The American economy in January could get frost bite. Economists often argue that the cold typically defers activity rather than destroys it, but not always.
A high-profile activist investor’s latest use of the megaphone is to call for an iconic tech firm to split up. Carl Icahn wants eBay to spin off PayPal, separating the online auction site from the digital payment service. eBay’s CEO wants to hang onto PayPal. He says keeping it provides that enduring corporate buzzword: synergy.
For many people, the rise and expansion of the “sharing economy” or “peer economy,” has made life cheaper and easier. The companies that facilitate this economy have allowed us to rent everything from apartments, to cars, to designer handbags. Proponents of the shared economy argue that it is both democratic and democratizing, but some companies may be replicating problems that exist in the traditional economy, according to research from two Harvard Business School professors who looked into Airbnb, a company that connects people looking to rent out a room, apartment or house, with those looking for a place to stay.
Along with the long pattern of tech industry growth in Silicon Valley, there have been slow burning tensions in the San Francisco Bay Area. They're related to class, public services, and the idea of good and bad disruption. Private busing for tech workers in San Francisco has raised hackles of local residents for using public bus stops. And this week a bunch of protesters showed up outside the house of a Google engineer responsible for the self-driving car program. Cyrus Farivar of Ars Technica has been reporting on the story for Ars Technica, and tells Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson the latest. Click the audio player above to listen to the interview.
In a series of predawn raids, agents arrested five alleged mobsters in connection with the decades-old robbery of $5 million in cash and $1 million in jewels from a Lufthansa cargo building at JFK International airport.
Online dating websites use all kinds of technology and calculations to help you find a mate. It could be as simple as giving a thumbs up or thumbs down to a photo, or as complicated as a long list of questions asked, points scored, and intense mathematical algorithms that play digital matchmaker. Mathematician Chris McKinlay was working on his doctorate and his love life at the same time, and found that he was unsatisfied with the calculations made. So he hacked an answer and in the process wrote "Optimal Cupid: Mastering the Hidden Logic of OkCupid."
McKinlay says the problem with OKCupid is that it doesn’t tell you exactly what to do. “They just say hey, here’s a bunch of questions, and you don’t have any idea what questions necessarily the people you’re interested in might find important.”
“One way to get the site to actually match you with people you are compatible with is to confine yourself to only answering divisive questions,” McKinlay said. “If say like, tattoo culture or motorcycles is important to you, answering a yes-no question about that and marking it mandatory is far more divisive -- guys who aren’t into that stuff aren’t going to score points with you.”
It took McKinlay 88 dates to finally meet the love of his life, and now he is engaged. He has his own operator’s manual to thank.
“All I did was write software that logged into the site as a profile, and then took all the data and came back to me.”
To hear more about how McKinlay used technology to maximize his chances of finding “the one,” click on the audio above.
Scientists at the Idaho National Laboratory created and tested an Android app that could allow your smartphone to detect gamma radiation. They say the technology could be used as radiation detectors by first responders.