A Geek’s Guide to the hottest place in 20 parsecs

This week, The Register published a feature by me on the Culham Science Centre in southern Oxfordshire. This includes what staffer Guy Burroughes describes as “the hottest place in 20 parsecs”: the heart of the Joint European Torus, Culham’s biggest project and the world’s largest nuclear fusion tokamak, which at its hottest has reached 300 million degrees Celsius, many times hotter than the centre of the sun. (It’s rare to find a star this hot. 20 parsecs is about 65 light years, although it’s just possible that Mr Burroughes was getting in a Star Wars reference.) Continue reading “A Geek’s Guide to the hottest place in 20 parsecs”

Data journalism training at the NUJ on 20 October

I’m running a one-day data journalism training course at the National Union of Journalists’ head office in London, organised with the NUJ’s London Freelance branch, on Friday 20 October. The day runs from 11am to 6pm. The price, which includes lunch, is £31 for NUJ members and £65 for non-members. Continue reading “Data journalism training at the NUJ on 20 October”

The many problems with automated decision making

I have written about automated decision making or machine learning for Computer Weekly, in particularly the numerous problems with using it. The biggest set of issues is summed up nicely by Joanna Bryson of Bath and Princeton universities: “The reason machine learning is working so well is it is leveraging human culture. It’s getting the bad with the good.”

Continue reading “The many problems with automated decision making”

You can charge £10 a month online, unless you’re the FT

Researching a training course I’m delivering tomorrow at City Lit,* I’ve found that publishers with a paywall tend to charge about £10 a month/£120 annually for online access – with the exception of the Financial Times. It charges £276 a year for its basic digital service (often discounted to £208 as an introductory offer), but as well as a source of news and comment, it also works as a lightweight business intelligence tool covering major companies and industries.

Continue reading “You can charge £10 a month online, unless you’re the FT”