Jeff's Tumblog

Distributed systems geek by day, Apple geek by night (and day)

Like roller skating rinks and other public spaces “for young people only,” our culture seems to have decided that kids are better off when they’re not alone with other kids, and worried parents have been victorious in their mission to rid us of these troublesome spaces for loitering, described by New York City in 1942 as a “menace to the health, safety, and general welfare of the people.”

Can the success of Gangnam Style be chalked up to zany perverted visuals, sly lyrics, and savvy use of the internet? As anyone who lives in a large city anywhere in the world can attest, there’s a bit more to it than that. That’s because every big city in the world has its own Gangnam, its own high profile neighbourhood, which to rich and poor alike serves to entice and irritate in equal measure.

Drew Reed on what Gangnam Style says about wealthy urban neighborhoods. (via thisbigcity)

Wait, Gangnam is a neighborhood? Awesome

The vast majority of Foursquare’s venue data is based on actual GPS coordinates collected when users check in at a venue using their phones. That means Foursquare’s geographical accuracy gives it at least one big advantage over Yelp, which relies on data from third party providers and is already integrated into Apple’s Maps.

Now the collection is boundless. The space near infinite. Every single item collected is plugged into the network. And so that self—that idealization—suddenly flows fast and far. It touches other selfs, other idealizations. It can be reconstituted by data mappers.

Google's self-guided car could drive the next wave of unemployment

So where did the jobs go? As you’d expect from economists, there are lots of theories. The most intriguing explanation, for my money, has been offered by two MIT academics, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, in their book Race Against the Machine. Crudely stated, their view is that advances in computing of the kind embodied by the Google self-driving car represent the next wave of job-eliminating technology. Many skills that were hitherto deemed secure (such as driving) may be devalued and might eventually become worthless, at least in the job market.

Any strategy that involves crossing a valley—accepting short-term losses to reach a higher hill in the distance—will soon be brought to a halt by the demands of a system that celebrates short-term gains and tolerates stagnation, but condemns anything else as failure. In short, a world where big stuff can never get done.

—Neal Stephenson (Innovation Starvation)