Data mining search engines to create innovative products
In the Wall Street Journal (sorry, no link available), Kevin J. Delaney explains how companies of all sizes are mining search engine data to come up with innovative new product and service offerings. In one example, Austin-based National Instruments found that engineers were searching for hardware products with the search term "USB" (Universal Serial Bus), so the company decided to start selling new versions of its products with USB interfaces instead of requiring users to install new circuit boards inside their desktop PCs. Very smart. In another example, Siemens Medical Solutions decided to base the name of its new personal health-card product based largely on search-related data gleaned from Yahoo and Google.
Search engine companies like Google and Yahoo actually seem to be encouraging users to explore all their search data, confident that they can convince users to pay even more for highly-targeted advertising solutions. A senior manager for Google Analytics, for example, compares the search data during a certain time period to "online votes" for product features and service offerings. The more votes (i.e. search queries), the greater the likelihood of success. In one example, Google thinks it can predict box office revenue based on a comparative study of search queries for certain movies. (Maybe this is over-simplifying things, but people searching for "big," "fat," "Greek" and "wedding" would be interested in a film like My Big Fat Greek Wedding?)
[image: Pickers Getting Coal From Waste Dump]
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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