The Ice Tree is Back!

As reported in Detroit Moxie, Detroit’s coolest attractive nuisance has returned. After a warmer-than-usual December and early January, winter temperatures have finally arrived in the city, giving us cause to be optimistic regarding the remainder of the ice tree season.  Over the past week kids and adults alike have been seen having a great time climbing on, skating around, spelunking within pine-scented grottos of, and generally admiring and being inspired by our great city’s grandest, coldest, slipperiest, jaggedest, and probably most dangerous public art installation.

The 2012 Ice Tree. Photo: Roger J. Frank, Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The winter of 2011 was a very sad time on Belle Isle, when the tipi-like structure of discarded tree parts was erected, but the water supply to the installation was never turned on. According to Belle Isle Manager Keith Flournoy, cold weather froze and damaged the pipes before the structure could be completed. “We had no idea how beloved that tree was until last year, when it was gone,” Mr. Flournoy said in an interview, citing numerous telephone inquires park staff received from ice tree admirers. Continue reading

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Extreme Profiling via Cellphone Records

Banks Determine Creditworthiness From Calling and Location Data

The Cambridge, Massachusetts firm Cignifi is making yet another small step on behalf of the practice of demographic profiling. Marketed towards banks in developing nations where a prevalence of cash transactions challenges conventional means of assessing credit risk, Cignifi’s innovative modeling software studies the time of day, duration, and even location of a cellphone user’s calls to to determine, with supposedly remarkable accuracy, the degree of risk involved in extending a line of credit.

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