Expert Thoughts

Social Media Buzz Can (Kind of) Predict Box Office Success

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Twitter has analyzed a whole mess of data about what people are saying there about movies to see what it says about what movies are going to be popular at the box office.

Among the interesting data points in the post are that, according to Twitter, people have somewhere around 200,000 movie-related conversations daily.

Now here’s where it gets interesting: According to the data the movies generating the most tweets in October were Annabelle, Gone Girl, Dracula Untold, The Judge and Fury. But here’s the top five movies from October: Read More

Planet Google

Google Signs 60-Year Lease on NASA Air Base to Research Space Exploration and Aviation

The framework of Hangar One. (Wikipedia)

Today in existential crises, Google has just signed a long-term lease on an old Navy air base so they can research space exploration and aviation until we’re all dead. Fun!

The company has signed a 60-year, $1.16 billion lease for an 1,000-acre site on the NASA-owned Moffett Field Naval Air Station. The site, located on the San Francisco Peninsula, reportedly features a golf course, three hangars, and a working air field that Sergey Brin and Larry Page already casually use to land their private jets. Read More

Cybercrime

Tor Foundation Can’t Figure Out How Police Took Down Silk Road 2.0

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At a time when online privacy seems all but impossible, one refuge we’ve had for browsing the Internet anonymously has been Tor, the browser thats keeps your identity and location hidden. But with every passing week, it’s becoming harder to trust that Tor is perfectly secure—especially considering that not even the Tor Project can be sure of their security anymore.

Last week, European police bragged that an international sting — now called Operation Onymous — pulled down over 400 deep web services and put 17 people behind bars. In response, Tor put out this explanation on their blog of how these services were found and shut down: Read More

The Future Will See You Now

Have This Artificially Intelligent Travel Agent Book Your Next Vacation

(Wikimedia)

Just when we were all convinced that travel agents had become obsolete did we find out they’ve actually just gotten a hi-tech revamp for the next century.

A link on Reddit tipped us off this morning to Dobby, a service claiming to be an artificially intelligent travel agent that will take care of all of your flight accommodations for you. Simply send Dobby an email telling him where and when you want to go, and he’ll reply with three itineraries in five minutes or less. All that’s left for you to do is choose. Read More

Walled Garden

Apple’s New Security Settings Are Designed To Scare You Into Paying Up

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Recently, this writer was sick of being about two Mac OS updates behind and decided to snag himself the free Yosemite upgrade. Then, the first time I went to install a new app that wasn’t right from the app store, I was hit with an unfamiliar message.

I was told that I was not authorized to open certain apps on my own computer — that in order to install them, I’d need to manually override my Mac’s security settings. Which apps are perfectly okay? The ones that you buy through Apple and the vendors it “identifies.” This is the new default standard for Mac users. Read More

Dating: The Final Frontier

Tinder Will Launch ‘Tinder Plus,’ But They’re Leaving Out the Best Possible New Feature

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Tinder announced on their blog yesterday that by the end of the year, there will be an option to join Tinder Plus, a paid service that optimizes your swiping experience for more efficient lurking. Unfortunately, the proposed service is sorely lacking the one feature that would have solved all of the current problems with Tinder.

If Tinder is going to offer a paid account, the feature they desperately need to add is the ability to filter out everyone who isn’t paying. Sound elitist? Let me explain: Read More

today in travel

Looking for Elizabeth Gallagher? ‘Connections’ Matches Same-Named People to Unused Plane Tickets

You could travel here for free — if you have the same name as someone who can't make their flight. (Yore Oyster)

In the past week, the name Elizabeth Gallagher has gone viral.

In case you missed it, it all began when Torontonian Jordan Axani booked tickets for a round-the-world trip with his then-girlfriend, Elizabeth Gallagher. The pair broke up before they could take their journey, and Mr. Axani — who who didn’t want to go to the trouble of changing the names on the tickets, but also didn’t want to cancel them altogether — took to Reddit to find another Canadian with the same name as his former paramour who might like to score some amazing plane rides for free. Read More

book club

Now That They Have Audiobooks, CEO Explains Exactly What Scribd Is

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When you think of book subscription services, if you think about them, you probably think of Oyster first, regardless of the fact that Scribd offers nearly the same service. This morning, Scribd finally gave us a reason they might pull ahead in the race to be the “Netflix for Books.”

Scribd has added 30,000 audio books to their book subscription service. Considering both leading book subscription companies have partnerships with Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins, this is the first major play to put Scribd squarely ahead of Oyster in terms of offerings. Read More

Tech and the City

NYC to Host World Cup for Problem-Solving Startups This Month

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From standing out on Kicktarter to vying for VC, startups have to work so hard to get noticed that you could call the whole tech industry a competition.

On November 20, NYC will host a literal startup competition — Challenge Cup 2015, wherein startups focused on solving some of the world’s biggest challenges in education, energy and health care will compete for prizes and meet with mentors, partners and investors. Read More