November 9, 2014

Redfin chasing, catching Zillow

Some competitors like Redfin could one day assemble better data then Zillow because they have on the ground coverage and better data access through their network of real estate agents.

November 6, 2014

Tom Slee: sharing is OK if not profitable.

LAANE's Jon Zerolnick spoke with Tom Slee, an Ontario-based writer whose work on the intersection of technology, politics, and economics has appeared in The Literary Review of Canada, The New Inquiry, The Guardian, and Jacobin.

One other thing that bothers me is a rhetoric the companies all use around the idea of "extra money." As in, "it's not a job, it's just a bit of extra money." Once you say "extra money," it's like, "Oh, we don't need rules and regulations, because it's just extra money." This is the same rhetoric that was used back in the 60s around women's jobs. There wasn't equal pay for equal work, because "it's not a real job, it's just extra money." Using the phrase "extra money" is a slippery way to undermine employment standards, and to undermine things that unions and progressive politicians have fought for for a long time. Any low-paying job is a way to earn "extra money." There's no such thing as "extra money."

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November 5, 2014

Stimulants, abusable ?

Stimulants were not "drugs of abuse" because people who overdose "feel nothing" or "feel bad." Yet these drugs are classified by the government among the most abusable substances in medicine, largely because of their effects on concentration and mood. Overdosing can cause severe heart problems and psychotic behavior.

Slides described side effects of Adderall XR as "generally mild," despite clinical trials showing notable rates of insomnia, significant appetite suppression and mood swings, as well as rare instances of hallucinations. Those side effects increase significantly among patients who take more pills than prescribed.

Another slide warned that later in life, children with A.D.H.D. faced "job failure or underemployment," "fatal car wrecks," "criminal involvement," "unwanted pregnancy" and venereal diseases, but did not mention that studies had not assessed whether stimulants decreased those risks.

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October 29, 2014

Hyperfocus, not focus deficit

For children, the object of "hyperfocus" might be playing a video game or watching TV. For adults, it might be shopping or surfing the Internet. But whatever holds the attention, the result is the same: Unless something or someone interrupts, hours drift by as important tasks and relationships fall by the wayside.

"People who think ADD means having a short attention span misunderstand what ADD is," says Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D., a psychologist in Silver Spring, Maryland, and the author of ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life. "A better way to look at it is that people with ADD have a disregulated attention system."

Instant rewards: Like distractibility, hyperfocus is thought to result from abnormally low levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is particularly active in the brain's frontal lobes. This dopamine deficiency makes it hard to "shift gears" to take up boring-but-necessary tasks.

"Children and adults with ADD have difficulty shifting attention from one thing to another," says Russell Barkley, Ph.D., a research professor of psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. "If they're doing something they enjoy or find psychologically rewarding, they'll tend to persist in this behavior after others would normally move on to other things. The brains of people with ADD are drawn to activities that give instant feedback."

October 28, 2014

Who's who in big data: companies, segments, niches

The
state of big data in 2014
, in a chart.

Via Matt Turck, 2014/05/11.

October 27, 2014

Up to $354,000 is middle class in San Francisco

Economy: study-finds-greater-income-inequality-in-nations-thriving-cities.

Google fibre and universal service 2

In April, AT&T said it would introduce a gigabit-speed TV and Internet service, U-verse with GigaPower, in 21 metropolitan areas in the United States. Three cities in Texas already have it: Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin.

Google won't say how many people have signed up for Fiber, which costs $70 for Internet or $120 a month for Internet and cable TV. There is also an option that offers much slower broadband for a $300 installation fee. A door-to-door study commissioned by Bernstein Research and performed by Haynes & Company found that about a third of lower-income households in Fiber areas had signed up for some version of the service, along with three-quarters of the households in areas with incomes of $100,000 or more.

Kevin Lo, the general manager of Google Fiber, said the Internet giant had plenty of patience to see what percolated in the cities with its high-speed network. "We need to encourage developers who have great ideas, but we also need to build a critical mass of people who can use those applications. You need both for the breakthroughs to happen," he wrote in an email.


October 25, 2014

Introverts enjoy being extroverts

Introverts, Rauch writes, "are people who find other people tiring." They're not necessarily shy or misanthropic, but rather enjoy solitary time. Extroverts, meanwhile, "are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone," he writes. "They often seem bored by themselves, in both senses of the expression."

However bored extroverts might be by themselves, they tend to be a cheerier bunch on the whole. Time and again, in study after study, behavioral scientists have found that extroverts report themselves on well-being surveys as happier than introverts do. (In fact, introverts report more happiness when they act like extroverts, though they fail to anticipate this emotional kick-back.) The finding has proven so strong that some researchers believe positivity could rest at the core of what makes an extrovert an extrovert.

Recently, in an attempt to understand this link better, psychologists Wido Oerlemans and Arnold Bakker.

October 24, 2014

$GOOG knows you

In short, the Observer writes, Kurzweil believes that Google will soon "know the answer to your question before you have asked it. It will have read every email you've ever written, every document, every idle thought you've ever tapped into a search-engine box. It will know you better than your intimate partner does. Better, perhaps, than even yourself."

October 22, 2014

Women's computers were heavy

Computer science wasn't always dominated by men. "In the beginning, the word 'computers' meant 'women,' " says Ruth Oldenziel, a professor at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands who studies history, gender and technology. Six women programmed one of the most famous computers in history -- the 30-ton Eniac -- for the United States Army during World War II.

But as with many professions, Dr. Oldenziel said, once programming gained prestige, women were pushed out. Over the decades, the share of women in computing has continued to decline. In 2012, just 18 percent of computer-science college graduates were women, down from 37 percent in 1985, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology.

This lack of women has become of greater concern in the industry for a number of reasons. For one, the products that the tech industry creates are shaping the future for everyone. "Women are increasingly consumers; they're not going to like products that don't work for them," said Londa Schiebinger, a Stanford professor who runs the Gendered Innovations project, which encourages engineers and scientists to consider gender when developing new products.

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October 20, 2014

Show recent posts

"The real goal of all of these editors, curators, everybody, is to get you to come back, and the only way to get you to come back is that you are helpful, you are satisfying some need," said Charlene Li, founder of the business research firm Altimeter Group. "It's some form of mind-reading, to anticipate what it is that people want to hear about."

Ms. Li said that equation was complicated by sponsored tweets and posts, because the user must trust that the site is presenting suggested content because it thinks it's relevant, and not just to make money.

Facebook has arguably stumbled by presenting its ranking in a way that suggests that it knows best what you want to read about. And what you often want to know, Ms. Li said, is what your friends are reading about.

"The most interesting feed I find is the one that's dictated by what my friends are looking at," she said.

October 19, 2014

Elizabeth Wurtzel, wife material

It's not like I called boyfriends at 2 a.m. because something was wrong: I did it because I liked to talk in the dark when there was nothing good to watch on TV anymore.


Not that I am all to blame for my messed-up love life. I was in the same relationship with different people for 30 years. I know a bad idea when I see one, and I like what I see. If a man drank Jameson for breakfast and then smashed the bottle into bits on the bathroom tiles possibly by mistake, he was my boyfriend.

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