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10 Bits: The Data News Hot List

by Travis Korte
Former deputy director of FEMA, Michael Brown, whose unfortunate hiring might have been prevented by data-driven recruiting. FEMA Photo: Michael Rieger

This week’s list of data news highlights covers June 14-21 and includes articles on topics from data-driven recruiting to 16th-century social networks.

Pictured: former director of FEMA, Michael Brown, whose unfortunate hiring might have been prevented by data-driven recruiting. FEMA Photo: Michael Rieger.

1. Data Driven Recruiting

The startup Entelo has just received a new $3.5 million round of seed funding to develop its business of using internet data to help tech organizations identify potential job candidates. .

But not everyone thinks job applicants can be quantified. Google human resources director Laszlo Bock noted that “leadership is a perennially difficult, immeasurable problem,” and revealed that an internal study that found “zero relationship” between a job candidate’s interview performance and his or her ultimate job performance. http://nyti.ms/11MuanL

2. Microtargeting Voters

BehaviorMatrix, a five-year-old behavioral analytics startup, has recently expanded into electoral politics and is now conducting voter microtargeting analyses for Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) re-election campaign. BehaviorMatrix  uses sentiment analysis and other natural language processing techniques to quantify public opinion for candidates. http://nyti.ms/11QB1g7

3. Ups and Downs of Open Data

The G8 signed an Open Data Charter during its summit in Northern Ireland on June 18. The charter lays out five basic guidelines on the selection, preparation and release of large public datasets. The document was inspired, in part, by the White House’s new open data policy. 

The Canadian government’s newly revamped open data portal is getting mixed reviews. The portal offers data in areas ranging from natural resource management to immigration to domestic utilities; some, however, are questioning whether more open data necessarily implies more openness in the Canadian government, which has been selective about its releases. Moreover, some of the data is not organized in such a way as to be easily manipulated by interested analysts, and the consensus among commentators is that the benefits will likely be felt somewhere down the road.

4. Enterprise Analytics

HP is wrangling to position itself in the enterprise analytics market. HP’s new product, known as HAVEn, is a comprehensive platform that combines core HP hardware with recent software acquisitions such as Autonomy and Vertica systems. The company, which has not had a profitable quarter in two years, hopes that HAVEn will bring a new avenue for profits; however, the road might be difficult against enterprise analytics players such as IBM and SAP. http://buswk.co/12Yu7g0

5. Open Medicare Data

Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) have introduced a bill that would increase Medicare claims data transparency. The bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services to create a free, searchable database of claims, and clarify that the claims are not exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. http://1.usa.gov/13ZxPBe

6. India’s Micro-Analytics

Nanobi, a Bangalore startup, offers an analytics app store for India’s millions of small and medium businesses. Nanobi charges between 1,500 and 20,000 Rupees (US$25-335) per month per app, making it India’s first provider of low cost business analytics solutions.  

7. Big Data Against Breast Cancer

The University of Pennsylvania Medical Center’s (UPMC’s) new medical and administrative data warehouse initiative has already produced breast cancer findings. The initiative, launched in October, 2012, was designed to increase analytics capabilities across various UPMC entities. This finding used data from 140 breast cancer patients and identified a number of differences in pre- and post-menopausal cases

8. Leak Prevention in Finance

Private research group The Conference Board announced that it would cease providing news organizations with embargoed copies of its reports ahead of public release. The move aims to prevent the report data, which contains estimates and forecasts of various economic indicators, from being leaked to traders and financial institutions before it has reached the public. Even though there has so far been no evidence of such an occurrence, The Conference Board CEO Jon Spector said, “We didn’t want to do anything to contribute to the feeling that the game is rigged.”

9. Civic Hacking Grants

The Knight-Mozilla OpenNews project opened up applications for its 2014 fellowships, in which developers are embedded in news organizations to help spearhead open news and data reporting applications

The Sunlight Foundation has continued promotion of its OpenGov Grants, which were announced last week. The grants provide “civic hackers” with $5,000-$10,000 awards to pursue innovative open government projects

10. Pre-Digital Social Networks

A new digital humanities initiative out of Carnegie Mellon University aims to link important figures from the 16th and 17th centuries into a virtual social network. The links between individuals in “Six Degrees of Francis Bacon”—which include the English philosopher who lends the project his name, as well as such figures as Isaac Newton and William Shakespeare—are determined from letters and other correspondence, as well as references to meetings in the individuals’ writings. Complete with models of community structure and information diffusion, the goal of the project is to track the spread of ideas in the Early Modern period.  http://yhoo.it/16PU53p

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