Monday, August 30, 2010

Harvard Sailing Team: Boys Night Out

The beauty of data visualization

FlowingData wrote a post on David McCandless of Information is Beautiful. Watch the TED talk below. It's a great find for anyone who works in data visualization.

A house that knows when you’re happy and sad

"Auger Loizeau, in collaboration with Reyer Zwiggelaar and Bashar Al-Rjoub, describe their smart-home project Happylife. It monitors facial expressions and movements to estimate a family's mood, displayed via four glowing orbs on the wall, one for each member" Read the FlowingData post here.

A Hit Song on YouTube, Unnameable on the Radio

A popular Cee Lo Green song:
THERE is a world where when you see someone driving in a fancy car with the girl you love, you shout out, “Forget you!” It’s the same world where friends will talk smack about the crazy stuff their dads say.

That world is called traditional entertainment.

And while traditional entertainment increasingly relies on the anything-goes Internet to cultivate and stoke interest in music, TV shows and movies, there are still some important boundaries. The return to civilization comes at a cost.

A case in point is a recent viral musical sensation — a bouncy song by the soul-pop singer Cee Lo Green with over three million views on YouTube in little more than a week. The singer is peeved at a girl who has left him and concludes that “If I’d been richer, I’d still be with ya” and though “there’s pain in my chest, I still wish you the best ...” followed by a certain crude phrase, and an “ooh, ooh, ooh.”

This is hardly a fleeting expletive of the kind the Federal Communications Commission has tried to regulate...
Read the NYT article here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Government Can Now Track You, Sans Warrant, Via GPS

This is petrifying:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers California and eight other Western states, just made what might be the scariest ruling of the year. You know who else thinks so? The dissenting judge, a conservative, no less, who himself made the connection to Orwell's 1984. This is bad, bad news, and the sooner it gets overturned the safer we should all feel.
The story dates back to 2007, when the Drug Enforcement Administration began monitoring one Juan Pineda-Moreno, an Oregonian whom the DEA suspected of maintaining a marijuana grow operation. DEA agents, in the words of Time magazine, "snuck onto his property in the middle of the night" and planted a GPS tracking device on the underside of his Jeep, which was parked in his driveway at the time...
Read the rest of the FastCompany article here.

Survey: Those With E-book Readers Read 40% More Than Physical Book Readers

Read FastCompany article here.

Shell Oil Bets $2 Billion on ... Sugar?

Read the FastCompany article here.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What Is It About 20-Somethings?

The NYT wrote a somewhat ominous article about our generation. Here is a teaser:
They move back in with their parents. They delay beginning careers. Why are so many young people taking so long to grow up?
Here's another quick synoposis from Eric:
It's all about young people, particularly those recently graduating from college (with a special emphasis on those who move back in with their parents), and whether this constitutes a new life stage. The author compares it to the early 1900s, when sociologists developed the first concept of a "teenager" and how this age group had different needs than younger kids.
Read the full NYT Magazine article here. (Thanks, Eric!)


Jordan Eccles helped design this sweet iPhone app for Dan Ariely. Here is his description:
The app is designed to help people make choices about changing lightbulbs intheir homes from incandescents to CFLs (or LEDs), since despite their benefits they occupy maybe 1 in 10 eligible sockets in residences. The idea was to make it easy for people to see the cost of a home with incandescent bulbs and then to see the benefits of switching their bulbs to more energy efficient ones.

The app is loaded with a default "average" home, with the lighting fixtures in the home organized by room. A user can modify the home by adding, removing, and renamingrooms and lights. As the lighting fixtures are changed to CFL or LED
bulbs, a summary screen starts to add up the benefits, and changes from red to green as you utilize all the savings. There is also an advice tab that is organized based on the characteristics of the home,which will (for example) show you the 10 most expensive light fixtures.
Download the Free iPhone app here.

Wine Corks Fight Off Alternative Stoppers

Read the FastCompany article here.

Three firms own 89% of your sugar water

Read the Information Is Beautiful post here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bring this to America!

Developing in China:

What do you do if your roads are congested and polluted? Try designing a vehicle that takes up no road space. And make it partly solar powered. A company in the southern Chinese town of Shenzhen has done just that. To address the country’s problems with traffic and air quality, Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment has developed a decidedly odd-looking, extra-wide and extra-tall vehicle that can carry up to 1,200 passengers.

Though it is called the “straddling bus,” Huashi’s invention resembles a train in many respects — but it requires neither elevated tracks nor extensive tunneling...

Read the rest of the NYT article here.

The Power Trip

This article is part behavioral economics, part psychology. If you like the Dan Ariely work on cheating and stories about CEO-level responsibility, you will probably enjoy this:
Contrary to the Machiavellian cliché, nice people are more likely to rise to power. Then something strange happens: Authority atrophies the very talents that got them there.
Read the WSJ article here. (Thanks, Nikhil!)

The Obameter: Tracking Obama's Campaign Promises

Gloria found a great list by PolitiFact:
PolitiFact has compiled about 500 promises that Barack Obama made during the campaign and is tracking their progress on our Obameter. We rate their status as No Action, In the Works or Stalled. Once we find action is completed, we rate them Promise Kept, Compromise or Promise Broken.
Read the entire article here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why Does College Cost So Much?

It's a somewhat in depth argument (you'll miss it if you skim it), but compelling. Check out the Forbes article here.

Make transmission lines a lot less ugly

A proposal for towers in Iceland:

Read the full article here. (Thanks, Claire)

Greg Gutfeld To Open A Gay Bar Next To Ground Zero Mosque To Cater To “Islamic Gay Men”

Best line:
The goal, however, is not simply to open a typical gay bar, but one friendly to men of Islamic faith. An entire floor, for example, will feature non-alcoholic drinks, since booze is forbidden by the faith. The bar will be open all day and night, to accommodate men who would rather keep their sexuality under wraps – but still want to dance.
Read the full article here. (Thanks, Clare!)

Why Women Aren’t C.E.O.s, According to Women Who Almost Were

"It’s not a pipeline problem. It’s about loneliness, competition and deeply rooted barriers." Read more in the NYT .