Tag: technology

November 28, 2012 / / racial profiling
Uber’s Home Page.

Can disruptive technology provide a fix for social issues?

Silicon Valley darling Uber may be on to something. The service–which provides town car, SUV, or luxury vehicle service with a few taps of a smartphone–is considered the killer app for inefficient taxi service. Sitting pretty on close to $50 million dollars in venture funding, Uber is rapidly expanding its operations.

Uber is not without controversy. It’s a premium service with a premium price tag. The New York Times, in reporting on Uber’s new lower-priced hybrid option shows the high cost of convenience:

In San Francisco, for example, the hybrid cars will cost $5 for the base fee, and then $3.25 a mile after that. By contrast, the town cars cost $8 for the base fee and then $4.95 a mile. Taxis in San Francisco cost $3.16 a mile including a tip of 15 percent.

In addition to the steep cost, Uber is currently embroiled in lawsuits around skirting consumer protections, ran afoul of taxi laws in a few states, and is having problems fitting their tech into areas with safety rules about handheld devices on the road. Combine that with shady “surge pricing” practices that increase the price of a car in real time with demand, and there is a huge problem. (Also, see Paul Carr’s discussion of the ethics of hypercapitalism and Uber here and here.)

However, most analysis of Uber’s costs and benefits leave out one huge piece of the appeal: the premium car service removes the racism factor when you need a ride. Read the Post Cab Drivers, Uber, And The Costs Of Racism

July 25, 2012 / / beauty

Kevin Roose, over at New York Magazine, decided to launch a column called “Dumb Money: Exposing Silicon Valley’s Stupidest Investments.” He writes:

But Silicon Valley, like any other industry, has its share of truly dumb ideas. For every start-up that changes the world and makes its founders rich, a thousand die quick, anonymous deaths.

Some of tech’s clunkers never get off the ground, but others manage to get big, high-profile investments despite having no redeeming qualities whatsoever. (For example, what kind of genius decided to throw $1.2 million at NaturallyCurly, the “leading social network and community for people with wavy, curly and kinky hair?”)

Roose provides no actual evidence as to why NaturallyCurly is a bad investment. He doesn’t cite a thing – not their traffic numbers, no advertising sales, and no discussion of the exponential growth in the market they offer. But why should he? NaturallyCurly doesn’t fit the pattern – and Roose’s casual dismal underscores exactly why minorities, women of color in particular, have such a hard time breaking into the consciousness of the tech world. Read the Post New York Magazine Deems Naturally Curly A Bad Investment For No Reason

May 25, 2011 / / Culturelicious

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid

Sometimes there’s love in laughter. And the cast and crew bringing the new web series East Willy B have a lot of love for the real-life neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn, and (most) of the fictional characters.

The series’ heart is Willie Reyes, Jr. (Flaco Navaja) the 30-something Puerto Rican-proud bar owner who inherited the business from his dad, including the barfly crushing on him, Giselle (Caridad “La Bruja” de la Cruz). Wille is trying to keep his bar, which has served as the nabe’s hangout and nerve center, from closing down due gentrification in the form of his ex-girlfriend Maggie (April Hernandez) and her new white beau (and Willie’s longtime rival), Albert (Danny Hoch), and the incoming white hipsters looking for cheap(er) rent.

Transcript of the premiere episode after the jump.

Read the Post Welcome to East Willy B! [Culturelicious]

September 2, 2010 / / media
August 23, 2010 / / gender

by Latoya Peterson

I don’t know what happened to August, but September is staring us in the face and it’s the last week to vote for our South by Southwest Panels! (Voting Closes Friday, argh!)

Here’s my idea for this year:

Tech Power to the People! Digital Community Engagement

Latoya Peterson, Racialicious.com

How do we ensure no one is left behind in the tech revolution? This panel is designed to provide a look into the best practices for using media to engage with communities, particularly minority outreach and low income/low access areas. This panel will feature a variety of activists explaining the ways in which they have used mobile campaigns, apps, blogs, and other methods to engage their communities and transfer skills, as well as tips for evaluation and measuring results.

Questions answered:

1. How can I ensure that the community I am working with can actually utilize this technology? Read the Post Vote for Our Race, Tech, and Social Justice SXSW Panels!

May 18, 2010 / / class
August 26, 2009 / / LGBTQ

by Guest Contributor Andrés Duque, originally published at Blabbeando

What’s up with the Spanish-language version of “Yahoo! Answers”?

As the moderator of a couple of online news lists on LGBT issues, I sometimes rely on Google Alerts to keep up with the latest news on the LGBT community. Once in a while the results will highlight links to some homophobic content on the internet, but that’s to be expected.

A few months back, though, I noticed one interesting trend: While LGBT-related questions to the “Yahoo! Answers” English-language service rarely popped-up and were inoffensive when they did, questions submitted to Spanish-language versions of the service (mainly to “Yahoo! Responde Mexico” & “Yahoo! Responde Spain“) showed up frequently. And, more often than not, they were also tinged with homophobic drivel.

So I geeked out and started keeping those Google Alerts last February. I probably missed a few, and there are probably a lot more questions submitted that were not captured by the Google bots, but I’ve posted the “Yahoo! Response” questions that came my way during that period of time (below I’ve included the original question in Spanish and provided a translation. I have also provided a link to the question if they are still on Yahoo!’s servers).

Results:

Obviously, there are some questions that might have been submitted from a lack of knowledge on LGBT issues rather than homophobic intent (questions about homosexuality and religion or whether gays are ‘born or made’), or those posed by people making sense of their sexual attractions (“How do I know I’m Gay?” “Does this make me a lesbian?”), or those that might be from people just joking around (“Is My Cat Gay?”).

Surprisingly, though, I’d say that roughly half the questions I collected seemed to have a specific homophobic intent which seemed rather high to me and, of those, only a few had been removed from the site after being posted. Read the Post What’s up with the Spanish-language version of “Yahoo! Answers”?