What you need to know about US Postal Service’s funding crisis, and how it could impact your vote in the November election

“The United States Postal Service, an essential service millions of Americans use every day, is currently suffering a financial crunch exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding shortage has increased service disruptions and heightened fears that voters’ ballots may not get delivered on time in November… “

“…The US Constitution vested in the federal government the power to create “to establish Post Offices and Post Roads,” with Benjamin Franklin appointed as the first-ever postmaster general in 1775. Its mission is to provide affordable mail and package delivery services to everywhere in the United States, no matter how remote or far-flung…””..

“…The Postal Service is especially burdened by 2006 federal legislation, the Postal Enhancement, and Accountability Act, which required it to refund all current and former employee retirement and health benefits in advance as opposed to a “pay as you go” system. The service saw its annual net losses double to $8.8 billion in 2019, and it currently has $160 billion in unfunded liabilities to those pre-paid pension and health plan obligations, according to the Washington Post...”

Read More… At the Business Insider… https://www.businessinsider.com/us-postal-service-delay-funding-crisis-mail-election-trump-explainer-2020-8?op=1

Why Data is the new Oil?

Oil has traditionally been considered one of the most valuable physical assets for the last few centuries. But this important commodity may have a new replacement: Data.

The arrival of the computer and subsequent evolution of internet has created a human reliance on technology. It has given birth to the importance of data. The top five giants of the tech world – Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft – know more about our daily interaction with gadgets than we ever will. These companies are collecting vast amounts of data from tens of millions of users every single day.

How Google Uses Your Data

When using Google Maps, you are, knowingly or unknowingly, sharing your location information with Google. Your data is then combined with more users to recognize traffic patterns. When a lot of vehicles are moving slowly along the same street, the map can suggest a faster route. It is the data from you and your fellow drivers that enables Google to make Maps effective.

Along with this, YouTube can predict your video preferences based on your location, trends, popularity and your search history. Google Assistant is evolving the way tech companies leverage the data they collect. Google itself has shared this information here.

How Data Drives Advertising

The primary job of an advertiser is to optimize every single dollar that he or she spends on marketing campaigns. To keep marketing expenses within budget, it is vital that the advertisement reaches the right audiences.

Data helps predict customer behavior. It also helps to target people who may have an interest in your product. This is vital information for companies that want to find individual customers based on their needs, rather than trying to guess.

Are Facebook and Google Really Free?

As per this article by Investopedia; Facebook generates the majority of its revenue from digital advertising, which isn’t possible without the data it collects from its 2 billion users.

The ‘free’ service that we use from Google or Facebook is not actually free. Each website (or app) that we use and each page we view on the internet is recorded. While browsing, we are inadvertently leaving behind our digital footprints and tech companies are able to leverage on it and monetize our data. If the product is available to you for free, you’re the product!

For example, take Facebook. Facebook knows what each of their users do across the web, even when they log out. It keeps track of the sites they visit, what time they visit, and shows them advertisements accordingly. All this is done in the name of giving the user a “personalized experience”.

How Data Helps Us

Keeping the cons aside, this information availability has changed the human relationship with technology. Self-driving cars wouldn’t exist without the availability of maps and the data of human behavior on roads among other things. We wouldn’t be able to make weather predictions and plan ahead without the availability of data.

Data visualization is the best way to communicate a story and put out facts in a way that captures human interests. The world has become organized and the quality of life has drastically improved because of the availability data of the population at large.

Data is to the Information Age as is Oil to the Industrial Age.

How we make products, solve human problems, and use data in a constructive way will define the next wave of technology. Oil has evolved the world into a better place by creating an enormous amount of wealth and prosperity. Data perhaps holds the similar potential and is already responsible for creating four of the five most valuable brands in the world.

Data has become the most valuable resource on the planet. However, it needs to be ethically extracted, refined, distributed and monetized. Like the way oil has driven growth and produced wealth for powerful nations, the next wave of growth will be driven by data.

Sumeet Santani

Sumeet Santani is a Second-year graduate student pursuing his M.S. in Information Management and Certification of Advanced Study in Data Science at the Syracuse University iSchool. He has over two years of professional experience in the IT industry specializing in data analytics, database management and data visualization and also has keen interest in information policy issues. He loves writing and has contributed to several publications and blogs since the beginning of his undergraduate college back in India.

Creating A New Future on the Heels of the Pandemic

Let’s create a New Normal. It will be an adventure. It will be fun. We don’t have to get new leaders we have plenty of them right now in the Gilmer County Democratic Party Let’s try to fuse the two parties together. It will be fun. The viral pandemic has already forced us to form a new lifestyle. Perhaps we can move about in society together if the government can support us to the tune of 2 grand a month. Perhaps we can work if the economic rulers can make the workplaces safe. Mostly they would only have to add large, powerful air movers to exhaust the air from a building and sanitize it like they do in hospitals. We cannot eat in restaurants where they do not exhaust the air from the room if we breathe the same air we and the employees will get sick. It’s all about the Air Conditioning if we want to open up Gilmer County to Tourism again. That and distancing along with masks. I don’t think it’s that hard to make Gilmer Country Safe Again.

When Dan Pearsons Heating and Air, came to my home to work on my Air Conditioner, we used distancing, masks, and gloves. That was a month ago and we are still alive. So it can be done.