It’s time to close the books on 2014. In addition to looking at big data, small lending, and slow, slow internet service, we’d like to end the year with thanks and good wishes. We’re grateful for the economic growth and opportunities that have blessed this country, for our amazing staff, our families and loved ones and the return of rain to California. We wish you a healthy, prosperous 2015 filled with learning, laughter and love!
Image from David Clow: https://www.flickr.com/photos/7791881@N04/4499576525/
President Obama’s recent remarks on net neutrality have sparked a national debate on the notion of the internet as an open and equitable platform. The debate has made for some strange bedfellows, aligning Justice Antonin Scalia with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and President Obama, while pitting civil rights groups against one another. But no matter what your take is on the debate, we can all agree that internet access in the United States is slow and expensive.
Does regulating broadband internet service like a public utility have the potential to ease access, increase speeds, and lower costs? And, even if federal regulators fail to fully enact net neutrality, how can local governments bolster their broadband infrastructure to meet the needs of an increasingly internet-reliant economy?
Image from Independent We Stand: https://www.flickr.com/photos/independentwestand/5202330066/
The Great Recession may technically be over, but many are still struggling to stay afloat in its wake. The retrenchment in credit by the banking industry has left all but those with deep pockets (or a concept for a mobile app) searching for capital. The search is especially arduous for small businesses looking to get off the ground. With few traditional lending options available, where do small businesses turn? (more…)
Image from Global Partnership for Education: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gpforeducation/8380035279/
More and more people have access to health information online and many people are consulting online health resources to inform their options for care. All of these searches, inquiries, and posts can be mined to provide the public with a snapshot of the local health scene. Whether it’s tracking a flu outbreak, scanning for the next wave of an infectious disease, or determining where child vaccination rates are dangerously low, this data can prove helpful for decision-makers. But how do these emerging tools address privacy concerns? And how can aggregated health data help shape the way we engage with communities around health? (more…)
Image from killerturnip: https://www.flickr.com/photos/70044955@N00/11526752666/
As Metro continues its efforts to build a countywide bike share program, the agency recently released a new crowdsourcing map that identifies communities that may be primed for bike share due to various factors (e.g., population and employment density, job and trip attractors, topography, bicycle infrastructure, community support, and funding availability). Metro is asking members of the public to suggest neighborhoods or cities in the County that may be good locations for a future bike share program. (more…)
Image from WSDOT: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/14826544779/
On November 24th, a state appeals court rejected SANDAG’s 2050 Regional Transportation Plan because it does not adequately consider the environmental impacts of future traffic projects and, therefore, does not comply with regulations set forth by SB 375. The 2-1 decision cited the lack of details on how future transportation projects may affect climate change and regional air quality – and went on to state that the plan failed “to offer ways to address those problems.” (more…)
The Bay Area’s BART commuter rail system finally has a connection to Oakland International Airport. The new 3.2-mile BART route replaces the shuttle bus that ferried passengers between the airport and the nearest BART station. Rail officials tout the project as a significant time saver, but the new line is not without its detractors.