The End of Headphone Jacks, the Rise of DRM

When you plug an audio cable into a smartphone, it just works. It doesn’t matter whether the headphones were made by the same manufacturer as the phone. It doesn’t even matter what you’re trying to do with the audio signal—it works whether the cable is going into a speaker, a mixing board, or a recording device. With the headphone jack gone, every other option is controlled by the iPhone’s software. With…

Facebook does not care about truth. Facebook wants to sell your attention to the highest bidder. 

  Don’t trust your Facebook feed. All Facebook wants is for you to spend time on Facebook, so that they can sell your attention to the highest bidder. Facebook recently fired 18 employees whose job was to write headlines for and monitor the “Trending Topics” list. When that list fell under scrutiny for an alleged anti-conservative bias, Facebook conducted an internal review, and reported that it found no evidence of…

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…

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…

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…