36 posts tagged with utility.
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New energy transitions: Tipping point for self-organized criticality?

Electric vehicles – It's not just about the car - "One of the key characteristics of complex systems, such as the world's energy and transport sectors, is that when they change it tends not to be a linear process. They flip from one state to another in a way strongly analogous to a phase change in material science... A second important characteristic of this type of economic phase change is that when one major sector flips, the results rip through the whole economy and can have impacts on the societal scale." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 9, 2016 - 58 comments

Dataism: Getting out of the 'job loop' and into the 'knowledge loop'

From deities to data - "For thousands of years humans believed that authority came from the gods. Then, during the modern era, humanism gradually shifted authority from deities to people... Now, a fresh shift is taking place. Just as divine authority was legitimised by religious mythologies, and human authority was legitimised by humanist ideologies, so high-tech gurus and Silicon Valley prophets are creating a new universal narrative that legitimises the authority of algorithms and Big Data." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 7, 2016 - 45 comments

Auditing Algorithms and Algorithmic Auditing

How big data increases inequality and threatens democracy - "A former academic mathematician and ex-hedge fund quant exposes flaws in how information is used to assess everything from creditworthiness to policing tactics, with results that cause damage both financially and to the fabric of society. Programmed biases and a lack of feedback are among the concerns behind the clever and apt title of Cathy O'Neil's book: Weapons of Math Destruction." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 6, 2016 - 61 comments

Trekonomics

The Economic Lessons of Star Trek's Money-Free Society - "[Manu Saadia] points to technologies like GPS and the internet as models for how we can set ourselves on the path to a Star Trek future. 'If we decide as a society to make more of these crucial things available to all as public goods, we're probably going to be well on our way to improving the condition of everybody on Earth', he says. But he also warns that technology alone won't create a post-scarcity future... 'This is something that has to be dealt with on a political level, and we have to face that.' " (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 21, 2016 - 102 comments

Sapiens 2.0: Homo Deus?

In his follow-up to Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari envisions what a 'useless class' of humans might look like as AI advances and spreads - "I'm aware that these kinds of forecasts have been around for at least 200 years, from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and they never came true so far. It's basically the boy who cried wolf, but in the original story of the boy who cried wolf, in the end, the wolf actually comes, and I think that is true this time." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 24, 2016 - 23 comments

Redefining Wealth and Prosperity in the 21st Century

Kennedy was right - "Much that is valuable is neither tangible nor tradable... Gross domestic product (GDP) is increasingly a poor measure of prosperity. It is not even a reliable gauge of production."* [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 11, 2016 - 10 comments

WORLD OF TOMORROW

World After Capital by Albert Wenger [Work in Progress; GitHub; GitBook; PDF; FAQ] - "Technological progress has shifted scarcity for humanity. When we were foragers, food was scarce. During the agrarian age, it was land. Following the industrial revolution, capital became scarce. With digital technologies scarcity is shifting from capital to attention. World After Capital suggests ways to expand economic, informational and psychological freedom to go from an industrial to a knowledge society." (previously)
posted by kliuless on May 7, 2016 - 23 comments

sources of obligation, sources of value

an introduction to fiat money (pdf) by Steve Randy Waldman:* - "Self-reinforcing bootstrap dynamics hold as strongly for a king's token as it would for any other thing, but much more stably so, since the king can reinforce and assure the stability of his token so long as he retains the political capacity to coerce or persuade payment of tax." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 17, 2016 - 40 comments

Al Gore and Bill Gates on Investing in Clean-Energy 'Moon Shots'

The case for optimism on climate change - "I'll finish with this story. When I was 13 years old, I heard that proposal by President Kennedy to land a person on the Moon and bring him back safely in 10 years. And I heard adults of that day and time say, 'That's reckless, expensive, may well fail.' But eight years and two months later, in the moment that Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, there was great cheer that went up in NASA's mission control in Houston. Here's a little-known fact about that: the average age of the systems engineers, the controllers in the room that day, was 26, which means, among other things, their age, when they heard that challenge, was 18." (via; previously) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 7, 2016 - 26 comments

Platform Cooperatives: Money as a (Public) Service

In Sweden, a Cash-Free Future Nears - "Few places are tilting toward a cashless future as quickly as Sweden, which has become hooked on the convenience of paying by app and plastic." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Feb 11, 2016 - 15 comments

Desire Modification in the Attention Economy

The Future of (Post)Capitalism - "Paul Mason shows how, from the ashes of the recent financial crisis, we have the chance to create a more socially just and sustainable global economy." (previously; via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 4, 2015 - 22 comments

“The fanny pack is not just useful; it’s a unifying force.”

Letter of Recommendation: Fanny Packs by Jaime Lowe [New York Times]
“For too long, the fanny pack’s cultural baggage has prevented potential adoptees from embracing its sheer practicality. To the unenlightened, fanny packs are synony­mous with the ugly American: the perfect accessory for extra-large, convenience-obsessed people. But to me they promote the greatest of our nation’s ideals: freedom.”
posted by Fizz on Sep 4, 2015 - 125 comments

The free development of each is the condition of the war against all

Some Paths to the True Knowledge[*] - "Attention conservation notice: A 5000+ word attempt to provide real ancestors and support for an imaginary ideology I don't actually accept, drawing on fields in which I am in no way an expert. Contains long quotations from even-longer-dead writers, reckless extrapolation from arcane scientific theories, and an unwarranted tone of patiently explaining harsh, basic truths. Altogether, academic in one of the worst senses. Also, spoilers for several of MacLeod's novels, notably but not just The Cassini Division. Written for, and cross-posted to, Crooked Timber's seminar on MacLeod, where I will not be reading the comments."
posted by kliuless on May 19, 2015 - 12 comments

China announces it is scoring its citizens using big data

China rates its own citizens - including online behaviour: "The Chinese government is currently implementing a nationwide electronic system, called the Social Credit System, attributing to each of its 1,3 billion citizens a score for his or her behavior. The system will be based on various criteria, ranging from financial credibility and criminal record to social media behavior. From 2020 onwards each adult citizen should, besides his identity card, have such a credit code." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 5, 2015 - 77 comments

"It's something we must do, and we can do, and we will do."

Tesla Powerwall Battery Economics: Almost There - "Elon Musk announced Tesla's home / business battery today. [video] tl;dr: It'll get enthusiastic early adopters to buy. The economics are almost there to make it cost effective for a wide market... That said, for large scale grid deployment (outside of the home), it still looks like flow batteries[1] and advanced compressed air[2] are likely to be far cheaper in the long run." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 1, 2015 - 101 comments

Steam tunnels of New York

105 miles of steam pipes (NYT video) run beneath the streets of New York, delivering steam to 2,000 buildings for heating, cooling, and other purposes. The system is maintained by Con Edison (1 2 3). [more inside]
posted by carter on Dec 22, 2014 - 31 comments

Obama endorses net neutrality

Obama just came out endorsing net neutrality, and going even further, saying the FCC should reclassify the Internet as a utility. Here's the full plan.
posted by Joakim Ziegler on Nov 10, 2014 - 164 comments

The Social Construction of Money (Wealth/Capital in the 21st Century)*

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]
posted by kliuless on Sep 19, 2014 - 62 comments

Utility, welfare, and efficiency

  1. Welfare economics: an introduction
  2. The perils of Potential Pareto
  3. Inequality, production, and technology
  4. Welfare theorems, distribution priority, and market clearing
  5. Normative is performative, not positive

posted by kliuless on Jul 7, 2014 - 7 comments

Risky Business

The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States (PDF); prospectus (PDF); press coverage (YT) - "The signature effects of human-induced climate change—rising seas, increased damage from storm surge, more frequent bouts of extreme heat—all have specific, measurable impacts on our nation's current assets and ongoing economic activity. [The report] uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences for each region of the U.S.—as well as for selected sectors of the economy—if we continue on our current path..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 24, 2014 - 34 comments

The Moral Question Of Our Time: Can We Share The Planet?

UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 23, 2014 - 50 comments

(but we can fix it)

The Internet is Fucked
posted by garlic on Feb 26, 2014 - 64 comments

"Why should it be my responsibility ... to quench my neighbors thirst?"

“We’ve seen the price of food become more expensive than ever three times in five years. Normally we’d see three price spikes in a century,” said Kaufman. “And part of the reason is this new kind of commodity speculation in food markets.” In an article published Oct. 24 in Nature[subscription required], Kaufman describes what he calls “Wall Street’s thirst for water” — the push to turn water into a commodity like food, with the same instruments that produced the mortgage-backed security collapse and 2008 financial crisis.
Public or Private: The Fight Over the Future of Water [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 23, 2013 - 54 comments

Incommensurable values

Economists and the theory of politics - "why unions were often well worth any deadweight cost" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 25, 2013 - 27 comments

“Mom, I maximize your utility.”

The Economics of Caring There's something deeply flawed about an economic system that measures utility but not the attachments we feel to another person, or to one's homeland.
posted by infini on Dec 2, 2012 - 26 comments

use value vs. exchange value

What Is Value? What Is Money? (via via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 1, 2012 - 15 comments

the dawn of a Star Trek generation

In Praise of Leisure - "Imagine a world in which most people worked only 15 hours a week. They would be paid as much as, or even more than, they now are, because the fruits of their labor would be distributed more evenly across society. Leisure would occupy far more of their waking hours than work. It was exactly this prospect that John Maynard Keynes conjured up in a little essay published in 1930 called 'Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren.' Its thesis was simple. As technological progress made possible an increase in the output of goods per hour worked, people would have to work less and less to satisfy their needs, until in the end they would have to work hardly at all... He thought this condition might be reached in about 100 years — that is, by 2030." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 22, 2012 - 117 comments

"You do not sew with a fork, and I see no reason why you should eat with knitting needles." - Miss Piggy

How to build a bookshelf with chopsticks. [SLYT]
posted by Fizz on Mar 29, 2011 - 38 comments

Just MacGyver it!

Conceptual Devices is a think tank that considers design as a social engagement. Its projects operate through a shift of symbolic values due to the social utility and social responsibility of arts and design in contemporary society. Where you can learn how to transform a hoodie into a: computer sleeve, baby carrier, strap bag, back-pack, pillow. The DIY diary, Graphic Templates for DIY Leaflets, and much more. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Mar 16, 2011 - 17 comments

Attracting e-rubes en masse: a business model as ancient as the carnival

Google Is Butchering The Written Word, or “How to Buy PEX Tubing Online” [more inside]
posted by blasdelf on Apr 6, 2010 - 64 comments

What's wrong with my Internet?

ICSI Netalyzr is a java applet that performs an impressive collection of tests on your Internet connection, and reports the results back to you (and to the ICSI) in an easily readable format. [more inside]
posted by FishBike on Jan 14, 2010 - 96 comments

DING!

DING IT'S UP! [more inside]
posted by ottereroticist on Dec 2, 2008 - 31 comments

Read it or hear it? Say it or type it?

Enter text, get an mp3. Make a call, get a text. Talk into your phone, send a text.
posted by desjardins on Dec 1, 2007 - 14 comments

Silence is golden

FlashMute is an essential Windows utility to mute Flash and other sounds from the browser.
posted by Sharcho on Apr 4, 2006 - 15 comments

Download interent video easily

Keep Vid is an excellent web based utility for downloading web video from many of the most popular sites (iFilm, google video, YouTube & a ton of others) to your hard drive.
posted by jonson on Mar 12, 2006 - 6 comments

The Postman Always Rings Twice

smashTheTONES! Don't pay for an MP3 ringtone -- or worse, a MIDI file that's been floating around on the net for years. Provide the sound file, and this site will automatically format it to play on your phone, free of charge. If you are a nerd like me, this is your big chance to get some polyphonic video game themes on your cell phone with a minimum of fuss.
Be advised that your phone must be able to receive text messages and download ringtones to get your free ringtone goodness.
posted by jenovus on Apr 19, 2005 - 37 comments

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