Algorithms are a vast improvement on this. (Great Beyond)

Future Travel Apps Will Plan Your Road Trip Bathroom Breaks

A three-hour drive is never a three-hour drive, thanks to traffic snarls, pit stops, and weather conditions. While current mapping apps are better able to predict how long it will take us to get somewhere, what if they could also recommend the best time and place for you to stop based on past traffic data? An algorithm from researchers at MIT might help real-life travelers do this. [More]

Predictive Models, Secret Scores: How Computers Decide Who You Are & What To Sell You

(Mike Saechang)

Savvy consumers all know that their lifetime debt history ends up in their credit score, and that lenders use that score to try to predict if someone is a good bet for a big loan like a mortgage. But even the most-connected consumer may not realize how many hundreds of other scores we all now trail in our wakes too, thanks to the advent of big data. Do you know, to the last decimal, how likely are you to buy jewelry? To sign up for cable? To have a kid in the next year? Someone, somewhere, is tallying all of that information about almost everyone. But good luck finding out what’s out there, who’s scoring it, and if your numbers are even actually about you at all. [More]

Google celebrates the big 1-5 with a new algorithm.

Google Launches Huge Overhaul Of Search Algorithm (Which You Probably Didn’t Notice)

Back when the Internet was but a newfangled toy, you might’ve searched for things on Google like, “What is a Google?” But now that searches are more involved (“What is that movie with the guy from that TV show starring Gary Sinise with the talking dolphin and time travel?”) Google says it’s rolled out a massive change in its search algorithm in the last month to handle difficult queries. Not that you necessarily noticed. [More]

Netflix Explains How It Comes Up With Its Recommendations

Netflix Explains How It Comes Up With Its Recommendations

Sometimes Netflix is able to peek deep into your soul and tell you exactly which movies you’ll want to watch next, and other times it suggests Power Rangers Samurai. The company is now offering a behind the curtain to explain how it plays matchmaker with you and all the lonely movies out there. [More]

Now your money can be at work in a different way, helping predict outbreaks as you spend it. Researchers at Northwestern University are testing a new computer modeling program that tracks the flow of dollar bills across the US as a way to predict the spread of swine flu. [New York Times]

Talking About Layoffs May Violate eHarmony's Terms of Service

Talking About Layoffs May Violate eHarmony's Terms of Service

Have your friends been laid off recently? Of course they have, almost nobody has a job anymore! Complaining about society’s newfound poverty, however, is apparently a violation of eHarmony’s terms of service, as the East Village Idiot recently discovered.