Kickstart It

This Terrible-Looking ‘Air Umbrella’ Just Blew Through Its Kickstarter Goal

Air umbrella. (Kickstarter)

The Internet was abuzz yesterday with news of the Kickstarter campaign to create a bizarre “air umbrella,” a gadget that promises to ward raindrops away from your face by powerfully blowing out air in all directions.

While the prospects of the futuristic umbrella reaching its $10,000 funding goal weren’t looking so hot yesterday, a glance at the campaign page this afternoon revealed the product has now plowed through its original goal; it’s currently raised $16,825, with nine days still remaining in the fundraising period. Read More

Fun with Data

The Floodwatch Plug-In Exposes Exactly How Advertisers Are Profiling You

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 3.49.21 PM

Ever gone looking for a certain pair of shoes — just once even — and had some banner ad follow you to every site you visit for a month trying to sell you those loafers? Or maybe you’ve accidentally stumbled into someone’s Pinterest board for five seconds and been pushed for a week to shop for chapel-length wedding veils and event florists? That’s because advertisers are using everything they can learn about you to sell to who they think you are based on your browsing habits.

A new browser extension called Floodwatch scrubs up all of those ads that you’re shown throughout the day and builds a profile of how you’re being advertised to. The project is a collaboration between a data firm called The Office for Creative Research (OCR) and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ashkan Soltani. Read More