Weekly Web Harvest for 2016-07-03

  • The land grab for farm data | TechCrunch
    Specifically, ownership and control of agronomic and equipment data is understood to have dramatic escalating value. Which seed varieties were the most successful and where? Which plant populations performed best? Whose recommendations (e.g. nitrogen programs) outperformed their peers?

    Which input datasets are used for these recommendations, how were they acquired and are they standardized and accessible? How are the big companies actually using the data? Who has access, how long have they been acquiring it and how long do they keep it? Which documents did I sign to give them access?

    Data is one of the most valuable things farmers harvest.
    Make no mistake, the ambiguity around the value of this data is intentional. Nobody wants to initiate paying for something that has always been free.

  • Returning Meaning To The Heart Of Communications – Brand Quarterly
    The P&I (Persuasion and Influence) industries, like so may others such as education, policing and (in the UK) the NHS (National Health Service), are increasingly falling under the sway of an “arithmocracy”. It is a reductionist system where managers are risk averse, increasingly reliant on ‘safety in numbers’ and prone to what Gerd Gigerenzer calls “defensive decision-making”.

    This system is based on a sort of physics envy: the belief (or hope) that human beings are more like atoms – reducible, predictable and controllable. But we know from the new wave of findings from Behavioural Economics that humans are best seen as the products of biology and psychology rather than maths and engineering.

  • Why Tech Support Is (Purposely) Unbearable – The New York Times
    Worse, just as you suspected, companies are aware of the torture they are putting you through.

    According to a survey conducted last year by the industry group International Customer Management Institute, or ICMI, 92 percent of customer service managers said their agents could be more effective and 74 percent said their company procedures prevented agents from providing satisfactory experiences.

    . . . . but I’m sure this will be great when they’re running education . . .

  • Fitness Isn’t a Lifestyle Anymore. Sometimes It’s a Cult | WIRED
    . In the past few years, fitness has developed into something of a social identity — at least among plugged-in, upper-middle-class, roughly millennial-age urbanites. SoulCycle is marketed as an experiential group high; you pay a bunch of money to sweat it out with the Lululemon elite. If you join Orangetheory, you’re part of the “orange nation.” Barry’s Bootcamp, Throwback Fitness, and the Bar Method are all at least partly social. And on the more extreme end, CrossFit has basically become a lifestyle, with paleo diets and buttered coffee as much a part of the culture as burpees.

  • The Rescued Film Project Archive
    The Rescued Film Project recovered 66 bundles of film, shot by the same photographer in the 1950s, and never processed. The total roll count is estimated to be over 1,200 rolls. But even more interesting than the quantity of the film, is the way in which it was packaged.

  • Soaring EpiPen price spurs allergy patients to resort to syringes
    Mylan has raised the list price of EpiPens over 450 percent since 2004, after adjusting for inflation, according to data provided by Elsevier’s Gold Standard Drug Database. A pack of two EpiPens cost about $100 in today’s dollars in 2004. The list price now tops $600. Some emergency medical services buying directly from medical supply companies pay even more — upwards of $900 for a pack of two.

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