Its Getting Hot in Here
MIT's 'Local Warming' exhibit previews the energy-saving future of personalized climate control
'Local Warming' tracks your movement around a room and surrounds you in a thermal 'cloud.' (Photo: Senseable City Lab)
Fancy being ensconsed in a heat bubble as you move about the office building in the cold winter? An art installation dubbed “Local Warming,” which offers a preview of personalized climate control, returns from the prestigious Vienna Architecture Biennale next week. This whimsical, well-received design from MIT’s SENSEable City Lab also promises to be an energy saver. Read More
Round the corner
Technology has yet to transform democracy — but change is coming
Micah Sifry at Harvard's Berkman Center earlier this week.
It’s rare in the world of tech or politics when gurus go back and remind us of their early predictions and then admit how wrong they were. So Micah Sifry’s book, "The Big Disconnect: Why the Internet Hasn’t Transformed Politics (Yet)," is a refreshing read. In it, he looks back to 2004 and revisits all the exciting, optimistic things people were saying about how the Web would change politics. His big reveal: It just hasn’t happened. Read More
Giver, giving, given
The healthiest #GivingTuesday donation? A gift of data for Patients Like Me
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Giving thanks is fine, Giving a Sh$t is better, but giving up some of your health data will make a difference. That's what Jamie Heywood and his team at Patients Like Me hope. On Tuesday, the health data portal for people with chronic conditions launched a 24-day drive to encourage new patients to sign up and share their health data before Christmas Day. Read More
Brady v. Manning, every week
Draft, a new head-to-head fantasy sports game from StarStreet vets, launches today
Screenshots via Draft
Cambridge's Jeremy Levine has been a longtime player in both the fantasy sports world and the Boston tech community. After selling the assets of StarStreet to Boston-based DraftKings in August, Levine moved to New York to start his next venture, a daily head-to-head fantasy game called Draft, which officially launches today. Read More
Where are they now?
Tracking the Microsoft Startup Labs diaspora
Former Startup Labs employee Pat Kinsel, standing and gesturing to the screen. Photo courtesy of Reed Sturtevant.
A little more than five years ago, I wrote about a re-org at Microsoft's internal Startup Labs product development group. It turned out to be curtains for the Cambridge-based team, led by Reed Sturtevant — even though their old Web address still optimistically implores visitors to "please come back later." But five years on, it's clear the 2009 shakeup and ensuing departures freed up a number of people who've gone on to pollinate the local startup scene. Read More
To post or not to post
After #GamerGate, Supreme Court hears case concerning threats online
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In October, game developer Brianna Wu was forced out of her house in Arlington and went into hiding after strangers from the GamerGate online mob posted personal threats at Wu and her family on Twitter. Wu and the scores of other women who face personal hateful speech on the Internet may one day have more options to deter their attackers. Today the justices of the Supreme Court heard arguments about online abuse perpetrated on sites like Twitter and Facebook, the first case of its kind to reach the nation's highest court.  Read More
Amazon's Cyber Monday strategy? Robots. Lots of robots.
Amazon's Kiva System
Just in time for Cyber Monday, Amazon announced this morning that it is prepping for the holiday rush by recruiting over 80,000 part-time workers, a 14 percent spike over last year. But in addition to those human pickers, the online retailer is also employing a whole cadre of technological elves (i.e., robots) to ensure that your gifts arrive for the holidays just in time. Read More
App team acquired
Airbnb picks up Pencil, Cambridge startup that built scheduling app
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Airbnb has quietly acquired a small Cambridge startup, Pencil Labs. Pencil Labs had built a scheduling app called Wyth that was intended to eliminate some of the headaches of coordinating get-togethers with friends. Three of the key players at Pencil, including co-founders Carla Pellicano and Han Shu, have already relocated to San Francisco, where Airbnb is based. Read More