KLBJ Cyber Corner with Todd Jeffries, Sandy Models, sales jump and NO Beef
Posted 11/12/2012 12:06:00 PM

IN THE NEWS: COMPUTER MODELS PROVE RIGHT ON SANDY, ELECTION

When it comes to predicting the immediate future, forget reading palms and stuff like that - it's in the chips. Chips as in those that run computers. In the past two weeks, computer models accurately predicted two major events: Superstorm Sandy and the re-election of President Barack Obama. It was a weather computer that helped meteorologists to first make the call about the storm, back when it was a mere bunch of clouds in the Caribbean. A week later, it slammed into New Jersey - but the damage and death toll could have been worse if advance warning hadn't been made. Then, statistician and blogger Nate Silver used his beat-up laptop to correctly forecast how all 50 states would vote for president. He even predicted a tie in Florida - and that the state would eventually go Obama's way, as it finally did over the weekend. The accuracy of computer models is credited to better and more accessible data, as well as rapidly increasing computer power.

Online: Nate Silver's election blog: http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/

Princeton Election Consortium: http://election.princeton.edu/

National Hurricane Center's computer models: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/modelsummary.shtml

IN THE NEWS: "SINGLES DAY" SALES

And you thought Cyber Monday was a big online shopping day - wait until you find out what's been going on in China. Since the 1990s, the Chinese have observed what's known as Singles Day - a version of Valentine's Day for people without romantic partners. The date chosen was November 11 - or 11-11, in other words, four or for singles. Retailers sell all kinds of goods at a steep discount - and this year people went wild. Early estimates say one online consumer mall took in $1.6 billion dollars. That would top the total of $1.25 billion estimated to have been raked in last Cyber Monday. That would make this year's Singles Day the biggest e-commerce sales day on record.

ON THE WEB: BED AND BREAKFAST BEEF IN NEW ORLEANS

A beef over bed and breakfast rentals in the Big Easy. A travel Web site is letting homeowners rent out rooms short term - like hotels do. Airbnb.com is doing good business - but it apparently is breaking the law. The city bars unlicensed property owners from renting space for less than 60 days in the French Quarter and less than 30 days elsewhere. New Orleans also loses out on taxes paid on hotel and motel rooms - meaning a loss in revenue for the city, but a bargain for travelers.

Online:  Air BNB site: http://www.airbnb.com

IN STORES: PETER GABRIEL'S GABBLE

It's said a picture is worth a thousand words. Peter Gabriel has taken that saying and built it into a Web site. Gabble is an online community that is based on people using pictures, instead of words. The musician feels that by using images, language barriers can be overcome. Users can build sentences from a library of images, animations and illustrations. You can use the site to chat with old friends - or establish new bonds. Gabriel says he's convinced that people will use multimedia for communication, hence the idea of coming up with a visual language to replace words and phrases.

Online: Gabble site: www.gabble.com

Posted By: Todd Jeffries  

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