Here are six ideas that impact the way we live, work and play.
1. How the Internet affects religion. From the MIT Technology Review:
Back in 1990, about 8 percent of the U.S. population had no religious preference. By 2010, this percentage had more than doubled to 18 percent. That’s a difference of about 25 million people, all of whom have somehow lost their religion.
That raises an obvious question: how come? Why are Americans losing their faith?
Today, we get a possible answer thanks to the work of Allen Downey, a computer scientist at the Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts, who has analyzed the data in detail. He says that the demise is the result of several factors but the most controversial of these is the rise of the Internet.
This is an interesting read, but the problem with the theory is that correlation isn’t causation. With so much changing since 1990, it’s difficult to conclude what variables were factors, and to what degree.
2. Football, the junk food of sports? By a long shot football is the most popular sport in America. Here’s why it may be in our best interests to find a healthier obsession. From Jay Mathews:
I added a question to The Post’s annual survey: “Do you have an 11-person football team?” To my astonishment, 67 of the top 100 schools, ranked by participation in college-level tests, said they do not field a team, denoting a shift in American high school culture, at least in those schools that challenge their students most. …
Football is the most publicized and popular high school activity nationwide, but if the top academic schools in the nation are doing without it, should that be a model for everyone else?
3. Will Yahoo launch a Netflix competitor? From the Wall Street Journal:
Yahoo Inc. is raising its ambitions in online video, with plans to acquire the kind of original programming that typically winds up on high-end cable-TV networks and streaming services like Netflix, people briefed on the company’s plans said.
The company is close to ordering four Web series, these people said. And unlike in years past, Yahoo isn’t looking for short-form Web originals, but rather 10-episode, half-hour comedies with per-episode budgets ranging from $700,000 to a few million dollars, the people said.
The projects being considered would be led by writers or directors with experience in television. “They want to blow it out big time,” said one of the people briefed about the plans.
4. How fonts can address distracted driving. Via Emily Badger:
In driving simulations run by the lab, male drivers took their eyes off the road for less time when the text on a small navigation screen appeared in a typeface from what’s known as the humanist genre. The difference between humanist andgrotesque typefaces amounted to the equivalent of turning away from the road over a distance of 50 feet at highway speeds. …
Monotype has been working on a new typeface, called Burlingame, which it’s releasing this week as the first designed specifically with distracted driving in mind. It’s meant for use by auto manufacturers in in-car displays, or in the myriad devices we bring with us whenever we enter a car.
5. How crowdsourcing can help the CIA. Via NPR:
For the past three years, Rich and 3,000 other average people have been quietly making probability estimates about everything from Venezuelan gas subsidies to North Korean politics as part of the Good Judgment Project, an experiment put together by three well-known psychologists and some people inside the intelligence community.
According to one report, the predictions made by the Good Judgment Project are often better even than intelligence analysts with access to classified information, and many of the people involved in the project have been astonished by its success at making accurate predictions.
6. The importance of surrounding yourself with great people.
If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room — Lorne Michaels.
— Jay Yarow (@jyarow) April 7, 2014