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Facebook Removes Human Curators From Trending Module

Today, Facebook announced that human curators will no longer write short descriptions that accompany trending topics on the site. Instead, the company will rely on an algorithmic process to “pull excerpts directly from stories.” The company also said it will stop using human curators to sort through the news…. It’s important to note that Facebook originally claimed its Trending Topics section was sorted by an algorithm. The company seems to have…

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How Different Cultures Understand Time

Business Insider calls this article an “anecdote… provided by linguist and cross-culture studies expert Richard Lewis.” The article provides several direct links to other works by Lewis, including an Amazon link for his book and an advertisement for the services he offers to businesses. The article makes many unsourced claims, and assumes that all Americans (and all Spaniards and all Germans) have a uniform attitude towards time. I’m sure that…

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The cultural implications of the myth that English majors end up working permanently at Starbucks

Would you like facts with that? English majors are statistically more likely to end up as CEOs, doctors or accountants than food service workers. The top occupations for English-degree holders ages 27 to 66 are elementary and middle school teachers, postsecondary teachers, and lawyers, judges, magistrates and other judicial workers. Indeed, English majors, who go on to a range of careers, are less likely to work in food service than…

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Facebook’s News Feed: Often Changed, Never Great

I’ve never liked Instant Articles — Facebook’s Newspeak term for “We want to make it harder for users to leave Facebook even when they’ve chosen to follow a link to an article on a news source.” In The New Yorker, Om Malik writes about Facebook’s evolving interface. There are days when I look at my news feed and it seems like a social fabric of fun—a video of the first…

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A Liberal-Arts Education for Business Majors

The world needs well-rounded leaders. A liberal arts degree encourages the kind of critical thinking that breeds managers and CEOs. American undergraduates are flocking to business programs, and finding plenty of entry-level opportunities. But when businesses go hunting for CEOs or managers, “they will say, a couple of decades out, that I’m looking for a liberal arts grad,” said Judy Samuelson, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society…

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Facebook is predicting the end of the written word

Facebook’s video push threatens the edited TV news package as much as it threatens the written word. I’ve definitely noticed a difference in traffic when I post a YouTube video (which generally gets modest attention on FB but often accumulates views over time) vs when I post similar content directly within Facebook (which FB seems to promote more quickly, but which disappears into the memory hole about 24 hours later,…