Huge enemy spotted! The surprisingly sophisticated warning buzzes of bees

Again, not exactly crowdsourcing, but it shows how lower organisms can use simple mechanisms to create collective action — in this case, respond to threats based on their size:

Many birds and mammals sound alarms to let others know they’ve spotted a predator. Some species even modulate their alarm calls, increasing the pitch or frequency depending on the size and distance of the attacker. Now, scientists have discovered that Asian honey bees (Apis cerana) also tune their signals to tell their hive-mates about the type and degree of danger and the context. It’s the first time that such sophisticated alarm signaling has been found in a social insect.

More at Science.
(Contributor: Haym Hirsh)

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Huge enemy spotted! The surprisingly sophisticated warning buzzes of bees

Scientists create largest map of brain connections to date

The paper is about mapping a small portion of the brain.  What’s interesting is the use of crowdsourcing to generate the mapping:

To map the roughly 1300 connections, or synapses, between the cells, researchers used an electron microscope to take millions of nanoscopic pictures from a speck of tissue not much bigger than a dust mite, carved into nearly 3700 slices. Then, teams of “annotators” traced the spindly projections of the synapses, digitally stitching stacked slices together to form the 3D map.

More at Science.
(Contributor: Haym Hirsh)

Scientists create largest map of brain connections to date

Netflix’s Grand, Daring, Maybe Crazy Plan to Conquer the World

Discusses Netflix’s positioning itself for the future, starting with a discussion about being driven by user data — even down to picking the image to use for its offerings:

The instant Daredevil premiered, Netflix greeted its users with eight header image variations of Matt Murdock and friends, shown to customers in eight identically sized chunks. Netflix immediately began tracking which top shots inspired the most streaming.

By now, those eight images will have given way to the best-performing two or three. After 35 days, one of those will become the default. The rest will vanish. This happens now for every Netflix original show. It’s survival of the clickest, all around the world.

More at Wired.
(Contributor: Haym Hirsh)

Netflix’s Grand, Daring, Maybe Crazy Plan to Conquer the World

Good social skills make animals smarter

Not directly about crowdsourcing, but evidence that social interaction contributes to more intelligent outcomes even in lower organisms:

Between May 2012 and May 2015, Borrego placed the box inside the outdoor enclosures of the four species at wildlife sanctuaries, parks, and zoos in Florida and South Africa. Each animal, other than the hyenas, encountered the box alone and for three 10-minute trials. Because of constraints at the hyena facilities, one to four animals were tested at a time. To ensure the carnivores were motivated, none were fed for 24 hours before the experiment. They could use either their mouths or paws to open the box. “I wasn’t sure if they would even approach it,” Borrego says, because many animals regard novel items as dangerous.

She tested 48 individuals and found that the social animals—hyenas and lions—were the most successful. Eight out of nine hyenas, and 16 of the 21 lions correctly pulled the rope (as in the photo) and seized the meat; whereas only six of the 11 leopards and two of the seven tigers did so (see video, above). Lions were also the most exploratory species, circling, digging, biting, pawing, and pushing the box, the team will report next month in Animal Behaviour.

“This isn’t a task that requires social cognition,” Borrego says. “Yet, the social species were better at it, and that suggests there’s something about being social that bolsters cognition overall.”

More at Science.
(Contributor: Haym Hirsh)

Good social skills make animals smarter

Crowdsourcing code: why startups are turning to open-source software

A very recent article that discusses the use of open source software in startups:

“Companies can get a better quality product because there is a community of thousands working to develop and perfect this software – you can get results like Wiki software (which gives you a Wikipedia-like experience), and WordPress. ”

More at Wamda.
(Contributor: Batu Inal)

Crowdsourcing code: why startups are turning to open-source software

LA cops use crowdsourcing app to fight crime

Although almost two years old, this describes an app that allows people to record photos of crime, especially motivated in a setting of riots.  I include it because it includes some discussion of the liabilities of apps like this.

“People respond by going online or downloading the app on their smartphone and using it to send images and clips to “an electronic bucket,” as CitizenGlobal officials describe it, which police can sort through for evidence. Designers say users can post anonymously and should strip metadata from files they send.

“Developers acknowledge the possibility that content could be misleading or doctored, but authorities say they would investigate any tips they receive. Submitted photos and videos would be used to corroborate other information gathered during the investigation, authorities say.”

More at Fox News.
(Contributor: Tanvi Mehta)

LA cops use crowdsourcing app to fight crime