Amazon Is Trying To Control The Underlying Infrastructure Of Our Economy
Jeff Bezos’s big bet is that he can make buying from Amazon so effortless that we won’t notice the company’s creeping grip on commerce and its underlying infrastructure, and that we won’t notice what that dominance costs us. Amazon has unprecedented power to steer our choices.
The Unraveling Of America
If and when the Chinese are ascendant, with their concentration camps for the Uighurs, the ruthless reach of their military, their 200 million surveillance cameras watching every move and gesture of their people, we will surely long for the best years of the American century.
Uncanny Valley: Inside The Craziness That Is Silicon Valley Hiring Processes
How many square feet of pizza are eaten in the United States every year? How would you explain the internet to a medieval farmer? If you can answer those questions, you might stand a chance at getting hired at one of Silicon Valley’s most hotly tipped data-gathering startups.
How To Digitize Handwritten Notes
A number of smart devices offer to digitize your scribblings, either as you write or shortly afterward. In addition to storing images of your notebook pages in electronic form, some of these hardware and software packages actually convert your writings into searchable text.
The Most Common Airbnb Scams Worldwide
Scammers all over the world have figured how best to game the Airbnb platform: by engaging in bait and switches; charging guests for fake damages; persuading people to pay outside the Airbnb app, and engaging in clumsy or threatening demands for five-star reviews to hide the evidence of what they’ve done.
Teen Girl Invents Simple, Yet Innovative Way To Remove Blind Spots In Cars
Alaina Gassler built a prototype system with a webcam, projector, and 3D-printed materials to fill in the space the car frame blocks from drivers. She mounted the webcam outside the passenger side A-pillar on a car and then displayed the live video on the inside pillar from a projector.
How Migration Could Make The World Richer
Many of the recent political shifts in the West—the election of Donald Trump, the rise of populism in Europe and Brexit—can be partially attributed to the fear of mass migration. Yet increasing migration is one of the quickest ways to make the world richer.
The Lost Art Of Concentration: Being Distracted In A Digital World
We check our phones every 12 minutes, often just after waking up. Always-on behaviour is harmful to long-term mental health, and we need to learn to the hit the pause button. Experts are telling us that these interruptions and distractions have eroded our ability to concentrate.
Old Tech’s New Wave, Or Why We Still Love Faxes, Pagers And Cassettes
Once seen as cutting edge, many of yesterday’s gadgets are – surprisingly – still in use or are making a comeback. But why is it that we are turning to retro solutions more frequently?
The Future Of Energy Storage Beyond Lithium-Ion
Over the past decade, prices for solar panels and wind farms have reached all-time lows. However, the price for lithium-ion batteries, the leading energy storage technology, has remained too high. So researchers are exploring other alternatives, including flow batteries, thermal batteries, and gravity-based systems.
Uber Wars In Argentina
Since Uber arrived in Argentina in 2016, taxi drivers have come out in force, torching ride-share cars, beating drivers, and shaming passengers. There have been more than 1,041 fights — that have been reported to police, anyway.
The McMansion As Harbinger Of The American Apocalypse
Increasing interest rates, inflation, and supply chain disruptions notwithstanding, the McMansion is alive and well. Far from being a boomtime fad, it has become a durable emblem of our American way of life.
How Do Airlines Price Tickets?
To the average buyer, airline ticket prices appear to fluctuate without reason. But behind the process is actually the science of dynamic pricing, which has less to do with cost and more to do with artificial intelligence.
The Great American Tax Haven: Why The Super-Rich Love South Dakota
Last year billionaire Sun Hongbin quietly transferred $4.5bn worth of shares in his Chinese real estate firm to a company on a street corner in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Thanks to its relish for deregulation, the state is fast becoming the most profitable place for the mega-wealthy to park their billions.
India Plans To Build An All-seeing Database To Track Citizens’ Every Move
India, the world’s biggest democracy, built a massive database containing information and biometrics of its citizens in the form of Aadhaar back in 2009. Now, it’s planning to build a new database that will continually track the lives of 1.2 billion people living in the country.
How Psychology Is Just Catching Up With The Effects Of Online Hate
Lindsay Ellis is a video essayist. She makes videos commenting on films, TV shows, and other media. More than 860,000 people subscribe to her YouTube channel. But there is also this difficult aspect to what Ellis does: online hate.
Why Aren’t Millennials Buying Homes?
In the UK, only one in four middle-income millennials are on the housing ladder. Twenty years ago, 65% of this group owned homes. What’s changed? Is it possible to buy a house without help? And with more people privately renting, what are the implications for starting families, retirement and society at large?
What Google Learned From Its Quest To Build The Perfect Team
Our data-saturated age enables us to examine our work habits and office quirks with a scrutiny that our cubicle-bound forebears could only dream of. New research reveals surprising truths about why some work groups thrive and others falter.
The Bizarre Intimacy Of Video Chat
I spend my days staring into the faces and homes of my colleagues on my computer. I see what colors they’ve painted their walls, what sort of art they’ve chosen to hang up. I see whether they sit at a desk or on a couch. I watch them watch themselves, see them fix their hair, and straighten their posture.
The Dictatorship Of Data
Big data is poised to transform society. Yet big data also exacerbates a very old problem: relying on the numbers when they are far more fallible than we think. Nothing underscores the consequences of data analysis gone awry more than the story of Robert McNamara.
The Soviets’ Unbreakable Code
Created at the end of World War II and introduced in 1956, the Fialka replaced the Albatross, a Soviet cipher machine that was itself more complex than the Enigma. By the 1970s, Fialka encryption machines had been widely adopted by Warsaw Pact and other communist nations, and they remained in use until the early 1990s.