and their relation to mathematicians at the mathblog n-category cafe.

Generation Z: Renoise

February 16th, 2014

IMG_0644.JPG

For Berliners and those who can afford to go to Berlin for a quick trip I would like to mention an absolute must see exhibition, namely the exhibition Generation Z: Renoise about the russian musical avantgarde in the 20s and later which is curated by L. Pchelkina, A. Smirnov, P. Aidu, K. Dudakov-Kashuro and E. Vorobyeva. The exhibition is unfortunately not as highly promoted as it should – given how fabulous it is! I hope that this post makes some more people visit it. It is definitely worth it! The exhibition is in the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Kunstraum (unfortunately not so easy to find), it runs until Feb.23, 2014. It is free of entrance and open from 12:00-19:00 o clock.

The exhibition has the themes: Projectionism and Radio-ear, Revasavr, GIMN Institute, Theremin, Graphical Sound, Industrial Noise Machines, Amateur Noise Instruments and Destruction of Utopia. Below is a small excerpt from the respective themes. A lot of details can also be found in Andrei Smirnov’s book “Sound in Z“.

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against mass surveillance

February 11th, 2014

Today is The Day We Fight Back against mass surveillance. “Fighting back” means here that you may endorse the rather sound formulated International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance like by leaving your name and email adress and/or that you may display a banner on your website as a sign of your disagreement with mass surveillance.

-> related: randform article on surveillance

DIY spring reverb

January 26th, 2014

A new video of one of Tims recent music projects (a video about the ladder filter is here). In the video he explains the construction of a spring reverb:

A detailed description on how to build the spring reverb can be found on the astlab page.

A soundtrack on soundcloud of how the spring reverb sounds:

Tim and a bit of his music projects will eventually appear in a new film by film maker Ekaterina Eremenko. That is we had a film team from Moscow here at home. But it is sofar not clear wether the material will be used.

Ekaterina Eremenko, who has also studied math, received recently much attention for her film colours of math (trailer) featuring amongst others the rather well-known mathematicians Cedric Villani, Anatoly Fomenko, Aaditya V. Rangan, Günter Ziegler, Maxim Kontsevitch and Jean-Michel Bismut.

I don’t know if this is a new trend but I found incidentally more recent films where features of the life of mathematicians are documented. Like at the website of the “Higher Algebra section” at Moscow State University I found interviews with V. N. Latyshev talking About academic mathematics (in russian) and about Reminiscences of A. A. Markov (in russian) made by Andrei Verovkin who features a whole series of interviews with scientists.

In this context a short note for those who are in or are planning to go to visit Berlin: There were/are currently music festivals for more modern music taking place in Berlin, which enhance the usual club life or on the more classical level regular events like e.g. the weekly series “Unerhörte Musik im BKA”. One was the Ultraschall Festival and one is the ctm festival, which is in cooperation with the festival for art and digital culture “transmediale”. The transmediale theme of this year is “afterglow:”

The conference takes afterglow as a metaphor for the present condition of digital culture, examining the geopolitical, infrastructural and bodily consequences of the excessive digitisation that has taken place over the course of the last three decades.