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Alexander Howard
Works at CBS Interactive
Attended Colby College
Lives in Cambridge, MA
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Alexander Howard

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It would be swell if our national and international political discourse included more substantive discussion of the relative merits of policies and programs to 1) identify the skills that growing industries need and 2) provide subsidies, incentives, externships, apprenticeships and scholarships to train and retrain displaced workers to fill them. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/04/scarce-skills-not-scarce-jobs/390789
The "real" challenge technology presents isn't that it replaces workers, but rather displaces them.
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Basic research is and will be critical to how we live, work, travel, heal and communicate in the century ahead, including the formation and extension of the inventions and marketplaces that would employ millions of people whose employment is permanently disrupted by automation and artificial intelligence. 
http://dc.mit.edu/innovation-deficit

Here's hoping that the people entrusted with investing in it understand that connection. http://www.techrepublic.com/article/brain-initiative-launches-moonshot-to-explore-the-frontier-of-the-mind/
The Future Postponed: Why Declining Investment in Basic Research Threatens a U.S. Innovation Deficit A Report by the MIT Committee to Evaluate the Innovation Deficit. The Future Postponed: Why Declining Investment in Basic Research Threatens a U.S. Innovation Deficit ...
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Alexander Howard

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Political polarization in America is driving media consumption, which drives polarized views.
http://www.journalism.org/2014/10/21/political-polarization-media-habits/

Jonathan Stray​ lays it all out: https://www.scribd.com/doc/263257938/Seeing-Media-Polarization-through-Data
Liberals and conservatives turn to and trust strikingly different news sources. And across-the-board liberals and conservatives are more likely than others to interact with like-minded individuals.
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"The daily water consumption rate was 572.4 gallons per person in Cowan Heights from July through September 2014, the hot and dry summer months California used to calculate community-by-community water rationing orders; it was 63.6 gallons per person in Compton during the same time period."
The persistent water shortage is illustrating parallel worlds in which wealthy communities guzzle water as poorer neighbors conserve by necessity.
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A security researcher has found that the sensor technology being used to control everything from traffic lights to water systems is often installed and managed without proper security measures.
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"CrystalKnowsMe" uses public writing to recommend how to communicate with people. http://www.wired.com/2015/04/write-perfect-email-anyone-creepy-site/ 

Anyone using it? 

Hat tip +Tom Standage 
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The search giant is scanning its wealth of user-generated data for signs of fashion trends as it works to enhance its sales of online advertisements.
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Ancestry​ promised its users that they'd be able to export their discussions. It welched: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2015/04/myfamily_shuttered_ancestry_com_deleted_10_years_of_my_family_history.single.html 

Decade of memories: gone.
Around the year 2007, just after Thanksgiving, my grandmother noticed a tiny seed near the faucet of her kitchen sink that had somehow, implausibly, sprouted. Intrigued, she and my grandfather planted the seed in a foam cup of potting soil. It grew the telltale fuzzy leaves of a baby tomato...
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U.S. Marshals say releasing names of apprehended fugitives violates the suspects' privacy
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So much focus on the use of social media in journalism and publishing has been on marketing over the last decade: traffic, clicks, branding, awareness, reach, etc. The smartest journalists I know who live and work online, however, understand not only the profoundly multi-directional nature of social media (beyond broadcast) but its utility for finding sources. (For instance, I remember Andy Carvin​ talking about using Twitter to find someone in Haiti in 2010 that an NPR reporter could contact via Skype years ago.) Search is generally how I open a skeptic's eyes to the power of Twitter. If and when Facebook opens up search for public updates, I expect journalists will be some of the earliest adopters of the feature.

"Imagine what your perfect source would tweet, or what you yourself would tweet in that situation, and search for the words that would probably be in it."- Daniel Victor https://medium.com/@bydanielvictor/the-one-word-reporters-should-add-to-twitter-searches-that-you-probably-haven-t-considered-fadab1bc34e8
We’re used to thinking in keywords, but there’s a variety of keyword used by good sources that often goes unnoticed.
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"Artists in various fields are always the first to discover how to enable one medium or to release the power of another."-- Marshall McLuhan http://www.wired.com/2015/01/hard-time-human-app-manages-friendships/
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Estimate:  4-6 millions Google+ users (0.2% – 0.3% of 2.2 billion total) have made a public post in 2015. 

Graphic source: http://kevinanderson.nl/how-many-people-are-publicly-using-google-plus/

Data Source: 
https://ello.co/dredmorbius/post/nAya9WqdemIoVuVWVOYQUQ

+Lisa Eadicicco, writing for Business Insider, concludes that +Google  is "giving up on pitching +Google+ as a social network aimed at competing with Facebook. Instead, Google+ will become two separate pieces: Photos and Streams."
http://www.businessinsider.com/what-happened-to-google-plus-2015-4

What's available in the public record and reports that contain anonymous Google insiders point to Google chasing Facebook in trying to create something Facebook-like and failing to do so, foundering in the face of users that already had many options and a circle-metaphor that didn't appeal to enough people.

I'm still not convinced that Google+ is the failure that I see portrayed in most media, though, despite its utility as a punchline. I was  influenced by +Edd Dumbill's thinking on Google+ and discussions in 2011 to think about it not as a destination but glue to make the rest of Google's products more social. I think Google+'s legacy will be more than Photos and Streams, whatever that looks like: it will be as a backbone for digital identity, particularly if Google becomes an identity provider for government services. 
http://e-pluribusunum.org/2015/03/02/the-legacy-of-google-googles-internet-backbone-for-digital-identity/

What do you think?
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what they need is a cell phone interface that allows you to write without earning carletunnel or make memes without crashing in traffic or getting fired
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Work
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Reading, writing and arithmetic.
Employment
  • CBS Interactive
    Columnist, 2014 - present
  • Columbia University
    Fellow, 2013 - 2014
    Collaborated on research into data-driven journalism at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia Journalism School.
  • Harvard University
    Research Fellow, 2013 - 2013
    Collaborated on research at the Transparency Policy Project of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.
  • O'Reilly Media
    Washington Correspondent, 2010 - 2013
  • TechTarget
    Associate Editor
  • Bain & Company
    Knowledge Broker
  • Sapient
    Operations Support
  • Whirling Dervish Design
    Web Designer
  • Charles Hajdu Builders
    Apprentice Carpenter
  • Beaver Country Day School
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  • Star Island Company
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Currently
Cambridge, MA
Previously
Washington, DC - Born in upstate NY, raised in Philly. - Bar Harbor, Maine - Boston, MA - Somerville, MA - Baltimore, MD - Star Island, NH
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Semper scriben
Introduction

I'm a writer and editor, focused upon how shifts in technology are changing journalism, government and society. I contribute a weekly column to TechRepublic. 

From August 2013 to May 2014, I was a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, where I collaborated on research and the past, present and future of data-driven journalism. In 2013, I was also a fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Innovation and Governance at the Harvard Kennedy School. From 2010 to 2013, I was the Washington Correspondent at O'Reilly Media, where I covered the voices, technologies and issues that are changing government, technology and society. Prior to joining O’Reilly, I was the associate editor of SearchCompliance.com and WhatIs.com at TechTarget, where I wrote about how the laws and regulations that affect information technology are changing, spanning the issues of online identity, data protection, risk management, electronic privacy and cybersecurity. 

Along with my correspondence for the O'Reilly Radar, I have contributed to the National Journal, Forbes, Slate, the Huffington Post, Govfresh, ReadWriteWeb, Mashable, CBS News' What's Trending, Govloop, Governing People, the Association for Computer Manufacturing and the Atlantic, amongst others. I have appeared multiple times as an on-air analyst for Al Jazeera English and a guest on the Kojo Nnamdi Show, along with commentary for NPR's All Things Considered and other public radio shows.

I've been a speaker and moderator at conferences in Washington and beyond, including Harvard University, Stanford University, Columbia University, Alfred University, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), NIST, Club de Madrid, Cato Institute, the New America Foundation, the World Bank, the Social Security Agency, the U.S. National Archives, the Web 2.0 Summit and Expo, Gov 2.0 Summit and Expo, Social Media Week, DC Week, SXSWi, Strata, GOSCON, AMP Summit, Tech@State, CAR/IRE, and the State of the Net, the Open Government Partnership Annual Conference, In 2011, I was visiting faculty at the Poynter Institute.

I'm a native of upstate New York, where I was born on a farm in a county that had more deer than humans. At age 8, I moved to Philadelphia and spent a decade growing up in one of America's great cities, attending Germantown Friends School until 1994. I graduated from Colby College four years later, with a bachelor of arts degree in biology (and a minor in sociology), and then enjoyed living in New England for another decade in Boston, Somerville and Cambridge. 

I'd describe myself as a geeky outdoorsman, cyclist, angler and photographer. I'm an unabashed fan of great science fiction and fantasy books, movies and games. I currently live in Capitol Hill in the District of Columbia with my wife, daughter and a growing number of pots, pans and houseplants. When I'm not working or parenting, I enjoy exploring the great outdoors, ambitious cooking and good books. 

You can find me online at E Pluribus Unum | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Linkedin | Wordpress | YouTube 

Bragging rights
I make a good crème brûlée.
Education
  • Colby College
    1994 - 1998
Basic Information
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Male
Other names
Xander
Alexander Howard's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
The Navy's New Robot Looks and Swims Just Like a Shark | WIRED
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The Navy’s new underwater drone is designed to look and swim like a real fish.

The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed...
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Inside the soul-crushing world of content moderation, where low-wage laborers soak up the worst of humanity, and keep it off your Facebook f

Federal Agencies Are Flooded by Comments on New Rules
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Record numbers of online comments are flooding agencies at a time when Congress is stuck in gridlock and the Obama administration has turned

Daimler Acquires Uber Rival RideScout
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Daimler is making a bet on the ride-sharing economy, a day after Germany slapped a country-wide ban on Uber Technologies.

The 'right to record' is not a question of technology, but rather power ...
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The "right to record" will gain even more attention as smartphones, wearables, and social media usage increases. Alex Howard believes this w

The Internet's Original Sin
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It's not too late to ditch the ad-based business model we have and build the web we want.

How Google Map Hackers Can Destroy a Business at Will | Business | WIRED
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Beneath its slick interface and crystal clear GPS-enabled vision of the world, Google Maps roils with local rivalries, score-settling, and d

YouTube Parody as Politics: How The World Made Pharrell Cry
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Remixes from around the world show that what brings us together is more important than what divides us.

OpenID Connect may usher in a new era of federated online identity
www.techrepublic.com

OpenID Connect is designed to replace username/password authentication. The protocol, in use by Google and others, may solve governments' ne

Supreme Court to rule on warrantless searches of electronic devices
arstechnica.com

Cops want access, without warrants, to electronic devices of everybody arrested.

Data journalism only matters when it's transparent
www.motherjones.com

Data journalism only matters when it's transparent.

Publishers Can Afford Data Journalism, Says ProPublica's Scott Klein
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This story, by Alexander Howard / Tow Center …, appeared on Mediagazer.

Earth Day Pioneer Denis Hayes’ New Challenge: Greenest Commercial Buildi...
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Forty-four years ago today, Denis Hayes convened the very first Earth Day, an event that drew millions to events across the United States an

Did CIA Violate the Constitution's Speech or Debate Clause? - Secrecy News
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The Central Intelligence Agency may have violated the Speech or Debate clause of the U.S. Constitution by performing an unauthorized search

Extremely critical crypto flaw in iOS may also affect fully patched Macs
arstechnica.com

Coding blunder that exposed sensitive data may still be putting users at risk.