Civil unrest in Ferguson has put a spotlight on the issue of excessive force by the police. One possible answer: have officers wear cameras while on the job.
With video cameras and cloud storage getting cheaper by the day, it would seem outfitting police with cameras should be easier than ever, right?
“What happens to the data after the fact? How long is it stored for? What’s done with the data after an investigation has concluded?” Lynch said.
Another issue: If the video is being used as evidence, how do you secure it from hackers and establish a chain of custody?
Putting those systems in place takes technical expertise and money, something many police departments are short on, said Jen King, with UC Berkeley’s School of Information.
King says that because of the sensitive nature of the videos, public agencies can’t always use off-the-shelf products.
“It’s not like they can just buy cloud space,” she said.
Some jurisdictions don’t allow public agencies to store information in the cloud and so they have to maintain their own servers - which is another cost.
The protests that have erupted in Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of Michael’s Brown’s shooting by the police have opened another conversation about the role of social media during fast breaking news events.
David Carr, media and culture columnist for the New York Times, sees a similarity to the coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011, when police made it difficult for the media to cover the events by pushing cameras out of the area. In that instance, social media became a large part of the eyes and ears of the media. Ferguson is being covered in much the same way, with images of militarized police responding to protesters going viral.
With the evolution of smartphone technology, Carr points to how the delivery of video and pictures has become more discreet than ever:
“Walking around with a camera is like walking around with an 800 pound pencil: you can be a target for either the police or the protesters.” Meanwhile, with a smartphone, one can blend into the crowd and simply record events.
Newsrooms have also been leaning heavily towards Twitter as opposed to other social networks, especially during fast moving events.
A major reason why, Carr argues, is that Twitter is a light piece of infrastructure that can carry info from other platforms, such as embedded photos and short videos, quickly and easily.
If you hate to pay for long-term parking at the airport, would you consider letting someone else drive it while you’re away?
A peer-to-peer company called FlightCar will take your car while you’re out of town and rent it out. Currently, it has offices in Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
“Say for instance you’re going on a 5-day trip. We would wash it. Prep it. Make it look nice and clean. And then we would rent it the whole time you’re gone. And when you do arrive back, you would receive a check for your car being rented,” says assistant manager Kenneth Boyd.
I left my own car with them – a 2003 Honda Civic. For a car like mine, lenders can expect to earn around 10 cents per mile.
But some customers aren’t financially motivated.
“The money is less important than the idea of participating in a sharing economy, and sharing my car with somebody who might need it while I’m not using it,” says Leslie Tamaribuchi, who has left her Fiat with the company six times.
To get the full experience, I also rented someone else’s car: a 2011 Mercedes C 300, which cost me $60 a day – less than half of what competing rental companies charge.
The car’s owner, Brett Hobbs, needed a place to store his Mercedes while he was away for almost four months.
“You get an email every time your car is rented out. And as soon as we left, the emails started pouring in, saying that, ‘Good news. Your car was rented.’ And, I sort of realized: 'Wow. My car really is a rental car now,'” says Hobbs.
If someone crashes the car while it’s being rented, FlightCar will provide up to $1 million in liability coverage.
Someone who rented Hobb’s Mercedes was involved in a fender-bender.
“FlightCar took care of the damage before we got home,” says Hobbs.
In the end, renters put 6000 miles on his car. In return, Hobbs got paid about $1,500.
How does the income compare to the depreciation of the car? Hobbs says, “I think it’s probably pretty close to a wash.”
Hobbs says he’d use FlightCar again, but next time, he’d leave his older car – a 2006 BMW.
In my case, my Honda was rented twice. Within a week, I got a check in the mail from FlightCar for a little more than $5 - enough to cover the cost of driving to and from the airport.
On the last day of a pediatric dentistry course offered this summer at the University of Minnesota, adjunct assistant professor Jen Post asked her class a pointed question.
"For the purposes of planning for next year, I'm just wondering how many of you bought the book for this course," she asked. "Anyone?"
Not one aspiring dental hygienist raised a hand.
The $85 textbook was, technically speaking, optional. But Post says even when it was required in years past, few students bought it. They also didn't even try to rent or borrow it.
"Then they didn't know answers on exams. They didn't know where it was coming from," says Post.
Faculty at several other schools report similar problems. In a survey conducted last fall by the National Association of College Stores, nearly a third of students polled said they didn't buy or rent at least one item required for a class, often a textbook. And an equal share of students waited until after the start of school to buy anything.
"They want to make sure that whatever's required of them to purchase or rent or borrow from someone else, that they're going to be used," says Richard Hershman, vice president of government relations for the trade group.
Niki Marinelli, a senior in the dental hygiene program at the University of Minnesota, says she often just relies on study guides or will borrow a textbook from a friend to avoid buying books.
"Sometimes I see how I did on the first test and go from there. I see if I feel a book would've been helpful if I didn't do so well," she says. "Most of the time I'm okay. I'll go in if I have any questions."
Marinelli says loans cover the $10,000 she pays each semester in out-of-state tuition. But book costs come out of her own pocket. And she already works two jobs.
Rick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, says professors need to be sensitive to textbook affordability. But he says it's shortsighted of students to spend thousands of dollars on tuition and then skimp on books.
"It's a case of students essentially seeming to think they're paying for the credential for the degree but they're not all that concerned about the learning that goes along with it," he says.
Jen Post is concerned about it. Post now filters the textbook content down to 50-minute powerpoint presentations, which are the basis of lectures and exams. It's the best way to ensure students get exposed to the information in the book. Post says if she didn't do this, her students would turn instead to Google and YouTube for answers to their homework assignments. And those answers are often wrong.
"They're just thinking everything's at their fingerstips," she says, "when it might be in the book."
There’s a saying on Wall Street: "Buy the rumor, sell the news."
It can be a nifty way for traders to make money. Here's how it works: Be the first to find out about a big company announcement. Then, buy the stock low, and sell high.
Bill King is a market strategist at M. Ramsey Securities, Inc. Before that, he was a trader for about 20 years.
“The smart guys are getting out and they’re looking for the suckers to take their positions off their hands," says King.
By positions, he means stocks, or whatever investment they made to exploit the rumor.
And "buy the rumor, sell the news" can work with some big global events. Traders watch international news closely, looking for trends.
“Is it the beginning of something new? Or is it the beginning of, you know, just a temporary event that's kind of a blip on the screen?” says Doug Roberts, Chief investment strategist at Channel Capital Research.com.
Take the 1973 oil embargo, when members of OPEC wouldn’t sell to the US. People in the know bought before oil prices shot up. But, Roberts says buy the rumor, sell the news doesn’t work all the time. It sounds neat and easy, but it’s just one tool for traders.
It's said to be the first song about Ebola, written by two up-and-coming Liberian music producers. The message: "Ebola is very wicked. It can kill you quick quick."