Read for Later - Amazon Bookstore, the Digital Divide, and Privacy

Amazon. Bookstore. All over the news this week. There was other news, too, but Amazon Bookstore stole the show. Oh, and The New York Times sent a bunch of people a VR viewer - but we covered that a lot over the past several weeks.   
And we're still experimenting with TinyLetter to get this update sent out via email to subscribers. Let's see how it goes. You can subscribe at and await your email next Monday.  
Check out the Center's trend collection to see how this scanning comes together to identify trends relevant to our future work - and let us know what you're reading this week to help think about later.

Assorted Interests

  • In addition to concerns for income and opportunity inequality, the poor are also likely to experience inequalities in happiness, stress, and optimism about the future, as compared to wealthier citizens 
  • Double Robotics is working to bring a virtual version of you to the real world through telepresence robots that leverage Wi-Fi networks, tablets, and a stalk with wheels at the bottom that can be remote controlled - oh, and they'll be at the LITA Forum this week in Minneapolis
  • The Smart Pavement project in Chesham, England, a collaboration of the Chiltern District Council and Virgin Media, is the first example of a city installing municipal Wi-Fi underneath its streets
  • The service is available to all 21,000 residents as they can connect to the network from as far as 260 feet away from a sidewalk, resulting in coverage through the entire town center and the surrounding park
  • Also covered in PSFK
  • Part of an ongoing series supported by The Rockefeller Foundation and The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, this week’s posts include a focus on the Maker Movement and a world full of information
  • Not-for-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation and Code Club, a U.K.-based volunteer-led charitable organization which runs after school programs to get kids coding, are merging to advance the core mission of both organizations - getting more kids involved with tech
  • The mortality rate for white men and women ages 45-54 with less than a college education increased markedly between 1999 and 2013, most likely because of problems with legal and illegal drugs, alcohol and suicide, researchers concluded

Books, Publishing, and Media

  • Story Pod, a portable lending library designed by Atelier Kastelic Buffey, is a 64 square foot, easy-to-transport, box with two pivoting doors that open like a book to reveal reading nooks
  • Academia, a social network where academics can publish their papers and have them reviewed by other experts, is exploring a new option, PaperRank, that would help academics quickly determine the quality and validity of a paper by providing them with a crowd-sourced scoring system


  • Research from Brookings confirms that peripheral communities (suburbs) are growing more rapidly than denser, inner ring areas, spurred by an aging millennial generation and growing interest from minorities and immigrants all looking for child-friendly, affordable, lower-density living
  • A partnership between the Chicago Park District, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and the nonprofit Fractured Atlas, have launched an online inventory of public spaces, the Chicago Parks Art Spaces directory, available for artists to search for spaces they can rent for performances, rehearsals, exhibitions, workshops or other uses
  • MUJI, the Japanese home goods and furniture brand had already produced a line of prefab “Vertical Houses” in Japan and recently announced it will be offering a series of tiny homes called MUJI Hut, designed to explore sustainable living through minimalism.

Digital Divide

  • A new report from Common Sense Media, a nonprofit children’s advocacy and media ratings group in San Francisco, finds that many teenagers from low-income households encounter disadvantages in doing homework compared with those in middle-income and high-income homes because fewer of the low-income youths own laptops, desktops and tablets
  • An interesting look at how one professor working for Extension Services is traveling across Mississippi to teach rural residents the value of the Internet – a message that if residents don’t at least try to think digitally, the digital economy will disrupt them, draining communities of young people, and leaving businesses behind.


  • Being online increasingly means being put into categories based on a socioeconomic portrait built over time by advertisers and search engines collecting individual’s data—a portrait that data brokers buy and sell, but that individuals cannot control or even see.
  • The free encrypted calling and texting app from Open Whisper Systems, Signal, a darling of the privacy community and recommended and used by Edward Snowden himself, is now available for Android through Google’s Play store
  • Also covered in The Verge
  • The California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA), a landmark digital privacy law that requires California police to obtain a warrant from a judge before they can access electronic information about people’s identities, where they go, who they know and what they do, was recently signed into law by the Governor
  • The law protects digital information held by companies, including the content of emails and cloud documents, location information and metadata as well as data on individual consumers’ computers and mobile devices 
  • Snapchat’s recent update to its Terms of Service included phrases like “perpetual right” and “your likeness,” raising privacy concerns, which the company clarified to indicate that private messages and pics would not appear publicly in advertisements, but that the changes were motivated by the new Live Stories, a collaborative feature where users can upload photos and videos from different locations to crowdsource one giant Snap story for everyone to look at, a feature Snapchat wants to be able to monetize
  • Also covered in Fast Company and TechCrunch

Virtual Reality

  • As VR emerges as the next big technology, the integration of touch is still a major hurdle toward accomplishing the visions of VR science fiction promised
  • YouTube is unveiling 360-degree virtual reality videos and a virtual movie theater for all YouTube videos, available to anyone with a Google Cardboard headset, part of a goal to “democratize virtual reality” and “bring VR to everybody, no matter who you are or what your favorite piece of content is”