Monday, April 28, 2014

So this is good news and bad news. You can keep some things private, but only criminals would do it.
How One Woman Hid Her Pregnancy From Big Data
For the past nine months, Janet Vertesi, assistant professor of sociology at Princeton University, tried to hide from the Internet the fact that she's pregnant — and it wasn't easy.
Pregnant women are incredibly valuable to marketers. For example, if a woman decides between Huggies and Pampers diapers, that's a valuable, long-term decision that establishes a consumption pattern. According to Vertesi, the average person's marketing data is worth 10 cents; a pregnant woman's data skyrockets to $1.50. And once targeted advertising finds a pregnant woman, it won't let up.
Vertesi presented on big data at the Theorizing the Web conference in Brooklyn on Friday, where she discussed how she hid her pregnancy, the challenges she faced and how the experience sheds light on the overall political and social implications of data-collecting bots and cookies.
… Genius, right? But not exactly foolproof. Vertesi said that by dodging advertising and traditional forms of consumerism, her activity raised a lot of red flags. When her husband tried to buy $500 worth of Amazon gift cards with cash in order to get a stroller, a notice at the Rite Aid counter said the company had a legal obligation to report excessive transactions to the authorities.
"Those kinds of activities, when you take them in the aggregate ... are exactly the kinds of things that tag you as likely engaging in criminal activity, as opposed to just having a baby," she said.

“Gosh, perhaps you should read things before clicking “Agree?”
Judge throws out lawsuit lobbed at Facebook for using kids' pics in targeted ads
A judge has thrown out a potential class action lawsuit against Facebook over its use of photos of minors in targeted ads, ruling that the users gave their consent when they signed up for the social network.
… District Judge Richard Seeborg said that the folks trying to sue Facebook had failed to show that its "statement of rights and responsibilities" (SRR) was unenforceable. This statement, which governs the use of the site, was equivalent to written consent to the use of their names and profile photos for anyone who signed up, the judge said.

Doctors have been resisting using technology, perhaps this is a good idea, but...
Do medical scribes threaten patient privacy?
… The usual use of a medical scribe is to follow a provider around in their clinical tasks for the purpose of data entry. This may or may not involve being present for the history and physical exam. Most commonly they are physically present in the room and witness the entire encounter. The need they fill is a function of our ever increasing mandates for electronic medical records (EMR).

This is also how discrimination has been “discovered” in past lawsuits. Just saying, it can be used either way. (Read “How to lie with statistics.”)
Eileen Sullivan of AP reports:
A White House review of how the government and private sector use large sets of data has found that such information could be used to discriminate against Americans on issues such as housing and employment even as it makes their lives easier in many ways.
“Big data” is everywhere.
It allows mapping apps to ping cellphones anonymously and determine, in real time, what roads are the most congested. But it also can be used to target economically vulnerable people.
The issue came up during a 90-day review ordered by President Barack Obama, White House counselor John Podesta said in an interview with The Associate Press. Podesta did not discuss all the findings, but said the potential for discrimination is an issue that warrants a closer look.
Read more on Huffington Post.

Is this the best approach to “data searches?”
Orin Kerr writes:
This post updates readers on the current status of the mosaic theory of the Fourth Amendment. As regular readers know, that’s the novel approach to the Fourth Amendment introduced by the DC Circuit in United States v. Maynard — and then suggested by the concurring opinions in United States v. Jones — by which an aggregation of non-searches and subsequent analysis of the collected data at some point becomes a Fourth Amendment search.
There has been a lot of litigation on the mosaic theory recently. I wanted to flag three recent developments: an oral argument before the Eleventh Circuit, a decision by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and a novel procedural step by Magistrate Judge Facciola.

It didn't take long for someone (the state in this case) to replace InBloom. Note that data on students (history) will not predict the future job market. What are they really doing?
Barb Berggoetz reports:
Imagine a giant database filled with every Hoosier student’s elementary and high school achievement test scores, SAT scores, college degrees and eventually job and salary history.
State officials are preparing to build it. They want it to tell them exactly what happens to students who don’t finish high school or who switch majors in college. But the big payoff would be forecasting the job market and using that information to adjust the education system to deliver workers to meet the needs.
Read more on IndyStar.

...and we're developing robots without Asimov's Three Laws!
Are the robots about to rise? Google's new director of engineering thinks so…
… everyone's allowed their theories. It's just that Kurzweil's theories have a habit of coming true. And, while he's been a successful technologist and entrepreneur and invented devices that have changed our world – the first flatbed scanner, the first computer program that could recognise a typeface, the first text-to-speech synthesizer and dozens more – and has been an important and influential advocate of artificial intelligence and what it will mean, he has also always been a lone voice in, if not quite a wilderness, then in something other than the mainstream.
And now? Now, he works at Google. Ray Kurzweil who believes that we can live for ever and that computers will gain what looks like a lot like consciousness in a little over a decade is now Google's director of engineering.
… Google has gone on an unprecedented shopping spree and is in the throes of assembling what looks like the greatest artificial intelligence laboratory on Earth; a laboratory designed to feast upon a resource of a kind that the world has never seen before: truly massive data. Our data. From the minutiae of our lives.
Google has bought almost every machine-learning and robotics company it can find, or at least, rates. It made headlines two months ago, when it bought Boston Dynamics, the firm that produces spectacular, terrifyingly life-like military robots, for an "undisclosed" but undoubtedly massive sum. It spent $3.2bn (£1.9bn) on smart thermostat maker Nest Labs. And this month, it bought the secretive and cutting-edge British artificial intelligence startup DeepMind for £242m.

Interesting idea.
Will Economics Finally Get Its Paradigm Shift?
Economics is due for a paradigm shift. That’s the argument of British money manager George Cooper’s very interesting if less-than-felicitously titled new book, Money, Blood and Revolution: How Darwin and the Doctor of King Charles I Could Turn Economics Into a Science. It is also, to be fair, something economists have been talking about for decades. Yet it keeps not happening. Why is that?
The idea of a paradigm shift comes from Thomas Kuhn’s 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn, a physicist turned philosopher of science, had spent a year in the late 1950s at the then-new Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford and been struck by how the assembled psychologists, economists, historians, sociologists, and the like often disagreed over the very fundamentals of their disciplines. Physicists, in his experience, didn’t do that. This wasn’t because they were any smarter than social scientists, Kuhn concluded. It was because they had found a paradigm within which to work.
… Just as Kuhn was writing this, economics was finally settling into what looked like a scientific paradigm, in which mathematical models built around rational agents trying to maximize something called utility were presumed capable of answering all the questions that needed to be answered.
… Then it comes time to offer up his ideas for a new economics paradigm:
  1. Replace utility-maximizing economic man with a Darwinian fellow who simply wants to do better than the next guy.
  2. Let this selfish creature fight it out in a macroeconomic model based on the circulatory system. “Capitalism would act to push wealth up the social pyramid,” Cooper writes, “while democracy, and its progressive taxation system, would act in the opposite direction to push it back down, causing a vigorous circulatory flow of wealth throughout the economy.”

Something for my lawyer friends? Everything you ever wanted to know about the law?
– is a major publication venture toward a comprehensive coverage of law and the legal profession. It is an international, interdisciplinary, and collaborative project, spanning all the relevant areas of law and legal practice, and advised by leading scholars from around the world.

Perspective " A hundred billion here, a hundred billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money" to misquote Everett Dirksen (if he ever said that.)
Pfizer offering $100 billion for Astra Zeneca
… Pfizer, the maker of Viagra, said that AstraZeneca rejected an initial approach in January valuing the company at about 59 billion pounds ($100 billion). The cash and shares deal would represent a 30 percent premium on AstraZeneca's closing share price of 35.26 pounds on Jan. 3, the closing price around the time the offer was made.
AstraZeneca PLC said it concluded that the proposal "very significantly undervalued AstraZeneca and its prospects."

(Related) Also interesting. France has a lot of nuclear reactor projects around the world, so would this give GE a look at technology used in Iran? (Drugs are more profitable than nukes?)
GE’s Alstom Bid Gains Steam as Hollande Said Not Opposed
… Both GE and Siemens have taken steps to appease policy makers for a deal with Alstom, which has a market value of about 8.3 billion euros ($11.5 billion).

Took them long enough.
IBM Drinks The Kool-Aid, Launches An Enteprise App Store
… while the App Store concept is a logical one, it’s not something that is a traditional approach to enterprise IT, and hence hasn’t been embraced by more traditional vendors. Which makes it all the more interesting to hear confirmation of GigaOm scoop that IBM is this morning announcing the IBM Cloud Marketplace. A self-service (just swipe your credit card and you’re done) collection of software and services. The marketplace has a long list of different products available, including Zend, SendGrid, MongoDB, NewRelic, Redis Labs, Sonian, Flow Search Corp, Twilio and Ustream. It also includes IBM’s own products such as its Cloud Foundry-based Bluemix PaaS.

For my Math students.
Experiment With Sounds on Wolfram Tones
Wolfram Tones is a neat offering from Wolfram that students can use to can play with sample sounds and rhythms to create new own sounds. Wolfram Tones uses algorithms, music theory, and sound samples to generate new collections of sounds. Wolfram Tones allows visitors to choose samples from fifteen different genres of music on which to build their own sounds. Once a genre is selected visitors can then alter the rhythms, instrumentation, and pitch mapping of their sounds. When satisfied with their creations, users can download their sounds or have them sent directly to their cell phones.
Applications for Education
Wolfram Tones might be a nice little resource for a music theory lesson. Wolfram Tones could be a fun way for students to experiment with rhythms and instrumentation to make unique sounds.

Do I really want to know what my students opinions are?
– run polls and ask questions using an audience’s devices. Create a presentation in PowerPoint or Keynote, the same way you always did. Upload it to and press present. You will get a unique URL the audience can use to join your slideshow using any device they happen to have.

If it works for lawyers, it should work for my students.
New on LLRX – Personal Task Management for Legal Professionals
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on April 27, 2014
Via - Personal Task Management for Legal Professionals - Brad Edmondson searched for the right task management app throughout much of his time attending law school. He finally found and recommends in this article one that he chose for individual use: Todoist. The app – it’s really more of a service – operates on the “freemium” model, and Brad signed up for the premium version three months ago. He compares and contrasts this app to others for Mac and Android platforms in this best practices guide.

For students and my fellow professors.
– offers webcasts, workshops, recorded seminars, lectures and much more. Webiners is a platform that allows you to access the big lessons that experts are giving for free so you can empower your business education and make better decisions in your professional career.

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