Daily Archives: July 10, 2015

Why Greece Isn’t to Blame for the Crisis

By Mark Blyth – The roots of the crisis lie far away from Greece; they lie in the architecture of European banking.

When the euro came into existence in 1999, not only did the Greeks get to borrow like the Germans, everyone’s banks got to borrow and lend in what was effectively a cheap foreign currency.

Part of the story, as we wrote in January, was the political risk that Syriza presented, which threatened to embolden other anti-creditor coalitions across Europe, such as Podemos in Spain.

Another part lay in what the European elites buried deep within their supposed bailouts for Greece.

Namely, the bailouts weren’t for Greece at all.

They were bailouts-on-the-quiet for Europe’s big banks, and taxpayers in core countries are now being stuck with the bill since the Greeks have refused to pay.

It is this hidden game that lies at the heart of Greece’s decision to say “no” and Europe’s inability to solve the problem. more> http://tinyurl.com/q3332sx


Inside the murky world of ‘social media influencers’

By Lauren Brousell – Marketing via “influencers” used to mostly mean professional athletes pitching expensive shoes or supermodels selling slick sports cars.

Today, some brands put products in the hands of “Internet influencers,” many of whom have even larger audiences and more reach than the brands.

Companies looking to reach demographics that spend a lot of time online, use ecommerce and regularly monitor social media can leverage affiliate networks and Internet influencers with relatively little effort.

However, Forrester’s Mulpuru-Kodali says affiliate networks still aren’t as effective for marketing as paid search, email and display advertising. more> http://tinyurl.com/psl8654

Researchers find the organization of the human brain to be nearly ideal

By Northeastern Univ. – Have you ever wondered why the human brain evolved the way it did?

A new study by Northeastern Univ. physicist Dmitri Krioukov and his colleagues suggests an answer: to expedite the transfer of information from one brain region to another, enabling us to operate at peak capacity.

The scientists’ strategy bucks tradition: It lets function—in this case, navigability—drive the structure of the idealized network, thereby showing which links are essential for optimal navigation.

Most researchers in the field, says Krioukov, build models of the real network first, and only then address function, an approach that does not highlight the most crucial links.

The new strategy is also transferable to a variety of disciplines.

The study, whose co-authors are at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, mapped six diverse navigable networks in total, including that of the Internet, U.S. airports, and Hungarian roads.

The Hungarian road network, for example, gave travelers the “luxury to go on a road trip without a map,” the authors wrote. more> http://tinyurl.com/nlxfwu8


When Algorithms Discriminate

By Claire Cain Miller – Big data is used to make decisions about health care, employment, housing, education and policing.

But can computer programs be discriminatory?

There is a widespread belief that software and algorithms that rely on data are objective. But software is not free of human influence. Algorithms are written and maintained by people, and machine learning algorithms adjust what they do based on people’s behavior. As a result, say researchers in computer science, ethics and law, algorithms can reinforce human prejudices. more> http://tinyurl.com/pbsckfz