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After costs Uber & Lyfte Drivers Average 4$ An Hour


A research paper from MIT’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research compared a survey of over 1,100 drivers for Uber and Lyft with “detailed vehicle cost information” and found that 30 percent of the workforce is actually paying to work after vehicle expenses are taken into account. Overall, their findings reveal a bleak picture: The median profit for drivers came out to just $3.37 per hour before taxes.

 The researchers used data from Edmunds, Kelly Blue Book, and the Environmental Protection Agency to determine the cost of insurance, maintenance, gas, and depreciation for various vehicle models. Cross-referenced with drivers’ self-reported revenue, mileage, and vehicle models, that information revealed discouraging results. Stephen Zoepf, a co-author of the paper, said “it’s quite possible that drivers don’t realize quite how much they are spending.” He said that many drivers are effectively borrowing money against the value of their cars and subsidizing the ridesharing companies by working for low wages. When you combine that subsidy with the billions of dollars in venture capital that these companies are losing each year, Zoepf concludes that “this business model is not currently sustainable.”

According to the working paper, 74 percent of drivers are earning less than the minimum wage in their states once these costs are included, with the average driver only pulling in $661 of profit per month. For those who are considering working for ride-hailing service, this data should make them cautious.

Those who already doing it should pay close attention to the paper’s finding that the median profit is 29 cents per mile. The researchers say that drivers could possibly take advantage of the standard mileage deduction that tops out at 54 cents per mile and declare a loss on their taxes. So while ride share services are losing billions of dollars, billions more dollars of driver income may be mistakenly getting taxed. Meanwhile, other recent studies have found these companies are just making traffic worse.

Uber responded to the Guardian with the following statement:

While the paper is certainly attention grabbing, its methodology and findings are deeply flawed. We’ve reached out to the paper’s authors to share our concerns and suggest ways we might work together to refine their approach.


It’s worth noting that other studies have reported higher hourly income using different methodologies.

A spokesperson for Lyft responded and said: “Drivers are an integral part of Lyft’s success. An ever-growing number of individuals around the country are using Lyft as a flexible way to earn income, and we will continue to engage with our driver community to help them succeed. We have not yet reviewed this study in detail, but an initial review shows some questionable assumptions.”

Last year, Uber settled claims by the Federal Trade Commission that it misled drivers about the potential income they would make. Gizmodo obtained a letter sent by Uber’s lawyers to the FTC where they argued that drivers were only earning less than the advertised rates because they chose not to drive enough.


Smart Boots With GPS Accuracy

University of Utah

Researchers at the University of Utah may have come up with a solution, that could potentially help save people’s lives. What they have created is an alternate positioning system, accurate within the same distance as GPS, that can be incorporated into a boot or other piece of footwear, but doesn’t rely on satellites to work.

A suite of sensors and circuits mounted to a boot can determine position with an accuracy of about 5 meters, indoors or out, without GPS.

The navigation system, installed in a very hefty prototype boot, could help rescue workers navigate inside buildings, and show firefighters where their team members are. It might also be integrated with virtual or augmented reality games. The Utah researchers presented their GPS-free navigation system on Tuesday at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco.




Judges in Various States Rely On Artificial Intelligence To Determine Jailtime



Cleveland and a growing number of other local and state courts, judges are now guided by computer algorithms before ruling whether criminal defendants can go free have to stay locked up awaiting trial.

A bipartisan bail reform movement has found an alternative to cash bail: AI algorithms that can scour through large sets of courthouse data to search for associations and predict which people are most likely to flee or commit another crime.

Experts say the use of these risk assessments may be the biggest shift in courtroom decision-making since American judges began accepting social science and other expert evidence more than a century ago.

Critics, however, worry that such algorithms could end up superseding a judges’ own judgment, and might even perpetuate biases in ostensibly neutral form.

States such as New Jersey, Arizona, Kentucky, and Alaska have adopted these tools. Defendants who receive low scores are recommended for release under court supervision.

Among other things, such algorithms aim to reduce biased rulings that could be influenced by a defendant’s race, gender or clothing — or maybe just how cranky a judge might be feeling after missing breakfast.

The AI system used in New Jersey, developed by the Houston-based Laura and John Arnold Foundation, uses nine risk factors to evaluate a defendant, including age and past criminal convictions. But it excludes race, gender, employment history and where a person lives.

It also excludes a history of arrests, which can stack up against people more likely to encounter police — even if they’re not found to have done anything.

An investigative report by ProPublica found that a commercial system called Compas used to help determine prison sentences for convicted criminals, was falsely flagging black defendants as likely future criminals almost twice as frequently as white defendants.

Other experts have questioned those findings, and the U.S. Supreme Court last year declined to take up a case of a Wisconsin man who argued the use of gender as a factor in the Compas assessment violated his rights.

Advocates of the AI approach argue that the people in robes are still in charge. Others worry the algorithms will make judging more rote over time. Research has shown that people tend to follow specific advisory guidelines in lieu of their own judgment, said Bernard Harcourt, a law professor at Columbia.

 / A young passenger uses JetBlue’s facial-recognition system at Logan Airport in Boston on June 15, 2017.

Georgetown University researchers have released yet another report warning of the potential dangers and ineffectiveness of the beginnings of routine facial recognition scanning by certain airlines at several airports nationwide.The new report, which was released Thursday, comes on the heels of a related 2016 report showing that half of Americans’ faces are already in a facial recognition database. The report concludes.


Snapchat still dominates among teenagers, a core demographic that represents the future wave of internet consumers and what they care about. Some 79 percent of U.S. 13- to 18-year-olds surveyed said they have a Snapchat account, more than any other type of social media. Of that age group, 73 percent have an Instagram account, and just 57 percent say they are on Facebook.

Researchers Say Playing Mario 64 Can Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease



In a new study carried out by researchers from the University of Montreal, scientists examined the link between 3D-platform games and growth in different brains areas among older people. They were particularly interested in the gray matter in a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is used for memory building. The loss of gray matter in the hippocampus is associated with neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.

Their findings indicated that the Super Mario 64 training led to increased gray matter in the hippocampus, along with another structure called the cerebellum, which is important for motor control and balance.

The scientists hypothesized that 3D platformers are good because they ask people to explore a new environment, and to memorize it. When people do that, they form a cognitive map, meaning an internal representation of the environment, which they can then use to navigate. We know from past research involving both humans and rodents that this promotes activity in the hippocampus.

The Pitfalls of Social Media


While social media can provide you with publicity it can also bring pitfalls

  • Facebook has acknowledged that too much social media can be detrimental to a people’s mental health.
  • The company is coming under increasing scrutiny about its impact on society.
  • A former Facebook exec recently said social networks are “destroying how society works.”

 Facebook director of researcher David Finsberg and research scientist Moira Burke,  hypothesize that reading about others online might lead to negative social comparison,and perhaps even more so than offline, since people’s posts are often more curated and flattering.

Facebook also cited research showing the positive impact of social media. “In sum, our research and other academic literature suggests that it’s about how you use social media that matters when it comes to your well-being.”

In general, when people spend a lot of time passively consuming information — reading but not interacting with people — they report feeling worse afterward. In one experiment, University of Michigan students randomly assigned to read Facebook for 10 minutes were in a worse mood at the end of the day than students assigned to post or talk to friends on Facebook. A study from UC San Diego and Yale found that people who clicked on about four times as many links as the average person, or who liked twice as many posts, reported worse mental health than average in a survey. Though the causes aren’t clear, researchers hypothesize that reading about others online might lead to negative social comparison — and perhaps even more so than offline, since people’s posts are often more curated and flattering. Another theory is that the internet takes people away from social engagement in person.”

But Facebook also counters this with evidence that engaging with others online “is linked to improvements in well-being,” and that Facebook can have other positive impacts.



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