Gregory Ferenstein


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  • Harvard Researchers Find A Creative Way To Make Incentives Work

    Harvard Researchers Find A Creative Way To Make Incentives Work

    Incentives are all the rage: employee bonus pay, app badges, student grades, and even lunch with President Obama. Despite their widespread use, most research finds that incentives are terrible at improving performance in the long-run on anything but mindless rote tasks, because the fixation on prizes clouds our creative thinking (video explanation below). However, a new Harvard study of… Read More

  • Facedeals: Check-In On Facebook With Facial Recognition. Creepy or Awesome?

    Facedeals: Check-In On Facebook With Facial Recognition. Creepy or Awesome?

    Now you can check-in to a location on Facebook through facial recognition scanning. The Redpepper ad agency claims to be beta testing a camera on the outside of a “Nashville business” that automatically checks patrons in to a location and offers them deals, after users have given the company access to their Facebook data (note: this was developed independently from Facebook). A… Read More

  • Online Education Degrees Now Dwarf Traditional Universities

    Online Education Degrees Now Dwarf Traditional Universities

    Education degrees earned at online universities now dwarf those of traditional universities. USA Today analyzed recent Department of Education data and found that online education behemoth, the University of Phoenix, awarded more than twice as many education degrees as its closest traditional competitor, Arizona State University (5,976 vs. 2,075). Read More

  • 10 Million Views, ‘Political Prostitution’ Video Shows Content Pirates Aren’t Terrorists

    10 Million Views, ‘Political Prostitution’ Video Shows Content Pirates Aren’t Terrorists

    A professionally produced anti-entertainment lobby video has already garnered 10 million views for illustrating why movie pirates shouldn’t be treated like terrorists. Political Prostitution, a new website backed by anonymous donors, argues that the commando-style raids of piracy websites is driven by congressional corruption, bought by the entertainment lobby. Read More

  • MTV Launches Beta For Fantasy Election Game [10 Invites Available]

    MTV Launches Beta For Fantasy Election Game [10 Invites Available]

    MTV has launched a Fantasy Football-style election game aimed at baiting young citizens into becoming civically active. In “Fantasy Election“, users compete for glory and prizes over who can predict which politicians will be the uber-public servant: popular in the polls, honest with constituents, engaging in social media, and choosing to communicate substance over style. Read More

  • Joel Klein, Sal Khan And Sebastian Thrun On Inventing The Future Of Education, At Disrupt SF

    Joel Klein, Sal Khan And Sebastian Thrun On Inventing The Future Of Education, At Disrupt SF

    Three trailblazing figures in educational technology are showcasing the future of learning at our upcoming annual conference, Disrupt San Francisco. Bill Gates’ “favorite teacher”, Sal Khan, who founded the wildly popular Youtube-based Khan Academy, will speak about his pioneering work in the “flipped classroom” and launch a new feature to his site. Perhaps… Read More

  • Inside Funny Or Die’s Viral Video Machine

    Inside Funny Or Die’s Viral Video Machine

    In a digital world of one-hit wonders, Funny or Die is the Beatles of the Internet, churning out viral hit after viral hit. As a result, the celebrity-laden sketch comedy site has become an oasis of financial success in an online video industry still dominated by garage directors struggling to make premium content. What’s the secret sauce behind their viral machine? First, give your… Read More

  • Congress Goes On Recess Without Cybersecurity Law

    Congress Goes On Recess Without Cybersecurity Law

    “This is one of those days when I fear for our country, and I’m not proud of the United States Senate,” said Senator Joe Lieberman, referring to Congress’s inability to pass a critical cybersecurity bill before a month-long recess. Despite a rare op-ed from President Obama urging congress to pass legislation, the Senate couldn’t agree on privacy provisions… Read More

  • Beyond Partisanship: Congress Unanimously Opposes UN Internet Takeover

    Beyond Partisanship: Congress Unanimously Opposes UN Internet Takeover

    Democrats and Republicans in Congress can’t agree on a budget, cybersecurity, immigration, tax reform, or even whether to sanction their corrupt colleagues. But, the House of Representatives unanimously opposed more United Nations control over the Internet. Read More

  • Chick-Fil-A Is Actually Popular: How Social Media Distorts Your View of The World

    Chick-Fil-A Is Actually Popular: How Social Media Distorts Your View of The World

    Despite an inescapable torrent of opposition from popular tech blogs, Twitter users, and city mayors against Chick-fil-A, the self-avowed anti-gay marriage restaurant enjoyed record-breaking sales yesterday. Had I just gazed the world through my Twitter feed, I would think Chick-fil-A was on the verge of bankruptcy…and also that Ron Paul was president, gay marriage was legal, and… Read More

  • YouTube Gets An Investigative News Channel

    YouTube Gets An Investigative News Channel

    Crack journalism is coming to the land of cat and Justin Bieber videos: YouTube is helping to launch a new channel with the Center for Investigative Journalism (CIR). The new “I Files” channel will curate videos from sources such as The New York Times and Al Jazeera, in a attempt to bring some much needed attention to the fledgling investigative journalism space and bolster… Read More

  • T-Shirt Company Picks A Fight With Anonymous

    T-Shirt Company Picks A Fight With Anonymous

    A French t-shirt company has brazenly picked a fight with one of the world’s fiercest hacker groups. Anonymous, known for crippling the world’s most secure websites (including the FBI’s), has vowed revenge against apparel company, Early Flicker, who registered the hacker group’s logo as their own intellectual property. Read More

  • Study: Texting Iz Destroying Student Grammar

    Study: Texting Iz Destroying Student Grammar

    Texting-addled young minds are losing their grip on the English language, according to a new study from Wake Forest. The research, which reveals a correlation between the use of SMS-abbreviations and poor grammar proficiency, comes as bitter sweet vindication for modern teachers who have to waste time decrypting the odd new language of teenagers. Read More

  • Verizon Can No Longer Charge For Tethering, FCC Declares

    Verizon Can No Longer Charge For Tethering, FCC Declares

    Verizon has been slapped with a $1.25 million fine for charging customers to use their cell phones as a mobile Internet hotspot, and has declared that it must allow tethering for free. Google must also reinstate tethering applications from its Android store, which Verizon had asked them to remove. This is especially great news considering more Android devices (and perhaps the next iPhone)… Read More

  • Caught Blue-Handed: Someone Is Buying Mitt Romney Twitter Popularity

    Caught Blue-Handed: Someone Is Buying Mitt Romney Twitter Popularity

    It looks like someone made the colossally silly decision to buy Mitt Romney Twitter followers. In just a few days earlier this month, Romney saw of a spike of 150,000 Twitter followers, and most of these likely fake accounts, had less than 2 followers themselves, according to some crack reporting by The Atlantic. It is unknown whether the purchase was made by someone at Camp Romney, a clueless… Read More

  • What Those Mysterious Cell Phone Fees Fund: $115 Million For Rural Broadband

    What Those Mysterious Cell Phone Fees Fund: $115 Million For Rural Broadband

    Ever wonder what those mysterious government service fees on your cell phone bill go to fund? Part of it goes toward a newly launched $415 million plan to provide 400,000 rural netizens with some broadband goodness. The Connect America Fund, a Obama-administration supported plan for universal access to broadband, is part of a larger $4.5 billion mission to connect 19 million homes to… Read More

  • Distracted Walking Injuries Quadruple — Mobile Devices to Blame?

    Distracted Walking Injuries Quadruple — Mobile Devices to Blame?

    The number of citizens wandering into ditches, on-coming cars, and each other while staring at electronics has “quadrupled”, according to the Associated Press. “Look up. Drivers aren’t always looking out for you,” reads a Delaware traffic safety sign, one of many states that are turning to the magic of PSA billboards as a substitute for state legislatures that… Read More

  • No More Calls From Strangers: Amicus Uses Facebook To Recruit Political Volunteers

    No More Calls From Strangers: Amicus Uses Facebook To Recruit Political Volunteers

    The process of recruiting volunteers is a pain felt by the entire American electorate: citizens are quick to hang up on complete strangers begging for their time and campaign organizations, as a result, are perpetually short-staffed. Amicus, a Y Combinator nonprofit volunteer-recruitment platform, may have found a clever way to ensure that citizens are only contacted by trusted friends. Read More

  • The Best Gym For Startups: CrossFit

    The Best Gym For Startups: CrossFit

    It’s surreal to see an entire startup engineering team that could double as a troupe of volunteer firefighters. Yet, for the growing list of startups that are sending their workforce to the Navy Seal-friendly gym phenomenon, CrossFit, having an entire team of buff employees is surprisingly realistic. “We carry so much more energy throughout the the day after a workout,”… Read More

  • Lose Weight Watching Reality TV? NetPulse Scores $15M For Entertaining Gym Equipment

    Lose Weight Watching Reality TV? NetPulse Scores $15M For Entertaining Gym Equipment

    Would you get off the couch and into the gym if you could watch Desperate Housewives on the treadmill? If so, you’re not alone: Netpulse, makers of an interactive entertainment kiosk for gym equipment, has just scored a $15 million C round from August Capital and co-founder, David Marquardt, has joined the board. Netpulse is betting that gym-goers, especially those who need some… Read More