Monthly Archives January 2012

Fixies and Hipsters are… Correlated?

customize fixie online Fixies and Hipsters are... Correlated?

Depending on who you are, the sight of a gorgeously simple yet eclectic fixed gear bicycle may make your mouth water or may fill you with ire.  Perhaps if you feel the former, you are the current owner of several pairs of skinny jeans, a pearl snap vintage shirt and ironic glasses.  In other words, you are a hipster.

According to the folks on Quora, fixed gear bicycles (or fixies) are considered to be a strong indicator of hipsterness.  The folks at Priceonomics blog, as part of their effort to build a comprehensive bicycle pricing guide, have measured what kinds of used bicycles people sell and the quantity sold in cities across the US.  To find where the hipsters live, they mined their database of 1.3 million bicycle listings to determine where the various markets for used fixed gear bicycles existed and which were the strongest (most sales) and therefore likely had the highest number of hipsters.

tumblr lyg1a8h3NR1r1p25e Fixies and Hipsters are... Correlated?

Surprisingly, places commonly thought of to be high in hipster density, including San Francisco and Portland do not top the list.  Commonly thought of hipster mecca, Brooklyn (NYC) doesn’t even make the top 25.  (You can see the full list here.)  We’re pleasantly surprised that our hometown of Austin, TX ranks below Boise in hipsterness (at least as indicated by used fixed gear bicycle sales).

Now, this is a bit of a silly parallel to draw and certainly does not take into account the bike-ability of a city, let alone the individual reasoning various folks have for riding fixed gear bicycles, but it’s nevertheless a fun analysis of a massive corpus of bicycle pricing data.

The Best Pie Chart Ever

tumblr lybpk7mZ3C1qa0uujo1 500 The Best Pie Chart Ever

Thanks, ilovecharts.

How long does it take for a cockroach to die?

onehourpersecond How long does it take for a cockroach to die?

Earlier this week, YouTube revealed that users are uploading one hour of video every second to the site.  It’s quite the amazing milestone, not only speaking to YouTube’s massive success, but also the mind-boggling rate at which we are producing data.  Furthermore, it was revealed that the average YouTube visitor spends an average of 15 minutes a day on the site, accounting for a total of 4 billion video views per day.

It can be overwhelming for most to understand the sheer size of these numbers, so to help put things into perspective, YouTube has created One Hour Per Second.  You’ll see some interesting comparisons, such as the one above, which shows that 3 minutes and 36 seconds of uploads to YouTube is equal to 9 days or the time it takes for a decapitated cockroach to die.  Yikes.

Economic Outlook: Mostly Typical

economicoutlook Economic Outlook: Mostly TypicalUsing major macroeconomic indicators, Russell Investments has created a dashboard to capture a snapshot of the state of our economy.  It’s updated on the 22nd of each month with data from Bloomberg.

You can click through the “Historical Details” links to read more about each indicator and its see its changes over time.  Check out the legend below for complete details on how to read the chart.

economicoutlookkey Economic Outlook: Mostly Typical

So, what does this dashboard tell us about the current state of our economy?  For starters, we are growing at a modest 1.8%.  As you can see from the chart, most indicators are well within “typical” range and even mortgage delinquencies and corporate debt are slowly coming down.  I’ll be sure to keep my eyes peeled for updates to this slick little dashboard.

Are You OPEN to the New Anti-Piracy Bill?

bill comparison Are You OPEN to the New Anti Piracy Bill?

Two days after the Internet Blackout that saw supporters of SOPA and PIPA changing their minds, a new bill was introduced into the House of Representatives by Rep. Darrell Issa of California. Issa was one of the most vocal critics of SOPA and PIPA and his proposed bill, known as the OPEN Act (Online Protection & ENforcement of Digital Trade Act) offers a more laser-focused solution to online piracy by foreign rogue sites.

What is most impressive about this new bill is the approach taken by Issa and the clearly superior understanding he has of the web than many SOPA supporters. Issa’s office has set up a website, Keep the Web Open that offers numerous resources for understanding the bill, as well a new tool called “Madison”, which allows users to read, share, edit and comment on the text of the bill. A politician who adds transparency to the conversation and listens to the nerds?  That sounds pretty sweet to us.

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How PROTECT IP and SOPA Break the Internet

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

In case the flood of information from yesterday’s Internet Blackout didn’t sufficiently clarify and explain the potential impacts of PIPA and SOPA on the web as we know it, check out this video. Even though SOPA appears to have successfully been killed with 121 representatives opposed or leaning no and only 27 supporters remaining (as of the time of this post), there is still a great concern around PIPA, which retains the support of 37 senators with opposition expressed by only 27.

While we can all take a collective breath as more senators come out against PIPA following yesterday’s barrage of public opinion, but the battle isn’t over.  The PIPA vote is scheduled for January 24th and it is crucial that we continue to make our voices heard and protect our Internet.

Act Now!

Untangling SOPA and PIPA

 Untangling SOPA and PIPA

Yesterday, Forbes reported (and we retweeted) an article stating that President Obama’s opposition to the bills would effectively kill SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act).  This action from the White House spurred the House of Representatives to delay making a decision on SOPA for at least a month.  PIPA (Protect IP Act) is still scheduled to go up for a procedural vote in the Senate on January 24.  These bills, meant to stop online piracy, would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American businesses, in particular countless entrepreneurs who make their livelihoods on the internet.

Unfortunately, the wishful thinking of yesterday’s Forbes article has been debunked by a Forbes article today, stating that the “comforting rumble from the White House” only put the bill on hold and that while this is a small victory, there’s still quite the battle ahead.

Today, you have without a doubt noticed the conspicuous black out of sites like Wikipedia, Craigslist, WordPress and Reddit or have seen all your Facebook friends change their profile photos to express their opposition to internet censorship.  The intense opposition comes not only from SOPA’s decidedly anti-free speech spirit, but, more importantly, the intentionally vague language and scope of the bill.   Chris Heald of Mashable dissects the actual text of the bill uncovers some of the SOPA’s more insidious, overreaching and dangerous.

An `Internet site is dedicated to theft of U.S. property’ if [a portion of the site is US-directed] and is used by users within the United States and is primarily designed or operated for the purpose of offering services in a manner that enables or facilitates [copyright violation or circumvention of copyright protection measures].

Still doesn’t sound that bad, but consider this: Any site that allows users to post content is “primarily designed for the purpose of offering services in a manner that enables copyright violation.” The site doesn’t have to be clearly designed for the purpose of copyright violation; it only has to provide functionality that can be used to enable copyright violation.

This means that YouTubeFacebookWikipediaGmailDropbox and millions of other sites would be “Internet sites…dedicated to theft of U.S. property,” under SOPA’s definition. Simply providing a feature that would make it possible for someone to commit copyright infringement or circumvention (see: 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0) is enough to get your entire site branded as an infringing site.

We can hardly begin to think of what the impact of such a bill would have on data marketplaces, including our own catalog, which relies heavily on user-submitted and curated data from source such as Wikipedia and Twitter.  It’s easy to imagine the reach of this bill, supported primarily by huge media companies, would go far beyond the original stated intent of ending online piracy and begin to unravel the very fabric of the web.

There are countless sources with information on SOPA, PIPA and their potential (almost, inevitable) threats to freedom on the Internet.  We encourage you to educate yourself about the bills, who supports them, and join us and millions of other voices opposed to crippling innovation.

Learn about SOPA, PIPA and their Supporters

Act Now!

What Percent Are You Really?

Last Friday’s we posted an interactive visualization from  Column Five Media and about how much money it takes to be considered “rich”.  Individual answers spanned from under $60,000 to over $1,000,000,000 per year, which is unsurprising given the massive gap between the very rich and everyone else.

According to a recent New York Times article, “the range of wealth in the 1 percent is vast — from households that bring in $380,000 a year, according to census data, up to billionaires like Warren E. Buffett and Bill Gates.”  Perhaps this warrants the question of whether it’s really the 99% vs. the 1% or the 99.999% vs. the 0.001%?

It may also beg the question of where one really sits in the wealth spectrum.  For example, even though an annual household income of $52,000 sits firmly in the 99%, it’s fascinating to see that that salary puts you in the bottom 50% of places like New York, New Jersey, St. Louis and LA, but in Flint, Michigan, you’d be in the top 28%.

whatpercentareyou What Percent Are You Really?

And a mere $180,000/year puts you in the top 1% in Flint, Michigan while leaving you only in the top 10% of your peers in New York/New Jersey.  So, if your life aspirations include being amongst the elite rich in your community, you may want to consider moving to Michael Moore’s hometown.

whatpercentareyou2 What Percent Are You Really?

Public Speaking Lessons from MLK for Changing the World

Were he still alive today, Martin Luther King, Jr. would be 83 years old; however, his impact on the world, even 44 years after his death, is undeniable. The power of his words, in particular from his famous “I Have a Dream” speech still resonate with us today as we examine the state of human rights in the US and worldwide.

One year ago, Nancy Duarte shared a project on MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Her findings provide great insight into how to effectively, and more importantly, convincingly communicate with an audience.

MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech is not only literarily brilliant, its structure follows the presentation form perfectly, by traversing back and forth between what is and what could be, and ending by describing what the new bliss of equality looks like. In addition, MLK carefully chooses phrases and metaphors that resonate deeply with his audience.

If you’re struggling to create your next big presentation or even just crafting the message for your next staff meeting, take a few minutes to be inspired by the brilliance of one of America’s most beloved orators. Thank you, Dr. King, for standing up and speaking out to change the world.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech analyzed by Nancy Duarte from Duarte Design on Vimeo.

How Much Money Does It Take To Be Rich?

Thanks to Column Five Media and, we can get a glimpse into what people mean when they say the word “rich”. Interestingly enough, for many folks, their goals are modest. Nearly 16% of those polled responded that an annual income of < $60,000 is all they need to consider themselves rich. That figure doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of massive wealth possessed by families in the top 1% in the United States, who earn an average of more than $1 million a year. As noted by Suzanne LaBarre, senior editor at Co.Design, “Occupy Wall Street exposed the vast gap between the 1% and the 99%. But just as wide, apparently, is the gap between what rich is and what we think rich is”.

Perhaps we can all take a lesson from the importance of looking at current relevant data to shape our perceptions and not misaligned notions of wealth, lest we end up like Doctor Evil.