Obama Inching Towards Drone Regulation


From TechCrunch:

“As the FAA watches its drone regulation deadlines loom, President Obama intends to issue an executive order that will deal with drone privacy, something that the federal agency hasn’t delved too deeply into. According to Politico, the president plans to put together an executive order asking the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to come up with rules relating to consumer privacy, unmanned aircraft, and the interaction between the two.

Drones are an important topic at the moment, as the technological underpinnings of the product segment quickly mature and regulation lags. The FAA is currently operating a number of drone testing sites around the nation and is expected to come up with regulation on the use of commercial drones.

If the president executes his planned push forward on drone regulation, we could see a wider, more diverse set of rules in place to manage the commercial and private use of the unmanned aircraft.

Drones, which are sometimes referred to as unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, have the potential to shake up a number of markets. Amazon wants to use drones to deliver small packages to its customers, cutting down on shipping times and lessening one of the few remaining advantages that traditional brick-and-mortar stores maintain over their digital competition.

It isn’t immediately clear when the president intends to hit go on the executive order, but pressure from the private sector will certainly mount; for instance, Amazon has formally requested permission to test its drones.”


Facebook Peeing In TV’s Territory


(Photo credit: davidrainoshek.com)

From Forbes:

“Mark Zuckerberg likes to use the first few minutes of his quarterly earnings calls to preview big themes that he sees as pivotal to Facebook’s future. With a particularly strong quarter of results in hand, Zuckerberg took the opportunity to sketch out a particularly ambitious goal: stealing market share from just about every other form of digital media, particularly television.

Facebook users in the U.S. spend about 40 minutes per day with the service on average. That statistic is usually cited as evidence of Facebook’s ubiquity, but Zuckerberg noted that Americans spend about nine hours a day with screen of all kinds. That’s exciting, he said, because of shows there’s a lot of room for growth. (…)

But there’s no doubt where most of the time would have to come from. As BTIG’s Rich Greenfield notes, television is still the incumbent, claiming 5 hours a day of the average person’s attention. With ears pricked, it was possible to detect numerous hints of a broader plan to go after TV’s share of mind and ad dollars.”


Twitter Releases Workforce Diversity Numbers: Expect The Expected


Sausage factory

Sausage fest…

From Mother Jones:

“Twitter today followed in the footsteps of Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and Facebook by releasing statistics on the race and gender of its workforce. The company certainly deserves credit for voluntarily making its diversity stats public, unlike, say, Apple. “Like our peers, we have a lot of work to do,” Janet Van Huysse, its VP of diversity and inclusion, admits on the company blog. But perhaps that’s an understatement; Twitter actually lags far behind its peers on some key measures. For instance, only 1 out of every 10 Twitter tech employees is a woman (…).

In case you’re wondering, other large tech companies have significantly better gender diversity (though it’s still abysmal compared to professions such as law or medicine). At Facebook and Yahoo, 15 percent of tech workers are women. At Google and LinkedIn, it’s 17 percent. In 2010, Mike Swift of the San Jose Mercury News found that women held 24 percent of computer and mathematics jobs in Silicon Valley and 27 percent of those jobs nationally (though those categories may be broader than how they’re defined by leading tech companies, as Tasneem Raja explores in this great piece on America’s growing gap in tech literacy).

More MoJo coverage of diversity in tech.Silicon Valley Firms Are Even Whiter and More Male Than You ThoughtIs Coding the New Literacy?Charts: Tech’s Pipeline ProblemSilicon Valley’s Awful Race and Gender Problem in 3 Mind-Blowing ChartsUnlike its peers, Twitter can’t entirely blame its dearth of female coders on the talent pipeline: About 18 percent of computer science graduates are women. Instead, Van Huysse points to a slew of efforts to “move the needle” at Twitter, such as supporting the groups Girls Who Code and sf.girls and hosting “Girl Geek Dinners.” (…)

As other reporters have noted, major tech firms started releasing their workforce data shortly after I obtained a batch of Silicon Valley diversity figures from the Labor Department and began asking them for comment. But pressure to release the stats has also come from a campaign by Color of Change and Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition, which have demanded the stats during a string of private meetings with Valley execs, and last week launched a Twitter-based campaign to urge Twitter to make its diversity numbers public. Strikingly, only 1 percent of Twitter’s tech workforce and 2 percent of its overall workforce is African-American (…).

Continue reading

Colbert Disses Amazon, Amazon Sponsors Colbert


From Wall Street Journal:

“Television satirist Stephen Colbert over the past few weeks has pointed the finger – sometimes literally – at Amazon.com, blaming the retailer for unfairly dragging Hachette authors into its e-book pricing spat with the publishing house by limiting pre-orders or delaying delivery on many titles.

That has proved no deterrent to Amazon’s drive to promote its forthcoming Fire smartphone. The Seattle company ran an ad for the handset during the 30-minute show on Monday, right after a segment in which Colbert promised to “wipe the smirk right off [the Amazon] box’s face.” (…)

Colbert took credit for helping Lepucki’s debut book, “California,” rise to No. 3 on the New York Times bestseller list, before acknowledging Amazon’s financial support. “Amazon is a sponsor of tonight’s show, so I accept your apology gentlemen,” said Colbert.

Colbert has been among the more outspoken critics of Amazon, at one point last month comparing Chief Executive Jeff Bezos to Lord Voldemort, the villain in the Harry Potter series. He has asked viewers to buy Lepucki’s book at independent bookstores.””


Glaad: Gay Characters In Drama and Action Flicks Can Be Counted On One Hand


From New York Times:

“In its annual assessment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters in Hollywood movies, Glaad on Tuesday said it could find only four significant L.G.B.T. characters in 43 action, science fiction and fantasy films monitored last year. By contrast, eight of 19 comedies, and five of 28 dramas had such characters, making the action/fantasy genre, by Glaad’s count, a weak spot for such diversity.

The studio review by Glaad, formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, gave a favorable rating to Sony Pictures Entertainment, which included a gay character in its dance drama, “Battle of the Year.” But the group gave a failing grade to Paramount Pictures, for instance, for “the violent attacking of disposable gay male characters” in both “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Pain & Gain.””


Journalist Rifling Through MH17 Dead Passenger Suitcase Makes NSA Look Blind In Comparison


From The Sydney Morning Herald:

“The Sky News journalist who rummaged through a child’s suitcase at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 has apologised, acknowledging he made a “serious error of judgment”.

In an opinion piece for the UK Guardian, Colin Brazier said he was so affected by the horror of the scene that he crossed a line.

“I can smell the nauseating scent of death that clings to me still. I have seen burned bodies before…but nothing on this scale,” he wrote. (…)

Brazier said the TV crew’s priority during the live broadcast was to avoid pointing a camera at a corpse. But personal effects, he wrote, were an alternative way to illustrate the tragedy.

“They told a story of lives – swimming trunks, laptops, duty free, books – snuffed out in an instant. They provided the backdrop for me to ask why victims were being left to rot in the sun.””


Half Mobile Users Enjoy Not Being Stalked

tracking(Photo credit: Sprintometer)

From Advertising Week:

“Attention retailers: shoppers are not as interested with beacons and in-store tracking as you think they are, according to a new report from digital marketing platform Punchtab. The findings come at an interesting time as marketers are beginning to share new case studies and launch location-based programs.

The “Mobile Tracking: Are Consumers Ready?” report surveyed 1,153 consumers on how they feel about handing over information about themselves in exchange for some form of personalized messages. While 50 percent of participants did not want to be tracked, 27 percent of the consumers surveyed said they were open to it—but only under certain circumstances. The remaining 23 percent of consumers in the study did not care if they were tracked or not.

Of the 50 percent of participants who didn’t want to be tracked online, privacy was the No. 1 reason offered, at 51 percent. Another 13 percent didn’t want to receive too many messages and 8 percent were wary of irrelevant messages.

An additional 5 percent of users were afraid a marketer would manipulate their information or send inappropriate and uninteresting messages.Within the 27 percent of consumers who opted in to location tracking, 88 percent said that they would give over information in exchange for a coupon or special offer. Shorter checkout times (72 percent), personalized alerts (69 percent) and checking the status of points and rewards (58 percent) were other top reasons.

The research also looks at specific types of retailers where consumers are willing to give up their location data. Eighty-four percent were interested in being tracked at superstores, and 78 percent were inclined to get deals from department stores (likely to help them either navigate or find offers).”


CNN Host Tears Into Jon Stewart


From Washington Post:

“Interviewing Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) from the battle zone, Cuomo asked if the congressman could “shoot down” the notion that Ukrainian forces had shot down the airliner. Even though Cuomo said “excuse the pun,” some media sites wrote citations. Jon Stewart of the “Daily Show” chose Cuomo’s pun as a “Moment of Zen,” a quick segment that often highlights cable stumbles.

“I made a mistake,” says Cuomo. “In terms of who reacted to it and how, it’s strictly a case of consider the source.” Stewart is a comedian who indulges in takedowns of the mainstream media, and bloggers “are what they are — they traffic in snark and negativity,” says Cuomo. Later in the chat, Cuomo circled back to that comedian: “If it seems like I’m being disrespectful of Jon Stewart, it’s only because I am. He’s funny but he doesn’t do the job we do and he shouldn’t pretend he does.””


Al Jazeera: Israel ‘Explosion’ Targeted Us

Stefanie Dekker
From TV Newser:

“Al Jazeera English correspondent Stefanie Dekker, currently in Gaza, is reporting on the shots fired this morning at the network’s bureau there.

“At one point from the sky through the live position and into the office, which is where the kitchen is, we had a big explosion. So we were all startled and trying to figure out what it was  — maybe someone thought it was an electricity explosion, something like that,” Dekker said. “And then straight after another shot came in. So it was very clear, two very precise shots straight into our building.”

Yesterday, the Israeli foreign minister said they were working to prevent the Qatar-backed Al Jazeera from operating within its borders. An Al Jazeera spokeperson tells TVNewser the network holds”the Israeli authorities fully responsible” for the shooting.”


Gunshots Inside Gaza Al Jazeera Bureau

Al-Jazeera journalists evacuate their building in Gaza

From Al Jazeera:

“Gunshots have been fired into Al Jazeera’s bureau in the Gaza Strip amid an intensified bombardment campaign on the Palestinian enclave.

The shots caused panic among the civilians living in the same building but no casualties have been reported in the incident on Tuesday morning.

“Two very precise shots were fired straight into our building”, Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from the bureau in Gaza said.

“We are high up in the building so we had a very strong vantage point over the area. But we have evacuated.”

The bureau is situated in a residential area of Gaza City.

The attack came a day after Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was quoted by local media as saying his country will work to close down Al Jazeera in Israel.

Al Jazeera “has abandoned even the perception of being a reliable news organisation and broadcasts from Gaza and to the world anti-Israel incitement, lies, and encouragement to the terrorists,” Lieberman said.

Al Jazeera has been covering the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that started on July 8.

Continue reading