Uber of course is a cab service that lets you order a cab from your smartphone via an App. It’s really neat, you get to watch the cab approach on a map, the payment is automatically applied so you don’t have to even deal with the transaction itself. The company is now taking its approach to logistics, and moving to ‘disrupt’ the delivery industry as well, competing with courier services, UPS, Fedex, and the Post Office.
With a herniated disc and a lack of meaningful public transit in Boston/Cambridge, I’ve become quite dependent on cars, and, therefore, Uber.
I’ve been troubled by the large scale mechanics and dynamics of how it affects cities, people, and markets, but couldn’t find the time to articulate it. This does a great job.
There’s an additional aspect I find unsettling, about who drives for Uber, the incentives and disincentives put into place, and how they are quantified and acted-upon relative to their income and employment. But I’m not sure that’s public information.
“HBO Go can only take so much — and apparently, the highly-anticipated season four premiere of “Games of Thrones” on Sunday was enough to bring it down.
This is not the first time something similar has happened to the premium channel. Last month, the season finale of “True Detective” also proved overwhelming for the website, and HBO Go addressed it on their Twitter account as well after the complaints began to roll in.”—
“When a Google bus was surrounded on 9 December, it made the news all over the English-speaking world. Though what the blockaders wanted wasn’t so easily heard. They were attacked as people who don’t like carpools, by people who don’t get that the buses compete with public transport and that their passengers displace economically vulnerable San Franciscans. It’s as though death came riding in on a pale horse and someone said: ‘What? You don’t like horses?’”—Rebecca Solnit · Diary: Get Off the Bus · LRB 20 February 2014
“The bolder and better idea, if one wishes to see if markets can outperform the “rigged” game devised by the feds, is to let investors choose the consumer protections they favor. Why not let exchanges set their own rules and let companies and customers decide if they wish to trade there? One could also let customers decide whether they even need a broker or an exchange. Maybe eBay could do better. Or maybe in a genuine free market, business would gravitate back to the NYSE.
One thing for sure is that if New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and others looking for headlines want to string up high-speed traders, honesty requires them to put the regulators at the front of the rope line.”—High-Speed Politics - WSJ.com
New York doesn’t miss me. I don’t even think New York knows I’m gone.
I thought about writing one of those “Why I Left New York” essays on the off chance that New York would notice. I knew better.
Why did I leave New York?
For a job. I took a job. A good job. L.A. smells like flowers all the fucking time and I think that smell is pumped in from kind of secret reservoir of perfume. But I didn’t leave New York because I fell out of love with the city.
If New York had voice mail I would leave it insane messages day and night. I would tell it how much I love and miss it. The energy. The culture. The Jamaican meat pies.
There would be sobbing.
I would text it “hi” and “sup” and “r u ok” constantly.
I love New York. My love is strong. My love is psycho.
Even if I never return, I will always look back on getting my ass kicked fondly.
My back once went out on my way to work, and New York did nothing as I squirmed in unbelievable agony on the streets of Queens. I dragged myself by my bloody fingertips five blocks back to my apartment.
Isn’t that beautiful?
If you love something, let it go. If it doesn’t come back, boo-hoo, write an essay.
“[T]his is the hoax that keeps on giving. The creators of the automatic nonsense generator, Jeremy Stribling, Dan Aguayo and Maxwell Krohn, have made the SCIgen program free to download. And scientists have been using it in their droves. This week, Nature reported, French researcher Cyril Labbé revealed that 16 gobbledegook papers created by SCIgen had been used by German academic publisher Springer. More than 100 more fake SCIgen papers were published by the US Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). Both organisations have now taken steps to remove the papers.
Krohn sees an arms race brewing, in which computers churn out ever more convincing papers, while other programs are designed to sniff them out. Does he regret the beast he helped unleash, or is he proud that it is still exposing weaknesses in the world of science? “I’m psyched, it’s so great. These papers are so funny, you read them and can’t help but laugh. They are total bullshit. And I don’t see this going away.””—
“My [UberX] driver turned out to be a Google employee who said he drew the lucky H1-B visa straw to get out of Bulgaria … he told me he works at the company’s Mountain View campus, but started driving for UberX for two hours on Saturdays and Sundays to send money to a family of four kids he met on vacation, who couldn’t afford to go to school or even shoes. ‘I just calculated that if I work four hours of a week, I can clothe all of them,’ he told me. ‘For so little, it’s amazing what you can do.’”—
“I don’t understand, given the constraints physicians have in doing their job and the paperwork demanded of them, why people want to be physicians. I think we’ve made it very, very difficult for them to perform their job. I think that’s a shame. My principal concern is the amount of time and attention spent worrying about the business side. You don’t train someone for all of those years of medical school and residency, particularly people who want to help others optimize their physical and psychological health, and then have them run a claims-processing operation for insurance companies.”
It’s this side of medical practice that wears down even the best physicians.
Yet it’s the reality for many American doctors, particularly those in small offices, who are reimbursed on a fee-for-service basis. Filling out claims forms and managing thousands of billing codes are frustrating and exhausting tasks. No wonder multiple surveys over the past two decades show a progressive decline in doctor satisfaction among those in community practices.
It’s not the long hours or the demands of patient care that have eroded their satisfaction. It’s the insurance side of health care.”
WE are beginning to witness a paradox at the heart of capitalism, one that has propelled it to greatness but is now threatening its future: The inherent dynamism of competitive markets is bringing costs so far down that many goods …
A Jeremy Rifkin article about the emergence of a Zero Margin Cost Society. The problem I see is that that there are a lot more factors that will have an impact on the situation that will drive the economy in different directions. Yes, some areas will likely suffer from this phenomenon, but I think Rifkin gravely underestimates the evolutionary effects as well as the self preserving powers of the systems around us. These effects and powers will definitely come into play and we may not like where it is taking us…
Never cared for Marxism. But damn if this ain’t exactly what Marx said was going to happen, coming up on 2 centuries ago.
Also Rifkin’s “Time Wars,” what I read when I was 15, was very influential for me. Still recall it vividly.
“Games are powerful and important partly because they help us test out the limits of ordinary life. That’s why we play. And these free-to-play games allow us to feel the edges of the unholy reality of our current winner-take-all neo-Gilded Age. Indeed, the gaming economy and the financial sector have perhaps merged to the point that we need these free-to-play games, to help us see and understand the social and economic structures of the early twenty-first century. But, then again, if we do need them, it’s only because the technology industry has thrust such a profane era upon us—a form of unlicensed gambling with the house’s money that can disclose its actual character only through the artifices of play.”—
This is one of the most important essays I’ve read in a long time. It helps me understand my own thoughts by articulating them better than I ever have, connecting games, luck, finance, and the contemporary culture of the United States.
This is the conclusion, above, but I recommend reading the whole thing.
“I forget the first time I heard about Bill Drenttel, but I remember it was in tones of awe. He was “the business guy” at the hottest design firm in town, Drenttel Doyle Partners. We all knew that Stephen Doyle was a great designer, but it was this mysterious Drenttel guy who was the secret weapon: devising strategies, seducing clients, knowing exactly what to say in a meeting to get approval for beautiful design work. Who wouldn’t be jealous? Who among us didn’t long to have a business guy of our very own? But there was only one Bill Drenttel.
I learned, when I got to know him, how much Bill hated being thought of as “the business guy.” And for good reason. The more time I spent with him, the more I saw that his reputation was as varied as it was widespread. Some people knew him as a sophisticated and obsessive book collector. Others, as a leading-edge technology theorist. Or as a passionate poetry enthusiast. An education reform expert. A health care design innovator. A social design activist. This was Bill’s genius: he was impossible to pin down. And he was like that until the very end.”—What Bill Knew: Observatory: Design Observer
“Can 10,000 hours of practice really make you an expert at anything?… The psychologists reanalyzed data from six previous studies of chess competitions (1,083 subjects in total) and eight studies of musicians (628 total) for correlations between practice and success, and found huge disparities in how much chess grandmasters and elite musicians had practiced. One chess player, for example, had taken 26 years to reach a level that another reached in a mere two years. Clearly, there’s more at work than just the sheer volume of hours practiced.”—