On Friday, May 24, at 2:00 p.m. EST senior writer Anya Kamenetz will be moderating a discussion with Glen Hiemstra, founder of Futurist.com, about how work will evolve over the next several decades both in America and globally.
A new app uses the power of your own positive thinking to create a placebo effect—which works even if you know it’s happening.
You start by setting a goal: say, more joy or love in your life. Then, you choose someone to give you the placebo (maybe a friend or family member), what you want it to be (a pill, say), and where you want to take it (maybe a forest where you go running with a friend). You then “take” the placebo whenever you want to, following a pre-set ritual built into the app.
The point is to replicate what’s important about the placebo effect, which isn’t the pill itself, but the experience.
Would You Move To A Shrinking City If It Paid Off Your Loans?
That’s the plan of New York’s Niagra Falls. In the hopes of staunching its population decline and bringing a new generation of engaged youth, the city is accepting applications for urban pioneers willing to move in exchange for a little debt relief.
Niagara Falls is a poster child for population loss. The city had more than 100,000 people in 1950. Now they’re struggling to keep above 50,000, a number which carries more than just symbolic consequences: It’s the cut-off for HUD entitlement funding. “That’s a dollar loss right off the bat,” Niagara Falls director of community development Seth Piccirillo says. It means less money for everything from home repairs to police. But Piccirillo is worried about the private sector, too: “When was the last time an employer said, ‘I want to put 500 jobs in a shrinking city’? It doesn’t happen.”
A solution they came up with, literally on the back of a napkin, is called Live NF. It will reimburse up to $3,492 a year of your student loans for two years—if you move to downtown Niagara Falls. They had 42 applicants, and have just announced their first five winners, who range from an artist from Buffalo to a web designer with a Masters in Bible Studies.
Forget GDP: The Social Progress Index Measures National Well-Being
This new index tracks everything from opportunity to health to sustainability.
For many years, the powers that be thought that economic indicators were the ultimate measure of a country’s wellbeing. That’s starting to change. As we have discussedbefore, the general happiness of a country doesn’t always correlate with its wealth.
In fact, economic indicators don’t match up with a number of important indicators about well-being.
Hence the Social Progress Index, an initiative from The Social Progress Imperative and Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter that examines how 50 countries perform on 52 indicators related to basic human needs, the foundations of well-being, and opportunity.
The top country: Sweden. The U.S. doesn’t even rank in the top five…
Google’s Plan To Fight Human Trafficking With Big Data
A collection of tech and data companies are working together to track, map, and fight the criminal underworld that ships people around the world.
Google announced this week that it’s giving a $3 million Global Impact Award (part of a series of grants given to nonprofits changing the world with technology) to help three anti-trafficking organizations—Polaris Project, Liberty Asia, and La Strada International—create a Global Human Trafficking Hotline Network. While these organizations operate effective trafficking hotlines across the world, they don’t share their information. That’s the kind of big-data problem that Google can help with.
Mike Merrill is literally selling himself. Not his body, his self.
Since 2008, the straight-laced entrepreneur has been selling shares of his person at Kmikeym.com.
As Joshua Davis at Wiredtells the story, at first shareholders only voted on small projects, but now they make decisions about his most intimate life:
One anonymous investor sent Merrill on a date with a polyamorous woman. “She is currently seeing someone, but she has permission to date,” he wrote in his after-action report. “I’m of mixed feeling about that, but I recognize that this is a decision for the shareholders to make.” They decided against continuing the relationship but gave a 97% approval rating to a guy referred to as Jordon California. Feeling the weight of investor expectations, Merrill spent a drunken night “fooling around” with him.
The media attention has brought Merrill a number of new shareholders, but otherwise, life at KMikeyM headquarters continues, according to his latest email update: “We are working very hard on responding to the influx of new shareholders, our new venture Jumpbots, and we just completed moving in with our shareholder-approved girlfriend.”
If you want to own a piece of Mike Merrill for yourself, he’s currently going for about $15 a share.
Because of a decades-old law, buying guns and ammo directs money directly toward conservation. And when gun sales spike as the result of fears of impending gun legislation, it results in a rapid influx of cash.