Here are the links for this week.
1. Ever thought about starting your own blog? Michael Hyatt has some advice: My Advice to Beginning Bloggers
2. Is gender inclusive language taking hold? Good News, You Guys Everyone! English Is Becoming More Inclusive
In a national online longitudinal survey, participants reported their attitudes and behaviors in response to the recently implemented metered paywall by the New York Times. Previously free online content now requires a digital subscription to access beyond a small free monthly allotment. Participants were surveyed shortly after the paywall was announced and again 11 weeks after it was implemented to understand how they would react and adapt to this change. Most readers planned not to pay and ultimately did not. Instead, they devalued the newspaper, visited its Web site less frequently, and used loopholes, particularly those who thought the paywall would lead to inequality. Results of an experimental justification manipulation revealed that framing the paywall in terms of financial necessity moderately increased support and willingness to pay. Framing the paywall in terms of a profit motive proved to be a noncompelling justification, sharply decreasing both support and willingness to pay. Results suggest that people react negatively to paying for previously free content, but change can be facilitated with compelling justifications that emphasize fairness.
... Beyond the United States, global statistics point undeniably toward progress in achieving greater peace and stability. There are fewer wars now than at any time in decades. The number of people killed as a result of armed violence worldwide is plunging as well — down to about 526,000 in 2011 from about 740,000 in 2008, according to the United Nations. ...
... Most top Pentagon officials say the statistics showing that the world is safer are irrelevant and don’t reflect the magnitude of the risks. The result is what Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has dubbed a “security paradox.” The world may seem safer, Dempsey says, but the potential for global catastrophe has grown as the planet has become more interconnected and potential enemies have greater access to more powerful weapons and technology. ...
6. A 51st state? Is Puerto Rico on Its Way To Becoming the 51st State? Possibly.
7. Mitt Romney joins a long list also-rans. So how does he compare to other presidential also-rans?
8. Speaking of campaigns, Time has an interesting piece about the inner-workings of the Obama data crunching team, Inside the Secret World of the Data Crunchers Who Helped Obama Win. Contrast this with the disaster that was Romney's get-out-the-vote operation. Romney's Get out the Vote Epic Fail.
9. How much difference is there in the coming of age experience between Baby Boomers and Millennials? Mother and daughter team Robin Marantz Henig and Samantha Henig are interviewed about their new book: What’s the Matter With Millennials?
11. Interesting piece on crowd sourcing in Harvard Business Review. Let the Crowd Fix Your Product's Bugs
"The online startup Kaggle assembles a diverse group of people from around the world to work on tough problems submitted by organizations. The company runs data science competitions, where the goal is to arrive at a better prediction than the submitting organization's starting 'baseline' prediction. Results from these contests are striking in a couple ways. For one thing, improvements over the baseline are usually substantial. In one case, Allstate submitted a dataset of vehicle characteristics and asked the Kaggle community to predict which of them would have later personal liability claims filed against them. The contest lasted approximately three months, and drew in more than 100 contestants. The winning prediction was more than 270% better than the insurance company's baseline.
Another interesting fact is that the majority of Kaggle contests are won by people who are marginal to the domain of the challenge — who, for example, made the best prediction about hospital readmission rates despite having no experience in health care — and so would not have been consulted as part of any traditional search for solutions. In many cases, these demonstrably capable and successful data scientists acquired their expertise in new and decidedly digital ways"
12. I can't wait to see this one!