Here’s a quick roundup of recent stories related to the themes in TrendsWatch 2015 (Haven’t got your copy yet? Download the free PDF here. Print copies will be available in the AAM Bookstore soon.)
Here’s a story I featured in Dispatches from the Future of Museums last week, about the new Data for Everyone initiative that shares data sets collected through the crowdsourcing company CrowdFlower. As an incentive to sharing, CrowdFlower waives licensing fees for clients willing to make their data public (they still charge for data collection). The data sets released so far include research on why people perceived the notorious dress as blue/black or white/gold; sentiment analysis on why people don’t like McDonalds, and lots of linguistic and demographic analyses.
A brief essay in Forbes about how much privacy people are willing to relinquish in return for personalized services.
The tech world is waiting to see if the imminent release of the Apple Watch will finally convince consumers they want/need to see their social media feeds, apps and email on their wrist instead of their smart phone. (Smart watches introduced by Samsung and Android pretty much bombed.)
The financial gurus at Motley Fool examine why McDonalds is losing market share to Chipotle, in part because Chipotle is branding itself around ethics, their motto being “Food with Integrity.” Sustainable, humane farming practices may make food more expensive, but evidently it makes it more desirable to Millennial consumers, too.
And on another ethics note, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced last week that it will phase out the use of elephants in its shows by 2018. While the article I link to (in the NYT) frames this as an economic decision, the economics are unworkable because so many cities and municipalities have banned the use of elephants, and those local ordinances are driven by ethical concerns.
Today’s climate kurfluffle is the allegation that officials in Florida have (verbally) forbidden employees of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to use the terms ‘climate change.’ ‘global warming’ or ‘sustainability.” Former employees have gone on record as saying this makes it difficult to protect Florida’s coral reefs and deal with imminent threats from rising sea levels.
You might enjoy this essay celebrating the joys of slow travel (2.7 MPH via horse and mule), part of the Rediscover the Prairie project to document and save the grasslands of the Great Plains. Or this story documenting examples of (painfully) slow art, documenting the historical origins of the genre.