" /> Coruscation: April 2016 Archives

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April 30, 2016

Asian-Americans (hyphenated)

Asian-Americans are the United States' most successful minority, but they are complaining ever more vigorously about discrimination, especially in academia.

A similar effect is visible in the law. In 2014, whereas 11% of law-firm associates were Asian, 3% of partners were. Recruiters at the top firms typically throw out applications from all but the top universities and scan the remainder for their extracurriculars, says Lauren Rivera of Northwestern University. "They're particularly interested in sports, such as lacrosse, squash and [rowing] crew. When you look at the demographic base of these sports, Asian-Americans are not heavily represented."

April 29, 2016

Some coffee in Korea is not that of connoisseurs: busan edition with Jay Song

BUSAN, South Korea -- South Korea's cities are overrun with cafés. According to the Samsung Economic Research Institute, the number of coffee shops here jumped from about 6,000 in 2008 to 9,400 in 2011. Other studies put the number as high as 17,000 in Seoul alone. There are so many coffee shops in the South Korean capital that the Fair Trade Commission set a limit on the distance between new coffeehouse chains to at least 500 meters.

In addition to Starbucks, which is run by Shinsegae, 40 percent of the nation's cafés are run by the top five Korean brands: €”Caffe Bene, Hollys Coffee, Ediya Coffee, Angel-in-us and Tom n' Toms.

A common complaint amongst both expats and an increasing number of Koreans is that chain coffee is cheaply roasted, weak in strength and lacking in taste. This is driving Korea's coffeeholics to seek out better alternatives in smaller roasting companies and independent cafés.

Considering that last year 63 percent of the coffee consumed in Korea was dispersed from a powdery packet, it will take time for a stampede to rush towards indie coffee shops. Even Jay Song has her doubts.

The simple fact is that price is, sometimes, more important than taste.

Cafe Momos (Oncheonjang)

Just outside exit 2 of the subway station, Cafe Momos is ranked as the founder of fine coffee in Korea. You can taste freshly roasted coffee from various regions, as well as dig on some great home-baked goods, all in one funky multi-level spot. 051-512-7034 www.momos.co.kr

My Table All Day Café (Marine City)

Jay Song judiciously picks her beans, but has an affinity for Guatemalan beans. She also features her own Dutch coffees as well as an excellent selection of organic homemade foods and goodies to enjoy with your cup of joe. 051-744-8989 www.cafemytable.com

Fresh Cups (Haeundae)

Right outside exit 5 of the Jung-dong station in Haeundae, Fresh Cups roasts their own beans in-house and makes arguably the best café frappe in the world. Check out the tasty blueberry chicken salad sandwich and an awesome crème brûlée. 051-747-3560 blog.naver.com/freshcups

In Earth Coffee (Songjeong Beach)

Along with roasting their own coffee, In Earth Coffee also serves a variety of tasty pastries that they bake twice daily in their own kitchen. It also ranks as one of the top indie coffee shops in Korea and is a sure spot for a consistent cup of quality brew. 051-703-7666

Blackup Coffee Factory (Seomyeon and Nampo)

With their slogan Rebuilding Coffee Culture, Blackup Coffee Factory runs two shops in Busan. You can enjoy coffee and many different kinds of desserts in their shops, which are stylized with a very hip and contemporary aesthetic. 070-4248-4952 www.blackupcoffee.com

Adagio (Haeundae)

One of the oldest roasters in town, Adagio is behind the large department store just outside Jangsan station exit 4 and has been roasting fresh beans since 2001. You pick the beans and Kim Young-han roasts it up for you right away. 1544-1895

April 28, 2016

Facebook: for personal content, or commercial professional

In the past few months, Facebook has quietly shifted into crisis mode. According to The Information, "original broadcast sharing"--i.e., posts consisting of users' own words and images--fell 21 percent from 2014 to 2015, contributing to a 5.5 percent decrease in total sharing. In response, the company created a task force in London whose mission is to devise a strategy to stem the ebb and get people sharing again. Among the measures taken so far: a change in the News Feed algorithm that privileges original status updates over professional content like news links and viral videos, and Wednesday's mishap-marred rollout of a new live-video-streaming feature.

It's a stunning reversal of fortune for Facebook, whose strategic emphasis for the past few years has been on getting media companies and celebrities to put more of their premium content on Facebook. The better (read: more professional) the quality of what's in your News Feed, the more advertisers would pay to be next to it, went the thinking.

-- Jeff Bercovici at Inc.

April 27, 2016

Proof at 75 percent

The government also instructed schools to adopt a new standard for determining the outcome of a sexual-harassment or violence case. At the time, many schools used the standard of "clear and convincing" evidence, meaning that the adjudicators (usually a panel of administrators or faculty) believed that it was substantially more likely than not, or roughly 75 percent likely, that the accused had committed the offense.

The letter from the civil rights office demanded that schools switch to a lower standard of proof, a "preponderance" of evidence, meaning that it was more likely than not -- above 50.01 percent -- that the offense was committed. The office noted that preponderance is the standard that courts use to decide civil suits for sexual harassment. A few schools, including Princeton and Harvard, initially refused the new standard and then found themselves under investigation for suspected Title IX violations.

April 26, 2016

Math, universal ?

Linguist George Lakoff of the University of California, Berkeley and colleague Rafael Nuñez argue that the idea of a universal math is a fallacy: Math is embodied in the human brain and is a direct product of how it evolved in a very particular set of circumstances. Similar brains, as in intelligent aliens evolving on an Earth-like planet, may repeat some of our mathematical findings -- but that's due to their brain structure and not to some kind of universal truth being plucked out of an ethereal realm.

Marcelo Gleiser, theoretical physicist and cosmologist; and professor of natural philosophy, physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College. He is the co-founder of 13.7.

April 25, 2016

Automation creates and eliminates human jobs

Back in the 19th century, steam power and machinery took away many traditional jobs, though they also created new ones. This time around, computers, smart software and robots are seen as the culprits. They seem to be replacing many of the remaining manufacturing jobs and encroaching on service-sector jobs, too.

Driverless vehicles and drone aircraft are no longer science fiction, and over time, they may eliminate millions of transportation jobs. Many other examples of automatable jobs are discussed in "The Second Machine Age," a book by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, and in my own book, "Average Is Over." The upshot is that machines are often filling in for our smarts, not just for our brawn -- and this trend is likely to grow.

A new paper by Alan B. Krueger, Judd Cramer and David Cho of Princeton has documented that the nation now appears to have a permanent class of long-term unemployed, who probably can't be helped much by monetary and fiscal policy. It's not right to describe these people as "thrown out of work by machines," because the causes involve complex interactions of technology, education and market demand. Still, many people are finding this new world of work harder to navigate.

Sometimes, the problem in labor markets takes the form of underemployment rather than outright joblessness. Many people, especially the young, end up with part-time and temporary service jobs -- or perhaps a combination of them. A part-time retail worker, for example, might also write for a friend's website and walk dogs for wealthier neighbors. These workers often aren't climbing career ladders that build a brighter or more secure future.

April 24, 2016

On Time

Few Northern Europeans or North Americans can reconcile themselves to the multi-active use of time. Germans and Swiss, unless they reach an understanding of the underlying psychology, will be driven to distraction. Germans see compartmentalization of programs, schedules, procedures and production as the surest route to efficiency. The Swiss, even more time and regulation dominated, have made precision a national symbol. This applies to their watch industry, their optical instruments, their pharmaceutical products, their banking. Planes, buses and trains leave on the dot. Accordingly, everything can be exactly calculated and predicted.

In countries inhabited by linear-active people, time is clock- and calendar- related, segmented in an abstract manner for our convenience, measurement, and disposal. In multi-active cultures like the Arab and Latin spheres, time is event- or personality-related, a subjective commodity which can be manipulated, molded, stretched, or dispensed with, irrespective of what the clock says.


The Japanese have a keen sense of the unfolding or unwrapping of time -- this is well described by Joy Hendry in her book Wrapping Culture. People familiar with Japan are well aware of the contrast between the breakneck pace maintained by the Japanese factory worker on the one hand, and the unhurried contemplation to be observed in Japanese gardens or the agonizingly slow tempo of a Noh play on the other.

What Hendry emphasizes, however, is the meticulous, resolute manner in which the Japanese segment time. This segmentation does not follow the American or German pattern, where tasks are assigned in a logical sequence aimed at maximum efficiency and speed in implementation. The Japanese are more concerned not with how long something takes to happen, but with how time is divided up in the interests of properness, courtesy and tradition.

Other events that require not only clearly defined beginnings and endings but also unambiguous phase-switching signals are the tea ceremony, New Year routines, annual cleaning of the house, cherry blossom viewing, spring "offensives" (strikes), midsummer festivities, gift-giving routines, company picnics, sake-drinking sessions, even the peripheral rituals surrounding judo, karate and kendo sessions. A Japanese person cannot enter any of the above activities in the casual, direct manner a Westerner might adopt.

The American or Northern European has a natural tendency to make a quick approach to the heart of things. The Japanese, in direct contrast, must experience an unfolding or unwrapping of the significant phases of the event. It has to do with Asian indirectness, but in Japan it also involves love of compartmentalization of procedure, of tradition, of the beauty of ritual.

For more, see the works of linguist and cross-culture studies expert Richard Lewis. Read "When Cultures Collide" and more at Richard Lewis Communications.

April 23, 2016

Sleep much ? Top 10 reasons to sleep

1. Irritability: "Complaints of irritability and [emotional] volatility following.
2. Headaches
3. Inability to learn
4. Weight gain: People who are underslept seem to have hormone imbalances that are tied to increased appetite, more cravings for high-calorie foods, a greater response to indulgent treats, and a dampened ability to control their impulses -- a very dangerous combination.

5. Poor vision
6. Heart disease
7. Slowness
8. Infection
9. Economic risk-taking
10. Overproduction of urine

April 22, 2016

Fresh Off the Boat's

Outside of its social responsibility and outside of representation, Fresh Off the Boat's responsibility is to itself. To keep it real. To tell its own story. To be specific to itself. And in its specificity lies universality. When we eavesdrop on someone's story that contains no generalities or stereotypes, a crystal clear picture emerges.

It isn't just about "lots of Asian-Americans own restaurants" but more about "Eddie Huang's father owns a steakhouse called Cattlemen's Ranch -- he doesn't serve chop suey and all his employees are white and he has a very positive relationship with each of them. And that restaurant is failing." My white, third generation, three-eighths British, one-eighth Swedish, and half Italian-American boyfriend and I both are able to relate to being a fish out of water, to a failing business, and to good work relationships.

In Home Sweet Home-School, Eddie gets straight A's and his (white) friend gets straight C's. Both pump the air with victory. And then later, a (white) family assembles at Cattlemen's Ranch and you can overhear them launch their meals with, "Cheers to our son for getting straight C's!"

"That was never my experience," said Orion. "C's were never OK."
"Really?" I asked. "It felt like white kids could get C's and not get beat with a belt when I was growing up!" Now I'm learning.

April 21, 2016

Texas, a leader among states

Before the 1980s, Texas followed a long, populist tradition that tried to protect family farmers and other small-scale businesses and consumers. Under its 1876 constitution, for example, Texas enacted consumer protections against predatory mortgage lending, with provisions that ironically helped to hold down foreclosures in Texas during the Great Recession.

In 1889, Texas became the second state in the country to enact an antitrust law. Two years later, it further pioneered government regulation of big business by establishing the Texas Railroad Commission, which went on to protect wildcatters and other small-scale oil producers by regulating the oil industry in ways that kept outside Goliaths like Standard Oil at bay. But since the 1980s, "pro business" in Texas has more and more come to mean just pro Big Business.

April 20, 2016

Trump and Reddit: referred incorrectly to centipedes. They are arthropods, but they are not insects.

Correction: April 8, 2016:
An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to centipedes. They are arthropods, but they are not insects.

April 17, 2016


Mobility WOD's community strive to be Supple Leopards.

April 16, 2016

New York Values

Which ares are most culturally unfamiliar with median America ?
Based on Charles Murray's 2012 book, "Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010.

April 15, 2016

Facebook: leading the ranking algorithm

At first I was pretty proud of myself for messing with Facebook's algorithms. But after a little reflection I couldn't escape the feeling I hadn't really gamed anything. I'd created a joke that a lot of people enjoyed. They signaled their enjoyment, which gave Facebook the confidence to show the enjoyable joke to more people. There was nothing "incorrect" about that fake news being at the top of people's feeds. The system--in its murky recursive glory--did what it was supposed to do. And on the next earnings call Mark Zuckerberg can still boast high user engagement numbers.

-- Caleb Garling.


I posted: "Hey everyone, big news!! I've accepted a position trying to make Facebook believe this is an important post about my life! I'm so excited to begin this small experiment into how the Facebook algorithms processes language and really appreciate all of your support!"

April 14, 2016

VXX watch

The wonderful world of volatility trading: Tradingview's VXX watch.

April 13, 2016

We have plunged down a cataract of progress -- Jung, 1963

Our souls as well as our bodies are composed of individual elements which were all already present in the ranks of our ancestors. The "newness" in the individual psyche is an endlessly varied recombination of age-old components. Body and soul therefore have an intensely historical character and find no proper place in what is new , in things that have just come into being. That is to say, our ancestral components are only partly at home in such things. We are very far from having finished completely with the Middle Ages, classical antiquity, and primitivity, as our modern psyches pretend.

Nevertheless, we have plunged down a cataract of progress, which sweeps us on into the future with ever wilder violence the farther it takes us from our roots. Once the past has been breached, it is usually annihilated, and there is no stopping the forward motion. But it is precisely the loss of connection with the past, our uprootedness, which has given rise to the "discontents" of civilisation and to such a flurry and haste that we live more in the future and its chimerical promises of a golden age than in the present, with which our whole evolutionary background has not yet caught up.

We rush impetuously into novelty, driven by a mounting sense of insufficiency, dissatisfaction, and restlessness. We no longer live on what we have, but on promises, no longer in the light of the present day, but in the darkness of the future, which, we expect, will at last bring the proper sunrise. We refuse to recognise that everything better is purchased at the price of something worse; that, for example, the hope of greater freedom is cancelled out by increased enslavement to the state, not to speak of the terrible perils to which the most brilliant discoveries of science expose us.

-- "The Tower" in 'Memories, Dreams, Reflections', published in 1963, by Carl Gustav Jung.

The less we understand of what our fathers and forefathers sought, the less we understand ourselves, and thus we help with all our might to rob the individual of his roots and his guiding instincts, so that he becomes a particle in the mass, ruled only by what Nietzsche called the spirit of gravity.

Reforms by advances, that is, by new methods or gadgets, are of course impressive at first, but in the long run they are dubious and in any case dearly paid for. They by no means increase the contentment or happiness of people on the whole. Mostly, they are deceptive sweetenings of existence, like speedier communications, which unpleasantly accelerate the tempo of life and leave us with less time than ever before. Omnis festinatio ex parte diaboli est - all haste is of the devil, as the old masters used to say.

Reforms by retrogressions, on the other hand, are as a rule less expensive and in addition more lasting, for they return to the simpler, tried and tested ways of the past and make the sparsest use of newspapers, radio, television, and all supposedly timesaving innovations.

In this book I have devoted considerable space to my subjective view of the world, which, however, is not a product of rational thinking. It is rather a vision such as will come to one who undertakes, deliberately, with half-closed eyes and somewhat closed ears, to see and hear the form and voice of being. If our impressions are too distinct, we are held to the hour and minute of the present and have no way of knowing how our ancestral psyches listen to and understand the present - in other words, how our unconscious is responding to it. Thus we remain ignorant of whether our ancestral components find elementary gratification in our lives, or whether they are repelled. Inner peace and contentment depend in large measure upon whether or not the historical family, which is inherent in the individual, can be harmonised with the ephemeral conditions of the present.

April 12, 2016

Language learning: case, Korean

Click Korean by Seoul National University.

The program consists of 20 units, each comprised of the following 6 sections: Introduction, Vocabulary, Dialogue, Grammar and Expressions, Reading and Culture. Many websites do not teach you the pronunciation rules. Click Korean covers preliminary material, which are specially designed for people who have not been exposed to the language before. The creation of Hangeul and its formation are explained in brief and the vowels are presented. The consonants and basic pronunciation rules of Korean are presented too.

Sogang Korean Program is much more detailed, in-depth and complicated. So, if you have little or no exposure to Korean language before, go for Click Korean.

April 11, 2016

Track business' sales to aid investors

Second Measure by Mike Babineau and Lillian Chou tracks business' sales for investors.

Second Measure takes billions of anonymized credit card transactions and analyzes them so investors can see where consumers are voting with their dollars before a company's quarterly earnings come out.

More in data.

Mike Babineau was working at a video game company when a friend of a friend who worked at a hedge fund called him for help. The investor had 2 terabytes of data sitting on a hard drive that he wanted to analyze and he wanted to know how to upload it to Excel.

April 10, 2016

Mile End Delicatessen

Mile End Delicatessen:

Small spot drawing big crowds for smoked meat sandwiches & other
Montreal-style Jewish deli staples

Mile End was opened by a married couple, Noah Bernamoff (a Canadian) and Rae Cohen (a New Yorker), in Boerum Hill in early 2010, in a cramped former garage retrofitted with vintage Woolworth's stools and pharmacy lamps. It soon had crowds clamoring for the Quebec innovation of smoked meat that falls somewhere between pastrami and corned beef.

53 Bond St, New York, NY 10012

April 9, 2016

Sleep for empathy, cognition, and safe driving

Not getting enough sleep is a big problem.

Randomized controlled trials show that people who are sleep-deprived can see decreases in their empathy. More than one such study has shown that sleep deprivation can leave people more sensitive to pain. Sleep deprivation can hurt cognition, and it is associated with many, many car accidents.

Sleep for empathy, cognition, and safe driving.

April 8, 2016

Mark Bittman: Cooking! not shopping, not planning, not thinking, but it is."

It is cooking.
It's not shopping.
It's not planning.
And in a way it's not thinking.
But it is cooking."

-- Mark Bittman, the cookbook author, left his job as a New York Times columnist in 2015

If you want dinner built largely from food grown by Georgia farmers and recipes from Southern chefs, subscribe to PeachDish, which ships nationwide. If you live in Boston and prefer to avoid cross-country shipping, join Just Add Cooking and get boxes built with a New England sensibility and delivered by local courier. Devotees of the culinary sensibilities of Northern California can join Sun Basket, where one of its owners, Justine Kelly, the former chef du cuisine at Charles Phan's Slanted Door in San Francisco, develops the recipes.

Andrea Nguyen, a cookbook author, provided Vietnamese and dumpling dishes to Chef'd. Still, she isn't enamored with meal kits because they do not provide the human contact and pleasure that come from hunting for ingredients and exploring the market.

"Cooking is a whole sociological thing," she said. "I even like talking to the cashiers."

On a deeper level, relinquishing so much over to a company guts the essence of what it means to cook, said Laura Shapiro, a culinary historian who writes about modern cooking in the United States.

April 7, 2016

Datausa government data

Hal R. Varian, chief economist of Google, who has no connection to Data USA, called the site "very informative and aesthetically pleasing." The fact the government is making so much data publicly available, he added, is fueling creative work like Data USA.

Data USA embodies an approach to data analysis that will most likely become increasingly common, said Kris Hammond, a computer science professor at Northwestern University. The site makes assumptions about its users and programs those assumptions into its software, he said.

"It is driven by the idea that we can actually figure out what a user is going to want to know when they are looking at a data set," Mr. Hammond said.

Data scientists, he said, often bristle when such limitations are put into the tools they use. But they are the data world's power users, and power users are a limited market, said Mr. Hammond, who is also chief scientist at Narrative Science, a start-up that makes software to interpret data.

April 6, 2016

Facebook understands the attention economy and works for advertisers

Live is all about interruption -- sometimes annoying, sometimes welcome, always attention-grabbing. Media companies say they have been shocked by the amount of interest in their Live experiments, including a flurry of earnest comments and questions for live streamers.

April 5, 2016

Denver-to-Boulder corridor booming (Red Rocks Edition)

When the aerospace company Sierra Nevada Corporation moved into the Colorado Technology Center about eight years ago, employees on their lunch break could stroll by the alpaca farm next door.

Olivia Sandoval, left, and Kayla Galet take a break from exercising at the top of the stairs at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colo. Cultural amenities like Red Rocks are drawing highly educated workers to the Denver area.

Now the animals are gone, and the land is cleared and ready for the new development surging along the Denver-to-Boulder corridor.

Here in the Mountain West -- but also in places as varied as Seattle and Portland, Ore., in the Northwest, and Atlanta and Orlando, Fla., in the Southeast -- employers are hiring at a steady clip, housing prices are up and consumers are spending more freely.

What Denver and its surrounding cities share with other boomtowns is an appealing environment for a skilled work force, which has increasingly meant the difference between prosperity and stagnation.

Such places have become business incubators and magnets for educated millennials. The lifestyles that 20- and 30-somethings often seek depend on a medley of urban living, public transit and lots of entertainment options (which in Colorado includes marijuana, legalized for recreational use since 2014).

April 4, 2016

Inventory management 2

BMW regularly pays dealers to buy cars and keep them as demonstration models or lend them to customers who are having their vehicles serviced.

But several years ago, BMW created a category in its sales reporting system called Specialty 8, according to communications between BMW and its dealers. These vehicles are counted as sold for BMW's monthly total, but remain on the lot and continue to be offered as new cars, the dealers said. BMW typically pays the dealer $1,000 to $3,000 for each Specialty 8 car marked as sold.

On Thursday, the day before monthly sales are reported on Friday, BMW made a one-day offer to dealers to entice them to buy cars for loaner fleets. A BMW spokesman, Kenn Sparks, confirmed that Specialty 8 was a "subcategory" for sales of vehicles used as demonstrator models and test drives.

Previously: Self dealing car dealers make sales

April 3, 2016

Silicon Valley has not prevented a slowdown in national productivity growth.

Marc Andreessen, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur and venture capitalist, says information technology is providing significant benefits that just don't show up in the standard measurements of wages and productivity. Consider that consumers have access to services like Facebook, Google and Wikipedia free of charge, and those benefits aren't fully accounted for in the official numbers. This notion -- that life is getting better, often in ways we are barely measuring -- is fairly common in tech circles.

Until recently, this debate was inconclusive. It consisted mainly of anecdotes, with individuals describing how important advances like the Internet were -- or were not -- to them personally. But now Chad Syverson, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, has looked more scientifically at the evidence and concluded that the productivity slowdown is all too real. These results are outlined in his recent National Bureau of Economic Research working paper "Challenges to Mismeasurement Explanations for the U.S. Productivity Slowdown."

Professor Syverson notes that a slowdown has come to dozens of advanced economies, more or less at the same time, which indicates it is a general phenomenon. Furthermore, the countries with smaller tech sectors still have comparably sized productivity slowdowns, and that is not what we would expect if a lot of unmeasured productivity were hiding in the tech industry.

Alternatively, consider the 2012 estimate of the gains from free Internet services made by Erik Brynjolfsson, professor of management at M.I.T., and Joo Hee Oh, assistant professor of management at the Erasmus University Rotterdam School of Management. They looked at how much time people spent on the Internet, and using that method they valued free Internet services at about $106 billion a year. That's less than 1 percent of G.D.P., and again it doesn't close the measured productivity gap. Professor Syverson considers other measures of Internet value as well, but all the different numbers keep circling back to the same conclusion: The productivity gap is real.

None of these remarks should be taken as a lack of appreciation for information technology. Arguably the Internet brought its biggest gains in the mid- to late 1990s, and in those years measured economic productivity was in fact very high. Information technology is still one of the most dynamic sectors of the American economy, and it probably will remain so, and grow yet more influential, even if its absolute impact is not as large as the optimistic revisionists suggest.


Facebook is the biggest productivity suck in the history of the planet. Many people spend hours every day "socializing" (feeding their ego) instead of doing their job. Half the people waiting at stop lights are on their phone not paying attention when the light turns green causing many cars to miss the light - that alone is probably a multi-billion dollar drag on the national economy over the course of a year. I regularly have to get people's attention from their phones to do their job. Shutdown Facebook for 1 quarter and these productivity numbers will double over night. Why doesn't everyone else see this?

April 2, 2016

Maps, pictures are data

Satellite photos provide a level of geographic specificity that national accounts do not. Another set of researchers used visual algorithms (related to those that recognize your face on Facebook or help navigate cars) to analyze these images pixel by pixel. Through this process, they could quantify poverty in each square kilometer of Uganda.

Satellite photos provide other useful information. In rural areas, we can see crops in the ground, allowing us to estimate harvest size -- even before the actual harvest. This data gives us a direct window into an essential part of the economic lives of many of the world's rural poor. The information can be used to build early warning systems for crop failure, to create crop insurance or target other forms of assistance.

There are many other important, unconventional sources of data. Consider cellphones. For most of the world's poor, each call and text has a very noticeable and real monetary cost.


April 1, 2016

Opportunity cost, age 16

High school is supposed to prepare adolescents for their careers and for college. It is not meant to destroy students' self-esteem in fierce academic environments, or to obliterate their love of learning through overly intense schedules. I don't want to look back as an adult and regret wasting four years solely on busy work and sleepless nights, but I also don't want to look back on four years spent dawdling idly with my friends.

-- Ethan Brown is a 16-year-old high school junior in northern Virginia.