Healthy Skepticism – My Critique of HealthKit as Both iOS Dev and Registered Nurse

Jared Sinclair:

Of the many new APIs announced at WWDC this summer, HealthKit has been particularly thought-provoking for me. At the risk of sounding like that guy, I think I have a somewhat priviledged perspective of HealthKit. There can’t be that many former registered nurses who’ve switched to iOS app development and tried to start a healthcare data company.
 I’ve devoted the better part of the last four years to understanding the healthcare industry, both its current problems and its possible futures. Along the way I’ve learned many things – some hopeful, some downright depressing. I ought to describe how HealthKit looks from my vantage point.
 Before jumping into HealthKit, let’s take a step back and look at the past and present state of healthcare information – what it is, where it’s stored, and how it’s transmitted and used. I’ll limit my description to the US since that is what I’m most familiar with.

Panorama: Union Pacific Locomotives Overlook Interstate 80 at Kenefick Park

Lauritzen Gardens:

Two of the greatest locomotives ever to power Union Pacific Railroad sit at the southwest point of the Lauritzen Gardens property, highly visible to passersby on Interstate 80 and welcoming motorists to Nebraska. On grand display are Centennial No. 6900 – the largest and most powerful diesel-electric locomotive ever built – and Big Boy No. 4023 – the world’s largest steam locomotive.

Featuring several plazas, seating areas, a grand staircase, “canyon” stone walls, interpretive signage, sculpture and walkways, the park documents Union Pacific Railroad’s role in the development of Omaha and the West.

The park bears the name of former Union Pacific Chairman and CEO John C. Kenefick, and is landscaped with native plants and grasses maintained by Lauritzen Gardens horticulture staff.

bing duckduckgo google wikipedia

Full screen panorama: tap/click then pan or zoom in any direction.

Second perspective.

“Big Boy”.

## The scenes were captured using hand-held “stabilization”. There are a few errors. Sorry.

Rise of the American Professional Sports Cartel

Everyday Systems:

There’s one thing strange about “competitive” sports teams. Although teams compete with one another for championships, they act in unison to protect one another’s business; they are a cartel. Therefore, a league should actually be considered a single, uniform entity. They vote together and present a single face towards outsiders in all business matters.
 We see this behavior strongly enforced when a team’s owners experience financial turmoil. In a competitive environment, the fittest survive and the weak perish; in the professional sports world, the league supports the struggling team through financial distress. For example, the MLB league office gave an emergency $25 million loan to the New York Mets owners after they struggled to pay their expenses. It also happened in 2010 when the owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, George Shinn, was struggling financially. The league purchased the Hornets from Shinn and the Hornets were jointly owned by the 29 other teams’ owners until an official purchaser could be found.
 Another mark of a cartel is exclusivity, No single owner can join the league or do what he wants without the approval of the rest of the league. During the Hornets sale process, many potential owners emerged who wanted to move the Hornets out of New Orleans. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had offered $350 million – far above market value – but was widely thought to want to move the team to his native Bay Area. The NBA refused to let Shinn sell his own private property at the best price. He could only sell to a person who would keep the team in New Orleans.

Entertainment in the Era of the Selfie

Gail Becker:

Selfie-mania has taken center stage at the Oscars, the Oval Office and, of course, most of our Facebook feeds. Perhaps, then, it is little wonder the once innocent form of self-expression is now transforming how we enjoy entertainment.
 In our eighth annual study on how and why people consume and share entertainment, we found consumers in the U.S., UK and China want their entertainment “selfie-style” – centered on the individual, immediately gratifying, engaging and shareable across social networks.
 We believe our selfie-obsessed world is indicative of consumers’ desire to be active participants in their entertainment, which can translate into big opportunities for brands who can help empower that engagement. Brands that can successfully deliver or enhance compelling entertainment stand to gain and grow.
 “Binge-Watching” Escalates
 The study’s findings show that with skyrocketing access to online and on-demand content, binge-watching TV shows is pervasive across all markets (U.S. – 94 percent; UK – 89 percent; China – 99 percent).
 The phenomenon is fueled by the availability of high-quality, engaging entertainment. Contrary to speculation that increased binge-watching is driven largely by the social currency associated with being up to date, our findings indicate that the primary drivers are actually internal factors.

It’s Complicated: Facebook’s History of Tracking You

Julia Angwin:

For years people have noticed a funny thing about Facebook’s ubiquitous Like button. It has been sending data to Facebook tracking the sites you visit. Each time details of the tracking were revealed, Facebook promised that it wasn’t using the data for any commercial purposes.
 No longer. Last week, Facebook announced it will start using its Like button and similar tools to track people across the Internet for advertising purposes.
 Here is the long history of the revelations and Facebook’s denials:
 Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg introduces the “transformative” Like button…
 April 21, 2010 – Facebook introduces the “Like” button in 2010 at its F8 developer conference. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg declares that it will be “the most transformative thing we’ve ever done for the Web.”
 He says his goal is to encourage a Web where all products and services use people’s real identity. He suggests, in fact, that creating a personally identifiable web experience could be divine: “When you go to heaven, all of your friends are all there and everything is just the way you want it to be,” he says. “Together, lets build a world that is that good.”

What Drives the Revolving Door Between the Government and Wall Street?

Ryan Tracy:

“High gross inflows into regulation during times of regulatory intensity may reflect workers moving into [the] regulatory sector to get schooled in the new complexity,” the researchers write.
 So, rather than joining the government to go easy on banks, the paper suggests workers may be coming to Washington to gain a better understanding of how regulation works — and then using that knowledge to land higher-paying private sector jobs.
 The paper also found regulators are having trouble retaining workers. About 64% of people that started working in regulation in 2008 stayed in those jobs for three years or more, the paper found. That compared to 88% for workers that began in 1988. And workers with higher education seem particularly inclined to leave, the paper said. (It also noted that “job flows” in and out of the regulatory sector were still smaller than in other parts of the labor market.)

Disruption Theory: What the gospel of innovation gets wrong

Jill LePore:

In “The Innovative University,” written with Henry J. Eyring, who used to work at the Monitor Group, a consulting firm co-founded by Michael Porter, Christensen subjected Harvard, a college founded by seventeenth-century theocrats, to his case-study analysis. “Studying the university’s history,” Christensen and Eyring wrote, “will allow us to move beyond the forlorn language of crisis to hopeful and practical strategies for success.” On the basis of this research, Christensen and Eyring’s recommendations for the disruption of the modern university include a “mix of face-to-face and online learning.” The publication of “The Innovative University,” in 2011, contributed to a frenzy for Massive Open Online Courses, or moocs, at colleges and universities across the country, including a collaboration between Harvard and M.I.T., which was announced in May of 2012. Shortly afterward, the University of Virginia’s panicked board of trustees attempted to fire the president, charging her with jeopardizing the institution’s future by failing to disruptively innovate with sufficient speed; the vice-chair of the board forwarded to the chair a Times column written by David Brooks, “The Campus Tsunami,” in which he cited Christensen.

Thoughts on Privacy: The right way forward

Kashif Zaidi:

I was thinking about the scenario today, as it turns out we are still having the same debate on a whole different scale. One of our basic freedoms as humans is where we can choose to share and further have a choice between the intended use and recipients of the information we share, as we progressed along with the social dynamic of internet, we have came a long way, we do share and reveal extra ordinarily so much more than usual, where we do get an illusion of choice of its visibility, usage and privacy for that matter, with such advancements and the such higher rates of sharing, so much more information is being collected by organisations.
 Its being said the sexiest job you could have in this century is of a data scientist and its only fair to point the obvious benefits and the positive gain from the analysis of this big data. Advancements in Financial services, bioinformatics, genomics, medicine, advertisement, without it you won’t be able to see some the most fantastic innovations, such as the IBM’s Watson or Google’s self driving cars, with the arrival of cloud computing we will be able to do this analysis on a much larger scale, which would be helping us to get to the results with ever more agility and speed.
 No one can or is denying the benefits, we have to progress, organisations do have to collect this data and I would really like to have a self driving car more sooner, but there are severe tradeoffs when we give up the right to privacy.
 Any personal information can become sensitive information. The enormous personal data into social networks is creating an opportunity for an advanced, accessible technology with help from technologies like the cloud, the internet of things and the public databases. It has the potential to shatter our privacy by miles. Alessandro Acquisti tested this hypothesis by screening photos with facial recognition software, public databases, and personal information from social media networks, a complete profile can be created with an unnerving sense of ease.

The power of glamour

Virginia Postrel:

When we hear the word ‘glamour’, we envision beautiful movie stars in designer gowns or sleek sports cars and the dashing men who drive them. For a moment, we project ourselves into the world they represent, a place in which we, too, are beautiful, admired, graceful, accomplished, powerful, wealthy, or at ease. Glamour lifts us out of everyday experience and makes our desires seem attainable. It creates a distinctive sensation of projection and longing.
 What we find glamorous, like what we find funny, varies with personality and culture. But all glamour promises transformation and escape. In the image of a rising jet or a speeding convertible, a runway model or a martial arts hero, we experience the same dream: that we might soar beyond present constraints to become better, more accomplished, admired, respected and desired versions of ourselves. Glamour lets us project ourselves into new identities, imagining the ideal in the half-known.
 As a result, glamour can be as powerful as it is pleasurable. By focusing previously inchoate yearnings, it motivates not just momentary fantasies but real-world action, from buying holidays and high heels to moving to new cities and pursuing new careers.
 In fact, more than we like to admit, glamour influences our answers to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
 For young children, to whom the very idea of adulthood is alluring and exotic, the responses are almost always pure glamour: movie star, athlete, fireman, model, pilot, dancer, and, especially for the preschool set, princess or superhero. Children, their answers tell us, long for lives of power, excitement, beauty, fame, and significance.
 So do adults. Whether experienced as children or young adults, the idealised professions we glimpse through books, movies, and TV shows often determine grown-up career choices – most of which have nothing to do with the stereotypically ‘glamorous’ trades of fashion or show business.

Your Outlet Knows: How Smart Meters Can Reveal Behavior at Home, What We Watch on TV

Jordan Robertson:

The research, which was published in 2012, measured how much power it takes to display certain programs on a television screen. Looking at seven movies and two television shows on five different brands of TV sets, the researchers found that each program had a unique power signature based on how much electric current was needed to show the images on the screen. Among the programs used for the tests was “Star Trek.”
 Once the programs’ signatures were identified, the researchers found they could then match that information with data coming out of a smart meter. That meant a power company or other entity could mine this data to determine what a household was watching. The test was comprehensive enough to show the technique is broadly applicable and that there is an urgent need for stronger protections for smart-meter data, the researchers said.
 As smart meters roll out around the world, the new technology has been met with anxiety and, at times, protests over security and privacy concerns. Last month, a protester was injured during an altercation with a water-utility employee at a demonstration in Ireland, and citizens’ groups in Australia, the U.S. and Canada have mounted campaigns against the installation of smart meters.