Google plans to launch an online TV service early next year, and the company seems to be wrapping up deals with a number of major content providers. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday Google has already signed on CBS, and is in advanced talks with 21st Century Fox and Disney. Reuters reported Viacom is also in talks with Google to provide content beyond the CBS brand. Reuters says the content will be offered as a subscription service through YouTube, for $30 to $40 per month.
NPR blogs about a new online tool to explore your city’s history of housing discrimination. The tool offers interactive, historical maps that show the effects of “redlining” on certain neighborhoods. The practice of redlining determined where people would be able to get home loans backed by the federal government in the 1930s and 1940s. The areas where homeowners encountered the most barriers to getting loans were disproportionately black neighborhoods. If you click through the link, you can zoom in on the maps to see the exact neighborhoods in 150 U.S. cities where this discrimination happened.
Don’t blame the robots
What is the deal with American manufacturing? Factories have shed hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide, but productivity has soared. The Washington Post published a Q & A with two smart economists to untangle the story of what’s actually going on. It turns out, we can’t blame robots for all the job losses. But the globalization explanation needs some fine tuning as well.
Watching for water
Snow isn’t falling in the Sierra Nevada mountains like it used to, and that’s really bad news for California’s water supply. New Scientist has a look at how the state is deploying new technology to better manage that supply. SierraNet will cover the mountains with a network of sensors that give precise measurements of how much precipitation is actually up there, waiting to wash down into the state’s reservoirs. By measuring the water while it’s still snow, state officials are hoping they’ll be able to more accurately project how much water the reservoirs will have in the months ahead, which directly affects hydroelectric power—and how much Californians pay for electricity.