Thursday, December 18, 2014

Google Search Filter article that I find evident in every day conversation.



 I get a feed from Delancy Place press everyday, with a snippet/synopsis of a book.  They do a good job - and today I read one that I find particularly frightening.  And might go a long way to explaining why I feel so many conversations are so narrowly inspired these days.


"Today's encore selection -- from The Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser. Because of the personalization of the internet, an internet search of the same term by two different people will often bring very different results. We are each increasingly being served not only ads for what we are more likely to want, but also news and information that is familiar and confirms our beliefs. The issue is that we are increasingly unaware of what is being filtered out and why -- leaving us each more and more in our own unique and self-reinforcing information bubble. Author Eli Pariser calls this 'the filter bubble' -- and it is leaving less room for encounters with unexpected ideas:

"Most of us assume that when we 'google' a term, we all see the same results -- the ones that the company's famous Page Rank algorithm suggests are the most authoritative based on other pages' links. But since December 2009, this is no longer true. Now you get the result that Google's algorithm suggests is best for you in particular -- and someone else may see something entirely different. In other words, there is no standard Google anymore.

"It's not hard to see this difference in action. In the spring of 2010, while the remains of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig were spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, I asked two friends to search for the term 'BP.' They're pretty similar -- educated white left-leaning women who live in the Northeast. But the results they saw were quite different. One of my friends saw investment information about BP. The other saw news. For one, the first page of results contained links about the oil spill; for the other, there was nothing about it except for a promotional ad from BP.

"Even the number of results returned by Google differed -- about 180 million results for one friend and 139 million for the other. If the results were that different for these two progressive East Coast women, imagine how different they would be for my friends and, say, an elderly Republican in Texas (or, for that matter, a businessman in Japan).

"With Google personalized for everyone, the query 'stem cells' might produce diametrically opposed results for scientists who support stem cell research and activists who oppose it. 'Proof of climate change' might turn up different results for an environmental activist and an oil company executive. In polls, a huge majority of us assume search engines are unbiased. But that may be just because they're increasingly biased to share our own views. More and more, your computer monitor is a kind of one-way mirror, reflecting your own interests while algorithmic observers watch what you click. ...



"For a time, it seemed that the Internet was going to entirely redemocratize society. Bloggers and citizen journalists would single-handedly rebuild the public media. Politicians would be able to run only with a broad base of support from small, everyday donors. Local governments would become more transparent and accountable to their citizens. And yet the era of civic connection I dreamed about hasn't come. Democracy requires citizens to see things from one another's point of view, but instead we're more and more enclosed in our own bubbles. Democracy requires a reliance on shared facts; instead we're being offered parallel but separate universes.

"My sense of unease crystallized when I noticed that my conservative friends had disappeared from my Facebook page. Politically, I lean to the left, but I like to hear what conservatives are thinking, and I've gone out of my way to befriend a few and add them as Facebook connections. I wanted to see what links they'd post, read their comments, and learn a bit from them.

"But their links never turned up in my Top News feed. Facebook was apparently doing the math and noticing that I was still clicking my progressive friends' links more than my conservative friends' -- and links to the latest Lady Gaga videos more than either. So no conservative links for me.

"I started doing some research, trying to understand how Facebook was deciding what to show me and what to hide. As it turned out, Facebook wasn't alone.

"With little notice or fanfare, the digital world is fundamentally changing. What was once an anonymous medium where anyone could be anyone -- where, in the words of the famous New Yorker cartoon, nobody knows you're a dog -- is now a tool for soliciting and analyzing our personal data. According to one Wall Street Journal study, the top fifty Internet sites, from CNN to Yahoo to MSN, install an average of 64 data-laden cookies and personal tracking beacons each. Search for a word like 'depression' on Dictionary.com, and the site [automatically collects and stores information about your computer or mobile device and your activities] so that other Web sites can target you with antidepressants. Share an article about cooking on ABC News, and you may be chased around the Web by ads for Teflon-coated pots. Open -- even for an instant -- a page listing signs that your spouse may be cheating and prepare to be haunted with DNA paternity-test ads. The new Internet doesn't just know you're a dog; it knows your breed and wants to sell you a bowl of premium kibble."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Solar at Catskill Farms

So, we went solar at Catskill Farms.  Seemed like the thing to do.  We use a lot of juice and after last winter, it seemed the payback will be pretty quick.  Cost $49k, and with all the state and federal rebates I think it cost us $20k and that can be used as 'accelerated depreciation' in the first year and I'm C Corp, so it cost, netted out, around $12k (of course the cash flow demands were greater).  The net $12k is like a 3 year payback.

Also contributed another piece to the the Upstater - "Sustainable Progress, ...".  They are so good to me over there.

Our panels.




The schematic.

The metrics.  Its fun to see that I've generated enough electricity to operate a tv for 426 days, a passenger car for half a year, or 11 computers for a year.  I've also 'saved' .4 acre of trees and offset 2.02 metric tons of carbon.  It's pretty cool, I'm glad I did it.



 Interestingly though, I still wouldn't recommend it to my clients since their energy bills are so dog gone low it's a tough return on investment proposition.

(I hate to publicize these improvement because I'm sure Eric from Nest Property Services will be calling tomorrow with insurance increase 'suggestions')





Saturday, December 6, 2014

Real Estate and Construction in Rhinebeck, Saugerties, Kerhonkson, Olivebridge, Woodstock, Rhinebeck, & Narrowsburg.

1800 sq ft home with 700+ sq ft finished basement in Olivebridge.  In Contract.



1350 sq ft home with 600 sq ft finished basement in Olivebridge NY.  Going into contract I think.



Custom built home in Shokan NY outside of Woodstock NY.  3200 sq ft on 20 acres.





2000 sq ft farmhouse just getting started in Saugerties NY.  In Contract.  Lots O Rock.





1800 sq ft barn house in Saugerties, just getting started.  In Contract.



Our Country Living House of the Year with a new pool in Rhinebeck NY.  Sold.



2400 sq ft Farmhouse 33 in Rhinebeck NY.  In contract.



720 sq ft Mini Barn 2 in Narrowsburg NY.  In contract.






1500 sq ft farmhouse in Narrowsburg NY with a finished basement.  In contract.





Mid- Century Ranch 10 in Narrowsburg NY just lifting off.





Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ranch 9, Narrowsburg NY - SOLD


4 people bought this house. 2 sisters, a friend from college, and a boyfriend of one.  We heard a lot about people who want to buy as a group, but we haven't ever seen it before.  These new media folks brought the modern touch to this 1800 sq ft home.


It's really a house about the small touches splashed on a monochromatic palette.


Greenish door with Early American stained beadboard on the ceiling.


Shale stone chimney chase, black mantel, and 12x20 tile with gray grout. Jacobean stain on 1x12 yellow pine.

Ikea kitchen, flashy range tile.





Single light door going out to the screened porch.





Front door, modern barn door, and bench with grills.

Galvanized exposed duct.


Money shot.


This is a good muscular angular shot that captures all the glory.





Good design for the exposed duct.  No panel door.  Lever handles.

Legless sink.





Reverse money shot.


Cool ass ground floor build out with concrete floors and movie screen.