For the first time in its history, the United States does not have a Protestant majority, according to a new study.
Interestingly, this is not due to the rise of a new religious group, but the rise of secularism in the United States. The fastest growing group in the United States is the religiously unaffliliated. Click here for a simplified AP news story on the report.
Questions to ponder: What are some causal factors that might explain why there is an increase in the non-religious population in the United States today? How does this impact American culture and politics?
A Swedish start-up named Tunaspot has built a Spotify app which lets you tag playlists to a specific location and allow other people to discover them.
The app lets users put together a playlist and then place it on a map -- at a festival, perhaps, or in a coffee shop or club. Other users can then browse a map of playlists to discover music related in some way to their location.
Each playlist, which is referred to as a "tuna", is given a popularity ranking on the service, which reflects how many times that it's been shared and subscribed-to ("caught" in Tunaspot parlance). The most popular will show as a "hot spot" in certain areas....
I am collaborating with Robert Scoble on a new book, The Age of Context. It is about the next phase of technology's relentless advance.
Our opening chapter deals with five converging forces:  social media,  really smart mobile devices,  sensors,  Big Data and  mapping. We argue that the confluence of these five forces creates a perfect storm whose sum is far greater than any one of the parts.
Following is an extract from the book. It is an extremely brief history of social media, plus a look at what it has become in an amazingly brief period:
“Social media …has been the most disruptive of our five forces. It is also the youngest. In 2005, when we started researching an earlier book extolling its virtues, there were less than 4 million people using it and many business people dismissed it as a passing fad. By 2012, there were nearly 1.5 billion people using social networks on a regular basis....
Today, most educational systems are designed to work from the microscopic to the macroscopic. Students learn facts and figures and tiny fractions of knowledge long before anyone really puts things into a larger context.
After remaining stable for most of human history, the world's population has exploded over the last two centuries. The boom is not over: The biggest generation in history is just entering its childbearing years.
The Los Angeles Times has produced an in-depth interactive feature centered around the impact of an increasing global population. With videos, population clocks, narrated graphics, maps, photos and articles, this is treasure trove of resources that cuts across many disciplines.
Wellcome TrustEditor Explains 'New Philosophy' of Open Access Scientist-Run JournalScience NowThe new open access biomedical journal announced last month by a trio of research charities now has an editor-in-chief.
Written by Ebenezer Howard and originally published in 1898, the book was titled "To-morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform". In 1902 it was reprinted as "Garden Cities of To-Morrow". Howard's ideas gave rise not only to the garden city movement, but also were the origin of modern planning concepts such as network urbanism or polycentric cities.
"Our diagram may now be understood. Garden City is built up. Its population has reached 32.000. How will it grow? It will grow by establishing another city some little distance beyond its own zone of "country", so that the new town may have a zone of country of its own. [...] the inhabitants of the one could reach the other in a very few minutes; for rapid transit would be specially provided for, and thus the people of the two towns would in reality represent one community." Ebenezer Howard
TED Talks Western countries throw out nearly half of their food, not because it’s inedible -- but because it doesn’t look appealing. Tristram Stuart delves into the shocking data of wasted food, calling for a more responsible use of global resources.
No one should be surprised that more developed societies are more wasteful societies. It is not just personal wasting of food at the house and restaurants that are the problem. Perfectly edible food is thrown out due to size (smaller than standards but perfectly normal), cosmetics (Bananas that are shaped 'funny') and costumer preference (discarded bread crust). This is an intriguing perpective on our consumptive culture, but it also is helpful in framing issues such as sustainability and human and environmental interactions in a technologically advanced societies that are often removed form the land where the food they eat originates.
Tags: food, agriculture, consumption, sustainability, TED, video, unit 5 agriculture.
International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) researchers spent four years developing Watson, the computer smart enough to beat the champions of the quiz show “Jeopardy!” Now they’re trying to figure out how to get those capabilities into the phone in your pocket.
Finding additional uses for Watson is part of IBM’s plan to tap new markets and boost revenue from business analytics to $16 billion by 2015. After mastering history and pop culture for its “Jeopardy!” appearance, the system is crunching financial information for Citigroup Inc. and cancer data for WellPoint Inc. The next version, dubbed “Watson 2.0,” would be energy- efficient enough to work on smartphones and tablets. IBM expects to generate billions in sales by putting Watson to work in finance, health care, telecommunications and other areas. The computer, which 15 million people saw beat former “Jeopardy!” champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, is the company’s most high-profile product since it sold its personal- computer unit to Lenovo Group Ltd. (992) seven years ago.
The challenge for IBM is overcoming the technical obstacles to making Watson a handheld product, and figuring out how to price and deliver it. Watson’s nerve center is 10 racks of IBM Power750 servers running in Yorktown Heights, New York, that have the same processing power as 6,000 desktop computers. Even though most of the computations occur at the data center, a Watson smartphone application would still consume too much power for it to be practical today. Researchers also need to add voice and image recognition to the service so that it can respond to real-world input, said Katharine Frase, vice president of industry research at Armonk, New York-based IBM.
Apple made Siri the focus of its marketing of the iPhone 4S, which debuted last year. The software is touted as a personal assistant that can answer a wide range of spoken questions -- “Do I need an umbrella tomorrow?” -- and put appointments in a calendar. Siri has become a defining characteristic of the iPhone, though it’s also drawn complaints. In a June survey by Minneapolis-based Piper Jaffray & Co., Siri was found to resolve requests correctly less than 70 percent of the time.
Breivik is on a 21 year preventitive detention programme which will see him in a situation where he will be kept alive. Would it be better to live under such tyrany than to die? Or to consider that while millions starve Brevick is almost gaurentted 21 years of life and many of us in the world population in toto are condemed without that gaurentee as 1% of the population controls over 93% of the wealth. Was it an act of animal survival, the redeeming of the flesh in a body without organs lost in a sea of iniquity...Nevermind, The beast is silent.
There are plenty of regional biases about other places. This map was generated by Google autocomplete. If you Google, "Why is Rhode Island so...." if will automatically suggest some responses. This was done for all the states and these autoresponses are quite revealing (and often humorous).