30 Cities Best Positioned for Long-Term Success


This post is by Jeff Desjardins from Technology – Visual Capitalist


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The 30 Cities Best Positioned for Long-Term Success

The 30 Cities Best Positioned for Long-Term Success

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

Combine the rapid rate of technological change with a globalized economy, and it’s evident that our cities are transforming at an unprecedented pace.

But while these fast-moving currents are found in pretty much every urbanized setting, not every city is doing well to navigate them. In an increasingly digital and global economy, cities must be able to attract high-end talent, foster innovation, and maintain competitiveness – and failing to do so can have dire consequences.

Which cities are prepared to adapt, and which will get left behind in the dust?

The City Momentum Index

Today’s chart uses data from the City Momentum Index 2018 in a report produced by JLL.

The index tries to identify the cities that are at the forefront of the innovation economy, by looking at

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Does Silicon Valley have a conscience?


This post is by Om Malik from Om on Tech


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Silicon Valley’s recruiting pitch has long been: Work with us to change the world. Employees are encouraged to make their work life synonymous with their social identity, and many internalize those utopian ideals. “People who signed up to be tech heroes don’t want to be implicated in human rights abuses,” says a senior Google employee.

A close look at the emergence of employee dissent at big tech companies like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft over issues that matter to them. One notable omission: Facebook. Perhaps they think that their company is pristine, flawless.

Journalism Problem #1


This post is by Om Malik from Om on Tech


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Jill Abramson, former editor of The New York Times:

“From four years of teaching at Harvard, so many of my students are interested in journalism, but they mostly want to write first-person, highly personal narratives about themselves. That may reflect their age. But I think there’s too much of that in journalism. It’s not about us. It’s about the world, and covering the world.”

This has been my biggest gripe with the media establishment. Everything is about them, not about the news.

Responsible IoT design


This post is by Ann Light, Claire Rowland from All - O'Reilly Media


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We should take the impact our designs have on others’ lives as seriously as we take the need for profit and competitive advantage.

BY ANN LIGHT AND CLAIRE ROWLAND1

This chapter looks at the factors that make products trustworthy and safe to use. Connecting up products and services brings new challenges for security, privacy, social engineering, and the environment. We argue that we should consider how our designs impact on others’ lives, and take this as seriously as we take the need for profit and competitive advantage.

Continue reading Responsible IoT design.

Four short links: 29 June 2018


This post is by Nat Torkington from All - O'Reilly Media


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Stereotype Framework, Humanoid Robots, Dark Patterns, and Retro Terminal Emulator

  1. A Model of (Often Mixed) Stereotype Content: Competence and Warmth Respectively Follow From Perceived Status and Competition — you can position stereotypes on two axes, warmth and competence. In different quadrants, status and competition predict the response to those stereotypes.
  2. Asimo Retiredit sounds like the company wants to start focusing on how to apply the technology that it has to make robots that don’t just promote its brand, but actually help out with things like elder care and disaster relief. Honda has done a lot of work on Asimo, but, as the article says, mainly for brand building. It was an iconic humanoid robot. I wonder if this represents (the beginning of?) the end of charismatic anthropomorphic robots.
  3. Deceived by Design — dark patterns in Google, Facebook, and Windows products.
  4. Cool Retro Term — open source Cathode

    Continue reading “Four short links: 29 June 2018”

Hands on with the Echo Dots Kids Edition


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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Earlier this year, Amazon introduced an Echo Dot for kids, with its $80 Echo Dot Kids Edition device, which comes in your choice of a red, blue, or green protective case. The idea is to market a version of Amazon’s existing Dot hardware to families by bundling it with an existing subscription service, and by throwing in a few extra features – like having Alexa encourage kids to say “please” when making their demands, for example.

The device makes sense in a couple of scenarios – for helicopter parents who want to fully lock down an Echo device before putting it in a kid’s room, and for those who were in the market for a FreeTime Unlimited subscription anyway.

I’ve been testing out an Echo Dot Kids Edition, and ran into some challenges which I thought I’d share. This is not a hardware review – I’m sure you can find

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Researchers train bipedal robots to step lightly over rough terrain


This post is by John Biggs from TechCrunch


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Researchers at the Hybrid Robotics Group at UC Berkeley and CMU are hard at work making sure their robots don’t fall over when tiptoeing through rough terrain. Using machine learning and ATRIAS robots, the teams are able to “teach” robots to traverse stepping stones they’ve never seen before.

Their robots, described here, are unique in that they are bipedal and use a mixture of balance and jumping to ensure they don’t tip off the blocks.

“What’s different about our methods is that they allow for dynamic walking as opposed to the slower quasi-static motions that robots tend to use,” write the researchers. “By reasoning about the nonlinearities in the dynamics of the system and by taking advantage of recent advances in optimal and nonlinear control technology, we can specify control objectives and desired robot behaviors in a simple and compact form while providing formal stability and safety guarantees. This

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Science fiction writer Harlan Ellison is dead


This post is by Anthony Ha from TechCrunch


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Harlan Ellison, the 84-year-old author of some of science fiction’s best-known stories, has died. His death was announced on Twitter by Christine Valada.

In addition to short fiction, Ellison also wrote for the movies and TV, most notably penning “The City on the Edge of Forever” — he was vocally unhappy with how his script was rewritten, but the filmed version is still generally considered the finest episode of any Star Trek series.

Ellison also made his mark as an editor, thanks to his 1967 anthology “Dangerous Visions” — while the stories’ sex and violence, as well as their stylistic experimentation, may no longer seem groundbreaking, “Dangerous Visions” remains the definitive collection of New Wave science fiction.

He was also a teacher, most notably championing the work of “Kindred” author Octavia Butler after meeting her at the Clarion Workshop. And he experimented with other media as well, for example working

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Landmark California privacy bill heads to Governor’s desk


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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A data privacy bill in California is just a signature away from becoming law over the strenuous objections of many tech companies that rely on surreptitious data collection for their livelihood. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 has passed through the state legislative organs and will now head to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown to be enacted.

The law puts in place a variety of powerful protections against consumers having their data collected and sold without their knowledge. You can read the full bill here, but the basic improvements are as follows:

  • Businesses must disclose what information it collects, what business purpose it does so for, and any third parties it shares that data with.
  • Businesses would be required to comply with official consumer requests to delete that data.
  • Consumers can opt out of their data being sold, and businesses can’t retaliate by changing the price or

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Television content creation in China


This post is by David Riggs from TechCrunch


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Content creation has seen immense growth in recent years, with a shift in focus from mainstream content providers such as traditional television studious to internet-era startups either seeking to expand their portfolios or seeking to increase premium user memberships through exclusive content introduction.

In America, this scene has been predominately owned by Amazon, Netflix and Hulu, introducing critically acclaimed titles such as The Man in the High Castle, Orange Is the New Black and The Handmaid’s Tale, respectively, with many other industry giants scrambling to catch up (with Apple already signing a deal with Steven Spielberg to produce an Amazing Stories-reboot, Facebook spending as much as $1 billion on original content, Google announcing plans to potentially spend up to $3 million per drama episode and even Disney with their purported streaming service, among many others).

Similarly, in China’s growing television industry, a select few, namely Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, continue to

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Honda reportedly retires the iconic Asimo


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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Honda is ceasing development of Asimo, the humanoid robot that has delighted audiences at trade shows for years but never really matured into anything more than that, the Nikkei reports. But while the venerable bot itself is bowing out, the technology that made it so impressive will live on in other products, robotic and otherwise.

Asimo (named, of course, after science fiction pioneer Isaac Asimov) is older than you might guess: although it was revealed in 2000 as the first credibly bipedal walking robot, it had at that point been under development for more than a decade. The idea of a robot helper that could navigate a human-centric environment and interact with it in the same way we do was, of course, attractive.

But the problem proved, and still proves, harder than anyone guessed. Even the latest humanoid robots fail spectacularly at the most ordinary tasks that humans do without

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Instagram Stories now lets its 400M users add soundtracks


This post is by Josh Constine from TechCrunch


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The right music can make a boring photo or video epic, so Instagram is equipping users with a way to add popular songs to their Stories. TechCrunch had the scoop on the music feature’s prototype in early May, and now it’s launching to iOS and Android users in 51 countries including the U.S. Thanks to Facebook’s recent deals with record labels, users will be able to choose from thousands of songs from artists including Bruno Mars, Dua Lipa, Calvin Harris, and Guns N’ Roses. The launch could make Instagram Stories more fun to post and watch in a way that copyrights won’t allow on Snapchat, while giving the app a way to compete with tween favorite Musically.

And just a week after revealed its app has 1 billion monthly users, the company also announced today that Instagram Stories has 400 million daily users, up from 300 million in November

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Facebook is using machine learning to self-tune its myriad of services


This post is by Ron Miller from TechCrunch


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Regardless of what you may think of Facebook as a platform, they run a massive operation and when you reach their level of scale you have to get more creative in how you handle every aspect of your computing environment.

Engineers quickly reach the limits of human ability to track information to the point that checking logs and analytics becomes impractical and unwieldy on a system running thousands of services. This is a perfect scenario to implement machine learning and that is precisely what Facebook has done.

The company published a blog post today about a self-tuning system they have dubbed Sprial. This is pretty nifty and what it does is essentially flip the idea of system tuning on its head. Instead of looking at some data and coding what you want the system to do, you teach the system the right way to do it and it does it

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Facebook will allow you to see all the active ads from any Page


This post is by Anthony Ha from TechCrunch


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Facebook made two announcements about ad transparency today — one around the ads purchased by any Page and another around expanding its recently announced archive of political ads.

It seems like ad transparency is a big focus today, as Twitter just launched its own Ads Transparency Center, allowing anyone to see ads bought by any account.

In terms of bringing more transparency to Facebook Pages, the company says there will be a new section in Pages allowing users to bring up general information about Pages (like recent name changes and date of creation), and another where anyone can view all the active ads the Page is currently running.

As with any ad on Facebook, you’ll be able to flag ads viewed this way if you think they violate Facebook policies, and they will then be reviewed. Speaking to journalists via videoconference, Rob Leathern, a director of product management on

Facebook Pages transparency

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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope launch set back to 2021


This post is by Sarah Wells from TechCrunch


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NASA announced yesterday that its highly anticipated James Webb Space Telescope is delaying its launch — again.

It was announced in March that the mission would be delayed until 2020, which is already two years past its original launch date of October 2018. But after accepting the recommendations of an independent review board, NASA has announced that the launch has been rescheduled for early 2021.

According to the report, technical issues and human error have “greatly impacted the development schedule” and added $800 million to the already $8 billion budget approved by Congress.

For a mission that’s been deemed NASA’s “next big telescope,” it’s not surprising there’d be a few bumps in the road.

The telescope’s honeycombed structure of (literally) gold-plated mirrors will help scientists see further into the history of our universe than has ever been possible before. Following in the footsteps of the Hubble Telescope, Webb will have

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Moov gets into mindfulness with launch of ‘Sanity & Self’ app for women


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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Moov, the wearable maker best known for its line of fitness trackers with their accompanying digital coaches, is today branching off into mindfulness. The company is the latest to join the self-care craze, with the launch of a new app focused on mindfulness and meditation, Sanity & Self. However, unlike most of today’s meditation apps, Sanity & Self is aimed only at women.

Explains Moov’s co-founder Meng Li, the idea to build a mindfulness app came to her after becoming a mother herself.

“Even with a wonderful and supportive partner, I found it incredibly challenging to find time to take care of myself after I had my first child,” she says. “I saw other women around me struggling as well, and wanted to build an app specifically geared toward helping women and moms find time to recharge themselves.”

Women — and especially mothers — often find themselves

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Grace Hopper computing conference looks to bring more attention to women of color


This post is by Megan Rose Dickey from TechCrunch


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AnitaB.org, the organization behind the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, has released its second-ever diversity report.

As of today, AnitaB.org employs 59 people — 27 white people, seven black people, seven Latinx people, 13 Asian people, 1 Native American person, three people of two or more races and one person with an unspecified race. At the leadership level, AnitaB.org appointed Brenda Darden Wilkerson, a black woman, to serve as its CEO and president. The organization has also made some slight improvements in terms of gender balance, growing from just 4.2 percent male in 2016 to 11 percent male in 2017. 

Onstage, ABI has a goal of ensuring women of color make up at least 30 percent of the speakers, but did not disclose the exact breakdown for its most recent conference.

Under Wilkerson’s leadership, AnitaB.org looks to become more inclusive.

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Twitter launches its Ads Transparency Center, where you can see ads bought by any account


This post is by Anthony Ha from TechCrunch


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Twitter is unveiling the Ads Transparency Center that it announced back in October.

This comes as Twitter and other online platforms have faced growing political scrutiny around the role they may have played in spreading misinformation, particularly in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

For example, House Democrats recently released thousands of Russian-funded political Facebook ads, and Facebook will reportedly release its own ad transparency tool this week. (In fact, as this story publishes, I’m at a Facebook press event focused on ad transparency.)

Twitter says that with this tool, you should be able to search for any Twitter handle and bring up all the ad campaigns from that account that have run for the past seven days. For political advertisers in the U.S., there will be additional data, including information around billing, ad spend, impressions per tweet and demographic targeting.

Everyone should be able to

Twitter political ads

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Facebook’s virtual reality sculpting platform gets a 2.0 upgrade


This post is by Lucas Matney from TechCrunch


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Eighteen months since its initial release, Oculus is delivering some major updates to its Medium “immersive sculpting tool” in a free 2.0 update that’s being released today.

The artistic tool is one of the company’s few first-party apps on the PC Rift platform. Today’s updates focus primarily on performance bumps, a UI revamp and some features the company says were frequently requested by users, including snapping grids and increased layer limits.

“This is the culmination of a year of listening to our users and not only seeing what they’re creating but how — and learning what tools and features they love and lack,” Oculus’s Jessica Zeta said in a blog post.

While VR art apps like Google’s Tilt Brush have seemed a bit amateurish in vibes, Oculus has been looking to position Medium as a more professional application that’s easy to get going with but hard to master. Alongside

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