Snippets of Knowledge


Dear Sir or Madam, But Most Likely Sir:

I am writing to apply for your advertised position in Social Innovation. As a Comparative Literature Ph.D, I am proficient in the fabrication of closed tautological circles of non-meaning; this makes me the ideal candidate for a job seeking…

Cereal, that bedrock of the American breakfast, has lost some of its snap, crackle and pop.

For the last decade, the cereal business has been declining, as consumers reach for granola bars, yogurt and drive-through fare in the morning. And the drop-off has accelerated lately, especially among those finicky millennials who tend to graze on healthy options — even if Cheerios and some other brands come in whole-grain varieties fortified with protein now.

So, why the distaste for a change that would benefit many of them? It’s simple: Twitter’s uncurated feed certainly has some downsides, and I can see some algorithmic improvements that would make it easier for early users to adopt the service, but they’d potentially be chopping off the very—sometimes magical—ability of mature Twitter to surface from the network. And the key to this power isn’t the reverse chronology but rather the fact that the network allows humans to exercise free judgment on the worth of content, without strong algorithmic biases. That cumulative, networked freedom is what extends the range of what Twitter can value and surface, and provides some of the best experiences of Twitter.

An MIT Tech Review piece on a new piece in ArXiv about why mobile phone data needs to be handled with care. What I find surprising is that the Tech Review piece mentions “anthropologists” but that word is not even mentioned once in the ArXiv piece.

So what happened? The explanation starts with changes in how Wall Street firms and management consulting firms go about filling their ranks. Starting in the 1980s, these firms adopted a recruitment strategy that targeted undergraduate students at a handful of elite colleges in a way that other profitable, fast-growing industries—like the energy, health care, and high-tech sectors—did not.

This wasn’t so much because banks and consulting firms had a greater demand for young brainpower. Rather, these other industries managed to find the talent they needed—to, say, devise new medicines or software or oil exploration techniques—from the broad array of American colleges and universities. While happy to hire Ivy Leaguers, they didn’t inordinately seek them out. Wall Street and the consulting firms, by contrast, developed business models that relied on the appearance of brainpower in order to win clients. This put a premium on recruiting from a handful of universities with the highest worldwide brand equity. Top students from Purdue or UCLA might be just as good, or even better, at putting together spreadsheets. But being able to boast that you have a team of kids from Harvard is important when you are trying to sell high-cost consulting and financial services of uncertain value.

(via This is Uber’s playbook for sabotaging Lyft | The Verge)
What’s more, you can improve your chances of flawless travel by flying early in the day, taking non-stop flights, and choosing an airline with many different flights to your destination.