Bright ideas

first_imgThe moribund U.S. economy is behaving like a shiftless brother-in-law who moves into your house, flops onto the couch, and asks what’s for supper. Getting such an economy moving productively again will require time, discipline, and imagination, say Harvard authorities from across a range of disciplines.Successfully stoking the economy will require conventional solutions, to be sure, such as Congress’s recent passage of banking and investment reforms. But three years into the worst fiscal downturn since 1929, the economy continues to sputter, and it may be time to embrace more creative solutions as well.Recognizing the need to understand the financial crisis more clearly, Harvard President Drew Faust will convene a panel of experts at Sanders Theatre next Tuesday (Oct. 12) at 4 p.m. to discuss the issue.“The global financial situation and our economic future remain vital concerns for all of us,” said Faust.  “We are fortunate to have on campus some of the nation’s leading scholars in finance and policy, and I am grateful for their willingness to share their thoughts and insights about the current situation and prospects for the future.”Despite the ongoing fiscal gloom nationally, a Gazette survey of Harvard authorities suggests an array of large and small ways in which government and business might help to jump-start the economy and boost America’s bottom line.Their innovative proposals include:Rewrite the U.S. tax code, creating a single income tax and a carbon tax.Create a national homebuyers’ insurance plan to protect owners during fiscal turmoil.Underwrite a boom in green businesses to conserve energy and create jobs, for two-pronged savings.Investigate how Internet innovations, a hot spot even in a bad economy, can provide business solutions.Refashion the notion of urban design so that it twins both enjoyment and employment.Explore the downturn’s moral dimensions to evaluate what really matters in a fulfilling life.Here are details of changes that could make a difference:TaxesTaxes need to go up for everyone, argues Harvard economist Ken Rogoff. He supports a slight increase in taxes for most people, and a larger increase for those at the upper end of the income distribution.But if he had his way, the Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy would throw out the U.S. tax system altogether and start from scratch.In the short term, it will hurt the economy to raise taxes, “but a lot of that pain could be diminished if we had a better tax system,” said Rogoff, co-author of “This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly.” He favors “completely scrapping” the system and replacing it with one that is “much simpler” that includes a consumption tax or a high-deductible flat tax.Government officials also should tie environmental needs into economic solutions, said Rogoff. “It’s nuts that we don’t have a carbon tax,” he said. “If we did, we could cut other taxes. It would also promote green energy technologies by making fossil-based energy more expensive.”HousingThe housing market continues to lag. One way to get it moving again would be to install an innovative safeguard against the next market downturn. Another way would be to create a green approach toward housing stock, said a Harvard housing specialist.“Some people argue the only way to deal with the housing market is to allow it to clear through continuing declines in home prices despite the damage it could do and the resulting overcorrection that could occur,” said Eric Belsky, managing director of Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. But there’s another solution that’s been “kicking around.”“People who worry about being on the hook for a decline [in value] might well pay insurance premiums that would guarantee them against declines in the value of their homes,” said Belsky, who said such a plan could draw more buyers into the market as well as increase price stability. If homeowners had to sell their houses in five or 10 years at prices lower than what they originally paid, the insurance would kick in.Although the government would have to set a premium to backstop potential losses, “A lot of people think that house prices five or 10 years out would recover, so it might actually be a good bet for the government.”Providing incentives for people to buy energy-efficient homes, as well as to builders to include energy-saving measures in their construction, would “trigger spending on materials and services to install them, as well as induce buyers to purchase such homes,” said Belsky. “In that way, housing could have a significant part in helping to build the new economy.”InternetFor years, the Internet has radically and speedily been changing the way people work, connecting them remotely, instantly, even incessantly. A Harvard authority on the Internet believes that new online technologies are going to change the way many people work even further, tapping into a range of fresh economic opportunities.“We are on the threshold of something transformative,” said Jonathan Zittrain, co-founder and faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School.The Harvard law professor points to Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk web service as an example. Touted as an “artificial artificial intelligence” on its website, the online tool “gives businesses and developers access to an on-demand, scalable work force. Workers select from thousands of tasks and work whenever it’s convenient,” its tagline states.The business model matches people who are willing to pay with anyone willing to complete human-intelligence tasks, or HITs, for a micropayment. The tasks vary wildly, from providing a book review, to sharing the memory of your least-romantic gift, to translating Tamil into English. The tasks are ones that humans can do with relative ease, but that still challenge computers.“It’s a model itself of labor as computing, as if you had a few racks of servers and kept throwing numbers to crunch at them,” said Zittrain, who nonetheless worries that such transformative technology could have “a dark side to reckon with.”Such segmenting of work into small slices that can be parceled out to an “ocean of labor” erodes the notion of the typical workplace, and of the traditional workday. Over time, it could alter numerous pillars of the economy.“I do think this could stand to transform economic dynamics … in the way in which it can turn almost anything into an economy.”FinanceThe Harvard experts say the U.S. financial system needs stronger controls, although the recently passed 2,300-page Dodd-Frank reform law is a helpful first step, as is the creation of a consumer financial protection bureau.Yet many of the largest financial institutions still have an incentive to take on too much risk, said Harvard Business School professor David Moss, who fears that could help eventually to prompt another fiscal crisis. His prescription for fixing the financial industry includes tough but targeted regulation. Large, pivotally placed firms should be aggressively reined in, said the John G. McLean Professor of Business Administration.While the Dodd-Frank law represents an “important step in the right direction,” Moss would like tighter limits on the amount of leverage — the borrowed fiscal resources available for use — that large financial companies can hold.As written, the law leaves too much discretion to regulators, he said, particularly concerning the largest institutions. “There are a few specific lines drawn in the bill, but I would have liked to see them even stricter,” Moss said, adding, “Now it’s up to the regulators to get it right.”Daniel Carpenter, the Allie S. Freed Professor of Government, said the consumer protection bureau developed as part of the new law will rightly be able to create rules for marketing loans, mortgages, credit cards, and other consumer products. But he said there is also a need for a type of “financial epidemiology, or real-time tracking, of the risks and performance of new financial products and contracts.“There are steps toward this in the Dodd-Frank bill,” said Carpenter, “but I would like to see more.”Brigitte Madrian, director of the social sciences program at the Radcliffe Institute and Aetna Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management at the Harvard Kennedy School, expressed some concerns over the new regulations.Many consumer-financial products do not come under the umbrella of the new consumer protection agency. For instance, insurance is largely regulated by state agencies. She also worries that some financial firms, in response to the new regulations, will simply “re-engineer their products in ways that actually make consumers worse off.”“It is an open question as to whether the agency can indeed work to improve consumer financial regulation in a way that benefits consumers without stifling financial innovation.”HealthThen there is the impact of health care costs on a healthy economy.An old maxim says that healthy human capital equals a healthy, robust economy. Vigorous workers perform better and produce more. Investing in preventive health care aids that process, but authorities agree that more needs to be done.The Obama administration has made substantial commitments to preventive health care, in part through its universal care initiatives and through policy changes that require health plans to waive co-payments for preventive services, said Meredith Rosenthal, associate professor of health economics and policy at the Harvard School of Public Health.But there is too much waste in the health care system, she said, from exorbitant spending to squandered resources. Rosenthal said officials could impose tighter cost controls in part by trimming funding from areas with outsized clout and leverage, including some doctor and hospital groups.“We need to recalibrate the way we pay for care,” said Rosenthal, “so that we encourage effective and efficient care delivery rather than just more care.” Replacing fee-for-service payments with bundled payments that “pay a fixed amount for an entire episode of care or a whole population” would be a good start.Services including endoscopy, diagnostic imaging, and high-tech interventions, such as robotic surgery for prostate cancer, usually cost those who pay the bills more than the expense of production, she said. That gives providers an incentive to oversupply such services.She said that other health care waste is caused by poor coordination, especially when information is not properly cataloged or tracked. Redundant tests and preventable hospitalizations can occur simply because no medical staff members followed up with patients after their discharges.InfrastructureLong-range investments in public infrastructure, clean technologies, and green energy are also important ways of improving the economy, said Carpenter.While the Obama administration has taken some steps in that direction, Carpenter fears that the United States is “in danger of being left behind” by China and India. He advocates investing in light rail, transportation support, and “rebuilding the infrastructure that we currently have.”A long-term commitment to such investments also could help draw top talent away from Wall Street.“Too much of our human capital has been taken up by finance and housing. It’s not clear that creates a better economy in the long run,” he said. “We ought to be retraining people for clean energy work, or building bridges and light rail systems, instead of building new homes.”The dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design also promotes investing in infrastructure to breathe life into the economy.“There is a lot of scope in thinking about infrastructure in ways that transcend its mere functional use,” said Mohsen Mostafavi, who is also the Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design.Mostafavi used as an example the banks of the Seine River in Paris, which in summer are transformed into cafes, restaurants, and even beaches, thereby becoming places for both enjoyment and employment. He also pointed to a railway system that connects the city to the suburbs. Such connections are “empowering and enabling,” said Mostafavi, adding, “access becomes the basis for jobs.”Harvard’s role Around the University, researchers and academics continue to explore the economic malaise and possible solutions.Direct connections to Washington’s policymakers include Larry Summers, the former Harvard president and current director of the National Economic Council, who will return to his post as the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at the end of the year, and Elizabeth Warren, the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law, who is helping to establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.Signaling the importance of finding economic solutions, Faust will convene next week’s panel, which will include Rogoff; Madrian; John Campbell, chair of the Economics Department; Richard Freeman, Herbert S. Ascherman Professor of Economics; and David Scharfstein, Edmund Cogswell Converse Professor of Finance and Banking.In many ways, Harvard itself is an ongoing economic engine. Campus organizations such as the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard (TECH) encourage collaboration among students, faculty, alumni, and industry leaders. The organization offers a course on the fundamentals of innovation, has a $50,000 grant competition, and maintains a studio space open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for undergraduates who hope to start the next big business.Many are well on their way. With help from business builders, as well as entrepreneurs, students in the program have created software and web-based companies such as Gtrot.com, which combines social networking with student travel, INeedAPencil.com, which provides free online SAT prep for low-income students, and NaviTour, a virtual foreign language teaching tool.“Students come here because they want to change the world,” said Paul Bottino, TECH’s co-founder and executive director. “We want to help them connect to their passions, and then create their own reality, their own economy.”Harvard’s Office of Technology Development (OTD) also connects researchers with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, and typically helps to launch eight to 12 companies annually, as well as to license new technology.“University research has always been a driver of the economy,” said Alan Gordon, director of business development at OTD, adding that his office “helps accelerate the movement of innovations from the lab to the market.”ValuesIn addition, some Harvard experts believe that people should step back from the economy’s particulars more often and focus on the moral dimension.Organizations such as Interfaith Worker Justice, a network of people of faith who educate and mobilize the religious community around labor rights, can prompt meaningful discussions on the economy and its effects on workers, according to a scholar at Harvard Divinity School (HDS).In the past, religious traditions have weighed in on the material conditions of people’s lives, said Bethany Moreton, a research associate and visiting faculty member at HDS.“It was always at the center of what prophetic religion felt it had a right to speak to. It took enormous amounts of cultural and intellectual work to declare something ‘the economy’ and remove it from the realm of religion and morality and social action.” Today, the notion of the economy is instead “in this pseudoscientific realm,” she said. “We can only describe it. We cannot control it, or opine about it, or address it in moral terms.”Moreton believes that discussion of such matters ought to return to the pulpit and to congregations across the country. “The crisis itself has made these topics feel again like something that we have the right to address in moral terms.”last_img read more

​PensionsEurope: Even more need for private pensions post-COVID

first_imgThe leader of the European pensions lobby group has said that as economies are changed by the coronavirus pandemic, there will be even more need for funded private pension provision than there is now.Speaking at the IPE Summer Pensions Congress 2020, Matti Leppäla, chief executive officer of PensionsEurope, said: “What is certain is the debt levels of members states are growing tremendously, and the problems that the members states have already had with changing demographics and being able to deal with public pensions, and social security – that’s even more difficult going forward.“So there is even more need for funded private pensions, whether it’s workplace or personal pensions for different people in different countries in different ways,” he said in an online panel session in which pension fund leaders discussed future agendas in the sector.“What this crisis means is that many people need to save for themselves in one way or another more than they ever did before,” Leppäla said. Assessing the response of European supervisors as well as the European Commission to the onset of the COVID-19 crisis this year, he said their first reaction had been very good.“I think it was very good that for pension funds EIOPA was recommending the same relaxation of reporting requirements as they had some for insurance companies, and that was very helpful,” Leppäla said.Though the situation had now improved in the financial markets and the pensions sector was resilient at the moment, Leppäla said concerns about the real economy and financial markets were growing.Governments in EU states had put very different types of measure in place to ameliorate their local economic situation, he said, with some taking money out of their pension funds to be able to manage the unemployment crisis and to make ends meet.“Which is of course understandable but for pension funds that’s not a good option – almost a last resort,” he said.“I think the worst thing would be to nationalise pension funds, but in some countries nothing like that happens or is even possible,” he added.Looking ahead, Leppäla said it was quite obvious there would be long-term impacts on pension funds in the region, especially when looking at the recovery and stimulus measures being taken as well as the role of the central bank.Looking for IPE’s latest magazine? Read the digital edition here.last_img read more

Ottawa Senators’ Erik Brannstrom posts gory picture after taking skate to face

first_img (Instagram/@brannstromerik) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/5d/74/erik-brannstrom-senators-100319-getty-ftrjpeg_z3e0erwafu31rimo4ofyha2h.jpg?t=-1824258163&w=500&quality=80 Unfortunately for Brannstrom, Matthews’ feat wasn’t the issue, but rather his feet were. With Matthews tied up, the Toronto forward went to the ice with his skates high in the air, clipping the defenseman in the face. Brannstrom immediately dropped to the ice while covering his face.Erik Brannstrom denies Auston Matthews’ hat trick in the final seconds, takes a skate to the face as thanks pic.twitter.com/WkLJaoxYLM— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) October 3, 2019MORE: Matthews enters rare company with two goals in season openerThe final seconds ticked off before Brannstrom was treated by a trainer but on Thursday he would show love to those who wished him well with a slightly disturbing look at his injury.”Got lucky,” the caption read. “Thanks for all the kind words, really appreciate it!!” After receiving stitches, the 20-year-old will be fine, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported.Brannstrom appeared in two games last season with the Senators. He was drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights in first round of the 2017 NHL draft.center_img On a seemingly meaningless play with just about five seconds left, Ottawa Senators’ young defenseman Erik Brannstrom made a play that left him with a scar to tell his friends about on the playground.In the final seconds, with the goaltender pulled and Toronto Maple Leafs’ forward Auston Matthews seeking a hat-trick on opening night, Brannstrom showed off his no-quit attitude, hustling back to prevent Matthews from accomplishing his feat.last_img read more

NYC hospital where nurse died, to offer staff testing after protest

first_imgMount Sinai hospitals says they will make coronavirus test kits available to staff members after several workers held a protest over the lack of adequate personal protective equipment and the inability for staff members to be tested at the hospital.Staff members at the New York hospital told NBC News that even though a nurse died after contracting the virus, and many other staff members in his department were beginning to show symptoms, they were not given access to the test.“The way management has been managing this crisis showed us that infectious disease protocol or staffing safety is not their concern,” a nurse told NBC.After a protest and several inquiries made by NBC, the hospital sent an email to staff members oking the testing of those showing symptoms:“Starting on Tuesday, April 7, if you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, we would like to test you for this viral infection using the PCR test with a nasopharyngeal swab within a few days of the onset of your symptoms,” said the email Saturday from Senior Vice President Vicki R. LoPachin to all staffers of the New York City area’s Mount Sinai hospital network. “This will provide guidance to you and to Employee Health Services regarding your clinical status and return to work.”For those who experienced symptoms prior to April 7th, the hospital says it would use another test:“If you were symptomatic prior to April 7, we would like to test you for COVID-19 infection using the serum antibody test. This will provide guidance to you on whether you did have COVID-19 infection as well as whether you are a candidate to provide a plasma donation to help others.”Read more here.last_img read more

State Turns Down Plea For Traffic Light

first_imgBy John Burton |RED BANK – The call by borough officials for another state traffic analysis and plea for a new traffic signal for a problematic intersection have been met with another apparent “no” from Trenton.The Borough Council’s Oct. 11 resolution sought to have the state Department of Transportation (DOT) again evaluate the intersection at Riverside Avenue/State Route 35 and Bodman Place, a particularly sticky traffic location at the borough’s northernmost point.“The borough is trying to tell them, stop the talking,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said last week. “Now get to work and come up with a solution.”But the DOT said it has been down this road before with borough officials about this location and its response remains unchanged. “NJDOT has investigated this request numerous times over several decades and has communicated to elected officials on multiple occasions that adding a traffic signal at the intersection of Bodman Place and Route 35/Riverside Avenue is not feasible,” said Steve Schapiro, the department’s director of communications, in response to The Two River Times’ request for comment about the recent resolution.Schapiro explained the most recent DOT investigation of the intersection occurred in late 2016, followed by a meeting with local officials in early 2017, “to once again explain to the town that adding a signal is not warranted.”Menna remembered that DOT review as “an army of individuals, all of them making the same notes, and one or two persons talking and looking at each other.”Menna took Schapiro’s assessment as “a typical bureaucratic response from individuals who are indifferent to the conditions on the ground.”For years the borough has experienced pedestrian safety issues along Riverside Avenue, which is an extension of state Route 35 through the borough, and has had state Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-11) reach out to state transportation officials for assistance.The area is lined with several restaurants, apartment developments, senior housing complexes, office buildings and access to two hotels. Over the last 20 years, according to Menna, traffic has intensified and development has changed the complexion of the area. “Frankly, the intersection was fine 20 years ago,” Menna said, “but no longer.”Bodman Place has Oyster Point hotel, along with condominiums and office buildings, and leads out to Riverside Avenue. The problem, Menna noted again, which other borough officials have brought up over the last few years, concerns traffic moving onto Riverside from Bodman, especially those turning left to travel southbound, as well as traffic traveling south on Riverside, looking to turn left onto Bodman.Riverside Avenue is a four-lane road that has an S-curve in that area, in close proximity to Route 35 at the Coopers Bridge. Traffic travels at a pretty quick pace, creating a dangerous mix, Menna pointed out.Menna is a lawyer who maintains offices on Bodman Place. He said he is well aware of the intersection’s difficulties, facing them almost daily.The borough police’s Traffic Safety Division also supports the traffic light recommendation, according to the resolution.“Frankly, at the end of the day, the reason they’re being shy about it is financial,” Menna said, alleging the state DOT doesn’t want to spend money for a traffic signal, when another signal is close by.A traffic signal could cost up to $250,000, according to Menna, and the borough would be willing to pay 25 percent of the cost, the standard local contribution. As for it being too close to another light, the mayor pointed to traffic lights, authorized by the DOT, at the West Front/Water streets and Water Street/Maple Avenue intersections, which are close to other signals; as well as the fact that Asbury Park, along Route 71, has signals at seemingly every intersection.Borough officials have formally designated Riverside Avenue as an area in need of rehabilitation. That was done, Menna noted, in anticipation of redevelopment of some of the properties along that corridor.And that, Menna determined, makes traffic and pedestrian safety improvements that much more important.Schapiro said DOT engineers feel a traffic signal at Bodman “would increase the potential for same direction crashes and create coordination issues negatively affecting traffic on Route 35.”Menna said he’s keeping his fingers crossed that with a new administration in Trenton next year. “Hopefully, that attitude can change,” he said.This article was first published in the Nov. 16-23, 2017 print edition of the Two River Times.last_img read more

NCS Playoffs: Eureka shakes off tough start to pull away from Analy for 66-51 win

first_imgEureka >> Sometimes the adjustments are simple.For the Loggers, it was simply about settling down Tuesday night.The Eureka High girls basketball team was able to shake off a six-point first quarter in impressive fashion, as the Loggers found their footing in the first half and subsequently rolled to a 66-51 win over Analy in the first round of the North Coast Section Division II playoffs at Jay Willard Gymnasium.“I feel like we had a lot of silly mistakes at the beginning of the game,” …last_img read more

SA miner wins major Russian contract

first_img29 July 2008 For the work to be carried out at the Russian project, situated in the town of Kotelnikovo, Shaft Sinkers will use a special technique for water-bearing rock grouting, as opposed to the more traditional method of rock freezing. The contract was signed by EuroChem GM Dmitry Strezhnev, Shaft Sinkers MD Robert Schroder and financial director Christopher Hall. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material “After the commissioning of the Gremyachinskoye mine in 2012 EuroChem will become the largest Russian and the fourth [largest] company in the world producing the entire range of mineral fertilisers, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium,” the statement read. According to a Mining Weekly article this week, the deal is believed to be one of the largest mining construction contracts entered into between a Russian and South African company. “Shaft Sinkers is a leading mining company sinking shafts by means of rock cementation and grouting,” the company said in a statement this week. “That makes a fundamental difference between the construction of the man and material shaft of the future mine and sinking similar shafts in the past.” With the total project cost expected at approximately $2-billion (approximately R14.9-billion), it is one of the largest investment projects by private companies in the modern-day Russian Federation.center_img Preliminary works on the project commenced in June this year, while completion of the man and material shaft technological complex construction and commissioning is scheduled for January 2012. SAinfo reporter South African expertise Russian mineral and chemicals company EuroChem has awarded a contract worth US$270-million (approximately R2.02-billion) to South Africa’s Shaft Sinkers for shaft construction at EuroChem’s Gremyachinskoye potash deposit in Russia’s Volgograd region. EuroChem has since 2006 been involved in the development of the Gremyachinskoye potash deposit in Volgograd Region, which according to geological data contains over 1.2-billion tons of potash resources of exceptional ore quality. Mining Weekly added that the workforce would comprise a key group of South African expatriates of up to 50 people, who would then employ and train local workers.last_img read more

The Future of Location Services: Recommendation

first_imgThe Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Tags:#Features#Location#mobile#web Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Last month, I decided to take to the road with my blogging. Armed with a 12-inch netbook, an iPhone and a 1995 Chevy Astro Van, I’ve hit the paved pathways with many intentions to see just how mobile technology can or cannot determine how we approach and experience the world. Just a couple weeks into the experiment, I’ve come to one certain conclusion – ambient awareness and the combination of recommendation engines with geofencing is the future when it comes to all of these location-based services.So far, almost all of these LBS apps are about me sharing my location with you, whoever you may be. While it’s certainly a first step, they work primarily off ego rather than utility. They require the user to actively seek information, rather than letting the user define some conditions and receive notifications in response. There are, however, a few exceptions and they are where all other LBS apps should aspire to go. Should “Checking In” Go Into the Background?Foursquare, for example, recently updated to include iOS4 compatibility, but left out background location. Must we really open Foursquare and either check in to a location or browse a number of unrelated “tips” in order to find out about relevant services and locations in the area? We spoke with one developer, Aaron Parecki, who focuses on location tracking mobile apps, and he told us that there were a number of factors involved in making apps such as Foursquare act in the background. He related his experiences living in both Portland and Eugene, Oregon, and how the place made all the difference in how he approached the data involved. Portland is a larger, more densely populated city than Eugene, which can change everything when it comes to location apps.“In Eugene, I was able to define circles over places in the city and say ‘this circle is the grocery store’ and say ‘if I’m in this circle, I’m at this store’, but in Portland, it doesn’t quite work that way because there are too many things close together and stacked vertically,” he explained. For apps like Foursquare and Gowalla, maybe automatic check-ins are not the next step. As Parecki points out, many different check-in locations can occupy the same space. Do we really want to be automatically checked in to every adult video shop, strip club and bar we go near? On the other hand, these same services could use their wealth of geolocation data and check-in history to make location-based recommendations Location-Based Recommendation EnginesWhat if I want to be able to tell an app that, today, I’d really like to go swimming while I’m out and about and have it alert me to swimming holes as I’m out running my errands. Or how about an app that lets me know, as I explore a new city, of art museums as they near within two miles? Maybe an app that alerts me to registered historical landmarks? Parecki said that this type of scenario is entirely possible, but access to location data and battery life are the primary areas holding back location apps from persistent background operation. One app that recently updated and really gets it is Trapster, the iPhone app that keeps track of road hazards, speed traps and even roadkill. Although we ran into some general GPS issues, the latest version of the app does exactly what we’d expect – it runs in the background and responds to a series of user-defined settings. As you drive along, it will notify you of upcoming road hazards or other whatever else you set it to notify you about. One of the great things about an app like Trapster is that you know you’re going to be in a vehicle, so the issue of battery life is likely eliminated, as you can keep the phone plugged in the whole time.Another great app I’ve run into in my travels is Camp & RV by AllStays. Although the app does not have background location or PuSH notifications, it has extensive settings for what types of points-of-interest you’d like to know about and how close they need to be before being included in the listing. As you drive along, you can have your co-pilot look at the app and it will tell you what points-of-interest, from Walmarts with overnight parking to state campgrounds to truck stops, are off the nearest highway exits. The app would take little more than a simple addition of background location and push notifications to be fully there.As far as location data, AllStays has been gathering this sort of data since 1999, providing a database of travel locations as its primary business, and Trapster relies on crowdsourcing its data. The pairing of background location with real-time data and user preference is the next step for LBS services. While we’re all busy worrying that the Internet is going to whittle our existence down into a series of 0s and 1s, it already has but we’re missing out on the benefits. Apps that are careful to respect our privacy with appropriate settings could open the world of mobile technology up to the very real potential that’s out there.center_img mike melanson Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …last_img read more

Ind vs Eng: India thump Sussex by 6 wickets, record their first win of tour

first_imgVirat Kohli and Rohit Sharma cracked half-centuries as India recorded their maiden win of the England tour with a six-wicket thumping of Sussex in a rain-affected practice game here on Thursday. India have already lost the Test series 0-4.The two talented youngsters put on 104 runs for the third wicket in impressive style as Indians chased down the 235-run target with 4.1 overs to spare after the game was reduced to 45-over-a side affair due to two rain interruptions.Put into bat, Sussex were 236 all out with seamer R P Singh snaring four wickets but the Indians needed 235 to win due to the revised target under Duckworth-Lewis system.The Indians looked in control even though Sachin Tendulkar (21) did not last long as the other opener Parthiv Patel (55), Kohli (71) and Sharma (61 not out) played around with an average home attack.Kohli’s knock came from 83 balls and included six fours and a six. Sharma’s unbeaten 61 came from 65 balls and studded with eight fours and a six.Tendullkar played some gorgeous strokes before he spooned up a catch at mid-off against left-arm paceman Chris Liddle.As many as four fours were hit by Tendulkar in his brief 17-ball knock.Patel was similarly aggressive, relying a great deal on chipped shots behind square before he played back to off-spinner Chris Nash and missed the line completely. He made his 55 runs from 65 balls and slammed nine fours.But Kohli and Sharma then took over and literally toyed with the home side attack, running their singles crisply and hitting big shots at will.advertisementSharma was effortless in his drives through the off-side and a driven six over mid-off was as exciting as it come. He hit the winning runs off Luke Wells.Much welcomed as the Indians’ win was, it still would bother the tourists that the bowling attack was not looking up to a scratch and that Suresh Raina failed once again.Left-hander Raina, a miserable presence at the crease during the Tests, came into bat with only token runs required by the visitors for a win. He survived a near-catch at the square leg ropes and was bowled off the next ball for a personal score of 12.Earlier, RP Singh took four for 44 but two of his wickets came in the final over when batsmen were attempting to slog and the first two when the conditions were overtly favourable to swing bowling under overcast conditions.Munaf Patel was disappointing and conceded 52 runs from his seven overs for a wicket and generally was slogged around the park.Praveen Kumar was a heartening return to bowling crease after his ankle injury which made him miss out the final Test at the Oval last week. He bowled his eight overs for 28 runs and picked up a wicket.The two spinners, leg-spinner Amit Mishra and off-spinner Ravichandra Ashwin bowled economically without appearing threatening at any stage.- With inputs from PTIlast_img read more