Jeff Horwich is the interim host of Marketplace Morning Report and a sometime-Marketplace reporter. He is the former host of "In The Loop" from Minnesota Public Radio and a former business and economics correspondent for MPR. He is a graduate of Duke University and has a Master's in applied economics from the University of Minnesota.


Features by Jeff Horwich

Not going to Google+? That's OK: it'll come to you.

What -- you’re not using Google+ all the time? If you're like me, and you signed up somehow kind of by accident when you clicked a Gmail link that said you were in somebody's "circle" or something, maybe you just need more prodding to jump in there and mix it up. Like a really big prod, right in your inbox. Google announced Tuesday that it’s going to start pushing Google+ comments to users’ inboxes:

"Notification e-mails are a great way to keep up with what's happening in the Google+ stream: whether someone mentions you, comments on your post, or shares with you directly," Google Software Engineer Zohair Hyder wrote in a blog post.

Right. Because “keeping up” with what’s happening on Google+ on your own would require knowing what it is and how it works. And caring, which is something Google is clearly still struggling with. I guess it's only fair that they struggle with something.;editorPicks

Uptight loser analyst guy hatin' on the hoodie.

As Zuck makes the rounds with the Facebook IPO "road show," at least one analyst seems a little peeved that Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t feel any need to dress up for the occasion. With that big payday coming, you'd think the least he could do is throw on a tie with that hoodie. But maybe suddenly sending different signals via his wardrobe would somehow violate the IPO "quiet period"...;editorPicks

Is venture capital “broken?”

The entrepreneurial experts at the Kauffman Foundation think so. Their new study declares the VC industry has gotten too big, and isn't returning what it should to investors. Essentially, the players involved seem to be maximizing their own returns, with less-than-optimal returns for the rest of us:

Limited Partners—foundations, endowments, and state pension fund—invest too much capital in underperforming venture capital funds on frequently mis-aligned terms. Our research suggests that investors like us succumb time and again to narrative fallacies, a well-studied behavioral finance bias.

Here's the full report (hosted by GigaOm) -- I'm just starting my way through it. The logic is a bit clunky for the outsider, but I'm thinking we might be able to tear into this and break down the important implications for an upcoming show...

Spamming the 2012 election; tablets for bonobos!

Web security firm Impermium is charting the role of social media spam in the 2012 race for president. And researchers in Iowa are about to find out what happens when you give apes tablet computers. (Planet of the Apes, anyone?)
Posted In: tablets, spam, 2012 election

Full interview: Tablet computers for bonobos

A chat with Dr. Ken Schweller of the Great Ape Trust sanctuary in Des Moines, Iowa, where they are hoping to put an Android tablet in the hands of each bonobo.
Posted In: tablets, apes, Bonobo Chat

Full interview: Tablet computers for bonobos

This is an extended interview with Dr. Ken Schweller of the Great Ape Trust, who was featured in our April 2 Marketplace Tech Report episode. Schweller has written a tablet app called Bonobo Chat, which allows the apes (our closest living relatives) to "speak" with their keepers, open doors, operate vending machines, and perhaps to operate a special robot that can roam around outside their cages and interact with visitors. That's pretty darn cool...even if it does suggest inviting some kind of "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" scenario...

As is our lot, there's much more to it than we had time for on the show, and we sure had fun talking to him. This more-or-less full audio of our chat is about six minutes long. Enjoy!

One social network that promises not to 'monetize' you

Despite pressure to show uses ads and make hay from their personal data, CaringBridge refuses. They're a special case, but are there lessons here for other social networks?
Posted In: social networks, Facebook, caringbridge, Health, monetize, profits, nonprofits

Scientist who challenged Einstein resigns

You don't take on a physics god and not expect to pay the price.

It's not entirely clear what went down, but Antonio Ereditato has stepped down from his research-head post at Italy's National Institute of Physics. Ereditato was central to an experiment which seemed to show particals moving faster than the speed of light -- something supposedly impossible is E=MC(sq) holds up.

Word is, a faulty cable might have caused the measurement error. Point: Einstein.

Web superpowers gather in Hall of Justice to update nuts-and-bolts of the Internet

“HTTP” is due for an upgrade. Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the long-time lingua-franca of the web. The best way to describe it is the code by which a requester of digital content and a holder of digital content talk to one another to execute the hand-off. Making it better -- or substituting it with something better -- will speed things up for everybody, and so the Internet Engineering Task Force has met this week to consider how it’s to be done.

Google and Microsoft, among many others, have offered proposals that both compete and overlap to some degree -- both have developed protocols of their own that are already in limited use. It’s another fascinating example of how the multilateral, non-state-based institutions of Internet governance shape how the entire world communicates.

The other way to trigger the "Rise of the Planet of the Apes": give them iPads

Researchers at a bonobo (like a chimp, only smaller and more sex-crazed) sanctuary in Des Moines are experimenting with giving the apes tablet computers, which they can then use to pilot remote bonobo robots with water cannons. Yup -- but apparently this is real science. The tablets also let them open doors, activate vending machines, and communicate with their keepers.

And they’re not the first Midwestern researchers to see the obvious fact that great apes and tables computers belong together: the zoo in Milwaukee is working to give iPads to orangutans. ("iPads for Orangutans" -- I'd give to that charity.)


With Generous Support From...

Sustainability Coverage

  • The Kendeda Fund
  • Wealth & Poverty Coverage

  • The Ford Foundation