Factualities for October 17, 2018

October 17, 2018

Hey, hey, believe ‘em or not.

  • 33 percent of US adults hit with identity theft. Source: DarkReading
  • 45 out of 50 companies illegally void warranties for electronics. Source: Reddit.com
  • 000000. Kanye West’s iPhone pass code. Source: Graham Cluley
  • $50,000 per hour. Cost of Flying the F 35 fighter aircraft for one hour. Source: New York Times page A 19 October 12, 2018
  • 29 million people. Number of individuals probably affected by the September Facebook breach. Source: Facebook
  • 30 000. Number of US Department of Defense personnel records which may have been breached by hackers. Source: Cyberscoop

Beyond Search loves round numbers. So satisfyingly accurate-like.

Stephen E Arnold, October 17, 2018

Factualities for September 26, 2018

September 26, 2018

Believe ‘em or not:

  • 58 million. The number of new jobs artificial intelligence will create by 2022. Source: Forbes
  • 183.9. The top speed a woman reached riding a bicycle. Source: National Public Radio
  • 55 percent of millennials prefer learning via YouTube. 59 percent of Generation Z prefer learning via YouTube. Source: Axios
  • 71 percent. The percentage of startups in Israel focusing on business to business applications based on artificial intelligence. Source: Forbes
  • 557,000. Number of backlogged US security clearances in the last 90 days. Source: FAS.org
  • $783. Average monthly p9ayment of an Uber or Yelp driver in 2017. Source: Technology Review
  • 2.0 billion euros. Amount raised by startups in France in the first six months of 2018. Amount raised in same period in 2017: 2.6 billion euros. Source: Bloomberg
  • Everyone. The number of people Twitter will ask about its policy changes. Techcrunch.

Yep, numbers one can trust. Like “everyone.”

Stephen E Arnold, September 26, 2018

Factualities for Wednesday, August 15, 2018

August 15, 2018

Believe these items or not. We found them interesting:

  1. China has built 350000 5G cell sites; the US, 30 000
    Source: CNBC
  2. Five billion videos are watched around the world each day, with the vast majority of viewers being between 18 and 49-years-old. Source: Express tabloid newspaper
  3. Americans are now spending 11 hours each day consuming media. Source: Quartz
  4. Criminal activities account for just 10 percent of Bitcoin transactions. DEA via CCN.com
  5. Google will lose $50 million or more in 2018 from Fortnite bypassing the Play Store. Source: Techcrunch
  6. Baltimore will pay a person $176,800 to maintain Lotus Notes. Source: Baltimore Sun newspaper

Real or fake? A question smart software will have to answer. We cannot.

Stephen E Arnold, August 15, 2018

Facebook Versus YouTube: Understanding 13 to 17 Year olds

June 1, 2018

I read “Teens Have Abandoned Facebook”. The source is the Daily Mail, and I believe everything I read in the British tabloid. What caught my attention was the big usage gap, if the data are accurate. A couple of highlights:

  • In 2014, more than 70 percent of those 13 to 17 used Facebook. Today that usage figure is 51 percent. (Like most surveys, the nuts and bolts of the method are not provided.)
  • Also, teens in the sample voted with their eyeballs. More than 80 percent use Alphabet Google’s YouTube.
  • Finally, I learned that more than 90 percent of the 13 to 17 crowd own or have access to a smartphone, not a plain vanilla cheapo device. A smartphone.

The source of the data is the Pew outfit. Since I am not too interested in teenagers and their “usage patterns,” check out the write up.

Stephen E Arnold, June 1, 2018

More Poll Excitement: Information Overload

January 5, 2017

I read “Really? Most Americans Don’t Suffer Information Overload.” The main idea is that folks in the know, in the swim, and in the top one percent suffer from too much information. The rest of the ignorance-is-bliss crowd has a different perception.

The write up explains, reports, states:

A new report from the Pew Research Center says that most Americans do not suffer from information overload—even though many of us frequently say otherwise.

What’s up with that?

The write up points out:

Many people complain about the volume of information coming at us. But we want it. Adweek reported earlier this year that the average person consumes almost 11 hours of media per day. That’s everything from text messages to TV programs to reading a newspaper.

Well, the Pew outfit interviewed 1,520 people which is sample approved by those who look in the back of statistics 101 textbooks rely upon. I have no details about the demographics of the sample, geographic location, and reason these folks took time out from watching Netflix to answer the Pew questions, however.

The answer that lots of people don’t suffer from information overload seems wrong when viewed from the perspective of a millennial struggling to buy a house while working as a customer support rep until the automated system is installed.

But wait. The write up informs me:

the recent national election showed that “in a lot of ways people live in small information bubbles. They get information on social media that has been filtered for them. It is filtered by the network they belong to. In a lot of ways, there’s less information and much of it is less diverse than it was in an earlier era.” The public’s hunger for that information is reflected in a study conducted by Bank of America. The bank found that 71 percent of the people they surveyed sleep within arm’s reach of their smartphone. And 3 percent of those people hold their smartphone while they’re in dreamland.

Too much information for me.

Stephen E Arnold, January 5, 2017

Nobody Really Knows What Goes on over Dark Web

December 16, 2016

While the mainstream media believes that the Dark Web is full of dark actors, research by digital security firms says that most content is legal. It only says one thing; the Dark Web is still a mystery.

The SC Magazine in an article titled Technology Helping Malicious Business on the Dark Web Grow says:

The Dark Web has long had an ominous appeal to Netizens with more illicit leanings and interests. But given a broadening reach and new technologies to access this part of the web and obfuscate dealings here, the base of dark web buyers and sellers is likely growing.

On the other hand, the article also says:

But despite its obvious and well-earned reputation for its more sinister side, at least one researcher says that as the dark web expands, the majority of what’s there is actually legal. In its recent study, intelligence firm Terbium Labs found that nearly 55 percent of all the content on the dark web is legal in nature, meaning that it may be legal pornography, or controversial discussions, but it’s not explicitly illegal by U.S. law.

The truth might be entirely different. The Open Web is equally utilized by criminals for carrying out their illegal activities. The Dark Web, accessible only through Tor Browser allows anyone to surf the web anonymously. We may never fully know if the Dark Web is the mainstay of criminals or of individuals who want to do their work under the cloak of anonymity. Till then, it’s just a guessing game.

Vishal Ingole, December 16, 2016

A Crisis of Confidence

December 14, 2016

I remember a time, long ago, when my family was confident that newspapers and TV reporters were telling us most of the objective facts most of the time. We also had faith that, though flawed human beings, most  representatives in Congress were honestly working hard for (what they saw as) positive change. Such confidence, it seems, has gone the way of pet rocks and parachute pants. The Washington Examiner reports, “Fishwrap: Confidence in Newspapers, TV News Hits Bottom.” The brief write-up gives the highlights of a recent Gallup survey. Writer Paul Bedard tells us:

Gallup found that just 20 percent have confidence in newspapers, a 10-point drop in 10 years. TV news saw an identical 10-point drop, from 31 percent to 21 percent. But it could be worse. Of all the institutions Gallup surveyed on, Congress is at the bottom, with just 9 percent having confidence in America’s elected leaders, a finding that is clearly impacting the direction and tone of the 2016 elections. And Americans aren’t putting their faith in religion. Gallup found that confidence in organized religion dropped below 50 percent, to an all-time low of 41 percent.

Last decade’s financial crisis, the brunt of which many are still feeling, has prompted us to also lose faith in our banks (confidence dropped from 49 percent in 2006 to just 27 percent this year). There is one institution in which Americans still place our confidence—the military. Some 73 percent of are confident of that institution, a level that has been constant over the last decade. Could that have anything to do with the outsized share of tax revenue that segment consistently rakes in? Nah, that can’t be it.

Cynthia Murrell, December 14, 2016

Big Data: Stunners from Researchers

November 18, 2016

I read “Big Data Shows People’s Collective Behavior Follows Strong Periodic Patterns.” May I suggest you sit down, take a deep breath, and contemplate a field of spring flowers before you read these findings. I am not kidding. Hot stuff, gentle reader.

According to the write up,

New research has revealed that by using big data to analyze massive data sets of modern and historical news, social media and Wikipedia page views, periodic patterns in the collective behavior of the population can be observed that could otherwise go unnoticed.

Here are the findings. I take no responsibility for the impact of these Big Data verified outputs. You are on your own. You now have your trigger warning about the findings from online news, newspapers, tweets, and Wikipedia usage. The findings are:

  • “People’s leisure and work were regulated by the weather with words like picnic or excursion consistently peaking every summer in the UK and the US.”
  • Diet, fruits, foods, and flowers were influenced by the seasons.
  • Measles surface in the spring
  • Gooseberries appear in June. (Well, maybe not in Harrod’s Creek.)
  • Football and Oktoberfest become popular in the fall. (Yep, October for Oktoberfest, right?)
  • People get depressed in the winter.

Now you have it. Big Data delivers.

Stephen E Arnold, November 18, 2016

In Scientific Study Hierarchy Is Observed and Found Problematic to Cooperation

January 8, 2016

The article titled Hierarchy is Detrimental for Human Cooperation on Nature.Com Scientific Reports discusses the findings of scientists related to social dynamics in human behavior. The abstract explains in no uncertain terms that hierarchies cause problems among human groups. Perhaps surprisingly to many millennials, hierarchies actually forestall cooperation. The article explains the circumstances of the study,

“Participants competed to earn hierarchy positions and then could cooperate with another individual in the hierarchy by investing in a common effort. Cooperation was achieved if the combined investments exceeded a threshold, and the higher ranked individual distributed the spoils unless control was contested by the partner. Compared to a condition lacking hierarchy, cooperation declined in the presence of a hierarchy due to a decrease in investment by lower ranked individuals.”

The study goes on to explain that regardless of whether power or rank was earned or arbitrary (think boss vs. boss’s son), it was “detrimental to cooperation.” It also goes into great detail on how to achieve superior cooperation through partnership and without an underlying hierarchical structure. There are lessons to take away from this study in the many fields, and the article is mainly focused on economic metaphors, but what about search vendors? Organization does, after all, have value.

Chelsea Kerwin, January 8, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

US Broadband: Good News or Some Obvious News

December 29, 2015

I read “Home Broadband 2015.” The write up is from Pew, a US research outfit. What’s interesting about Pew is that its results are used by some MBAs, former middle school teachers, and unemployed “real” journalists as evidence about the world. You know. If the US is like this, then Sudan is going to be just the same. I find this a somewhat touching approach to the world’s uptake of online connectivity. Life is just easier to manage if the Pew view is the lens through which one perceives behavior.

Now to the research.

The write up reports:

Three notable changes relating to digital access and digital divides are occurring in the realm of personal connectivity, according to new findings from Pew Research Center surveys. First, home broadband adoption seems to have plateaued. It now stands at 67% of Americans, down slightly from 70% in 2013, a small but statistically significant difference which could represent a blip or might be a more prolonged reality. This change moves home broadband adoption to where it was in 2012.

Okay, plateau is a metaphor for “hit a brick wall”. The implications are likely to be important for those not in the top one percent who want to buy a whizzy new iPhone to figure out what gifts are selling. (If it is not on the shelf, isn’t that a clue?)

The write up says:

Second, this downtick in home high-speed adoption has taken place at the same time there has been an increase in “smartphone-only” adults – those who own a smartphone that they can use to access the internet, but do not have traditional broadband service at home.

Maybe this explains the somewhat energetic efforts of outfits like the Alphabet Google thing to find additional sources of revenue. Loon balloons, self driving autos, and solving death come to mind. Nothing will sell like a pill to cure death. The device shift makes it harder to put ads in front of eye balls not interested in viewing the commercial messages. With home or desktop anchor surfing stagnating, the business models have to be tweaked. Pronto.

Also, I noted:

Third, 15% of American adults report they have become “cord cutters” – meaning they have abandoned paid cable or satellite television service.

This datum suggests to me that there may be some revenue pain for the purveyors of cords.

The write up is long. I had to click eight times to read the summary. The post includes many nifty, pale graphics. These are somewhat difficult to read on the mobile devices which the write up explains are the cat’s pajamas with Star Wars’ characters on the synthetic flannel.

I found the information about non broadband users’ perceptions of what’s important about having a zippy Internet connection. The surprise is that in 2015 40 percent of the sample for this question want to use high speed Internet to access government services.


Hard to read? Too bad.

This makes sense. Have you, gentle reader, attempted to interact with a US government agency in person? Give it a whirl. The problem is that the US government Web sites are not particularly helpful for many situations. Run a query on USA.gov to see what I mean.

The discussion about cost seems obvious. With the notion of income disparity squeezing air time on TV news from the coverage of the NFL and Lady Gaga, I find the idea that those without resources find broadband too expensive. Okay. Obvious to me, but I think the Pew data make the point. The sky is blue, but wait, let me check a survey to make sure. Those without graduate degrees, jobs or sources of income, and the knowledge required to achieve cash flow are affected by costs. Got it.

The good news is that on page 7 Pew explains its methodology. Most of the hyperbole-infused marketers skip this step. I also found the data table on page 8 of the online report interesting. Let’s have more data tables and less of the dancing around the flat lines and inequality stuff.

Worth reading if one wants some obvious points reiterated. Google and other ad supported services will not work unless the ads flow. That’s the take away for me.

Stephen E Arnold, December 29, 2015

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