May 10, 2016

Facebook as virtual world

In the future, Mr. Zuckerberg imagines that "a physical thing, like a TV, will just be a $1 app" inside virtual reality on Facebook, he recently told a conference of software developers building apps for Facebook. But that may be 10 years off, by Mr. Zuckerberg's own admission. People who do not work at Facebook might say it is a fantasy.

Facebook even appears willing to turn the price-crushing model on itself. To get virtual reality to every place in the world, Facebook's Oculus VR headsets, currently $600, may have to cost $5, said Mike Schroepfer, the company's chief technology officer.

Is that another fantasy? For Facebook, getting those costs down could mean controlling the next big communications platform, since Mr. Zuckerberg believes virtual reality may eventually supplant smartphones as a primary connection to the online world.

"The world is making enough phones. It's better for the world if there are fewer devices," Mr. Schroepfer said. "It's not totally obvious how all this shakes out -- whether we'll have lots of consumer products, or it all disappears into a couple of VR headsets."

-- The apocryphal vision of Facebook

May 6, 2016

ADHD: Long term treatment ?

Twenty years ago, more than a dozen leaders in child psychiatry received $11 million from the National Institute of Mental Health to study an important question facing families with children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Is the best long-term treatment medication, behavioral therapy or both?

The widely publicized result was not only that medication like Ritalin or Adderall trounced behavioral therapy, but also that combining the two did little beyond what medication could do alone. The finding has become a pillar of pharmaceutical companies' campaigns to market A.D.H.D. drugs, and is used by insurance companies and school systems to argue against therapies that are usually more expensive than pills.

But in retrospect, even some authors of the study -- widely considered the most influential study ever on A.D.H.D. -- worry that the results oversold the benefits of drugs, discouraging important home- and school-focused therapy and ultimately distorting the debate over the most effective (and cost-effective) treatments.

The study was structured to emphasize the reduction of impulsivity and inattention symptoms, for which medication is designed to deliver quick results, several of the researchers said in recent interviews. Less emphasis was placed on improving children's longer-term academic and social skills, which behavioral therapy addresses by teaching children, parents and teachers to create less distracting and more organized learning environments.

Continue reading "ADHD: Long term treatment ?" »

May 5, 2016

Ranking or classifying adjacent words

I came across WordRank -- a fresh new approach to embedding words by looking at it as a ranking problem. In hindsight, this makes sense. In typical language modeling situation, NN based or otherwise, we are interested in this: you have a context cc, and you want to predict which word \hat{w}​w​^
​​ from your vocabulary \SigmaΣ will follow it. Naturally, this can be setup either as a ranking problem or a classification problem. If you are coming from the learning the rank camp, all sorts of bells might be going off at this point, and you might have several good reasons for favoring the ranking formulation. That's exactly what we see in this paper. By setting up word embedding as a ranking problem, you get a discriminative training regimen and built in attention-like capability (more on that later).

-- Summary by Delip Rao.

May 4, 2016

Regional infrastructure lines and metropolitan clusters

Are regional infrastructure lines and metropolitan clusters are more important than 'states' ?

Britain is also in the midst of an internal reorganization, with the government of Prime Minister David Cameron driving investment toward a new corridor stretching from Leeds to Liverpool known as the "Northern Powerhouse" that can become an additional economic anchor beyond London and Scotland.

Continue reading "Regional infrastructure lines and metropolitan clusters" »

May 2, 2016

Whimsy of graphic designers -- an esthetic ?

You describe yourself as a design troublemaker, and I actually think most designers are troublemakers. But what does that mean to you? Why do you describe yourself that way?

I like to describe myself that way, especially in the context of Cards Against Humanity, because we are a silly brand. Our visual aesthetic is very pared down. It's a Swiss design dungeon, as we call it, of black-and-white Helvetica.

But because Cards Against Humanity itself is a humor product, it gives us license to do very unexpected things. So in my job I'm basically creating assets for pranks. In my year at Cards, we purchased a castle, and I got to create a website that allows people to issue ridiculous decrees, because 150,000 people get to be king of this castle in Ireland for three minutes online. I got to create a food truck for the Penny Arcade Expo--it's a big game convention that happens every year in Seattle--we made popsicles that had Cards Against Humanity cards frozen inside the popsicle; you had to eat it and then you got this sticky, messy pack of cards inside.

-- Amy Nicole Schwartz, Cards Against Humanity and Blackbox

Continue reading "Whimsy of graphic designers -- an esthetic ?" »

May 1, 2016

Christian Louboutin, branding more important than product

"Today it is not good enough to simply churn out product. An authentic and honest brand narrative is fundamental today, otherwise you will simply be edited out. It was time for a course correction in the fashion industry as the desire to go faster and faster simply to outdo the other became the driving force rather than putting the dialogue with the customer at the center."

Armando Branchini, vice chairman of Fondazione Altagamma, the Italian luxury brand organization, said that such a narrative could clearly be seen in Mr. Michele's creative vision, "the collections themselves, the environment in which he presents them, his advertising campaigns and store windows and his approach to digital and social media content."

"There is a consistent narrative that runs throughout, which connects strongly with the customer," he added.

As proof of Mr. Bizzarri's comment, sales at the Kering-owned Gucci have risen markedly since Mr. Michele's appointment early last year.

In exploring new fronts, Christian Louboutin has teamed up with his longtime friend Valérie Schlumberger, whose charity project La Maison Rose assists women and children in Senegal.

Continue reading "Christian Louboutin, branding more important than product" »

April 30, 2016

Asian-Americans (hyphenated)

Asian-Americans are the United States' most successful minority, but they are complaining ever more vigorously about discrimination, especially in academia.

A similar effect is visible in the law. In 2014, whereas 11% of law-firm associates were Asian, 3% of partners were. Recruiters at the top firms typically throw out applications from all but the top universities and scan the remainder for their extracurriculars, says Lauren Rivera of Northwestern University. "They're particularly interested in sports, such as lacrosse, squash and [rowing] crew. When you look at the demographic base of these sports, Asian-Americans are not heavily represented."

April 29, 2016

Some coffee in Korea is not that of connoisseurs: busan edition with Jay Song

BUSAN, South Korea -- South Korea's cities are overrun with cafés. According to the Samsung Economic Research Institute, the number of coffee shops here jumped from about 6,000 in 2008 to 9,400 in 2011. Other studies put the number as high as 17,000 in Seoul alone. There are so many coffee shops in the South Korean capital that the Fair Trade Commission set a limit on the distance between new coffeehouse chains to at least 500 meters.

In addition to Starbucks, which is run by Shinsegae, 40 percent of the nation's cafés are run by the top five Korean brands: €”Caffe Bene, Hollys Coffee, Ediya Coffee, Angel-in-us and Tom n' Toms.

A common complaint amongst both expats and an increasing number of Koreans is that chain coffee is cheaply roasted, weak in strength and lacking in taste. This is driving Korea's coffeeholics to seek out better alternatives in smaller roasting companies and independent cafés.

Considering that last year 63 percent of the coffee consumed in Korea was dispersed from a powdery packet, it will take time for a stampede to rush towards indie coffee shops. Even Jay Song has her doubts.

The simple fact is that price is, sometimes, more important than taste.

Continue reading "Some coffee in Korea is not that of connoisseurs: busan edition with Jay Song" »

April 28, 2016

Facebook: for personal content, or commercial professional

In the past few months, Facebook has quietly shifted into crisis mode. According to The Information, "original broadcast sharing"--i.e., posts consisting of users' own words and images--fell 21 percent from 2014 to 2015, contributing to a 5.5 percent decrease in total sharing. In response, the company created a task force in London whose mission is to devise a strategy to stem the ebb and get people sharing again. Among the measures taken so far: a change in the News Feed algorithm that privileges original status updates over professional content like news links and viral videos, and Wednesday's mishap-marred rollout of a new live-video-streaming feature.

It's a stunning reversal of fortune for Facebook, whose strategic emphasis for the past few years has been on getting media companies and celebrities to put more of their premium content on Facebook. The better (read: more professional) the quality of what's in your News Feed, the more advertisers would pay to be next to it, went the thinking.

-- Jeff Bercovici at Inc.

April 27, 2016

Proof at 75 percent

The government also instructed schools to adopt a new standard for determining the outcome of a sexual-harassment or violence case. At the time, many schools used the standard of "clear and convincing" evidence, meaning that the adjudicators (usually a panel of administrators or faculty) believed that it was substantially more likely than not, or roughly 75 percent likely, that the accused had committed the offense.

The letter from the civil rights office demanded that schools switch to a lower standard of proof, a "preponderance" of evidence, meaning that it was more likely than not -- above 50.01 percent -- that the offense was committed. The office noted that preponderance is the standard that courts use to decide civil suits for sexual harassment. A few schools, including Princeton and Harvard, initially refused the new standard and then found themselves under investigation for suspected Title IX violations.

April 26, 2016

Math, universal ?

Linguist George Lakoff of the University of California, Berkeley and colleague Rafael Nuñez argue that the idea of a universal math is a fallacy: Math is embodied in the human brain and is a direct product of how it evolved in a very particular set of circumstances. Similar brains, as in intelligent aliens evolving on an Earth-like planet, may repeat some of our mathematical findings -- but that's due to their brain structure and not to some kind of universal truth being plucked out of an ethereal realm.

--
Marcelo Gleiser, theoretical physicist and cosmologist; and professor of natural philosophy, physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College. He is the co-founder of 13.7.

April 25, 2016

Automation creates and eliminates human jobs

Back in the 19th century, steam power and machinery took away many traditional jobs, though they also created new ones. This time around, computers, smart software and robots are seen as the culprits. They seem to be replacing many of the remaining manufacturing jobs and encroaching on service-sector jobs, too.

Driverless vehicles and drone aircraft are no longer science fiction, and over time, they may eliminate millions of transportation jobs. Many other examples of automatable jobs are discussed in "The Second Machine Age," a book by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, and in my own book, "Average Is Over." The upshot is that machines are often filling in for our smarts, not just for our brawn -- and this trend is likely to grow.

Continue reading "Automation creates and eliminates human jobs" »

April 24, 2016

On Time

Few Northern Europeans or North Americans can reconcile themselves to the multi-active use of time. Germans and Swiss, unless they reach an understanding of the underlying psychology, will be driven to distraction. Germans see compartmentalization of programs, schedules, procedures and production as the surest route to efficiency. The Swiss, even more time and regulation dominated, have made precision a national symbol. This applies to their watch industry, their optical instruments, their pharmaceutical products, their banking. Planes, buses and trains leave on the dot. Accordingly, everything can be exactly calculated and predicted.

In countries inhabited by linear-active people, time is clock- and calendar- related, segmented in an abstract manner for our convenience, measurement, and disposal. In multi-active cultures like the Arab and Latin spheres, time is event- or personality-related, a subjective commodity which can be manipulated, molded, stretched, or dispensed with, irrespective of what the clock says.

richard-lewis-chart-time.jpg

Continue reading "On Time" »

April 23, 2016

Sleep much ? Top 10 reasons to sleep

1. Irritability: "Complaints of irritability and [emotional] volatility following.
2. Headaches
3. Inability to learn
4. Weight gain: People who are underslept seem to have hormone imbalances that are tied to increased appetite, more cravings for high-calorie foods, a greater response to indulgent treats, and a dampened ability to control their impulses -- a very dangerous combination.

5. Poor vision
6. Heart disease
7. Slowness
8. Infection
9. Economic risk-taking
10. Overproduction of urine

April 22, 2016

Fresh Off the Boat's

Outside of its social responsibility and outside of representation, Fresh Off the Boat's responsibility is to itself. To keep it real. To tell its own story. To be specific to itself. And in its specificity lies universality. When we eavesdrop on someone's story that contains no generalities or stereotypes, a crystal clear picture emerges.

It isn't just about "lots of Asian-Americans own restaurants" but more about "Eddie Huang's father owns a steakhouse called Cattlemen's Ranch -- he doesn't serve chop suey and all his employees are white and he has a very positive relationship with each of them. And that restaurant is failing." My white, third generation, three-eighths British, one-eighth Swedish, and half Italian-American boyfriend and I both are able to relate to being a fish out of water, to a failing business, and to good work relationships.

In Home Sweet Home-School, Eddie gets straight A's and his (white) friend gets straight C's. Both pump the air with victory. And then later, a (white) family assembles at Cattlemen's Ranch and you can overhear them launch their meals with, "Cheers to our son for getting straight C's!"

"That was never my experience," said Orion. "C's were never OK."
"Really?" I asked. "It felt like white kids could get C's and not get beat with a belt when I was growing up!" Now I'm learning.

April 21, 2016

Texas, a leader among states

Before the 1980s, Texas followed a long, populist tradition that tried to protect family farmers and other small-scale businesses and consumers. Under its 1876 constitution, for example, Texas enacted consumer protections against predatory mortgage lending, with provisions that ironically helped to hold down foreclosures in Texas during the Great Recession.

In 1889, Texas became the second state in the country to enact an antitrust law. Two years later, it further pioneered government regulation of big business by establishing the Texas Railroad Commission, which went on to protect wildcatters and other small-scale oil producers by regulating the oil industry in ways that kept outside Goliaths like Standard Oil at bay. But since the 1980s, "pro business" in Texas has more and more come to mean just pro Big Business.

April 20, 2016

Trump and Reddit: referred incorrectly to centipedes. They are arthropods, but they are not insects.

Correction: April 8, 2016:
An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to centipedes. They are arthropods, but they are not insects.

April 17, 2016

Mobilitywod

Mobility WOD's community strive to be Supple Leopards.

April 16, 2016

New York Values

Which ares are most culturally unfamiliar with median America ?
Based on Charles Murray's 2012 book, "Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010.

April 15, 2016

Facebook: leading the ranking algorithm

At first I was pretty proud of myself for messing with Facebook's algorithms. But after a little reflection I couldn't escape the feeling I hadn't really gamed anything. I'd created a joke that a lot of people enjoyed. They signaled their enjoyment, which gave Facebook the confidence to show the enjoyable joke to more people. There was nothing "incorrect" about that fake news being at the top of people's feeds. The system--in its murky recursive glory--did what it was supposed to do. And on the next earnings call Mark Zuckerberg can still boast high user engagement numbers.


-- Caleb Garling.

Continue reading "Facebook: leading the ranking algorithm" »

April 14, 2016

VXX watch

The wonderful world of volatility trading: Tradingview's VXX watch.

April 13, 2016

We have plunged down a cataract of progress -- Jung, 1963

Our souls as well as our bodies are composed of individual elements which were all already present in the ranks of our ancestors. The "newness" in the individual psyche is an endlessly varied recombination of age-old components. Body and soul therefore have an intensely historical character and find no proper place in what is new , in things that have just come into being. That is to say, our ancestral components are only partly at home in such things. We are very far from having finished completely with the Middle Ages, classical antiquity, and primitivity, as our modern psyches pretend.

Nevertheless, we have plunged down a cataract of progress, which sweeps us on into the future with ever wilder violence the farther it takes us from our roots. Once the past has been breached, it is usually annihilated, and there is no stopping the forward motion. But it is precisely the loss of connection with the past, our uprootedness, which has given rise to the "discontents" of civilisation and to such a flurry and haste that we live more in the future and its chimerical promises of a golden age than in the present, with which our whole evolutionary background has not yet caught up.

We rush impetuously into novelty, driven by a mounting sense of insufficiency, dissatisfaction, and restlessness. We no longer live on what we have, but on promises, no longer in the light of the present day, but in the darkness of the future, which, we expect, will at last bring the proper sunrise. We refuse to recognise that everything better is purchased at the price of something worse; that, for example, the hope of greater freedom is cancelled out by increased enslavement to the state, not to speak of the terrible perils to which the most brilliant discoveries of science expose us.

-- "The Tower" in 'Memories, Dreams, Reflections', published in 1963, by Carl Gustav Jung.

Continue reading "We have plunged down a cataract of progress -- Jung, 1963" »

April 12, 2016

Language learning: case, Korean

Click Korean by Seoul National University.

The program consists of 20 units, each comprised of the following 6 sections: Introduction, Vocabulary, Dialogue, Grammar and Expressions, Reading and Culture. Many websites do not teach you the pronunciation rules. Click Korean covers preliminary material, which are specially designed for people who have not been exposed to the language before. The creation of Hangeul and its formation are explained in brief and the vowels are presented. The consonants and basic pronunciation rules of Korean are presented too.

Sogang Korean Program is much more detailed, in-depth and complicated. So, if you have little or no exposure to Korean language before, go for Click Korean.

April 11, 2016

Track business' sales to aid investors

Second Measure by Mike Babineau and Lillian Chou tracks business' sales for investors.


Second Measure takes billions of anonymized credit card transactions and analyzes them so investors can see where consumers are voting with their dollars before a company's quarterly earnings come out.

More in data.

Continue reading "Track business' sales to aid investors " »

April 10, 2016

Mile End Delicatessen

Mile End Delicatessen:


Small spot drawing big crowds for smoked meat sandwiches & other
Montreal-style Jewish deli staples

Mile End was opened by a married couple, Noah Bernamoff (a Canadian) and Rae Cohen (a New Yorker), in Boerum Hill in early 2010, in a cramped former garage retrofitted with vintage Woolworth's stools and pharmacy lamps. It soon had crowds clamoring for the Quebec innovation of smoked meat that falls somewhere between pastrami and corned beef.

53 Bond St, New York, NY 10012

Archives