DOT’s airline price gouging investigation and a political economy-based prediction

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it had launched an investigation into possible “unfair practices (e.g., price gouging) affecting air travel during the period of time that Amtrak service along the Northeast Corridor was delayed or suspended as a result of the May 12th derailment.” Five airlines received letters from the agency seeking… More DOT’s airline price gouging investigation and a political economy-based prediction

The sharing economy and the electricity industry

In a recent essay, the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Matthew Crosby asks “will there ever be an AirBnB or Uber for the electricity grid?” It’s a good question, a complicated question, and one that I have pondered myself a few times. He correctly identifies the characteristics of such platforms that have made them attractive and successful,… More The sharing economy and the electricity industry

Complexity, heuristics, and the traveling salesman problem

Add this one to your long reads queue, because it’s well worth it: Tom Vanderbilt writes in Nautilus about the traveling salesman problem and how algorithmic optimization helps us understand human behavior more deeply. It’s a thorough and nuanced analysis of the various applications of algorithms to solve the traveling salesman problem — what’s the… More Complexity, heuristics, and the traveling salesman problem

Don’t bet against Netflix, at least not now

Michael Giberson Jonathan Knee argues that Netflix is succeeding the way big media companies always have succeeded, in a time where such opportunities are less frequent than before. From The Atlantic: The economic structure of the media business is not fundamentally different from that of business in general. The most-prevalent sources of industrial strength are… More Don’t bet against Netflix, at least not now

Netflix recommendations: Deep or random?

Michael Giberson I know that Netflix’s recommendation engine has some serious computation behind it, and it often offers up interesting and useful suggestions. But¬†occasionally it puzzles me, and I wonder if it is incredibly deep in its analysis or simply somewhat random. Case in point: Suggested:¬†American Experience: Into the Deep Because you enjoyed: It Might… More Netflix recommendations: Deep or random?

The natural gas that didn’t come in from the cold

Michael Giberson Among the complications caused by the cold weather last week, short supply of natural gas throughout much of the southwest United States. Reports indicate some gas wells were freezing up and loss of electric power to gas production systems, but more of the problem was loss of power to natural gas pipelines. And,… More The natural gas that didn’t come in from the cold