Does TV damage your sex life?

When I was a kid people used to say that television had ruined the art of conversation. Strangely, this assertion was often made by pompous people who were not exactly noted conversationalists. And I had a friend who used to say that the best conversations in his house were between him and the TV. But now some economists have tackled the much more important question of whether TV affects viewers’ sex lives. This NBER paper — “Does Television Kill Your Sex Life? Microeconometric Evidence from 80 Countries”, by Adrienne Lucas and Nicholas Wilson, argues that it does.

The Abstract reads, in part:

This paper examines the association between television ownership and coital frequency using data from nearly 4 million individuals in national household surveys in 80 countries from 5 continents. The results suggest that while television may not kill your sex life, it is associated with some sex life morbidity. Under our most conservative estimate, we find that television ownership is associated with approximately a 6% reduction in the likelihood of having had sex in the past week, consistent with a small degree of substitutability between television viewing and sexual activity. Household wealth and reproductive health knowledge do not appear to be driving this association.

So now we know!

Will Tesla just be the Apple of the electric-car market?

Ben Evans is one of the most perceptive observers of the tech industry.

When I bought my first Toyota Prius hybrid many years ago I marvelled at the engineering ingenuity that went into making hybrid tech so seamless. And then realised that (a) Toyota would license the drivetrain to other manufacturers and (b) the technology would eventually be commoditised. So now almost every car manufacturer offers hybrid models even though few of them actually developed the drivetrain themselves. It’s Brian Arthur’s model of technological innovation at work.

The iPhone — multitouch — analogy is useful. Most smartphones are not iPhones, but most of the profits from smartphones are currently captured by Apple. The big question for Tesla is whether — when electric cars become mundane — it can hold onto Apple-scale margins. In that context, you could say that Nissan — with its Leaf — might be the Samsung of the electric car business.

Quote of the Day

”When a thousand people believe some made-up story for one month, that’s fake news. When a billion people believe it for a thousand years, that’s a religion, and we are admonished not to call it fake news in order not to hurt the feelings of the faithful (or incur their wrath).”

Yuval Noah Harari, Observer, 5 August 2018.

The commodification of machine learning

From The Register this morning:

The latest version of TensorFlow can now be run on the Raspberry Pi.

“Thanks to a collaboration with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, we’re now happy to say that the latest 1.9 release of TensorFlow can be installed from pre-built binaries using Python’s pip package system,” according to a blog post written by Pete Warden, an engineer working on the TensorFlow team at Google.

It’s pretty easy to install if you’ve got a Raspberry Pi running Raspbian 9.0 and either Python 2.7 or anything newer than Python 3.4. After that it’s only a few simple lines of code, and you’re done.

Here’s a quick overview on how to install it, it also includes some troubleshooting advice just in case you run into some problems.