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Category Archives: Economy

Google, Amazon, Meta and Microsoft Weave a Fiber-Optic Web of Power

WSJ: “To say that Big Tech controls the internet might seem like an exaggeration. Increasingly, in at least one sense, it’s literally true. The internet can seem intangible, a post-physical environment where things like viral posts, virtual goods and metaverse concerts just sort of happen. But creating that illusion requires a truly gargantuan—and quickly-growing—web of physical connections. Fiber-optic cable, which carries 95% of the world’s international internet traffic, links up pretty much all of the world’s data centers, those vast server warehouses where the computing happens that transforms all those 1s and 0s into our experience of the internet. Where those fiber-optic connections link up countries across the oceans, they consist almost entirely of cables running underwater—some 1.3 million kilometers (or more than 800,000 miles) of bundled glass threads that make up the actual, physical international internet. And until recently, the overwhelming majority of the undersea fiber-optic cable being installed was controlled and used by telecommunications companies and governments. Today, that’s no longer the case. In less than a decade, four tech giants—Microsoft, Google parent Alphabet, Meta (formerly Facebook) and Amazon—have become by far the dominant users of undersea-cable capacity. Before 2012, the share of the world’s undersea fiber-optic capacity being used by those companies was less than 10%. Today, that figure is about 66%…”

The Global Leader Ideology dataset

Center for Data Innovation: “Bastian Herre, a researcher at the U.K.-based nonprofit Our World in Data, has released a dataset of the economic ideologies of political leaders. The dataset lists the political leaders of 182 countries every year from 1945 to 2020 and classifies their economic ideology as leftist, centrist, rightist, or non-ideological. According to… Continue Reading

Home Ownership More Affordable Than Renting in Majority of U.S. Housing Markets

“ATTOM, curator of the nation’s premier property database, today released its 2022 Rental Affordability Report, which shows that owning a median-priced home is more affordable than the average rent on a three-bedroom property in 666, or 58 percent, of the 1,154 U.S. counties analyzed for the report. That means major home ownership expenses consume a… Continue Reading

The true cost of Amazon’s low prices

Vox/Recode: “On the heels of yet another year of record sales, Amazon is dealing with a couple of unwelcome updates in the new year. The Senate Judiciary Committee has announced it will soon be marking up the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, an antitrust bill targeting Amazon and other Big Tech companies. This follows… Continue Reading

Striking findings from 2021

Pew – “…here are some of Pew Research Center’s most striking research findings from the past year. These 15 findings cover subjects ranging from extreme weather to the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing demographic shifts in the United States. And they represent just a small slice of the year’s full list of research publications…” Continue Reading

What Personality Are You? How the Myers-Briggs Test Took over the World

The Guardian: “I am a born executive. I am obsessed with efficiency and detached from my emotions. I share similarities with Margaret Thatcher and Harrison Ford. I am among 2% of the general population, and 1% of women. People like us are highly motivated by personal growth, and occasionally ruthless in the pursuit. We make… Continue Reading

GAO Report on Virtual Currencies

Virtual Currencies: Additional Information Could Improve Federal Agency Efforts to Counter Human and Drug Trafficking. Published: Dec 08, 2021. Publicly Released: Jan 10, 2022. “This is a public version of a sensitive report that GAO issued in September 2021. Therefore, this report omits sensitive information and data on selected federal agencies’ activities to counter human… Continue Reading

Global Risks and Global Economic Prospects Reports 2022

World Economic Forum: “In the Global Risks Report 2022, we share the results of the latest Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS) in the context of the current global outlook, followed by an analysis of growing divergences in the areas of climate transition, cybersecurity, mobility, and outer space. We examine the tensions arising from such divergence,… Continue Reading

Surveillance Publishing

Surveillance Publishing – Posted by John Baez – “Björn Brembs recently explained how “massive over-payment of academic publishers has enabled them to buy surveillance technology covering the entire workflow that can be used not only to be combined with our private data and sold, but also to make algorithmic (aka ‘evidenceled’) employment decisions.” Reading about… Continue Reading

2022 Report on the State of the Legal Market

ThomsonReuters: “Having regained their footing after navigating the depths of the pandemic, law firms are facing a growing talent war that threatens to upend the legal industry’s newfound momentum. But the 2022 Report on the State of the Legal Market, issued today by the Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession at Georgetown Law and… Continue Reading

Manchin’s Coal Corruption Is So Much Worse Than You Knew

Rolling Stone – “The senator from West Virginia is bought and paid for by Big Coal. With his help the dying industry is pulling one final heist — and the entire planet may pay the price…Manchin’s public rationale that power companies are already transitioning away from fossil fuels as rapidly as possible is blatantly false:… Continue Reading

NEW chart for US Covid-watchers – tracks cases in all states and impact on hospitals

Via John Burn-Murdoch, @jburnmurdoch – Stories, stats & scatterplots for @FinancialTimes | Mainly Covid for now | Visiting senior fellow @LSEdataScience | john.burn [email protected] | “Key question with Omicron wave is whether severe disease — hospitalisations & ICU — decouples from cases. In the UK it has, but there are signs the US decoupling is… Continue Reading