The Wall Street Journal reports on how Google favored its own shopping, travel services over rivals, and the U.S. antitrust probe of Google:
The 160-page critique, which was supposed to remain private but was inadvertently disclosed in an open-records request, concluded that Google’s “conduct has resulted—and will result—in real harm to consumers and to innovation in the online search and advertising markets.”Is Google an unelected superpower? A truly sinister social networking platform could manipulate public opinion even more effectively. (Previously)
Glitter. Piles and piles of loose, dandruffy, get-into-everything glitter. Ship your Enemies Glitter is a welcome disruption in the vengeance market. For the low, low cost of 9.95 they'll send your enemy an anonymous note buried in a mess of glitter. [more inside]
Michael Hanlon on the lack of true invention like what we saw between 1945 and 1971. Technology is booming, but it seems we are basically just making smaller and faster versions of things that were already invented 40 years ago. Most of what is happening in medicine, technology, civil rights, etc. seems to be expansion rather than innovation.
All of Lanai's owners have sought, in one way or another, to refashion the island into a paradise on earth. Former Oracle CEO Larry Ellison hopes to transform it into the "first economically viable, 100% green community."
The political economy of a universal basic income: "your view of what is feasible should not be backwards looking. The normalization of gay marriage and legalization of marijuana seemed utopian and politically impossible until very recently. Yet in fact those developments are happening, and their expansion is almost inevitable given the demographics of ideology... UBI — defined precisely as periodic transfers of identical fixed dollar amounts to all citizens of the polity — is by far the most probable and politically achievable among policies that might effectively address problems of inequality, socioeconomic fragmentation, and economic stagnation." [more inside]
"The Wall Street Journal has selected 100 legacies from World War I that continue to shape our lives today." You can sort according to your interest via the tabs at the top of the page. [Previously]
- Welfare economics: an introduction
- The perils of Potential Pareto
- Inequality, production, and technology
- Welfare theorems, distribution priority, and market clearing
- Normative is performative, not positive
"Hi, Marc... You seem to think everyone's worried about robots. But what everyone's worried about is you, Marc. Not just you, but people like you. Robots aren't at the levers of financial and political influence today, but folks like you sure are. People are scared of so much wealth and control being in so few hands... Unless we collectively choose to pay for a safety net, technology alone isn't going to make it happen." [more inside]
What the gospel of innovation gets wrong. The championing of "disruption" in modern business is built around some very flaky research that does not bear out its sweeping conconclusions.
Let me tell you a story. I was at a presentation that a friend, an Astrophysicist, gave to a potential donor ... After the talk the sponsor said to him, “you know what, I’m gonna pass because I just don’t feel inspired… you should be more like Malcolm Gladwell” ... So I ask the question: does TED epitomize a situation where ... a scientist... is told that their work is not worthy of support, because the public doesn't feel good listening to them? I submit that Astrophysics run on the model of American Idol is a recipe for civilizational disaster.Benjamin H. Bratton (Dept. of Visual Arts, UC San Diego) uses a TEDx talk to critique the medium of the TED talk itself. Does TED—"weird, inadequate and symptomatic"—encapsulate the twenty-first century's inability to face the challenges of the future in any honest way?
Vooza is synonymous with bold innovation. Vooza is making our world a better place. Vooza engineers run far ahead of the pack. Vooza lives and dies by its design. Vooza is uncompromising in its pursuit of integrity. Learn more about Vooza here.
Installed solar capacity is growing by leaps and bounds, led by Walmart and Apple, and helped by bonds backed by solar power payments,[*] which have sent industry stocks soaring, even as molten salt and new battery technologies come on line to generate storage for use when the sun doesn't shine. Of course we could always go to geostationary orbit -- or the moon -- as well we may (if politics allow it) as thirst from the developing world grows beyond the earth's carrying capacity. [more inside]
Juárez Correa felt a chill. He’d never encountered a student with so much innate ability. He squatted next to her and asked why she hadn’t expressed much interest in math in the past, since she was clearly good at it. “Because no one made it this interesting,” she said. -- Wired reports on a teaching method finding success in Mexico
We need better implementation, not more ideas. In the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Kevin Starr argues that prizes are a distraction and don't actually lead to more innovation.
Economists and the theory of politics - "why unions were often well worth any deadweight cost" [more inside]
A simple, beautiful solution to clearing landmines in Afghanistan. From the public filmmaker competition section of Focus Forward, a series of documentaries about people who are changing the world.
Richard Florida (previously, 2) speaks to leaders [flash 11mins] of the APEC nations, November, 2011. [more inside]
Bill Hill, digital typography and e-book pioneer, died Wednesday. A pioneer in using science to explain how our brains let us read, he was at Microsoft in the 1990s, and was one the inventors of ClearType, a technology for improving online reading on Windows. His passionate and entertaining lectures include Homo Sapiens 1.0 (transcript) which advocated that programmers need to learn as much about how their user's brains work rather than just OSes and programming languages, Why you only need one space after a period and the section of that talk on Why underlining hurts your brain. He died Wednesday from a heart attack.
"Zhang Yue, founder and chairman of Broad Sustainable Building, is not a particularly humble man. A humble man would not have erected, on his firm’s corporate campus in the Chinese province of Hunan, a classical palace and a 130-foot replica of an Egyptian pyramid. A humble man, for that matter, would not have redirected Broad from its core business—manufacturing industrial air-conditioning units—to invent a new method of building skyscrapers. And a humble man certainly wouldn’t be putting up those skyscrapers at a pace never achieved in history." [Meet the Man Who Built a 30-Story Building in 15 Days]
Sudden death suddenly becomes a lot less pressing. A team of scientists at the Boston Children’s Hospital have designed a microparticle that can be injected into the bloodstream which rapidly oxygenates blood, capable of keeping a person alive for up to 30 minutes after respiratory failure. This will even work if the ability to breathe has been restricted, or cut off entirely. Here's how it works, in greater detail. This finding has the potential to save millions of lives every year, and can buy emergency medical personnel a significant amount of time to address what would otherwise be fatal emergencies. It also has numerous potential applications for the Defense Department, which is funding part of the research.
Clayton Christensen is the most influential business thinker on the planet. He's been everywhere lately: On Charlie Rose, in the New Yorker (pay-walled), in the Steve Jobs biography (as the author of the only business book to have influenced Jobs). He has applied his ideas of Disruptive Innovation and Jobs-to-be-Done (pdf) to industries such as healthcare and higher education. Recently he has been trying to apply them to personal and career development. He's also a devout Mormon (and a generous Romney campaign contributor) and a cancer, stroke, and heart attack survivor.
"Nicolas Sarkozy did very little about fostering innovation — he didn’t have a clue. As for François Hollande, the strongest part of its electorate (largely composed of teachers and other public servants) opposes any rapprochement between private sector and public higher education. And let’s not mention the underlying “ideology” of venture capital, carried interest, IPO’s, flexible employment rules, etc. Hollande’s supporters will also oppose any removal of cobwebs from the 102-year-old labor code that greatly complicates the management of companies employing 50 or more people. As a result, France has 2.4 times more companies with 49 employees than with 50..." - Francois Hollande’s Start-down Nation
For my 250th post: There is a lot of interesting research going on in business schools, and some of it is even fun to watch. Wharton has been hosting 10 minute entertaining talks on cutting-edge research by faculty including: where inspiration comes from at work, how time relates to happiness, how to run an innovation tournament, socially responsible investing, learning from people who leave your company and what breakfast cereal and Steve Jobs have to tell us about the secret sources of innovation. If you want less academics in your business school mini-lectures, Stanford also has a collection of advice to entrepreneurs on many subjects that includes everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to Guy Kawasaki.
The Jig Is Up: Time to Get Past Facebook and Invent a New Future - After five years pursuing the social-local-mobile dream, we need a fresh paradigm for technology startups. "This isn't about startup incubators or policy positions. It's not about "innovation in America" or which tech blog loves startups the most. This is about how Internet technology used to feel like it was really going to change so many things about our lives. Now it has and we're all too stunned to figure out what's next. So we watch Lana Del Ray turn circles in a thousand animated gifs."
Closed Frontier: Is rock over? "Rock ’n’ roll is to 21st-century America what the Wild West was to 20th-century America: a closed frontier, ripe for mass mythology....Exciting new music still thrives in the subgenres, but modern musicians draw increasing amounts of inspiration from tradition, not originality. The sexagenarian Rolling Stones do serial victory laps around the world, just as an aging Buffalo Bill toured America and Europe in the 1880s and 90s, performing rope and horse tricks alongside Annie Oakley and Sitting Bull."
The Incentive Bubble (ungated pdf) - "The fraying of the compact of American capitalism by rising income inequality and repeated governance crises is disturbing. But misallocations of financial, real, and human capital arising from the financial-incentive bubble are much more worrisome to those concerned with the competitiveness of the American economy." [more inside]
The Control Revolution And Its Discontents - "the long process of algorithmisation over the last 150 years has also, wherever possible, replaced implicit rules/contracts and principal-agent relationships with explicit processes and rules."
Kirby Ferguson's fourth and final installment of Everything is a Remix: System Failure has been released. (Also on YouTube.) It covers intellectual property rights, the derivative nature of creativity, patents and copyright. Transcript. [more inside]
If collaboration doesn't produce the best results (SLNYT), why do we keep trying to force people to work collaboratively? Previously
King of the Cosmos (A Profile of Neil deGrasse Tyson) by Carl Zimmer. (Via) [more inside]
Dumbo Feather is an Australian quarterly print magazine which features five "extended (20 page) profiles of people worth knowing, across enterprise, science, politics, fashion and the arts." They're only just establishing an online presence. Profile archive is slim at the moment, but does include a lengthy interview from their current issue with Chris Anderson, curator of TED. A blog entry asks readers to submit their favorite TED talks, and an ongoing feature: Harnell Fletcher's Interviews with Children is taking submissions, too.
Five minutes into the future - a blog where Astro Zombie posts things he finds that appear to come from the not-so-distant future. Check out New Tombstones Adorable Cars Modular Toasters Augmented Reality Shopping and Smart Lamposts [via mefi projects]
Part 3 of the Everything is a Remix video series has been released, by New York filmmaker Kirby Ferguson. Previously on MeFi. See the entire series on Vimeo: Parts One, Two and Three. (YouTube versions and transcripts inside.) Official Site. [more inside]
The Destruction of Economic Facts - "Renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto argues that the financial crisis wasn't just about finance—it was about a staggering lack of knowledge" (via) [more inside]
The library system in Polk County, Florida has installed vending machines so that patrons who aren't close to a library can still check books out.
Inducement Prizes -- Best known for the Ansari X Prize, the DARPA Grand Challenge and the Clay Mathematics Millennium Problems, inducement prizes have a long history, but their recent successes have led to increased government interest, viz. challenge.gov, and resulted in the development of vaccines, thanks in large part to the work of Michael Kremer.* [more inside]
Prime Minister David Cameron set out his plans for making Britain more innovation and startup friendly. [more inside]
Kevin Kelly and Steven Johnson discuss tech evolution, overpopulation, the singularity, and spoons. [more inside]
The contraption was "created from a mishmash of lenses and computer parts and an old Super 8 movie camera." It was the size of a toaster, ran off "sixteen nickel cadmium batteries, a highly temperamental new type of CCD imaging area array, an a/d converter implementation stolen from a digital voltmeter" and took 23 seconds to record an image to cassette tape. But when Steve Sasson and his team of Kodak technicians presented the world's first digital camera to the public in 1975, they were asked: 'Why would anyone ever want to view his or her pictures on a TV?' [more inside]
Hale "Bonddad" Stewart shows that U.S. Manufacturing is NOT Dead, but says that to
zombify resurrect rejuvenate it America should look into Industrial Policy. Meanwhile, in Detroit, a President is saying that the automobile industry bailout prompted an "industrial revival", a Senator is calling it "industrial policy" and an economist is saying even if it is, "it's the most successful...in American history". All of which prompts the age-old question.... [more inside]
Congressional candidate (and MetaFilter's own) Sean Tevis (find his previouslies here) and XKCD [Update: nothing to do with XKCD, actually] bring forth a new concept in politics: American Nations, An Awesome and Practical Plan to Re-Balance the U.S. Political System.
With capitalism in crisis, can it be sustained or is it altogether outdated? As Umair Haque asks though, perhaps a better question is: "are organizations and markets making decisions that help make people, communities, and society better off in the long run, by allocating their scarce resources to the most productive uses?" [more inside]
Man, they said we better accentuate the positive... eliminate the negative... latch on to the affirmative....
Microsoft introduces "an amazingly obvious tweak to battery tech that should save us some headaches, as well as several trillion hours of head-scratching and peering into dark holes." The innovation, called "Instaload" is a simple, low-tech battery contact design that allows cylindrical batteries (disposable and rechargeable) to be inserted in either direction, so users don't have to worry about which end is positive or negative. How? It puts a set of positive and negative contacts at both ends of a battery compartment. (From Microsoft: Press Release / Overview / Technology Brochure (pdf)) [more inside]
What If The Very Theory That Underlies Why We Need Patents Is Wrong? - This article discusses Modeling a Paradigm Shift: From Producer Innovation to User and Open Collaborative Innovation , a working paper by Carliss Y. Baldwin and Eric von Hippel, suggesting that some of the most basic theories on which the patent system is based are wrong, and because of that, the patent system might hinder innovation. [more inside]
Redesigned notebooks, repurposed toys, grow-your-own breakfast, paper radios, parental pants, and more - all from the mind of design fiction enthusiast Matt Brown
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