A computer scientist at Harvard writes that any searches involving black-sounding names are more likely to be accompanied by ads suggestive of a criminal record than white-sounding names.
For her paper, Latanya Sweeney collected about 2000 names suggestive of race. She used the names in Google and Reuters searches and reported that black-identifying names were more likely to generate ads that including the word "arrest." (Here's a sample of the search results)
Coincidence? She claims there's a 0.1 per cent chance that the ads were generated by chance.
First names, assigned at birth to more black or white babies, are found predictive of race (88% black, 96% white), and those assigned primarily to black babies, such as DeShawn, Darnell and Jermaine, generated ads suggestive of an arrest in 81 to 86 percent of name searches on one website and 92 to 95 percent on the other, while those assigned at birth primarily to whites, such as Geoffrey, Jill and Emma, generated more neutral copy: the word "arrest" appeared in 23 to 29 percent of name searches on one site and 0 to 60 percent on the other. On the more ad trafficked website, a black-identifying name was 25% more likely to get an ad suggestive of an arrest record. A few names did not follow these patterns. All ads return results for actual individuals and ads appear regardless of whether the name has an arrest record in the company's database.
A Google spokesperson, however, tells MIT Technology Review the company's Ad Words program does not engage in racial profiling.2 Comments)
Liquor v. family time, the mother who lost four kids to gun violence, the cyber safe crackers, the fix is in, and fun things to do in the cold.
It was three years ago today that Brendan Burke, the 21-year-old son of Edina native (sort of) Brian Burke, died in a car crash in Indiana, and one wonders how the culture of sports might have changed -- at least in the National Hockey League -- had he lived.
Brendan was gay. Had he not followed his dad's footsteps and gone into sports team management, he probably would have become a politician.
Instead, he was best known for his courage, for telling his father he was gay.(0 Comments)
Lindsey Vonn was hurt today in a crash in Austria...
Looks bad, but the way she got to the hospital looks pretty harrowing as well. First the helicopter picked her up.
And that it flew her and her rescuers miles to the hospital...(3 Comments)
I was a comparatively early fan of the people who used better statistics to analyze baseball -- SABRmetrics, as it's called -- but this? This makes my head hurt, football.
It's a graph from Dan McLaughlin, who writes the Baseball Crank blog. He takes on football, too.
What does this tell us? It tells us the Super Bowl games are getting closer than they used to be, according to his article today on Grantland.
He doesn't say why they're closer than they once were, so we'll assume it's a natural result of the NFL's insistence on parity which makes many teams just like many other teams.(0 Comments)
The Texas A&M University Transportation Institute has released a report saying that traffic congestion in the Twin Cities makes us waste 34 hours a year in the car than we otherwise would if there were substantially fewer traffic woes.
The Urban Mobility Report -- available here -- says the 34 hours of wasted time (unless you're listening to something worth listening to on the radio, of course) is a little less than other cities.
But 34 hours? That's a lot. Or is it? Obviously, it depends on your average commute. According to the report's stress index, if you have a 20 minute commute when the roads are fine, it'll be a 25 minute commute at peak traffic.
Assuming you drive in two different directions on your commute and you do so five days a week, you're "losing" just under 4 minutes per trip, which -- if that really bothers you -- you could cut in half by leaving work 4 minutes early today.
The report also contains a Planning Time Index which shows a 20-minute commute in the Twin Cities could be about an hour, but that's based on a ratio of uncongested freeways vs. the worst day of the month. And every day isn't the worst day of the month.
The report also says one -- a minor one, but still one -- solution to the problem is to adjust one's expectations. When people all want to get to the same spot at the same time, it's going to take a little longer than when they don't.(3 Comments)
The gun debate hits the Capitol, prison for Nizzel George's killer, where is the line between honoring and exploiting the kids of Newtown?
Here's today's news conversation with Mary Lucia on The Current.(2 Comments)