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NPR (npr) One rethinks everything, even ditching the Like button.
Stark white and minimally designed, the new NPR One app looks like a paradigm of technology. But surprisingly, the app isn’t powered by algorithms, filters, or other pseudo-intelligence—it’s still good old human editor curation on the backend.
“For us, the algorithm that programs the app is very importantly focused on the human curation part of it,” says NPR VP of digital media Zach Brand. “A lot of people tend to think of it in terms of machine learning—which is a portion as well—but we have dedicated staff making sure that the most important stories are populated from the outset that represent the best experience right at the first moment. As we get to know the listener, it then tailors even more to them.”
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NPR (npr) One rethinks everything, even ditching the Like button.

Stark white and minimally designed, the new NPR One app looks like a paradigm of technology. But surprisingly, the app isn’t powered by algorithms, filters, or other pseudo-intelligence—it’s still good old human editor curation on the backend.

“For us, the algorithm that programs the app is very importantly focused on the human curation part of it,” says NPR VP of digital media Zach Brand. “A lot of people tend to think of it in terms of machine learning—which is a portion as well—but we have dedicated staff making sure that the most important stories are populated from the outset that represent the best experience right at the first moment. As we get to know the listener, it then tailors even more to them.”

Read More>

npr:

A New App Will Let You Share Your Leftovers With Strangers
Startups have made it so much easier for peer-to-peer buying and bartering these days. Need a place to stay? Swap houses. Want to fill out your wardrobe? Swap clothing. And coming soon is Leftover Swap, a smartphone app to help you barter or give away your leftovers.
This is either ingenius or cringe-worthy, depending on your penchant for other people’s unfinished meals.
"It’s obviously not for everybody," says Leftover Swap co-founder Dan Newman. “But for as many people who seemingly have a problem with it, there’s people who love the idea."
Read the rest on NPR’s All Tech Considered blog.
(Photo: User Quotable Kidney on Flickr Creative Commons)

npr:

A New App Will Let You Share Your Leftovers With Strangers

Startups have made it so much easier for peer-to-peer buying and bartering these days. Need a place to stay? Swap houses. Want to fill out your wardrobe? Swap clothing. And coming soon is Leftover Swap, a smartphone app to help you barter or give away your leftovers.

This is either ingenius or cringe-worthy, depending on your penchant for other people’s unfinished meals.

"It’s obviously not for everybody," says Leftover Swap co-founder Dan Newman. “But for as many people who seemingly have a problem with it, there’s people who love the idea."

Read the rest on NPR’s All Tech Considered blog.

(Photo: User Quotable Kidney on Flickr Creative Commons)

npr:

pbsthisdayinhistory:

July 26, 1775: U.S. Postal System is Established

On this day in 1775, the United States postal system was created by the Second Continental Congress. Benjamin Franklin was appointed as the first Postmaster General. 

Upon his departure in 1776, he left a vastly improved mail system, with routes from Florida to Maine and regular service between the U.S and Britain.  

Visit the Benjamin Franklin site to learn more about the Man of Letters.

Photo: (1) Interior of a post office showing post office boxes and an postmaster greeting two children and a woman c. 1901 (Library of Congress) (2) Benjamin Franklin, 1783 (Library of Congress).

In somewhat ironic timing, yesterday, NPR ran a story about a House bill that aims to stop door-to-door postal service, while keeping the cheaper mailbox service. ]

Check out interview highlights with Farhad Manjoo on toady’s NPR Fresh Air where they talk about the great tech war or 2012.

In the old days, Amazon sold books, Google was a search engine, Facebook was a social network and Apple sold computers.

But that’s not the case anymore.

Google and Apple now sell phones. Amazon has gotten into the server business. Apple sells music. Facebook and Amazon provide online payment services. And that’s just the beginning.

We have reported extensively on the nasty chemicals inside plastics for some time now. Namely, the ugliness that is BPA. Here’s something you may not have known. BPA. Is. Everywhere. We’re talkin’ adhesives, dental fillings, the linings of food and drink cans. But wait… there’s more:

It’s  a building block for polycarbonate, a near-shatterproof plastic used in  cell phones, computers, eyeglasses, drinking bottles, medical devices,  and CDs and DVDs. It’s also in infant-formula cans and many clear  plastic baby bottles.

Here are some tips for avoiding this toxic, cancer causing compound. And don’t forget to check out today’s Fresh Air from NPR.
nprfreshair:

Today’s Fresh Air, Susan Freinkel on chemicals in plastics: “These chemicals act in a more convoluted and complicated way.  ”They interfere with our hormones and they interfere with the endocrine system, which is the network of glands that orchestrate growth and development. And there’s some research showing that DEHP, this chemical that’s in vinyl [used in IV bags] has this property. It interferes with testosterone.” [complete interview here]

We have reported extensively on the nasty chemicals inside plastics for some time now. Namely, the ugliness that is BPA. Here’s something you may not have known. BPA. Is. Everywhere. We’re talkin’ adhesives, dental fillings, the linings of food and drink cans. But wait… there’s more:

It’s a building block for polycarbonate, a near-shatterproof plastic used in cell phones, computers, eyeglasses, drinking bottles, medical devices, and CDs and DVDs. It’s also in infant-formula cans and many clear plastic baby bottles.

Here are some tips for avoiding this toxic, cancer causing compound. And don’t forget to check out today’s Fresh Air from NPR.

nprfreshair:

Today’s Fresh Air, Susan Freinkel on chemicals in plastics: “These chemicals act in a more convoluted and complicated way.  ”They interfere with our hormones and they interfere with the endocrine system, which is the network of glands that orchestrate growth and development. And there’s some research showing that DEHP, this chemical that’s in vinyl [used in IV bags] has this property. It interferes with testosterone.” [complete interview here]

Yeah yeah, cue your jokes about us being dads for linking to NPR, but the new Mountain Goats album is so freaking worth it. We like “Damn These Vampires” and “Birth of Serpents” a lot and have it on repeat while we eat carrots and parse John Darnielle’s consistently excellent lyricism. Ugh, it’s just good, check it out already.