The Economist’s Digital Editor predicts Wearables will kill the Healthcare Insurance industry

mHealth Insight

Tom Standage Economist

…(17min) data meets healthcare: the chart in the background is cost per genome. So the sequencing of the first human genome took a decade and cost $3 Billion and you can now do it for a $1,000 in slightly less than 48 hours and this is an improvement in price/performance that is much faster than Moore’s Law… …this means that genomics, whole genomic comparison that the NHS is currently doing this program to sequence 100,000 people and then you can start to work out which genes correlate with diseases and so on, the problem is it used to be the sequencing that was the hard bit and it’s now actually the data analysis because the computers aren’t really keeping up it’s pretty hard but the tools are improving and this allows you to do some very interesting things, it allows you to have digital healthcare. It allows you to…

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Medium gets a bit more Twitter-like, and a bit more blog-like


One of the interesting things about Medium — the combination platform and publishing company that former Twitter CEO Evan Williams launched in 2012 — has been watching it evolve in real time, as it tries out new features and changes existing ones. In its latest evolution, Medium has added several new tools that feel very similar to the two things Williams is best known for: namely, Twitter and Blogger.

When it first emerged, and for most of the time since then, Medium has been seen as primarily a place for long-form posts or articles, in part because the site has a clean and flowing design that encourages large images. Most of the content that the site itself commissioned and paid for has also tended to be long-form, and Williams has often talked about his vision for the site as being similar to a magazine.

Short and long

On Tuesday, however,

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The State of Global Connectivity

Facebook Newsroom

State of Connectivity: A Report on Global Internet Access, a new study by examines the current state of global internet connectivity and takes a close look at who’s connected, who’s not and why.

The paper uses existing data from the world’s leading sources on connectivity and incorporates our own new findings to examine internet penetration and barriers to further growth.

By early 2015, 3 billion people will be online. This is an incredible milestone, but it also means that only 40% of the world’s population has ever connected to the internet.


The unconnected are disproportionately located in developing countries — 78% of the population in the developed world is online compared to just 32% in emerging economies.

Moreover, adoption of the internet is slowing — The rate of growth declined for the fourth year in a row to just 6.6% in 2014 (down from 14.7% in 2010). At…

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The shortest paths to happiness. Literally

Figuring out how to walk quickly from A to B is easy. Just plug two addresses into your favorite map app, and off you go. But sometimes getting to a place as quickly as possible isn’t the priority. At least, so thought Barcelona-based Yahoo! Labs researcher Daniele Quercia (TED Talk: Happy maps). Along with a couple of colleagues, he decided to try and code a mapping algorithm that could recommend a “happy” route.

What? How? By using metadata from social media photos and by getting thousands of volunteers to vote on images of a city’s streets, the team built a model that can suggest beautiful, quiet and happy routes. So far, they’ve applied the happy model to high-trafficked areas of Berlin, Boston, London and Torino. Take a look:


Fast route: 4 kilometers (47 minutes)
Happy route: 4.5 kilometers (55 minutes)
Why this’ll make you happy: The happy path takes you from the city’s Humboldt University, where you can…

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BITCOIN: A flawed currency blueprint with a potentially useful application for the Eurozone

Yanis Varoufakis

The responses of many to my post on Bitcoin reveal a powerful tendency to underestimate the ill-effects of deflation on a social economy. This tendency to underestimate deflation’s deleterious impact matters beyond debates on Bitcoin per se. For example, in Europe the incapacity of the European Central Bank (ECB) to act in the face of deflationary forces has revealed the same type of misunderstanding, as many commentators fail to recognise that deflation is a very serious threat and that the ECB’s lack of weapons against it constitutes a major weakness. In this post I return to the problem of deflation in a Gold Standard-like monetary system (e.g. Bitcoin or, indeed, the Eurozone itself) but conclude that, almost paradoxically, the technology of Bitcoin, if suitably adapted, can be employed profitably in the Eurozone as a weapon against deflation and a means of providing much needed leeway to fiscally stressed Eurozone…

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Remembering The Man Who Brought Helvetica To The Masses


This post comes via Longreads contributor Laura Bliss:

In this week’s Economist, a remembrance of “font-god” Mike Parker, the typographer who developed more than 1000 fonts in his 50+ year career. Parker, who died last month at age 84, was a champion of great type: never drawing fonts himself, but rather coaxing others into perfection. His faculty for shape, space, and fine gauge of cultural currents changed the industry, and much more, when Parker brought Helvetica to the masses:

In contrast to the delicate exuberance of 16th-century types, Helvetica was plain, rigidly horizontal – and eminently readable. It became, in Mr. Parker’s hands, the public typeface of the modern world: of the New York Subway, of federal income-tax forms, of the logos of McDonald’s, Microsoft, Apple, Lufthansa and countless others. It was also, for its clarity, the default type of Macs, and so leapt smoothly into the desktop age.

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To combat fraud, Visa wants to track your smartphone

New Pittsburgh Courier

In this Feb. 25, 2008 file photo, a cardholder poses with his Visa credit card, in Springfield, Ill. In an effort to combat credit card fraud, the payment processor Visa on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 said it will be rolling out a product next month that will track credit card users on their smart phones. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)In this Feb. 25, 2008 file photo, a cardholder poses with his Visa credit card, in Springfield, Ill. In an effort to combat credit card fraud, the payment processor Visa on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 said it will be rolling out a product next month that will track credit card users on their smart phones. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Those days of calling your bank to let them know that, yes, you really are in Thailand, and yes, you really did use your credit card to buy $200 in sarongs, may be coming to an end.

The payment processing company Visa will roll out a new feature this spring that will allow its cardholders to inform their banks where they are automatically, using the location function found in nearly every smartphone.

Having your bank and Visa know where you are at all times may sound a…

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Introduction into Defining the Commons

real democracy now!

This is the working version of first chapter of an essay “Obstacles and opportunities for ‘sustainable’ commons using Internet”. Please do not quote. The next chapter will be published when it is finished.

Fuzziness about the commons paradigm

A first step in the process towards interdisciplinary research on the commons is cleaning up the terminological fuzziness about them. For historians like Susan Jane Buck Cox and Tine De Moor, and for political economists like Elinor Oström, the commons are well defined as a historical phenomenon or as “Common Pool Resources” and “Institutions of Collective Action”. In many other disciplines the term is used for the air, the seas etc. that are in principle collective property to all creatures living on earth.


Large-scale open access resources such as oceans, the air we are breathing, are, also referred to as “global commons”. This is confusing of course, because what is lacking to…

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