Yearly Archives: 2003

Paper submitted to iTrust2004

I submitted my paper Using Trust in Recommender Systems: an Experimental Analysis to the Second International Conference on Trust Management 2004.
You can read the PDF file or the HTML version (by latex2html).

Recommender systems (RS) have been used for suggesting items (movies, books, songs, etc.) that users might like. RSs compute a user similarity between users and use this as a weight for the users’ ratings. However they have many weaknesses, such as sparseness, cold start and vulnerability to attacks. We assert that these weaknesses can be alleviated using a Trust-aware system that takes into account the “web of trust” provided by every user.
Specifically, we analyze data from the popular Internet web site The dataset consists of 49290 users who expressed reviews (with rating) on items and explicitly specified their web of trust, i.e. users whose reviews they have consistently found to be valuable.
We show that users have usually few items rated in commons. For this reason, the classic RS technique is often ineffective and is not able to compute a user similarity weight for many of the users. Instead exploiting the webs of trust, it is possible to propagate trust and infer an additional weight for other users. We show how this quantity can be computed against a larger number of users.

Christmas Gift Exemption

I strongly believe Christmas is all but about exchanging unuseful material things.

If you want to give me a gift, give me a call, a kiss, a thought but nothing material, please.
Or better donate to Emergency or Medici Senza Frontiere or to another organization that works for constructing peace.

You can download your Buy Nothing Day Gift Exemption Voucher at

Happy non-buying Christmas to everyone in the world!

Bophal: 19 years later

Today, 19 years ago, a world tragedy happened. See The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal.

On the night of December 2nd-3rd 1984, 27 tons of methyl isocyanate, hydrogen cyanide, mono-methyl amine and other lethal gases began spewing from Union Carbide Corporation’s pesticide factory in Bhopal, India. Severe cost-cutting meant that six safety systems designed to contain a leak were inadequate or inoperational. Nobody outside the factory was warned because the safety siren was turned off. Not until the gas was upon them in their beds, searing their eyes, filling their mouths and lungs, did the communities of Bhopal know of their danger.

Gasping for breath and near blind people stampeded into narrow alleys. In the mayhem children were torn from the hands of their mothers, never to see them again. Some were wracked with seizures and fell under trampling feet. Some, stumbling in a sea of gas, their lungs on fire, were drowned in their own bodily fluids. It was a massacre. Dawn broke over residential streets littered with corpses. In just a few hours numberless innocents had died in fierce pain and unimaginable terror.

Over half a million people were exposed to the deadly cocktail. The gases burned the tissues of the eyes and lungs, crossed into the bloodstream and damaged almost every system in the body. Nobody knows exactly how many died but in the next days more than 7,000 death shrouds were sold in Bhopal. With an estimated 10-15 people continuing to die each month the number of deaths to date is put at over 20,000. And today, more than 120,000 people are still in need of urgent medical attention.
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Murdoch privatizes government propaganda

I was listening this morning the radio program Democracy Now while a guy made a very clever point. He said that Murdoch owns televisions all over the world (for example, Fox in US) and that he also owns a satellite channel in China. But, how can Murdoch buy television channels in every country? At the cost of oversimplifying, the model is the following: “I, Murdoch, offer you to privatize the government propaganda and you, govern, offer me a monopoly in Broadcasting.”
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Possible way to overcome censorship of “raiOt – Weapons of Mass Distraction”

raiOt bannerAs suggested by Isocrazia I expose this banner on my blog.
I’m really worried about my Italy. Berlusconi (our prime minister) owns all the national televisions (3 are publics and 3 are privates). Italy is 53th in the world press freedom ranking!. Everyone that is not enslaved is not allowed to go in TV (Luttazzi, Santoro, Biagi, Grillo are some of the notable examples but I guess there are thousands of unknown journalists in the same condition).

The last step towards a dictatorship was the stop after the first week of a tv program of Sabina Guzzanti raiOt – Weapons of Mass Distraction that was of course very critic against Berlusconi.
She is planning to do the show however in some place in Rome.
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blam! rocks

I’ve just used blam! in this review of Revolution OS.
Basically blam! add some semantic information to your blog entry when this is a review. The semantic information can be understood by a computer program so that it will be possible to, for example, aggregating all the reviews about a certain book or movie.
Read about OpenReviews and their possible uses from Accordion Guy.
I’m planning to do something similar for my project CoCoA.
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