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Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed [a Certain Political Slant] News

One day when I was an undergraduate working for one of two competing student papers, two rallies were held on opposite sides of the downtown mall. One group held signs like “Keep your laws off my body,” and “Keep abortion safe and legal,” and the other group held signs like “It’s a child, not a choice” and “Abortion stops a beating heart.” The student paper I did not work for ran…

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There is no cloud. It’s just someone else’s computer.

I have so far resisted the jump to streaming media. I do regularly by Kindle books, which Amazon can send down the memory hole without my permission . James Pinkstone gives me another reason to continue resisting. For about ten years, I’ve been warning people, “hang onto your media. One day… information will be a utility rather than a possession. Even information that you yourself have created will require unending, recurring payments just to…

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Facebook Hired Journalists to Train Its Trending Topics Algorithm

Recently I noticed an unusually incendiary phrase in the Facebook “trending” list, and noticed that several people in my feed were reacting strongly to that language. When I clicked the link, I was taken to a page that did not actually contain that phrase. When I searched news.google.com for the source of that phrase, the results came up nil. A few hours later, searched turned up bloggers who were angrily…

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Journalism isn’t dying. But it’s changing WAY faster than most people understand.

Think of journalism as falling into three basic baskets: The “what” basket, the “so what” basket and the “now what” basket. The “what” basket is filled with reporting in a straightforward manner on things that happened. “There was a fire at 8th and Elm Street today. No one was injured,” and all that. The “so what” basket is the why it happened and/or why it mattered arm of journalism. It’s…

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Fair use prevails as Supreme Court rejects Google Books copyright case

Fair use is a concept baked into US copyright law, and it’s a defense to copyright infringement if certain elements are met. The US Copyright Office says the defense is decided on a case-by-case basis. “The distinction between what is fair use and what is infringement in a particular case will not always be clear or easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may…

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For News Outlets Squeezed From the Middle, It’s Bend or Bust

Hundreds of thousands of people on Facebook followed BuzzFeed’s live video of two people putting rubber bands around a watermelon until it burst. We should all reflect on how journalism can make the news that is truly important interesting enough to compete with exploding fruit. Traditional media companies face the increasingly daunting task of hooking already-inundated audiences, but they also have more tools than ever to lure them. Videos, podcasts,…

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Jimmy Maher’s Appreciation of Infocom’s Classic Sherlock Text Adventure

I learned a lot while reading this enjoyable essay by Jimmy Maher. Looked at today, however, Sherlock certainly wasn’t a bad note to go out on. Being built on the sturdy foundation of everything Infocom had learned about making text adventures to date, it’s not notably, obviously innovative, but, impressively given that it is a first-timer’s game, it evinces heaps of simple good craftsmanship. We may celebrate the occasional titles…