Over at Quartz, Olivia Goldhill is reporting on a major grant for some interesting philosophical research. Candace Vogler and Jennifer Frey are leading a multi-disciplinary study on the difficulty some people experience of “getting over themselves” on one level, but on another level, it seems the pair has received a grant to ultimately try to answer one of humanity’s greatest questions: What is the meaning of Life?

Of course, that question has already been answered. “The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything” is 42.

The importance of “getting over yourself”—or self-transcendence—is key to their major 28-month project on virtue, happiness, and the meaning of life. The research proposal received a $2.1-million grant from the John Templeton Foundation and unites a team of around 20 international scholars, working in philosophy, religion, and psychology…

This is where the idea of “getting over yourself” becomes worthy of serious philosophical contemplation. “If you really want to be participating fully in the kind of good there is for human beings in your life,” Vogler says, “you need to have a life that’s connected to something bigger and better than you are.”

The buzz word du jour, Big Data, is now coming to the legal profession. Forbes reports that the old stalwarts LexisNexis and Westlaw are facing some potential disruption from up-and-comer Ravel Law.

Here is some more information about the firm:

Established in 2012 by two lawyers with backgrounds in analytics, they provide services designed to help legal professionals draw insights and connections using advanced analytical algorithms.

One of their services– Judges Analytics – lets lawyers search through every decision made by particular judges to find those most likely to be sympathetic to their arguments. The data is visualized through Ravel’s dashboard in a way that makes it easier to spot connections and opportunities that otherwise would have been missed.

Two-factor authentication has long been seen as the ultimate security tool. It works by requiring a second-device for logging into the primary device. According to a blog post from Samsung, researchers have successfully tested an exploit that uses malware on an Android device to create s black door allowing attackers to circumvent two-factor authentication. Here is more:

The back door also has support for disabling and enabling silent mode, in addition to locking the device, so that the victim is not alerted during an incoming call.

Once the unconditional call forwarding is set on the victim’s device, the attacker—who has already stolen the victim’s credentials (the first factor in two-factor authentication and authorization)—can then initiate a transaction. As part of the design, when the system demands the victim to enter the second factor (i.e., the authorization token sent through a voice call), the attacker will get the call through call forwarding and enter the second factor as well to complete the transaction.

When my wife and I were first married, we lived in the North Park area of San Diego. Once a second child was on the way we knew we needed to find a better living situation, so we left. That was right at the beginning of the explosion of the craft beer scene.

There is an interesting pattern that seems to exist in any new high-growth industry: after early adopters open the door to a mainstream marketplace creating widespread demand (thereby “crossing the chasm”), and as a complete ecosystem develops around this burgeoning industry, next come the lawsuits, followed by standardized insurance policy provisions. Eventually the lawyers specializing in these areas of law will get together at annual conventions where they sometimes drink far too much.

This was the case with construction defect litigation industry in the mid-90s, the tech industry in the ’00s, and now it seems we are here with the craft brewers in the mid-10s. Samantha Drake reports in Quartz that the “anti-establishment” fans of craft brewers are not reacting well to the very much “establishment” practices of defending one’s intellectual property, trying to avoid confusion of consumers in the marketplace, etc.

The good news is that some breweries have taken some very positive and well-received approaches to resolving disputes:

Like many craft brewers, Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa, California, is partial to thematically named beers and offers brews such as Redemption, Perdition, Benediction, Sanctification, Supplication, Damnation, Temptation, and Consecration. After Russian River added a Belgian-style ale named Salvation to the line-up, owner Vinnie Cilurzo realized Avery Brewing in Boulder, Colorado also made a beer called Salvation.

Cilurzo says he introduced himself to Avery Brewing’s owner Adam Avery at the Great American Beer Festival and pointed out the name problem. Avery visited Russian River and the brewers “noodled around” with various blends of the two Salvations before coming up with the new ale they dubbed “Collaboration not Litigation,” Cilurzo tells Quartz. Avery Brewing, which has the larger distribution capacity of the two breweries, still makes and distributes Collaboration not Litigation and Russian River sells the ale at its brew pub.

According to Forbes, here are the top 8 trends in the workplace that technology will bring this year:

  1. The Ability To Work From Anywhere, Anytime And On Any Device
  2. Video Content Management
  3. Smart Machines And Automation
  4. Mobile Computing And End-User Computing (EUC) Initiatives Merging
  5. Mobile Cloud Computing
  6. Wearable Devices Will Become The Next BYO Endpoint
  7. The Digital Enterprise
  8. Build Individual Work Style Preferences Into Your Mobile Strategy

Researchers have created tiny little 3D glasses for praying mantises!

Most knowledge about 3D vision has come from vertebrates, however, a Newcastle University team publishing today in Scientific Reports, confirm that the praying mantis, an invertebrate, does indeed use stereopsis or 3D perception for hunting.

In a specially-designed insect cinema, they have shown that it needs to be ‘old school’ 3D glasses for tests to work on mantises. While in humans that would be with red and blue lenses, red light is poorly visible to mantises so they have custom-made glasses with one blue and one green lens!

mantis on table standard image
Newcastle University research into 3D vision in praying mantises by Dr. Vivek Nityananda. Pic: Mike Urwin. 151015

With great power comes great responsibility — and when it comes to empowering everyday devices with the ability to connect to the internet, manufacturers have a responsibility to protect consumers. As the much bandied about “Internet of Things” continues to become “a thing,” the real-world implications of lax security will become a much more pressing concern, as Wired reports:

Security researchers exposed holes in everything from Wi-Fi-enabled Barbie dolls to two-ton Jeep Cherokees. For now, those demonstrations have yet to manifest in real-world malicious hacks, says security entrepreneur Chris Rouland. But Rouland, who once ran the controversial government hacking contractor firm Endgame, has bet his next company, an Internet-of-Things-focused security startup called Bastille, on the risks of hackable digital objects. And he argues that public understanding of those risks is on the rise. “2015 has been the pivotal year when we saw awareness and vulnerability discoveries published about ‘things’,” Rouland says. He’s added a new slogan to his powerpoint presentations: “Cyber Barbie is now part of the kill chain.”

I am afraid that I must agree with Steve Tobak on his bewilderment over Zappos’ bizarre experiment in business management known as Holacracy:

Here’s what I don’t get. How can a system be billed as a self-governing and non-hierarchical democratized version of the corporation when, in practice, it’s actually the most rigid, tedious, bureaucratic, and ironically, hierarchical, management structure imaginable.

It’s as if a software engineer with delusions of grandeur decided to write a hundred thousand lines of code to describe his own personal vision of how a company should operate – complete with its own extraordinarily complex language, constitution, rules for everything you can think of, and library of developer kits, apps and APIs.

It even has a cloud-based tool called GlassFrog that governs how everything should be done – from projects and meetings to authority and decision-making – right down to the minutiae of checklists, metrics, boundaries, and roles and responsibilities. I don’t care what you call it or how you spin it, that sounds like a bureaucratic nightmare.

Over at Adweek, Jason Snyder has a great piece on who the real target demographic might be for marketing: robots.

Whoever is closest to the consumer controls the conversation. But it’s not you who’s closest—it’s the machines. The good news for marketers is that unlike fickle, demographic-defying consumers, robots are consistent—staying true to their programming. For now anyway. And talking to them requires speaking their language—and increasingly that language is less about understanding 1’s and 0’s and more about simple, normal words.

 

Having worked with some professionally shot drone footage of properties for use in legal disputes, what I like the most about it is the way that it puts things into context so well.

In real estate, location is everything, and nothing compares to a drone for impact in highlighting a property’s location. Digital Journal has an interview with Douglas Thorn about how drove video is changing the real estate sales industry:

“My videos are like mini-movies,” he tells Digital Journal.”I start with an intro that showcases the entire area so that potential buyers can get a complete idea of the community and natural surroundings before zooming into the home and detailing the interior.”

Thorn’s sizzle reel is below: