Category Archives: General Topics

Good Read: Wall Street Begins Trading Water Futures as a Commodity

Water joined gold, oil and other commodities traded on Wall Street, highlighting worries that the life-sustaining natural resource may become scarce across more of the world.

Farmers, hedge funds and municipalities alike are now able to hedge against — or bet on — future water availability in California, the biggest U.S. agriculture market and world’s fifth-largest economy. CME Group Inc.’s January 2021 contract, linked to California’s $1.1 billion spot water market, last traded Monday at 496 index points, equal to $496 per acre-foot.

The contracts, a first of their kind in the U.S., were announced in September as heat and wildfires ravaged the U.S. West Coast and as California was emerging from an eight-year drought. They are meant to serve both as a hedge for big water consumers, such as almond farmers and electric utilities, against water prices fluctuations as well a scarcity gauge for investors worldwide.

Read more in

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-12-06/water-futures-to-start-trading-amid-growing-fears-of-scarcity?sref=oUjKJw8m

Very Good Read: The Future of Sensors, Algorithms, and Recommendations

Abstract

One of the easiest technological trends to predict in the coming decades is the improvement and penetration of sensors and algorithms. In short—more sensors, in more places, gathering more data, which are fed to better and better algorithms.

Those algorithms will work together and be fed into a universal interface in both consumer and business environments, and that interface will arrive at conclusions and then make recommendations. This technology trend is universal because it aligns with a human universal, i.e., the desire to improve our lot.

When we’re at home, the combination of sensors throughout our house will include microphones, cameras, radio signals, air-quality, chemical detection in the sinks and toilets, etc.

These will obviously start basic and get more advanced. All combined, these sensors will be able to tell us if we’re hungry, tired, happy, sick, angry, depressed, and a thousand other emotions and moods—all in realtime.

Read more in https://danielmiessler.com/blog/the-future-of-sensors-algorithms-and-recommendations/?mc_cid=3512bae25b&mc_eid=35079f6e24

Just a thought: A phone controls you now.

Our society has changed so much now. A simple device (phone) has taken control of you & you have no control over it. Even husband & wife are sitting in each corner of the bed & checking Watsapp every min. Hoping, something will come up & may change his/her life.

In a week, We have 168 hrs but you or me do not have 5 mins to talk to parents, brother, friends or old colleagues. Even if you try they do not have time to speak to you. A kid wants to play with father but father is busy in facebook. Strange time and we all are sick in many ways.

If you ask anybody they say no time yaar then blame kids, work, unhealthy parents or partner. But, never check his/her total screen time in a week. As per research, On average a person can maintain maximum 200 contacts but now you can’t even maintain 10 people contacts because of phone.

My humble request to all readers is that Talk to the people who is next to you. Say hello to others in metro or workplace rather than chatting someone online on Facebook.

OFFLINE LIFE IS AS GOOD AS ONLINE. GIVE IT A CHANCE.

Data-driven technologies in Political campaigning. Inside the Influence Industry. How it works.

The scandal surrounding Cambridge Analytica that broke on 17 March 2018 was a watershed moment. For many voters, it created a unique insight into how their data was being traded and utilised to target them for political influence: voters realised the effects the technologies were having on them. Despite widespread global attention, there is still very little known about the techniques that are applied to sway citizens’ political views by leveraging the data they give away.

All the data-driven methods from analysing behavioural data to A/B testing and from geotargeting to psychometric profiling, political parties are using the same techniques to sell political candidates to voters that companies use to sell shoes to consumers.

What are voter files?

Voter files are profiles of individual voters that are collected into databases for political campaigning purposes. In its most basic form, a voter file is a list of people who could potentially vote in a given election. This data can also be combined with more detailed information, like party affiliation or registration history. While voter files can vary depending on who produces them—whether electoral administrators, commercial entities or political parties—they often consist of publicly accessible information combined with more detailed data acquired from outside sources and polling. 

What is A/B testing?

When Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign team was having trouble converting web visitors into subscribers, they took a page from commercial marketing’s playbook and decided to change the text on their website. They tested three different messages against the site’s usual ‘Sign Up’ prompt: ‘Learn More,’ ‘Join Us Now’ and ‘Sign Up Now.’ They found that ‘Learn More’ outperformed the default message by a whopping 18.6%.1 When they tested the prompt alongside six different photo and video options, the winning combination boosted their sign-up rate by more than 3 percentage points.

While this number may seem small, the campaign estimated that this single change contributed to nearly three million new email address sign-ups and netted $60 million in new donations.2, 3, 4 Four years later, the Obama re-election campaign ran over 500 similar A/B tests across web and email in 20 months, increasing their donation conversion by 29% and their sign-up conversions by 161%.5, 6

The Complete document is referenced here

https://tacticaltech.org/media/Personal-Data-Political-Persuasion-How-it-works.pdf

How to get rid of a Facebook addiction?

In this post, I would like to share my experience with social networking especially facebook. My intention is not to suggest to get rid of these social platforms, however, be cognizant about its impact on our lives.

I have been trying to get rid of facebook addiction & other social networking platforms. I realized that social media platforms are becoming more & more sweet poison which impacts my social behaviour. And, Here are my reasons why I decided to use it just to keep my connections with my friends but not to get addicted of it.

  1. Wasting my precious hours of work early in the morning. Also, got addicted to that Every hour or so, I used to check Facebook. The only thing needed to know if someone has replied to my post or like my shared post or not. 
  2. Lots of fake news & manipulative articles.
  3. Reading others useless posts.
  4. Too much politics & garbage point of views.

Some of the few tricks to get rid of social media addiction:

  • Must log out after use & Enable two-factor authentication in login: Social media apps are an auto sign in & never asked for login again. This is one simple technique to keep the user on the site. You can use the opposite of these techniques to make it hard for yourself to just hit & use it without login. Just try it. it works.
  • Remove all social media apps from your smartphone: I know it seems strange but the root cause of this addiction is your smartphone & apps which notify (i.e little red number on top of your app). But you have got to stop that. At least stop notification of these apps. And the sound of these notifications as well.
  • Stop putting your phone under your pillow: Yes you got to keep your phone away and keep that device at the table. if there is an emergency, someone would give a call. No need to keep phone under the pillow. Buy an alarm clock if you use the phone to wake you up in the morning.
  • No need to carry a phone everywhere: What I meant is that it is not required in your meeting, dinner, breakfast, walking or talking to a real person. No need to carry your phone with you. If you are with someone, no need to carry this distractor with you. Enjoy the real conversation who may be more supportive/understandable than your Whatsapp messages.
  • Understand the purpose of technology: These devices are very important and solve real problems but let’s not depend on too much. Understand what you can do without it and when you need it. it is not that hard. just give a try.

The reality of Social Media, Psychology & Addiction

It’s not easy to get rid of social media. because it is our life now that we check Facebook before checking time forget about saying good morning to family members. However, we do one thing & that is, Forward good morning messages to 10 people who are not around. It’s hard to understand Psychology behind it but this is the reality now. Watch an interesting video about it.

 Final Thought

It’s not easy & we can’t avoid these things because technology does help to connect. However, I would again say the same that you have to get rid of your addiction. And feel the world without these tiny devices. Talk to real human who are sitting next to you rather than messaging someone who is thousands mile way. Talking to a stranger isn’t that bad. It could be a good experience just like talking on WhatsApp.