COVID-19 Dashboard Tracker

Incredible COVID-19 tracker at: 

https://ncov2019.live/data


Developed by a 17-year old Jewish kid from Seattle. 


There is a page for data by continent, country, and state. 


And another tab with an interactive map of the cases. 


Also, a page of useful information from The Center for Coronavirus Information.


The information updates every minute by scrapping information “from reliable sources from all over the world.


I think it would also be helpful to add an aggregator of top news stories on the Coronavirus.


I find this to be a very simple, straight-forward dashboard to keep up with the developments of this virus. 


Thank you Avi Shiffmann–job well done!  😉


(Credit to Minna Blumenthal for sharing this with me)

News – Real and Imagined

I thought this was a funny Dilbert comic that a colleague had by their office. 

News–My Brain Hurts.


It’s not only the 24/7/365 news cycle that make it often extremely repetitive and monotonous–where “breaking news” is the same news from 5 hours ago-sometimes even from 5 days ago. Ho hum, boring. 


But it’s also the forced news, where there always has to be a story even when there isn’t one worth taking about. Every reporter has to earn their keep too. Oh no, not another cat rescue from a backyard tree! 


Hey, in the end its ratings–that drives advertising, which of course pays the bills, so don’t hold your breath as to how long we can continue to talk about the 2016 election, the Kavanaugh hearings, the Mueller Investigation, and so on. It’s the news gifts that keep on giving and giving. 


Sometimes, it’s about getting different angles on a story–however, more often it seems like just the same old, same old–how many ways can you say, he did it or he didn’t do it?


Then there is the fake news and alternative facts, where if there isn’t a story (or one that supports the sponsor’s world filter), then maybe–just maybe–we need to create one and get people unsettled or use it for social control (remember the “Echo Chamber”). And for sure, let’s not forget the power of a good conspiracy theory! People certainly are gullible, right? 


This all reminds me of a famous saying by Lenin:

There are decades when nothing happens, and there are weeks when decades happen.


In some ways maybe it was better to just have the morning and nightly news without all the B.S. in between, because…there are decades when nothing consequential happens. 


I guess we all just are waiting around for the weeks when decades happen, but when that sh*t hits the fan, who says there will even be any news to be had. 


No wonder, Dilbert says his brain hurts–doesn’t yours? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

VICE News Superior

So I have started watching VICE News and you should too. 


It is on HBO and is superior to the other big news outlets in so many ways. 


The intensity and clarity of their photography and videos is unbelievable!


My daughter said to me:

“This is clearer than REAL life!”


And she was right…I don’t know how they do it. 

Also, they remove all the clutter from the news screen that CNN, MSNBC, and others use at the top and bottom of the screen–instead it’s just clean, focused, and right to the news point. 


VICE puts the key messages in callouts right on the screen in large and easy to read boxes–the impact is you see the visual and the print message dramatically together and you get it and remember it!


They do this for their photos and videos.

Finally, with all the “talk is cheap” news these days, it is nice that VICE seems to focus more on reporting and less on subjective opinion. 


With all the failing, fake, and alternative news out there, it is nice to see that someone has invented a better news program.  😉


(Source Photo: Vice News)

Any Objectivity Out There Please?

Objectivity.jpeg

Just want to pose a question to close out this week…


A recent Harvard study “confirms media bias” against Trump with negative media reports outpacing positive ones by 80:20.


Some outlets are posting at an incredible 13:1 rate for negative reporting!


Can CNN, the New York Times, and other mass media outlets get back to objective news reporting once again?


This doesn’t mean avoiding real investigative journalism and honest criticism where due.


But rather it should be fair, balanced, and work to get to truth.


We can hold dear the First Amendment and do it with genuine integrity too. 


This would be a great day for America! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Twitter BESTS Facebook

Technology.jpeg

Here are six reasons why Twitter bests Facebook and we ain’t seen nothing yet:


Unadulterated News & Messaging 

Twitter is where you can hear it from the President’s mouth or the Kardashians or anyone else for that matter with no media bias and filtering (their very mission is information sharing), while Facebook is often about reposting stories, pictures, and videos that we find of interest already on the web. What’s even more amazing is that anyone of us can tweet back to @realDonaldTrump or @SpeakerRyan…that is some unbelievable access we now have. 


Speed of Information To Market

Twitter is now considered the fastest way to get the latest (and greatest) on what’s happening.  From the US Airways jet crash into the Hudson River to up-to-the-minute updates on the Mumbai terrorist attackYou could even watch the election debates or the Walking Dead and get a real-time running commentary. 


Our Very Social Identity

Twitter is now part of our very social identity, so that everything from our blog writings to our resume has our Twitter handle. Mine is @AndyBlumenthal.  


It’s Populism As A Movement

Twitter, while not technically as popular in terms of number of users as Facebook, is more popular in terms of the cultural impact. Politicians are putting out policy debates online and fighting it out there too, while celebrities and athletes are sharing personal updates, and the world is truly communicating directly and succinctly in 140 characters or less what’s really important to them. 


Operating On A Global Open Platform 

Twitter feeds are open to anyone who follows them and tweets are searchable on the web as opposed to Facebook which is predominantly a closed system to the web and you’ve got to be “friends” to get the real scoop with someone. Whether the Iranian Green Revolution or the Syrians Being Bombarded in Aleppo it’s open and on Twitter. 


Get Your BIG Data and Feed Your Artificial Intelligence

Twitter has about 500 million tweets a day or about 200 billion a year.  Even pulling out the ridiculous “What I had for lunch today” tweets, there is still an unbelievable amount of data to mine for analysis and artificial intelligence. Talking about a potential treasure trove of information and sentiment from over 317 million users, and computer algorithms are already churning through it to make the big data intelligible and usable for decision making. 


Certainly Twitter (and Facebook) need to get their virtual arms around fake news and profiles, but the good thing about it is that others can call b.s. as soon as they see it in 140 characters or less. 😉


(Note: I am so impressed with Twitter’s prospects, I am putting my own money where my mouth is.)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Living In A Big F-cking Interconnected World

on-and-off

So I can hardly remember a world without the Internet, television, or travel. 


Yet if the world, as created, is just under 6,000 years old, then we only have these critical interconnections with each other for the last 100 years…that’s only a tiny fraction of world history or less than 2%!


Pervasive and invasive communications and travel like the Internet (1990), television (1927), commercial airplane (1914), and mass produced automobile (1908) have expanded our personal universes. 


Hearing stories as a kid about how people rarely traveled more than 25 miles from their villages and barely got news from far beyond that, it is very hard for me to imagine such a small world to be confined to. 


Yes, some people look back with nostalgia yearning for the simpler times and “the good ‘ol days,” but they forget how on one hand, mundane it was and on the other, how unstable and violent it tended to be. 


Now with social media, smartphones, 24/7 news coverage, and world travel, connecting with people and events irrespective of distance or even language is taken for granted, and we are always on and expected to be (the last part is one downside for sure). 


Still yet to be conquered, but I am sure not that far away, is connecting outside of our own world and irregardless of time…reach forward or back and across the vastness of the stars–it’s all one. 


Frankly, I do not know what I would do in a world limited to just 25 miles and not being able to get connected online, anytime, anywhere…what a boring and small world that must’ve been.


In the same way, once we reach beyond our own world and routinely travel to and settle on other worlds, and can reach beyond the present into the past and the future, I think the next generations will be astonished at how small we too have lived. 


25 miles…what the heck!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Big Data, Small Moments

Days Of Our Lives

There is a definite rhythm to our lives. 

And by analyzing the peak times of Google search terms, we can get a good picture of what it is (as Seth Stephens-Davidowitz notes in the New York Times Sunday Review).

– From starting a new day to taking care of bathroom business, looking for healing, and even goofing off. 

– Midday is some personal time for shopping, travel plans, and a news update. 

– The evening is a nice dinner and maybe some sexual intimacy.

– The night time is scariest with anxiety about health, leading to panic and thoughts of suicide, and easing off with drugs and pornography. 

– As we roll towards the early hours of the next day, we have a philosophical reawakening with contemplation about the meaning of life and our place in it. 

If we can get all this just from some data analytics of Google search terms, can you imagine what else we can learn about the masses and YOU, the individuals that make it up. 😉

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)