Category Archives: Media

Failure of ideas and not failure of political Establishment

By Harilla Goga – It is well known that the free individual with his thoughts and his actions, certainly in the frame of the legal system being in his service, is in the center of the democratic system. But, this individual, in fact, looks like “a consumer” of the democratic system goods. As such, he can keep his position as receiver, rejecter or protester depending on the “quality and quantity” of these goods.

Furthermore, this attitude is manifested towards elites/political establishment of the country concerned, but he generally cares a little or not at all about theories/ideas that politics are based on.

In economic terms, this lack of new ideas and theories is the “consumer’s” most sensitive subject, for example: The current economic and financial system is set based on very old theories which stress the maximum profit for business through tight competition and bankruptcy; The trade and free movement of capital system, that have unified markets and removed barriers, bringing benefits, common developments and new technologies throughout the world, but causing economic and social damages and environmental challenges in all regions of the world. States, governments and International organizations are addressing these challenges, but their programs and politics (leftists and rightists, or independents/new movements), are still fed by theories and ideas over than 100 or 200 years earlier. more>

Science News and Information Today

By Cary Funk, Jeffrey Gottfried and Amy Mitchell – At a time when scientific information is increasingly at the center of public divides, most Americans say they get science news no more than a couple of times per month, and when they do, most say it is by happenstance rather than intentionally, according to a new study by Pew Research Center.

Overall, about a third, 36%, of Americans get science news at least a few times a week, three-in-ten actively seek it out, and a smaller portion, 17%, do both.

And while Americans are most likely to get their science news from general news outlets and say the news media overall do a good job covering science, they consider a handful of specialty sources – documentaries, science magazines, and science and technology museums – as more likely to get the science facts right. more>

Updates from GE

The Heat Camera Is On: Retailers Turn To Sensors For Insight
By Bruce Watson & Dorothy Pomerantz – Online retailers have been tracking their customers and their web habits with cookies for years. No wonder their brick-and-mortar rivals are looking for new ways to play the big-data game.

The French startup IRLYNX believes it can help them set sales on fire. The company developed small heat sensors, each just 1 centimeter in diameter, that retailers can place on walls, ceilings and even in light fixtures around a store to track customers.

Picking up customers’ body heat, each sensor can monitor movement as far as 15 meters away and within a 120-degree sweep. They can detect heat variances of less than 1 degree Fahrenheit, which helps them tell a human from, say, a hot computer or a fresh cup of coffee.

The sensors can also detect the size and postures of shoppers and distinguish an adult from a child or someone who is sitting down to try on a pair of shoes. The sensors are a big upgrade from the way stores typically track shoppers — with cameras.

While the images on a camera may be clearer, it’s very difficult to use those images to track data about how people are using a store. “Video-analysis software can be easily confused by mirrors, photographs, televisions, posters — almost any images of humans,” says Guillaume Crozet, IRLYNX’s vice president for sales and marketing.

Training algorithms to disregard these false images can be time-consuming and costly. more>

The FCC’s net neutrality proposal: A shameful sham that sells out consumers

By Tom Wheeler – Fighting against monopolization in the internet era…meet ideologically-driven “do what the big guys want.”

A fair and open internet is the backbone of the digital economy. The FCC has sold out to the wishes of the companies it is supposed to regulate over the consumers it is supposed to protect.

For more than a decade, previous Republican and Democratic FCCs have tried to bring fairness and balance to the delivery of the internet to consumers. Every one of those efforts has been opposed by the corporations that consumers rely on to deliver the internet. Now the Trump FCC has simply cut to the chase, there is no need for the big companies to sue—they’ll just be given everything they want.

The assertion that the FCC proposal is somehow pro-consumer is a sham that doesn’t pass the straight-face test. It is impossible to find anything pro-consumer in the expert telecommunications agency walking away from its responsibilities in favor of an agency with no telecommunications expertise or authority. more>

Related>

Moral Life in the Global City

By Ian Klaus – Commerce depends on trust, civility, people doing favors. The bodega on the corner is not just a retail outlet. It’s a place where people in the neighborhood slowly get to know each other.

The ordinary virtues are things like trust, forgiveness, resilience, the basic honesty of ordinary life, a certain basic decency and civility that you see in ordinary life. These are the not-heroic virtues. Courage would be a heroic virtue. Self-sacrifice would be a heroic virtue. In a decent society we shouldn’t ask people to be heroes.

Globalization impacts every second of our daily lives. But the people we justify ourselves to, the people we care about when we exercise these virtues, are very local: Mom, Dad, family, kin, our neighbors, our workmates. When you display the virtues of decency, you’re not displaying an abstract commitment to treat all human beings decently. All you’re doing is treating the human beings you interact with every day decently. The ordinary virtues don’t generalize, they particularize. They don’t universalize. They are all very local. more>

Required reading to understand the tax policy fight

By Vanessa Williamson – First lesson: the top-heavy tax cuts on the policy agenda today are not the natural outcome of a widely held antipathy to taxation, or an admiration for wealthy people that is sometimes ascribed to the American public. Americans are more willing to pay taxes and are more concerned about economic inequality, than you might think.

Martin’s key insight is explaining how wealthy people managed to build broader constituencies for their tax cuts: by channeling frustration about other aspects of the tax code into support for policies that mostly cut rates at the very top.

So, what’s the takeaway? We can’t explain the tax reform on the table in Washington by looking at the preferences of most Americans. Instead, the impetus for top-heavy tax cuts comes from organized interests working strategically to disguise the regressive effects of the policies they have proposed, or by connecting their big-business-friendly policies with cultural and ethnic resentments that continue to motivate large swathes of the voting public. more>

Do Corporations Make Any Sense?

BOOK REVIEW

The Vanishing American Corporation: Navigating the Hazards of a New Economy, Author: Gerald F. Davis.

By Rick Paulas – On the last day of the year of 1600, the East India Company was created. It was the precursor to the modern corporation, an organizational idea that’s lasted more than 400 years. But will the corporation continue to be dominant forever?

To Gerald F. Davis, signs of the corporation’s futility began in the 1980s and ’90s, as the rise of financialization—in which financial services account for a higher share of national income than other sectors—transformed the American economy.

The transformation came through a dismantling of New Deal-era protections, including decades of court decisions that chipped away at the Glass-Steagall Act, the 1933 legislation separating investment and commercial banking. As Suzanne Burger, a political science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, put it in a 2014 piece: “[S]ince the 1980s, financial market pressures have transformed U.S. corporate structure itself.” Instead of manufacturing or services, Wall Street became the economy’s driving force.

Davis says the future of the economy can go in two directions, depending on how quickly and powerfully masses organize. The first is the nightmare scenario: A few chief executive officers from a handful of companies (Davis suggests technology giants Google, Facebook, and Amazon as the likely trio) wielding unchecked power.

“If Mark Zuckerberg wanted to sell Facebook to Vladimir Putin for one trillion dollars, he has the power to do so,” Davis says. “It’s a concentration of control we haven’t seen in American history before.” more>

How Americans became vulnerable to Russian disinformation

By Kent Harrington – Last week, Congress unveiled legislation that http://blogs.strategygroup.net/wp2/economy/?p=63300&preview=truewould force Facebook, Google, and other social media giants to disclose who buys online advertising, thereby closing a loophole that Russia exploited during the election.

Strip away the technobabble about better algorithms, more transparency, and commitment to truth, and Silicon Valley’s “fixes” dodge a simple fact: its technologies are not designed to sort truth from falsehoods, check accuracy, or correct mistakes. Just the opposite: they are built to maximize clicks, shares, and “likes.”

Despite pushing to displace traditional news outlets as the world’s information platforms, social media’s moguls appear content to ignore journalism’s fundamental values, processes, and goals. It is this irresponsibility that co-sponsors of the recent advertising transparency bill are seeking to address.

Still, Russia’s success in targeting American voters with bogus news could not have succeeded were it not for the second problem: a poorly educated electorate susceptible to manipulation. The erosion of civics education in schools, the shuttering of local newspapers – and the consequent decline in the public’s understanding of issues and the political process – conspire to create fertile ground for the sowing of disinformation. more>

This world is enough

BOOK REVIEW

Zombie Economics, Author: John Quiggin.

By John Quiggin – Economic development and technological progress provide the only real hope of lifting billions of people out of poverty and destitution, just as it has done for the minority in the developed world. Yet the living standards of the developed world have been built on cheap energy from carbon-based fossil fuels. If everyone in the world used energy as Americans or even Europeans do, it would be impossible to restrict climate change to even four degrees of warming.

The question is not: ‘Can we let everyone live like prosperous residents of the First World without destroying our natural environment?’ It is: ‘Will we?’ A balance is achievable, if we want it

The first thing is to identify the right ones. Aggregates such as gross domestic product (GDP) often come up in this context, but they are of very little use. GDP is a measure of overall economic activity, produced to assist short-term macroeconomic management.

By design, it takes no account of the usefulness of what is produced or of the specific resources used up in production. Unless you are an economic planner or central banker, you are better off ignoring it altogether. more>

Related>

Broadband gaps impact every member of Congress

By Adie Tomer – Digital connectivity is the glue of the modern American economy. From rural farmers to city business leaders, every industry relies on broadband to track markets, connect with customers, and sell their products. The American household is equally reliant on broadband, whether its kids bringing home their digital classrooms, adults telecommuting to their jobs, or whole families streaming video content to their televisions. And governments at all levels can use digital platforms to improve service delivery and reduce costs.

Yet for all of broadband’s economic benefits, the country continues to face a significant digital divide at the household level.

Without seamless digital connectivity, many households are at-risk of falling further behind in the country’s advanced economy.

While Congress considers policies related to expanding broadband availability, there is little to no legislative activity related to broadband adoption. more>