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Financial News from The Atlantic

  • In the movie Transcendence, which opens in theaters on Friday, a sentient computer program embarks on a relentless quest for power, nearly destroying humanity in the process. The film is science fiction but a computer scientist and entrepreneur Steven Omohundro says that “anti-social” artificial intelligence in the future …

  • It had been some time since I heard Bonnie Tyler’s nasalized soft-rock warbling, some time since her 1983 worldwide super-hit had fondled my cochlea. Alexis believes them to be “cleverisms,” little shots of pop cultural remixing meant to trigger a moment of frisson. Meanwhile, thinks Alexis, they rob the song of its vim, …

  • College: Much Cheaper Than You Think The Atlantic - Fri, Apr 18, 2014 5:18 PM EDT

    What's the most expensive college in America? Ask Google, Princeton Review, or the Chronicle of Higher Education, and you'll get the same answer: Sarah Lawrence University at $61,236. It's crazy that when we talk about price, we often only talk about tuition, a sticker shock that only 35 percent of Sarah Lawrence graduates …

  • I Hate the Song-as-Flowchart Genre, And Here's Why You Should, Too The Atlantic - Fri, Apr 18, 2014 2:18 PM EDT

    It's about love and letting people in and it's perfect like all the great Beatles songs. You've probably seen them in your Facebook news feed, but if not, they look like this: This flowchart sticks its proboscis-like arrows right into the soul of the experience and extracts a cheap joke at the expense of the actual song …

  • I Hate the Song-as-Flowchart Meme, and Here's Why You Should, Too The Atlantic - Fri, Apr 18, 2014 2:18 PM EDT

    It's about love and letting people in and it's perfect like all the great Beatles songs. You've probably seen them in your Facebook news feed, but if not, they look like this: This flowchart sticks its proboscis-like arrows right into the soul of the experience and extracts a cheap joke at the expense of the actual song …

  • Brookings economist Barry Bosworth crunches the data on income and lifespans for the Wall Street Journal , and the numbers tell three clear stories.  1. Rich people live longer. 2. Richer people's lifespans ...

  • Get Rich, Live Longer: The Ultimate Consequence of Income Inequality The Atlantic - Fri, Apr 18, 2014 12:33 PM EDT

    Brookings economist Barry Bosworth crunches the data on income and lifespans for the Wall Street Journal , and the numbers tell three clear stories.  1. Rich people live longer. 2. Richer people's lifespans ...

  • Raising the Social Security retirement age disproportionately reduces lifetime benefits for the very people Social Security was invented to protect.

  • More Money Buys More Life: The Awful Consequence of Inequality The Atlantic - Fri, Apr 18, 2014 12:33 PM EDT

    Brookings economist Barry Bosworth crunches the data on income and lifespans for the Wall Street Journal , and the numbers tell three clear stories.  1. Rich people live longer. 2. Richer people's lifespans ...

  • Do You Walk Enough? The Atlantic - Fri, Apr 18, 2014 11:59 AM EDT

    The American Heart Association says "the simplest, positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health is to start walking." For starters, they suggest exercising 150 minutes a week.  The problem is—how do you know if you're walking enough?

  • Wall Street Wants to Lend You Money to Fight Climate Change The Atlantic - Fri, Apr 18, 2014 11:19 AM EDT

    The latest series of reports from the United Nation Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned in stark terms the catastrophic consequences of the world’s governments’ decades-long foot-dragging on limiting greenhouse gas emissions. They’re directly contributing to climate change. Homes consume 22 percent of the …

  • How We Misunderstand 'Innovation' The Atlantic - Fri, Apr 18, 2014 10:52 AM EDT

    That’s why after presenting the bGeigie Layth came up to me and told me about the conflicting reports of cancer rates and depleted uranium in Iraq. We started to devise a plan to connect his NGO with the hackerspace in Iraq called Fikra Space to assist in taking the bGeigie out into Basra for samples. I work with a hackerspace …

  • How to Structure the Ideal Work Day: An Evidence-Based Guide The Atlantic - Fri, Apr 18, 2014 9:40 AM EDT

    Around 2pm is the perfect time for your second caffeine infusion, because your cortisol levels will start to dip again. According to email service provider MailChimp, it’s also another peak email opening time. It’s a great time of day to catch people sitting at their desks, so 2pm is the right time to send emails you want …

  • The Electronic-Medical-Records Email(s) of the Day, No. 2 The Atlantic - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 10:27 PM EDT

    My clients choose their practice management and EMR software (sometimes they ask me for advice, but usually the choice has already been made by the time I get involved) and I help them make it work. However, despite my frustrations, I'm convinced that this is a good and necessary thing to do, and will lead to advantages …

  • Kepler-186f is the first Earth-like planet in the habitable zone around its star that scientists have ever found (!). You might even call it "a bubbling cauldron of star birth," as NASA did. 

  • Want To Spot Earth's First Cousin? Look For the Swan in the Sky The Atlantic - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 8:00 PM EDT

    Kepler-186f is the first Earth-like planet in the habitable zone around its star that scientists have ever found. You might even call it "a bubbling cauldron of star birth," as NASA did. 

  • Housekeeping Note: Batteries, and Typos The Atlantic - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 6:52 PM EDT

    This is based on an interview with Steven Chu -- former Secretary of Energy, winner of the Nobel prize in physics, now professor at Stanford -- and Yi Cui, another Stanford professor who is at the frontier of battery research. We try harder, and do better, than most publications in avoiding mistakes of all sorts, including …

  • There Really Are So Many More Twins Now The Atlantic - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 5:53 PM EDT

    When the CDC calculated the number through 2009, they pegged it at 865,000. Plural pregnancies have an "unfavorable impact on key indicators of perinatal health such as rates of preterm birth and low birthweight." So, they wanted to know: what was causing this large increase in twin births? The blue portion of the columns …

  • The IVF Effect: How the U.S. Got a Million (!) Extra Twins The Atlantic - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 5:53 PM EDT

    When the CDC calculated the number through 2009, they pegged it at 865,000. Plural pregnancies have an "unfavorable impact on key indicators of perinatal health such as rates of preterm birth and low birthweight." So, they wanted to know: what was causing this large increase in twin births? The blue portion of the columns …

  • When discussing the value of satellite imagery, analysts often mention counting cars in a Walmart lot: If you can estimate how many cars fill the American big-box giant’s parking lots on Black Friday, they say, you could better estimate the company’s holiday earnings.

  • When discussing the value of satellite imagery, analysts often mention counting cars in a Walmart lot: If you can estimate how many cars fill the American big-box giant’s parking lots on Black Friday, they say, you could better estimate the company’s holiday earnings.

  • The Peculiar Worthlessness of Yahoo The Atlantic - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 4:35 PM EDT

    Yahoo is huge. But Yahoo's core business—search and display advertising—is worth more like negative-$10 billion, according to Bloomberg View's Matthew C. Klein. The math: Yahoo's total market cap is $37 billion. Its 24 percent stake in Alibaba, the eBay of China, is worth an estimated $37 billion (Alibaba hasn't IPO'd …

  • How Is Yahoo So Worthless? The Atlantic - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 4:35 PM EDT

    Yahoo is huge. But Yahoo's core business—mostly search and display advertising—is worth more like negative-$10 billion, according to Bloomberg View's Matthew C. Klein. The math: Yahoo's total market cap is $37 billion. Its 24 percent stake in Alibaba, the eBay of China, is worth an estimated $37 billion (Alibaba hasn't …

  • This Is Big: Scientists Just Found Earth's First Cousin The Atlantic - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 3:43 PM EDT

    Right now, 500 light years away from Earth, there's a planet that looks a lot like our own. NASA scientists are calling the planet Kepler-186f, and it's unlike anything they've found. It's the first Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of another star—the sweet spot between too-hot Mercury-like planets and too-cold …

  • The Data-Driven Optimization of the Worker The Atlantic - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 2:37 PM EDT

    'The data are about as important as the package for us,' says Jack Levis, who's in charge of the UPS data. "Despite numerous examples of invasive species harming eco-systems, exotic species may actually be able to fill ecological gaps in their new home, such as those left by native species that have become extinct... A …

  • Our Mars Orbiter Looked Down and Saw Our Mars Rover The Atlantic - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 1:14 PM EDT

    On April 11, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter passed near Aeolis Mons, a mountain near the equator in the planet’s eastern hemisphere. It photographed a hilly region nearby known as the Kimberley, and there it caught a robot that’s been hanging out among the hills for the past few months: the Mars Curiosity Rover. Curiosity …

  • Could a Floating Nuclear Power Plant Prevent Another Fukushima? The Atlantic - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 12:53 PM EDT

    A group of MIT scientists want to revive the nuclear industry in the post-Fukushima era by moving it offshore. In a paper to be presented at a conference this week, the MIT researchers argue that the way to make nuclear power plants impervious to earthquakes and tsunamis is to build them in shipyards and then tow the structures …

  • Why Don't Older Americans Want Time Machines? The Atlantic - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 12:48 PM EDT

    Because one in 10 Americans do—at least that's what they said when Pew Research Center asked what futuristic technology they would like to own. "Whether that's the eternal optimism of youth or the eternal realism of people who have lived a lifetime and seen the scope of change, you could definitely see a lesser expectation …

  • Could It Be Illegal to Sue a Company That You Like on Facebook? The Atlantic - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 12:36 PM EDT

    General Mills, the food mega-corporation that owns Betty Crocker, Nature Valley, and basically every sweet cereal you ate and served your kids, has a startling new legal policy making it illegal to sue the company after you: - “join” an online communities (which online communities is in question, but possibly including …

  • Clip This Coupon, Forfeit Your Right to Sue The Atlantic - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 12:36 PM EDT

    General Mills, the food mega-corporation that owns Betty Crocker, Nature Valley, and basically every sweet cereal you ate and served your kids, has a startling new legal policy making it illegal to sue the company after you: - “join” an online communities (which online communities is in question, but possibly including …

  • General Mills: If You Clip This Coupon, You Can't Sue Us! The Atlantic - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 12:36 PM EDT

    General Mills, the food mega-corporation that owns Betty Crocker, Nature Valley, and basically every sweet cereal you ate and served your kids, has a startling new legal policy making it illegal to sue the company after you: - “join” an online communities (which online communities is in question, but possibly including …

  • The Lost, Surprisingly Soulful Art of Corporate Identity The Atlantic - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 11:00 AM EDT

    Before corporations, entertainment companies, sports franchises, and political parties acquired “brand narratives,” the notion of branding was a subset of a practice called “corporate identity.” CI, as it was known, required companies and design firms to develop, refine, and maintain an integrated identity system defined …

  • The Lost, Strikingly Soulful Art of Corporate Identity The Atlantic - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 11:00 AM EDT

    Before corporations, entertainment companies, sports franchises, and political parties acquired “brand narratives,” the notion of branding was a subset of a practice called “corporate identity.” CI, as it was known, required companies and design firms to develop, refine, and maintain an integrated identity system defined …

  • The Unbundling of the Phone The Atlantic - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 8:14 AM EDT

    For years, sustainability and consumer advocates alike have criticized the electronics industry for the so-called "bundled" nature of our devices: If your phone's speakers start making weird noises, you're just going to have to replace the whole darn thing. But this week, Google is showcasing a different vision for the …

  • Read This Article Again In 2064 The Atlantic - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 5:00 AM EDT

    For example, we still haven't eliminated childbirth by inventing designer babies grown in artificial wombs, a prediction the science editor of LIFE magazine made 50 years ago.  But that same editor surmised we'd be able to grow complete human organs from cell tissue in laboratories, and most Americans now agree that this …

  • CAPTCHAs Are Becoming Security Theater The Atlantic - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 5:51 PM EDT

    As Google's ReCAPTCHA website puts it: "Tough on bots, easy on humans." But then along comes Google today noting, in a showily short and breezy blog post, that their machines can beat ReCAPTCHAs 99% of the time.  "Turns out that this new algorithm can also be used to read CAPTCHA puzzles—we found that it can decipher …

  • What Happened to Skywriting? The Atlantic - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 1:49 PM EDT

    Skywriting is a rare art now. Reporters predicted the skydrawing of elaborate illustrated ads, envisioning enormous shoes and automobiles splashed across the sky.

  • The Future of Streaming Music The Atlantic - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 1:28 PM EDT

    "If the recording industry has its way, music ownership will give way to a model completely based on access, but with an important shift. Like many other modern industries, the recording industry is doubling down on big data, giving their catalogs to the coders, and betting on a future of distribution and discovery dictated …

  • Please Join Us at 6th and I This Evening The Atlantic - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 1:25 PM EDT

    This evening James Bennet, the Atlantic's editor-in-chief, will be leading a conversation with Deb Fallows and me about the American Futures travels we've undertaken for the past few months, and for which we're about to kick off another extended trek. Our partners in this project have been Marketplace, with whom we've …

  • How to Stop Wasting Time Comparison Shopping The Atlantic - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 12:58 PM EDT

    Tell us about Wirecutter and Sweethome. Well, that's the kind of thing we're trying to do for you at Wirecutter and Sweethome. As consumers, we're all basically doing the same research on the same products all the time, and it's not only redundant, it's a wasteful use of our collective time for everyone to be doing that …

  • A Bullseye in the Sky Over Texas The Atlantic - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 12:20 PM EDT

    When we see patterns in the atmosphere from space, they tend to be in the clouds of powerful storms. So I got in touch with Steven Miller, senior research scientist and deputy director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) at Colorado State University. Miller and his colleagues discovered these …

  • The Electronic-Medical-Records Email of the Day, No. 1 The Atlantic - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 11:56 AM EDT

    Background: In last month's issue (subscribe!) I had a brief Q&A with Dr. David Blumenthal, who had kicked off the Obama Administration's effort to encourage use of electronic medical records. It's all the same.

  • The Electronic Medical Records E-mail of the Day, #1 The Atlantic - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 11:56 AM EDT

    Background: in last month's issue (subscribe!) I had a brief Q&A with Dr. David Blumenthal, who had kicked off the Obama administration's effort to encourage use of electronic medical records.

  • This Is What It's Like to Drive on a Glow-in-the-Dark Highway The Atlantic - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 10:58 AM EDT

    In the Dutch city of Oss, 60 miles southeast of Amsterdam, there's a highway named N329. Roosegaarde sees the project not as what it might seem to be on the surface—a "Cosmic Bowling" take on road-tripping—but rather as a way to save energy. As Roosegaarde told the BBC last year: "The government is shutting down streetlights …

  • The Great Sea Urchin Crisis The Atlantic - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 10:28 AM EDT

    Sea urchins from the bed of the Atlantic Ocean are served in Japan on another bed, one of rice. But the Atlantic's sea urchins are disappearing. Tye Zinck chips the ice off his scuba mask, yells a warrior cry and lunges off the boat. Dragging a cage that can trap about 30 urchins and a rake the size of a squeegee, Zinck …

  • Self-driving cars, extreme life extension, and global wifi provided by weather balloons: Google makes projects that sound like science fiction into reality at its secretive research lab, Google X.  Google finally allowed a journalist, Fast Company’s Jon Gertner, to profile Google X. The most interesting strategic detail …

  • Why Your Neighbors Will Finance Solar Panels for Your Roof The Atlantic - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 8:00 AM EDT

    Here’s another reason to be nice to the neighbors: They might just give you a no-money-down, low-cost loan to put solar panels on your roof, and once you pay off that debt you’ll get essentially free electricity as long as you own your home. In the coming months, the environmentally minded can go to Mosaic’s site and invest …

  • The Globalizing Golden Age of Beer The Atlantic - Tue, Apr 15, 2014 8:02 PM EDT

    John Tierney has put up an excellent and informative post today about the state of the American brewing market. Short version: the biggest sellers are still the blandest water-beers (Bud Light as #1, Coors Light as #2); Meanwhile craft beers, of which Samuel Adams is by far the largest and Sierra Nevada #2, claim only …

  • When Your Hearing Aid Is an iPhone The Atlantic - Tue, Apr 15, 2014 5:19 PM EDT

    And though that loss can be a big problem—"blindness separates people from things," Helen Keller said, while "deafness separates people from people"—it's one that has a solution: Get a hearing aid. The main problem with hearing aids, though, has less to do with technology and more to do with culture: Many people who need …

  • Scientists Discover How to Generate Solar Power in the Dark The Atlantic - Tue, Apr 15, 2014 3:27 PM EDT

    The next big thing in solar energy could be microscopic. Scientists at MIT and Harvard University have devised a way to store solar energy in molecules that can then be tapped to heat homes, water or used for cooking. The best part: The molecules can store the heat forever and be endlessly re-used while emitting absolutely …

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