Saturday, September 6, 2008

stray bullets

The Rise of the Numerati With the explosion of data from the Internet, cell phones, and credit cards, the people who can make sense of it all are changing our world... Sometimes Morgan's team spots groups of Web surfers who appear to move in sync. The challenge then is to figure out what triggers their movements. Once this is clear, the advertisers can anticipate people's online journeys—and sprinkle their paths with just the right ads. And who actually clicks on those ads? Fewer than you'd think, I'd wager. I always had the feeling that the true power of these people is in their ability to convince advertisers that they really know what the hell they're talking about. (via)

Life of the Party I ran into the Buzzkills at a party last weekend. This is not their real name, of course, and I wouldn’t dare call them that to their face, but Jim and Lori Buzzkill are a white, affluent, middle-aged couple whose mission in life is to suck all the joy out of every single party they attend. They bait every guest into an argument that highlights their moral superiority... The Buzzkills are extremely political and contentious. This is not to say that they just argue about politics - lots of people argue about politics, and I don’t have a problem with that. My annoyance lies in their abrasive stance as environmental anti-globalization vegan warrior activists. They somehow manage to politicize any topic of conversation, whether it be about a recipe for jerk chicken (”people who kill chickens are the real jerks”), or the cute new shoes you bought on sale this week (”too bad there’s no good deals for the starving babies who made those shoes”). (big ups, Radmila)

The Professional Panhandling Plague A big part of the cities’ woes is the professionalization of panhandling. The old type of panhandler—a mentally impaired or disabled homeless person trying to scrape together a few bucks for a meal—is giving way to the full-time spanger who supports himself through a combination of begging, working at odd jobs, and other sources, like government assistance from disability payments. I remember reading a story, back in the late 1970's, about a guy that lost his legs in WW2 and would panhandle the streets of New York. When he died, they found out that he would leave the city in the fall and head down to his home in Florida where he would hang out for the winter and run the bar that he owned. Come springtime, he would go back up to New York and get back to work. Apparently, he left behind a considerable chunk of change, hundreds of thousands.

Future Doctors Could Sniff Out Cancer
Atlas of electromagnetic space (extremely cool visualization) (via)
Eno's Oblique Strategies (via)

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