A Blog by Jonathan Low


Jul 4, 2015

Americans Really Deserved This Long Weekend. And a Raise Would Be Nice, Too

Americans work longer hours than anyone but Koreans. Probably not where they might have expected to find themselves. JL

Matt Phillips reports in Quartz:

Americans work some of the longest hours among affluent countries. But wage growth continues to be downright sluggish, with a year-on-year increase of just 1.9%,

Will You Be Paying for That With Cash or Selfie?

Ok, that blinking thing is a little creepy. JL

Eric Johnson reports in re/code:

(Mastercard) will soon be testing a mobile app that would have users pay for online goods by taking a selfie, according to CNN. The app recognizes your face, but transactions won’t go through until you blink, so that thieves can’t fool the app by just holding up a picture of you.

The Surprisingly Imperfect Science of DNA Testing

We continue to believe that data removes all doubt. But it turns out that the way the data are collected and analyzed - as well as who is doing the analysis - can influence the results. JL

Katie Worth reports in Frontline:

Technology may soon increase the danger of implicating innocent people ... The DNA of a person who drives by a crime scene with an open window could wind up somewhere suspicious; shake someone’s hand before he commits a crime, and you may be implicated.

Moonlighting Mystery: The Missing Multiple Job-Holder

Multiple job holders are the stuff of urban economic legend. Yet they fail to show up in government statistics. Turns out it may be because of the way questions are asked and statistics compiled. Income below a certain level is frequently classified as a 'hobby,' although it certainly doesnt feel like that to those who feel forced to supplement their incomes. The sharing economy, as a result, is less about sharing than about surviving. JL

Justin Fox reports in Bloomberg:

Job benefits and job security have been squeezed over the past few decades. Far less apparent in the data, though, is any dramatic shift to a"gig economy" or a land of freelancers. Yet.

Netflix Is So Hot Because It Gives Us What We Want: TV

Netflix is an example of how the internet - and the software that powers it - has enhanced a piece of legacy hardware to which consumers continue to cling thanks to its size and its social-convening role in life.

The result is a brilliant combination of scale, operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. JL

Julia Greenberg reports in Wired:

They’ve created a better way of watching TV content that’s consumer-centric. So much of technology is hard and Netflix is easy. It just works.

Significant July 4th Policy Distinctions: The Difference Between Grilling and Barbecue

Happy Fourth of July! As we contemplate America's favorite self-referential - and exceptional - holiday with appropriate gravity, usually from lawn chair or beach towel with beer in hand and a plenitude of cooked meats in easy reach, the nation is embroiled in a number of disagreements: about government-sponsored health care versus personal responsibility, gay versus straight marriage, and whether the New England Patriots cheated by deflating balls or were just doing what every other team does (notice to non-New Englanders: six months after the event, this slight is never going to be forgotten by Patriots fans. Ever.).

Happily, there is one issue to which we can apply the light of knowledge and on which we can thus agree: the difference between grilling and barbecuing. Hence, in the interest of national reconciliation, a primer. JL

Emanuella Grinberg reports in CNN/Money:

Grilling is done over direct heat at high temperatures.Barbecue, on the other hand, is both a noun and a discipline. Barbecue involves slabs of meat cooking for hours -- in a grill, in a smoker or maybe in the ground. Grilling meat or vegetables for minutes at a time is grilling does not a barbecue make.

Jul 3, 2015

Silicon Valley Builds Amazing Spy Tools. Is Horrified To Learn They're Used For Spying

Just because they invented, marketed and sold it doesnt mean they actually wanted anyone to use it! JL

Paul Carr comments in PandoDaily:

Silicon Valley is shocked, shocked, shocked!