We had two terrible losses this week. Not people but websites, Intrade and Google Reader.
The corporate auditors for the real-money Irish prediction markets site Intrade found improprieties with payments to the late founder John Delaney and have effectively shut down the site, probably for good. I never bet money on Intrade but they made their bet data easily available. I used Intrade data to power my electoral markets map, possibly the most accurate predictor of elections, at least until Nate Silver came along. Even then our map updated in real time based on new information reflected in market prices, while Nate had to wait for poll data. I also used Intrade generated graphs of prediction market prices in dozens of talks I've given over the past decade. There are other sites for prediction aggregation but painful to lose the granddaddy of them all.
Google announced it is closing down Google Reader, Google's newsreader on July 1. I find Reader invaluable for keeping up with the theory blogs, especially those that don't post that often (I'm looking at you Scott and Luca) as well as a various collection of other blogs and my daily Dilbert. Not to mention the 2241 people who subscribe to this blog on Google Reader. There are alternatives (I'm trying Feedly) and I will be more vigilant on sharing posts on Twitter and Google+ but the real question is to why do fewer people use Google Reader. Is the flood of stuff on the Internet gotten so large we don't even try to keep up with it?